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Azzerti all set to show his class at Ascot

Out in front: Azzerti, with Adrian Heskin aboard, on the way to winning earlier this month at Newbury
Out in front: Azzerti, with Adrian Heskin aboard, on the way to winning earlier this month at Newbury

By Keith Hamer

Azzerti can build on a successful seasonal reappearance to land the Creativevents Handicap Chase at Ascot.

The seven-year-old showed impressive battling qualities when holding Chef D'Equipe by a neck at Newbury two weeks ago.

Provided those exertions have not taken their toll, Alan King's charge may go in again off just a 4lb higher mark.

It is 12 months almost to the day since Azzerti ran at Ascot for the first time, when he shaped well to take third place behind Whenyerreadyfreddie.

He confirmed his liking for Ascot by scoring on his return a month later, and he can repeat the dose.

Oakley should come on for a fine effort at Cheltenham last month - his first run since January - and go two places better in the Ascot Handicap Hurdle.

Philip Hobbs' six-year-old got his second wind to fill minor honours behind Benny's Bridge - and with that under his belt, he can strike here.

First Flow spoilt his chance when jumping to the right at Uttoxeter, so Ascot should suit him better when he makes his second appearance over fences in the Ascot Supports Novices' Chase.

Despite that tendency, Kim Bailey's seven-year-old was far from disgraced in running 2018 Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Summerville Boy to four lengths.

On the Tapeta at Newcastle, Castlehill Retreat has fine prospects of following up his breakthrough course win.

He had no trouble seeing out the seven furlongs to get off the mark last time and can double up in the Ladbrokes Nursery Handicap.

Ben Haslam's gelding has an extra furlong to negotiate on his return, but it is worth taking a chance on the progressive son of Casamento.

Bedtime Bella is top weight for good reason in the closing Betway Handicap, and ought to be able to justify her status.

Mick Appleby's filly has had a two-month break since winding up her turf campaign with a good third under a 7lb claimer over this trip at Pontefract. She was effective on a variety of surfaces through the summer, winning twice for Appleby following a switch from Karl Burke's yard. Her return to the all-weather, for the first time since her debut 12 runs and seven months ago, may prove a profitable move for current connections.

Earlier on the card, King Ragnar and Landing Night are both of interest. King Ragnar has an experience edge over almost the entire field in the intriguing Ladbrokes Where The Nation Plays Novice Stakes.

This stiffer track also looks likely to suit better than Chelmsford, where he was soundly beaten into second last time but by an opponent who may well be an above-average recruit - based on the company he kept on turf.

Dual-purpose trainer Rebecca Menzies' runners are always of note, and Landing Night is no exception in the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap. The Kodiac gelding is not about to start improving on his 69th career start, at the age of seven. He has already won nine times, though, and appeared to be gearing up for double-figures with an encouraging third last time.

The re-opposing Be Proud has a case on the book to confirm his marginal superiority - but Landing Night has won previously off much higher marks and seems ready to take advantage of his current rating.

Back over jumps at Catterick, Murphy's Law is a sound proposition in the Injured Jockeys' Fund Handicap Chase.

SELECTIONS:

ASCOT: 1.00 First Flow, 1.30 Fred, 2.05 Master Debonair, 2.40 AZZERTI (NAP), 3.15 Cloth Cap, 3.45 Oakley.

CATTERICK: 12.15 Takingitallin, 12.45 Jeu de Mots, 1.20 George Ridsdale, 1.50 Captain Moirette, 2.25 The Steward, 3.00 Murphy's Law, 3.35 Cockney Beau.

DUNDALK: 5.45 Ken's Sam's, 6.15 Lady De Vesci, 6.45 Latchet, 7.15 Psyche, 7.45 Bandiuc Eile, 8.15 Calling Time, 8.45 Loaded.

FFOS LAS: 1.10 Onurbike, 1.40 Wax And Wane, 2.15 Equus Dancer, 2.50 Oxwich Bay, 3.25 Meteorite, 3.55 Poniente.

NEWCASTLE: 3.30 Global Humor, 4.00 King Ragnar, 4.30 Landing Night, 5.00 Robotique Danseur, 5.30 Castlehill Retreat, 6.00 Silk Mill Blue, 6.30 Sixties Coed, 7.00 Bedtime Bella.

DOUBLE: Azzerti and Oakley.

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