Friday’s race of the day – Who will prevail in thrilling Introductory Hurdle at Ascot

Jon Vine takes a look through the runners set to lock horns in the Introductory Hurdle at Ascot and highlights the runner he’ll be backing in Friday’s race of the day on Friday 22nd November.

Several budding stars will be out in force at Ascot on Friday, with a lucrative handicap hurdle drawing the days proceedings to a close. Earlier in the afternoon though, seven promising novice hurdlers will pit their wits against one another in the Introductory Hurdle and I’ve taken a look at each of them to decide who to side with.

Friday’s Race Of The Day at Ascot

Brockagh Cailin

Likely to be the “also-ran”, as he lacked the pedigree of the other six in this field. Reached a peak rating of 62 on the flat after just one win in 16 starts. Will most likely get outclassed here.

Cascova

Won on National Hunt flat debut last season, before coming up four lengths short of Glory And Fortune in Listed bumper at Cheltenham’s International Meeting. Then represented Martyn Meade in the Champion Bumper, trailing over the line with just one runner behind him. Has since moved to Nicky Henderson’s yard and has to be respected, despite lack of National Hunt promise in his breeding.

Galileo Silver

Ran four times on the flat and earned a rating of 84 after a strong triumph at Kempton on most recent start. A full sibling to Melbourne Cup placer Il Paradiso and sire, Galileo has produced many top hurdlers down the years. Alan King’s horses have been running well and could have a big say in the matter on debut.

Glory And Fortune

Won only start on the flat, beating Cascova and subsequent hurdles winner, Book Of Invasions in the Listed bumper at Cheltenham in December. Was only a 9/4 shot when he made his first start over hurdles at Huntingdon last month, but ran out a comfortable enough winner. The form of that race hasn’t worked out well, but there’s clearly more to come from this talented youngster.

Master Debonair (left) is beaten by Heaven Help Us at Cheltenham.

Master Debonair

Enjoyed successful autumn in bumpers last season, beating future Grade Two winner Thyme Hill at Cheltenham in November. Another to be outclassed in the Champion Bumper in the spring but ran nicely to place fifth in the equivalent race at Aintree. Backed into favouritism on hurdling debut and jumped well on the whole. Found surprisingly little down the home straight and was eventually beaten by a 33/1 outsider. Should come on from the run though.

Mr Grey Sky

Achieved the highest bumper rating anyone in this field managed last term, receiving an RPR of 127 after a narrow victory under a seven-pound penalty on final start at Haydock. Shares the same sire as Glory And Fortune and dam has produced two highly-rated jumpers, who both won on their first starts over obstacles. Leading claims.

Tamaroc Du Mathan

Interesting recruit for owner Johnny de la Hey, who has supplied Paul Nicholls with big-race winners like Dolos, Adrien Du Pont and Diego Du Charmil. This son of Poligate ran once at home in France, beating a future winner in a three-year-old hurdle. Has had a wind-op since and tongue-tie fitted for his first appearance. A huge danger.

Verdict

This really is a fascinating contest and it’s very to come down on any particular side. Glory And Fortune could go well again. Tamaroc Du Mathan looks an exciting recruit for Paul Nicholls and Master Debonair should improve after a second-place finish on debut.

Considering Kim Bailey’s name appears in the title of this contest, it would be fitting if MR GREY SKY (6/1 William Hill) could get off the mark at the first time of asking over hurdles and there’s no denying he has the talent to reach a high level over hurdles. For me, he makes the loudest claims for selection in what looks a wide-open race. I’m expecting a thriller!

Best Bet

Back MR GREY SKY at 6/1 here with William Hill

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