Gordon Elliot has won two of the last three renewals of the Ladbroke, so it’s a little surprising that his representative this year, Vercingetorix, is running ‘loose’ at 33/1. Closer inspection reveals that the 4-year-old has been well beaten on both attempts in handicaps, including at Fairyhouse three weeks ago, off lower handicap marks, so his chance is less than obvious. Conditional jockey Jack Kennedy takes off 5lb but, even so, it’s hard to make a case for the Dylan Thomas gelding on the form book. Nevertheless, he’s worth including by virtue of his connections alone.
Bidourey (33/1) won his first five starts, including two over hurdles, but was pulled-up when favourite for the William Hill Imperial Cup at Sandown in March and made no show behind Old Guard on his reappearance at Cheltenham last month. The son of Voix Du Nord is in danger of becoming a forgotten horse but, with plenty of winning form under testing conditions, he remains one to keep on the right side.
Devilment (20/1) has run creditably in defeat on both starts since winning at Cheltenham in October, but probably needs to be Champion Hurdle class to win the Ladbroke off a handicap mark of 150. Aidan Coleman switches allegiance to his promising, but inexperienced, stable companion Galizi (25/1) and the hint may be worth taking, albeit that the Dansili gelding has yet to race on properly soft going.
Selections: Ascot 3.35 Vercingetorix (33/1), Bidourey (33/1), Galizi (25/1)