Ascot Challenge Cup Betting Tips & Predictions – Saturday 5th October 2019

We have variety as well as quality on offer this weekend on the racing front, and whilst the major Group 1 contests both in Britain and in France will likely grab the headlines, for many racing fans there is simply nothing better than a big field handicap. The pick of the bunch on that score comes at Ascot with the latest renewal of the always competitive Challenge Cup.

John Gosden is the trainer firmly in the limelight this weekend, and whilst it may be Enable’s tilt at a third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which is the focus of much of the attention, we fancy the Newmarket handler to receive an early boost in Saturday’s big handicap.

Top Tips

Casanova to win at 13/2

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

Race Info

Seven furlongs is the trip for this Class 2 Heritage contest, with £180,000 in total prize money up for grabs. The ground at the track is currently described as soft which will likely bring the stamina of the contenders into play.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Soft 7f Class 2 £180,000 18 Runners 1/4 1-4

Recent Winners

Open to all runners aged three and older, recent evidence suggests it may pay to concentrate on those between aged three and five years old, with eight of the past nine winners falling into this bracket.

Middle to high has been the place to be when it comes to the draw. Eight of the past 10 winners have emerged from stall eight or above.

2018 Raising Sand 5/1 Jamie Osbourne Nicola Currie
2017 Accidental Agent 16/1 Eve Johnson Houghton Charles Bishop
2016 Librisa Breeze 11/2 Dean Ivory Robert Winston
2015 Buckstay 9/2 Peter Chapple-Hyam Jamie Spencer
2014 Intransigent 16/1 Sir Michael Stoute Ryan Moore

Gosden Up To The Challenge

We have a fiercely competitive renewal in store once again this year, with a whole host of these looking likely to come in for support on the day. Last year’s champion won’t go down without a fight, but he may just be run down by the younger legs on the field.

Sand To Sink Rivals Again?

Currently heading the betting for this year’s renewal is the Jamie Osboure-trained defending champion, Raising Sand. As a seven year old he wouldn’t be a particularly good fit on the age trend, but then he wasn’t when winning it as a six year old last year either. A three time winner at this track, on ground ranging from soft to good, he looks set to have something like his optimum conditions and ought to go well.

He does however have a significantly tougher task on the handicap this time around. Successful off a mark of 97 last year, he was effectively running off just 94 once Nicola Currie’s three pound claim was taken into account. Up to 109 now, and with Currie having since lost her claim, he is fully 15 pounds higher this year. That said, he did win off a mark of 103 over course and distance in July so isn’t necessarily weighted out of it.

Seduced By Casanova’s Claims?

John Gosden grabbed gold in the big handicap last weekend when sending out Lord North to land the Cambridgshire in good style, and looks to have excellent claims here with Casanova. As the only three year old in the race, this son of Frankel has youth on his side, and on just his second handicap outing, clearly has more scope for improvement than the majority of his rivals.

A perfect two from two since a gelding operation in May, he only needed minimal encouragement to prevail by one and half lengths at Sandown last time out. He is up six pounds for that, but that still only puts him on a mark of 97, and there must be a reasonable chance that that underestimates his ability. The one concern would be the drop back in trip from a mile to seven furlongs, but the likely slow conditions should at least help in that regard.

Or Jump Into Bed With Godolphin?

Another runner high up on our shortlist is Bedouin’s Story who goes for Saeed bin Suroor and the boys in blue of Godolphin. This son of Farhh has overall turf form figures of 13101 when the going description has contained the word soft, and it seems reasonably certain that will be the case here.

The most recent of those turf runs came two starts back at York, and whilst he is nine pounds higher in the handicap for this, he did win pretty easily that day seems to still be improving. We liked the way in which he travelled just off the pace on the Knavesmire, before quickly putting the race to bed once popped the question, and with conditions in his favour he is entitled to be on the premises on form.

Final Verdict: Casanova to win

Raising Sand has to be respected given his liking for this track, whilst Bedouin’s Story is also greatly feared. Neither would appear to be obviously well handicapped though, and overall we will be sticking with the least exposed runner in the line-up.

It’s Casanova for us here. It seems that a gelding operation may have been the making of this one – a little ironic considering the lothario after whom he is named – and he is fancied to continue his progress for the in-form Gosden operation.

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