Ascot Saturday Preview: Royal Regatta a value bet for the big chase

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Royal Regatta – 14-1 with William Hill for Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot

Haydock’s Betfair Chase is the undoubted highlight this Saturday afternoon but Ascot stage a quality card themselves including the reappearance of the unbeaten hurdler Defi Du Seuil in the valuable Grade 2 Coral Hurdle at 2.40pm. But it is the 2m 5f Christy 1965 Chase thirty five minutes earlier which appeals more as a betting medium for which the Philip Hobbs-trained Royal Regatta looks a decent value each-way bet at the 14-1 available with William Hill.

The fact that the nine-year-old has pulled up in his last two races should not be taken literally as they were both in competitive Graded contests at Aintree while the son of King’s Theatre seems to reserve his best for Ascot where the gelding’s form figures read 2-6-1-2-3-1-3. The last of those proved a decent effort as the mount of Richard Johnson took the field along at a good pace in the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase last February and had most of his rivals at full stretch for most of the race – the exception being the top class Cue Card who went on to record an easy victory. With Taquin Du Seuil, Irish Cavalier and Traffic Fluide finishing behind that was a cracking effort by Royal Regatta.

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Twelve months ago Royal Regatta made all to hold off the late challenge of Kylemore Lough by a head to win Ascot’s Christy 1965 Chase with horses of the calibre of God’s Own, Eduard and Dodging Bullets behind. A reproduction of that effort would see the nine-year-old go close to recording back-to-back victories in Saturday’s Grade 2 contest.

The ante-post market is headed by recent Old Roan Chase winner Smad Place ( 4-1 Skybet and William Hill ) and the Nicky Henderson-trained Top Notch ( 4-1 Betfred ). The former boasts the best form going into the race but with Newbury’s Ladbroke Trophy ( formerly the Hennessy Gold Cup ) still a possible target the grey’s participation is not guaranteed. The latter failed to beat a rival on his reappearance when last of three behind Unowhatimeanharry over hurdles but did little wrong over fences as a novice last season and could prove the biggest danger to the selection with that run under his belt.

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