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Ascot is back in business on Saturday and judging by the website the redevelopment of the grand dame of British racecourses has been a triumph. The new grandstand looks truly magnificent and unlike a certain venue in northwest London has been delivered on time and on budget. If it is as thrilling in real life as it is appears on the net, all involved deserve a hearty slap on the back.

The feature race on the card, the totesport Victoria Cup is a devilishly tricky handicap. You could make a case for at least 10 of the runners, but on the positive side the competitive nature of the race gives ample scope for each-way betting. Game Lad is worth chancing. He has won two from three starts on the likely soft going and rarely runs a bad race in defeat. Game Lad is basically vin ordinaire, but he has an each-way chance at the weights.

By contrast, Admiral’s Cruise in the Bovis Homes Buckhounds Stakes looks the type to make his mark in listed company. He seems sure to improve with age and the way he won first time out at Newmarket was eye-catching. Admiral’s Cruise has soft ground form and looks like a horse to side with as he continues his rise through the ranks.

Haydock’s feature race the totepool Silver Bowl is another tricky bookie sponsored handicap. Supaseus is running for the first time in handicap company and though he may be high enough in the weights looks like another likely improver. He is untried on soft ground but breeding suggests he should prosper on it.

The same cannot be sad about 2000 Guineas winner “gorgeous” George Washington. He goes to post in the Irish 2000 Guineas on Sunday at odds of 2-7. Anyone taking that price if the ground is soft or slower with the thought they are buying money is misguided in the extreme.

His dam Bordighera is a very strong fast ground influence. Her most famous son to date was Grandera. He was good enough to beat Hawk Wing in the Irish Campion Stakes on fast ground but could only trail in seventh in the Racing Post Chase on soft. If the ground does ride slow “gorgeous” must be taken on with Decado.


Ascot 1:20 Admiral’s Cruise (win)

Ascot 2:20 Game lad (each-way)

Haydock 3:45 Supaseus (win)

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