Ptit set to pounce at Ascot

Ptit Zig can make experience count in what promises to be a fascinating Mitie Novices’ Chase at Ascot today.

The likes of Simonsig and Zaynar have in recent years claimed victory in the Grade Two contest and the horse likely to take top billing ahead of this season’s renewal is the Nicky Henderson trained Josses Hill.

The Seven Barrows challenger mixed it at the top level in novice hurdle company last season, finding only Vautour too strong in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham before enjoying his day in the sun at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.

The six-year-old tackles the larger obstacles for the first time on Friday and is clearly an exciting prospect, but Ptit Zig might win the day on this occasion having already won twice over fences this term.

The five-year-old is a Grade One winner over hurdles, but trainer Paul Nicholls has always felt he would be a better chaser.

Ptit Zig still has a long way to go, but it was hard not to have been impressed by him at Exeter and Warwick.

The worth of that form is open to debate, but his jumping was assured from the outset in both races.

This looks far tougher, but it is not difficult to foresee improvement over this longer trip and on soft ground.

L’Ami Serge created a huge impression on his British debut at Newbury last month and looks a leading contender for the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle.

Despite having made a bit of a meal of the last flight, the strapping six-year-old surged six lengths clear in a hot handicap.

Back in novice company, albeit up to Grade Two class, Nicky Henderson’s French recruit falls into the could-be-anything category.

Robin Dickin adores Garrahalish, who can continue to justify his trainer’s faith in the Champagne Bollinger Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

The six-year-old carried on the good work over fences at Towcester in November with a rather theatrical round of jumping which yielded a two-length success over just shy of two and a half miles.

Garrahalish has plenty of weight for this assignment, but he is seemingly on the upgrade and should enjoy himself dropping down in trip over stiff fences.

The likelihood of testing conditions at Uttoxeter should help Ray Diamond rediscover his winning touch in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap Chase.

Badr Al Badoor looks primed to take the feature at Wolverhampton, the Daily Enhanced ’Magic Multiples’ At Unibet Handicap.

Trainer James Fanshawe gave the four-year-old filly her first taste of the Tapeta surface at Dunstall Park three weeks ago and she performed with credit.

Held up in the early stages, she finished with a flourish to get within three-quarters of a length of the winner, Khatiba, at the line.

That performance showed she can match the smart form she has shown on turf, including a defeat of the smart Danzeno at Doncaster in September.

Fanshawe also thought her good enough to tackle the Group Three Bengough Stakes at Ascot in October. Although she cut no ice that day, she was short of room at the start which compromised her chances in a hot sprint won by Lightning Moon.

Kaufmann can make a triumphant return to the scene of his first success when he lines up for the 32Red Nursery Handicap.

The John Gosden-trained youngster was given a rating of 81 for his recent victory over this seven furlongs. It looks a winnable mark and he only faces three rivals.

At Southwell, it may pay to side with La Danza in the Ladbrokes Classified Stakes.

Shaun Harris, who trains locally at Carburton, has had his best-ever season with 39 winners and can add to that tally in this seven-furlong heat.

The daughter of Country Reel indicated her turn was near when she took third place behind Interchoice Star over the course and distance last week.

After 11 attempts in handicaps and four before that in maidens, the four-year-old drops into classified company for the first time.

It looks a positive move and can result in her first career success.

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