Steve Hughes waits for the final two races for his bets at Ascot on Friday
As usual a very good card at Ascot and two handicaps on the straight course look worthy of interest. Only selection on Thursday Huge Future was a comfortable winner (advised 7/2).
Ascot 4.20: La Rav
Jockey Jamie Spencer has been in irrepressible form of late, especially when on a hold up horse and in La Rav he has the perfect vehicle for his talents.
A progressive 3yo last season until going lame at York’s Ebor meeting, La Rav was undeniably disappointing on his return to the track recently at Newbury, failing to beat a single rival. However he will surely be better today for that recent runout.
He won two small races impressively last season – a maiden by 5l at Salisbury and a handicap over this mile trip at Newbury by 4l. He was a close third at Chelmsford in a far better race, and at a track that would not have played to his strengths before it all went wrong at York. He looks to have plenty of improvement in him though and will get the strong pace he needs today.
Ascot 4.55: Nick Vedder
Nick Vedder is a horse that needs tender handling in his races but his very high cruising speed marks him out as well worth trying over as short as 6f for the first time in his career.
He needs covered up for a run as late as possible as he finds nothing when he hits the front, but got a masterly ride by Franny Norton at Doncaster last time, delivering him right on cue at the post. That was on a track that favours hold up horses and Ascot is exactly the same.
Indeed he looked set to win the lady amateur riders race on King George day here when cruising through that 7f contest in July. However jockey Lisa O’Neill could wait no longer and kicked on fully 2f out – as usual the horse stopped as soon as he hit the front and his rivals had time enough to peg him back. I like the booking of Robert Winston, a fine hold up jockey and I am sure the horse is quick enough to cope with this drop back in trip. He has only gone up 2lbs for that last win.
1pt win – La Rav – 4.20 Ascot – 11/2 Bet365, Paddy Power
0.75pts each-way – Nick Vedder – 4.55 Ascot – 12/1 Bet365, BetVictor, Coral