This week we focus on the bet 365 Challenge Cup at Ascot (3.10) and track specialist RIPP ORF and SO BELOVED, who creeps in a bit under the radar, are the pair to concentrate on.
Ripp Orf is a standing dish over the seven furlongs here. Last year in this race he was second to Raising Sand on similarly soft ground off a pound higher mark. While Raising Sand carried 8 - 8 in this twelve months ago he is now top weight with a formidable 9 - 10 to carry. All of which means Ripp Orf is 13 lbs. better off with him!
David Elsworth has booked Gerard Mosse which is a smart move as the French shrewdie is particularly sharp riding hold up horses like Ripp Orf. Elsworth's consistent campaigner just failed to catch Salute The Soldier in the Cunard Handicap over track and trip last month, and with better timing on this occasion, and carrying 8 - 11, he is sure to be bang there at the business end today.
So Beloved has been running well without winning this season and has slipped 9 lbs. in the ratings as a result. Back in May he finished second to Cardsharp over this trip on fast ground at York off 105 and carrying 9 - 11. He also ran a blinder in the Royal Hunt Cup, though the bare result totally disguises that fact as he finished ninth. He was beaten just three and a half lengths yet that does not fully do him justice either as he was settled out the back by Danny Tudhope having raced keenly.
Yet he still managed to almost get in front about a furlong out and, while he ran out of steam a bit in the last 100 yards, it was a huge effort all things considered. Back down to seven furlongs now and on soft ground he has plenty of things in his favour. For not just is he 7 lbs. lower than his Royal Hunt Cup mark, but David O'Meara has booked good 7 lbs. claimer Angus Villiers which effectively leaves him on a mark of 91, a whopping 14 lbs. less than what he carried here at the Royal Meeting.
So with just 8 - 6 on his back there's every chance he can get back on the winning trail here. Plenty of others with chances of course in this competitive handicap like Bedouin's Story, Kynren - who has been knocking on the door - and hat trick seeking Qaysar. But So Beloved and Ripp Orf are the recommended duo.
1/2 Point Each Way Ripp Orf (6/1 generally. look for bookies paying 5 places)
1/2 Point Each Way So Beloved (14/1 generally. look for bookies paying 5 places)
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