Ascot's Balmoral Handicap Preview

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Lord Glitters – 7-1 bet365, William Hill and Paddy Power

Ascot stage one of the best Flat meetings of the season on Saturday afternoon featuring no fewer than four Group 1 contests along with the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup which gets proceedings underway at 1.25pm. The final race on a top class card at 4.30pm is the £250,000 Balmoral Handicap, a race which provides the David O’Meara stable with a perfect opportunity for his recent acquisition Lord Glitters to win a major prize since joining his new trainer from France during the summer.

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The four-year-old son of Whippet won his final two starts for his French handler, taking one mile contests at Chantilly and Saint-Cloud and almost made a winning debut for O’Meara when going down narrowly to Accidental Agent in a valuable Ascot handicap earlier this month. Jockey Martin Harley gave his mount plenty to do on that occasion and with a 5lb pull in the weights with Eve Johnson Houghton’s charge the grey should have no trouble turning the tables with that rival.

A much bigger danger should come in the shape of the rapidly-improving Zabeel Prince from the Roger Varian stable. The Lope De Vega gelding has won all of his three starts this season and was most impressive on his most recent start when carrying top weight to a comfortable victory at York last week, beating this year’s Lincoln winner Bravery with little trouble.

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With a maximum field of 20 almost guaranteed this is far from a two-horse race but such is the potential of both Lord Glitters and Zabeel Prince the pair may turn out to be better than handicappers and look easily the ones to beat, the vote just going to the former who has valuable course form to his name. At bigger prices the Richard Fahey-trained pair of Withernsea and Stamp Hill could make the frame.

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