If Ascot beats the weather on Saturday, the exciting Sporting John is fancied to maintain his 100% record in the opening novices’ hurdle.Philip Hobbs’ five-year-old has twice won at Exeter and with the step up in distance likely to bring about further improvement, he can lower the colours of Master Debonair, who is two-from-two at the track, but isn’t sure to be as suited by this longer trip.The pair are both also engaged in a Listed event at Exeter on Sunday, where Sporting John would be 5lbs better off, given that Master Debonair would have to carry a penalty for his Grade 2 success.
RED INDIAN 2.25 Ascot
Later on the same card Red Indian is fancied to go close in the valuable Listed handicap chase.Kelly Morgan’s lightly-raced chaser shaped with considerable promise at Haydock on his reappearance, travelling strongly until fading up the home straight. If he steps forward – fitness-wise – he looks more than capable of putting up a bold show, having been dropped another couple of pounds. It is worth remembering that he was only 11 lengths behind Santini in last year’s Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day, and he won’t mind the testing ground.
If all eight go to post, he should be backed each-way. Four of the field have other options, but all have this race as the first choice engagement
Just the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.