By Dave Nevison
He runs in a handicap off 149, which is 5lb lower than for his last handicap appearance when he was a winner and if the very valuable 5lb claim of Bryony Frost is taken into account he is seriously well in.
Irving never quite made up into the champion some predicted but it is impossible to compare horses like those he faces on Saturday to such as Buveur D’Air, whom he usually competes against, and his class will surely tell.
I will be watching for a market move on Cold March who runs over hurdles on his first run for Harry Whittington. This yard tend to have a go first time with new recruits and are not far away when doing so.
I expressed my views about Jenkins earlier in the season and even though he won in seemingly good style last time in the headgear his presence means I will sit out the big handicap hurdle at Ascot and go for easier pickings.
Acting Lass is a strangely named gelding but there is nothing is strange about the way he jumps a fence and he is one to be with against many less reliable types in the bet 365 Handicap.
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If Noel Fehily gets into a rhythm in the way he has the last twice then he will have this won before they turn into the comparatively short home straight at Ascot and Acting Lass warrants being the nap.
The gamble on Brain Power has been hyped and apart from a few shrewdies getting the three places guaranteed I predict many will bail out of their bets on the day and Brain Power will drift.
Un De Sceaux is a good thing here and will put the novice’s jumping under far too much pressure in my view.
Brain Power was beaten before unseating last time and the money for him is a mystery to me.
La Bague Au Roi is a cracking mare with a terrific strike rate and only has to give 4lb to her rivals in the Grade 2 at 1.50.
Her stable is in excellent form at present and she is better than Dusky Legend, who was forced to miss a much easier opportunity at Kempton’s Christmas meeting and turns up in a tougher heat here.
Dave’s top tips for Saturday:
Dave’s nap is Acting Lass and he suggests putting La Bague Au Roi and Un De Sceaux in a win double
2.15 Taunton: Irving
2.25 Ascot: La Bague Au Roi
3.00 Ascot: Acting Lass
3.35 Ascot: Un De Sceaux
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