Who can capitalise in this handicap chase with Edwardstone ruled out?
Saturday: 3.15 Ascot
Jim Barry Wines Hurst Park Handicap Chase | 2m1f | 4yo+ | ITV/Sky
Edwardstone is out due to the drying ground so this event could revolve around a race here in October as the first three – Thyme White, Frero Banbou and Before Midnight all line up and remain with potential.
Thyme White was an unrealised talent last season and can climb higher if he has turned the corner in terms of his maturity, while Frero Banbou and, especially, Before Midnight shaped as though they could come on for the run and both have a decent pull on Thyme White at the weights.
Because this race is a Class 2, there is no requirement for novices to run three times to qualify for a mark and the final two worth mentioning are both on just their third chase start. Boothill comfortably accounted for Datsalrightgino, who won off the same rating next time, at Newton Abbot five weeks ago.
The Emmet Mullins-trained So Scottish has improved in line with market expectations following a summer break and is undefeated in two small-field novices. While a warm handicap will provide a completely new test, the market should indicate whether So Scottish is thought up to the task in this very valuable contest.
Race analysis by Keith Melrose
What they say
Dan Skelton, trainer of Third Time Lucki and Amoola Gold
Third Time Lucki was obviously very disappointing last time. I haven't really got an excuse for that, but a few of mine were needing the run at the time. Amoola Gold has blinkers on at a track he loves and has got to be worth an each-way look round there.
Sam Thomas, trainer of Before Midnight
He'll come on for the run last time. I hope he'll run his usual race, but whether he's good enough is another thing.
Jamie Snowden, trainer of Kiltealy Briggs
He's been a star for us and has been placed in a Grade 1 and the only times he's disappointed have been over three miles at the Cheltenham Festival. We've tried to make him a three-miler as he's out of a sister to Ballabriggs, who won the National, but his best runs have been over shorter. He gallops and jumps and we're dropping him back to two miles, which is a different approach, but hopefully it will suit at a stiff track such as Ascot and he's got no weight either. It's a bit of a gamble, but it's an interesting one.
Venetia Williams, trainer of Frero Banbou
It's a rerun of his last race with some extras joining in. It's a tough contest and he'll do well to reverse the placings with the winner, but it's another race on another day.
Harry Fry, trainer of Boothill
We couldn't be more pleased with him at home, he's in really good order. Obviously it's going to be a big step up on what he's achieved so far, but we're happy with his preparation. Good to soft would be perfect for him.
Reporting by Richard Birch
Saturday's race previews:
1.50 Haydock: 'He should be hard to beat' - Nicholls swerves L'Homme Presse test with Hitman
2.05 Ascot: Can Britain's top Gold Cup hope L'Homme Presse be troubled on his return?
2.25 Haydock: 'He goes there with every chance' - key quotes for the valuable stayers' hurdle
2.40 Ascot: 'We'd have concerns if it dried too much' - Nicky Henderson on Constitution Hill
3.00 Haydock: Betfair Chase: A Plus Tard will be fine on the ground says confident De Bromhead
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