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2018 Ascot Hurdle tips – 6/4 chance can Cap return with stunning upset at Ascot

Jonathan Vine 23 Nov 2018
If The Cap Fits (left) finishing second behind Verdana Blue (right) in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this Grade Two at Ascot on Saturday 24th November and provides readers with his tips.

Haydock will be under the spotlight on Saturday, as they stage the lucrative Betfair Chase. Ascot will also hog their share of the limelight, as a field of talented hurdlers takes part in the Ascot Hurdle. 

First run back in 1978, the roll of honour for this Grade Two features many of the sports best ever hurdlers. Dawn Run, Morley Street and Faugheen went on to win the Champion Hurdle later in the season, with Baracouda stepping up in trip to triumph in the Stayers’ Hurdle at that season’s Cheltenham Festival.

A classy field looks set to assemble in the 2019 Coral Ascot Hurdle this weekend. Our expert has taken a look through the betting and provided readers with his tips.

2:40pm Ascot Coral Hurdle (Registered As The Ascot Hurdle) (Grade 2) 2m3½f

Willie Mullins' Laurina had led the ante-post betting, with many expecting Ireland's top trainer to take the Mares' Novices' Hurdle winner down the same path as Annie Power, who started her first season outside novice company here at Ascot. Sadly, Mullins confirmed during the week that Laurina would not be taking part in this year's Coral Hurdle, leaving Nicky Henderson's We Have A Dream (Evens Coral) to top the betting.

Nicky Henderson was worried his dual-Grade One-winning juvenile would find conditions at Wincanton a little quick on his reappearance and that proved to be the case, as We Have A Dream finished ten lengths behind Verdana Blue in third. The Seven Barrows maestro stated after the race that he would be looking to step his four-year-old up in trip and We Have A Dream looks to have all the attributes to make a very handy middle-distance hurdler.

Harry Fry was gutted when If The Cap Fits (6/4 William Hill) was forced to miss the second half of last season, after showing such smart form in the novice ranks. The six-year-old made his return from injury in the Elite Hurdle earlier this month and ran a very encouraging race to finish just a couple of lengths behind a race-fit Verdana Blue.

Old Guard (13/2 Paddy Power) hasn’t tasted victory since beating Lil Rockerfeller in the National Spirit Hurdle back in February, but Paul Nicholls’ charge very rarely runs a poor race – a fact Old Guard proved last weekend when carrying top-weight into the places in the Greatwood. While this seems to be his optimum trip, the six-day turn-around could be a little too swift to cope with after such a mammoth effort at Cheltenham.

Rayvin Black (20/1 William Hill), Tomngerry (33/1 Coral) and Brian Barr’s Babbling Brook (66/1 Coral), all feature in the final field for the 2018 Coral Ascot Hurdle. Rayvin Black will likely set the early pace and fall away, with Tomngerry and Babbling Brook also likely to finish a long way adrift of the top three in the betting here.

We Have A Dream clearly has bundles of ability and should take well to this trip. However, Henderson's charge will have to shoulder a three-pound penalty again on quickish ground which is unlikely to suit, and I'd be surprised if the Elite Hurdle placing with IF THE CAP FITS are overturned.

I was delighted with If The Cap Fit's run at Wincanton, where Paul & Clare Rooney's star finished a long way clear of his Coral Hurdle rival over that two mile trip. Harry Fry’s charge has won easily over a trip just one furlong shorter than this 19-and-a-half furlong distance, the flat, right-handed track here at Ascot should suit him down to the ground and you would assume he would have come on a fair bit after making his first start in over 300 days at Wincanton.

I tipped If The Cap Fits to win this at 9/2 when Laurina was still in the running. I'm not going to change my mind now.

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2018 Ascot Hurdle tips – 6/4 chance can Cap return with stunning upset at Ascot

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this Grade Two at Ascot on Saturday 24th November and provides readers with his tips.

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