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Cheltenham on horizon but plenty packs a punch on quality day

Presenting Percy: fan favourite runs at Gowran Park
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The Cheltenham Festival is still a month away but the quality of the action is not lacking today with a line-up that is right up there with some of the biggest Saturdays in the jumps calendar.

Pride of place goes to Ascot which stages as hot a running of the Betfair Ascot Chase as there has ever been.

At Haydock Grand National favourite Blaklion is out to underline his Aintree credentials in the track's National Trial while there are Champion Hurdle clues to be gleaned from the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.

The card at Gowran Park is top notch too with two of Ireland's fan favourites Presenting Percy and Our Duke clashing for the Red Mills Chase.

On top of that there are two all-weather cards at Lingfield in the afternoon and Kempton in the evening. It's a day not to be missed.


Going report

Lingfield (first race at: 12.40)
Standard.

Ascot (1.15)
Soft (GoingStick 5.4 on Friday at 10.30am). Rail movements: R1 & 4 +45y, R2, 3 & 5 +47y, R6 +61y, R7 +37y.

Gowran Park (1.25)
Heavy.

Haydock (1.30)
Heavy (GoingStick: 3.5 chase and 4.0 hurdle at 6.30am). Rail movements: R3 & 7 +66y, R4 +88y.

Wincanton (1.40)
Soft, heavy in places over hurdles, heavy, soft in places on chase course (GoingStick: 5.4 chase and 5.8 hurdle at 10.30am on Thursday). Rail movements: R1 & 5 +117y, R2 +56y, R3 & 7 +78y, R4 +124y, R6 +84y.

Kempton (5.45)
Standard to slow. 


Key non-runners

Ascot
2.25 Gold Present

Haydock
3.15 Daklondike


Market movers

Lingfield
12.40 Tabla 6-1 (from 10)
1.10 Presence Process 7-4 (from 5-4)
1.45 De Medici 7-4 (from 5-2), Zenith One 15-2 (from 16)
2.55 Ay Ay 11-10 (from 6-4)
3.30 Make Music 4-1 (from 6)

Haydock 
1.30 Shambra 7-2 (from 5-1)

Wincanton 
1.40 The Greenvet 11-1 (from 22)

Ascot
4.45 Rosy World 12-1 (from 20)

Kempton
8.15 Happy Escape 6-4 (from 15-8)


What to back

Tom Segal reckons there is some value to be found in the Betfred Grand National as he looks to take on the National favourite in his Pricewise column. There are other selections from the card at Ascot.

James Hill has picked out two selections from Ascot's televised races in the Ten Second Tip.

What to read

It is set to be another emotional day for the Jefferson family as the Cheltenham Festival potential of the exciting Waiting Patiently is put to the test in the Betfair Ascot Chase.

Waiting Patiently has shown signs he could go to the very top and his former trainer Malcolm Jefferson will be in everyone's thoughts as the horse is saddled by daughter Ruth the day after her father's funeral.

Colin Russell was among the mourners in Malton where a huge congregation paid their last respects to one of the stalwarts of jumping in the north.

There was an uplifting story at Sandown where amputee Guy Disney repeated his triumph of 12 months earlier when riding Rathlin Rose to victory in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup. 


What to watch

There is a double dose of the Postcast available for expert opinion on the main races. The team take on Ascot and an absorbing Betfair Ascot Chase first.

There is also advice on what to back in the main races at Haydock and Wincanton.

 

The best of Racing Post Sport

We are into the fifth round of the FA Cup. Among the marquee clashes is the all-Premier League encounter between Huddersfield Town and Manchester United.

Ahead of its screening on BT Sport, Mark Langdon predicts the outcome and advises on the best bets and also features in the Football Postcast.

 

Final thought 

To those advocating an 'eggs in one basket' Dublin Racing Festival, incorporating a number of big races at one track over one weekend, today we have the antidote with something to savour from all three jumps fixtures.

The card at Gowran Park is top notch too with two of Ireland's fan favourites Presenting Percy and Our Duke clashing
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