Whilst only four runners line up for the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Steeple Chase, our premier novices’ race, it still looks to be an exciting renewal and often serves as a key trial for the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival, with O’Faolains Boy being the last to achieve the double in 2014.
Tomorrow could also be a big day for emerging star, Bryony Frost. Bryony recently attended our press trip with Paul Nicholls in Ditcheat and tomorrow rides the top rated Black Corton, bidding to win his fifth start of the season from six runs. However, the Anthony Honeyball trained Ms Parfois, looks a danger following three consecutive wins on Soft ground over a similar distance.
Top Notch heads seven runners for an excellent renewal of the £150,000 G1 Betfair Ascot Chase over two miles and five furlongs.
Top Notch (Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob) has won his last two starts in great style, including over the course and distance in the G2 Christy 1965 Chase in November, and tops Betfair's market at 7/4.
Trainer Nicky Henderson has saddled three Betfair Ascot Chase winners, including dual scorer Riverside Theatre, a record only bettered by Martin Pipe who won the race four times.
Waiting Patiently (Ruth Jefferson/Brian Hughes), the 11/4 second favourite, is unbeaten in five starts over fences. He comes into the race on the back of an impressive eight-length success in a Listed chase at Kempton Park on 13th January.
Coney Island (Eddie Harty IRE/Barry Geraghty, 3/1) captured the G1 Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse last season and is bidding to become the second Irish-trained winner of the Betfair Ascot Chase following Sound Man in 1996. The seven-year-old also has winning course and distance form, having made short work of his rivals in a graduation chase on 23rd December.
Cue Card (Colin Tizzard/Paddy Brennan, 8/1) could become the first three-time winner of the Betfair Ascot Chase. The popular 12-year-old, who landed the spoils in 2013 and 2017, has not raced since finishing second in the G1 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park on 25th November.
The great Kauto Star is one of three Paul Nicholls-trained winners on the roll of honour. Frodon (Paul Nicholls, 10/1) represents the trainer this year and looked as good as ever on his latest start when posting a 17-length victory in a G3 handicap chase at Cheltenham on 27th January. Bryony Frost keeps the ride.
Likely front-runner Speredek (Nigel Hawke/Sean Bowen, 25/1) has risen 39lb in the handicap over the last 12 months to a rating of 154. He finished second to Un De Sceaux in the G1 Clarence House Chase over two miles and a furlong at Ascot on 20th January.
Traffic Fluide (Gary Moore/Joshua Moore, 66/1), who has finished third in three G1 contests, completes the runners.