An excellent field of six go to post for Saturday’s Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase at Ascot, with three Grade One winners in the field including last season’s Ascot Chase winner Dashel Drasher.
We talk you through all the runners in this year’s renewal, live on Sky Sports Racing at 2.05pm on Saturday.
Jockey: Rex Dingle, Trainer: Jeremy Scott
Ascot specialist Dashel Drasher makes his seasonal reappearance for Jeremy Scott, having won three successive races at the Berkshire track last season, including the Grade One Ascot Chase in February.
He defeated one of Saturday’s rivals, Master Tommytucker, that day and his bold jumping alongside his tenacity under pressure gives him every chance of making it four-from-four at the track.
However, at the prices, he might be worth taking on with a question mark over his form on quicker ground.
The eight-year-old was at his best on soft and heavy ground last season, but with good ground expected, he could be caught out for a touch of speed down the back straight with jumping very much under the microscope.
He also has failed to win any of his last three runs on seasonal reappearance, and with Rex Dingle – while not necessarily a negative – taking over in the plate, that is a new partnership for the Scott team.
J: Sam Twiston-Davies T: Paul Nicholls
A horse with just 14 starts to his name at the age of 10, Master Tommytucker is still fairly lightly-raced and looks primed for a big run this weekend for the red-hot Paul Nicholls team.
He ran at Wetherby last month in the bet365 Hurdle, but that looked to be a pipe-opener for this and he could easily put in a career-best performance.
His tendency to throw in a jumping error does temper enthusiasm, but he was much better last season, completing in all seven of his chase starts, winning three of them and finishing second in another two.
His two-length second behind Dashel Drasher at this track and trip last season was an excellent run, and he has ground in his favour on Saturday so could easily turn the tables.
Sam Twiston-Davies takes over in the saddle this weekend with stable jockey Harry Cobden riding Bravemansgame at Haydock, but don’t let that put you off.
Arguably his most impressive performance came in a graduation chase at Haydock last season, beating Good Boy Bobby by 15 lengths with Twiston-Davies riding.
Assuming his jumping stands up to the test, he has an excellent opportunity to win a second Grade Two this weekend.
J: Bridget Andrews T: Dan Skelton
Another to have run in last season’s Ascot Chase, Bennys King finished behind Dashel Drasher (and Master Tommytucker) in that race and again behind the same rival in the previous month’s handicap chase.
The ten-year-old ran well to land a big handicap at Ascot last December on heavy ground, but he might just have too much on his plate here.
He was pulled up in the Bateaux London Gold Cup last time out at the same track, and could be another that would prefer a bit more give in the ground.
Stable jockey Harry Skelton has opted to ride at Haydock instead, which could give an indication of this horse’s chances on Saturday.
Will probably find a couple too classy.
J: Tom O’Brien T: Philip Hobbs
It feels like a long time ago since Defi du Seuil won the Triumph Hurdle back in 2017, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that he has beaten plenty of Grade One horses in his time.
Un De Sceaux, Politologue, Lostintranslation and Topofthegame were all beaten by Defi du Seuil, although he hasn’t managed to win a race since victory in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January 2020.
Since then, the Philip Hobbs-trained horse was a disappointing fourth in the Champion Chase when going off the 2/5 favourite, and was pulled up and beaten 17 lengths in his subsequent two starts.
He has since had wind surgery and returns this weekend off a 10-month absence, but is hard to trust.
J: Brendan Powell T: Colin Tizzard
Another whose previous form would be good enough to land an average renewal of this race, Lostintranslation is very much on a retrieval mission after a string of disappointing runs.
His 2019-20 campaign included victory in the Betfair Chase and an excellent third behind Al Boum Photo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but looked a shadow of his former best last season.
The nine-year-old was beaten 47 lengths and 26 lengths in the two races he completed, and was pulled up in the other two runs.
The Tizzard team have opted for wind surgery, and were in poor form last season but have returned this time around with several big-race winners.
Tizzard’s yard is red-hot at the minute, but even still, it would take a bit of wishful thinking to be willing to take short odds and trust that he retains all of his former ability.
J: Nico De Boinville T: Nicky Henderson
The likely outsider of the field, Pistol Whipped could be the runner with a touch of potential at the age of just seven.
He is another making his seasonal reappearance after two handicap victories last season, and was beaten a nose by Market Rasen Summer Plate winner Francky Du Berlais at Uttoxeter in his final start.
However, that form is all outside of Graded company and this is a significant step up in class on Saturday against a whole host of top-class rivals.
He will attempt to lead from the front and could have a few under some early pressure but seems unlikely to hold off all of his rivals.
In what is a very competitive renewal of the 1965 Chase, Master Tommytucker could well be the answer with race fitness and excellent trainer form on his side.
Only the Paul Nicholls runner and Bennys King – who might be a touch outclassed – have had a run this season and the Ditcheat handler could hardly be coming into this race in better form.
If his jumping stands up, the 10-year-old could land a second Grade Two against rivals who largely have question marks against them.
Of the rest, Dashel Drasher looks certain to run his race and can follow the selection home, with Lostintranslation back in third for the in-form Colin Tizzard team.
Master Tommytucker 2. Dashel Drasher 3. Lostintranslation
Sky Bet prices are subject to change.