At The Races expert Alan Thomson gives his thoughts and a big-race verdict on the Race of the Day at Ascot, an ultra-competitive handicap hurdle.
The Sky Sports Racing cameras focus on Ascot’s Friday slot and nine runners go to post for the Class 2 Garden For All Seasons Handicap Hurdle (3.15) over two miles.
Fancied Herbiers has been declared a non-runner but the £15,600 contest retains its wide-open appeal, which will ensure lively betting activity.
Ascot’s stiff, right-handed circuit measures around 1m 6f and ideally suits resolute gallopers when riding soft. Some prolonged showers have hit the track in the past 24 hours.
There should be no absence of early pace with the likes of Whizz Kid, Gipsy De Choisel, Lively Citizen and Onefortheroad having cut out the running in the past.
Represents Irish raiders Karl Thornton and Donagh Meyler and the eight-year-old is a classy sort off the Flat.
Shanroe had the legs of favourite Sandhurst in a tactical three-runner contest at Galway (soft) in the summer and his eighth to Trawlerman in the Ebor at York, plus a solid second to Falcon Eight in the amateur riders’ Derby at the Curragh last month, underlines his chance.
Shanroe was good enough to finish fourth to Sonnyboyliston in the 2021 Ebor racing off a 101 mark and beat 19 rivals in a Fairyhouse novices’ handicap hurdle, drawing nine lengths clear. He can go well at a loud price, despite his inflated rating.
Won three on the trot at this time last year and deserves his place near the head of the betting market. Onemorefortheroad chased home useful Tritonic over course and distance last December with smart types Metier and West Cork back in fourth and fifth.
His third to Anna Bunina in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr was another solid effort and Onemorefortheroad should arrive cherry-ripe on the back of last month’s Aintree fourth to Peking Rose. That 2m 4f trip seemed to overstretch his stamina and the seven-year-old looks sure to go well for Neil King and Jack Quinlan.
Notched a course and distance success in a juvenile hurdle in January but this is a different kettle of fish.
Dan Skelton gave him a pipe-opener behind Pied Piper at Cheltenham last month and Doctor Parnassus wasn’t disgraced (seventh) behind Vauban in last season’s JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Tackling some seasoned troopers here, though.
Gipsy De Choisel
Nicky Henderson’s legions of supporters will be interested in his six-year-old, last spotted 184 days ago when making all to beat the Dan Skelton-trained Percy’s Word by almost five lengths at Warwick.
Gipsy De Choisel finished third to Metier on his UK debut here two years ago and since has been something of a mixed bag. Market vibes should be informative.
Scored for Dr Richard Newland at Catterick and Ludlow on good ground last March but was beaten 13 lengths in a messy five-runner contest at Musselburgh when sent off evens favourite 16 days ago.
That was his first start following a wind procedure and it is worth recalling he finished ahead of both Lively Citizen and Gipsy De Choisel in the hot handicap hurdle won by Hacker Des Places at Aintree in April. Whizz Kid was 3-1 favourite that day but will go off a bigger price here. Interesting.
In The Air
Fell in the race won by Flash The Steel at Fontwell last month and turned up five days later on the all-weather at Les Sables on the French coast, finishing second in a 1m 5f contest.
Gary Moore’s four-year-old landed the odds in a juvenile hurdle at Newbury (soft) in March and remains something of a dark horse.
Made no show on his return to action four weeks ago at Cheltenham, fading tamely when headed on the home bend, but chased home useful Suprise Package off a low weight in last season’s Imperial Cup at Sandown.
Lively Citizen handled soft ground when winning at Leicester in early July.
Philip Hobbs sent out his gelding to win at Wincanton and Sandown last winter but Monviel could manage only eighth behind Suprise Package in the Imperial Cup.
He landed a novice hurdle in the mud at Sandown last winter, so testing ground would not be a negative. Early days but this is quite a strong event.
Get Back Get Back
Picked off a conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle under Ben Bromley at Kempton 11 days ago and goes unpenalised under his 7lb claiming rider.
Due to go up 5lb, so nicely treated now facing stronger company. Harry Fry’s gelding is clearly in great fettle.
Onemorefortheroad brings solid handicap form into the race and should be seen to best advantage over this demanding two-mile trip. He finished two places behind Imperial Cup runner-up Lively Citizen in March but is 8lb better off.
There could be much more forthcoming from Nicky Henderson’s Gipsy De Choisel this season but he has plenty of ground to make up on Whizz Kid on last spring’s Liverpool form. Irish raider Shanroe makes each-way appeal at a price.