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Sprinter Sacre’s the big name but Fox makes more Appeal at Ascot

| 17.01.2015

All eyes will be on Ascot tomorrow as Sprinter Sacre makes his eagerly anticipated return to a racecourse, after 13 months off, as he looks to claim victory in the Clarence House Chase.

And while that contest looks prime for the ‘Black Aeroplane’ to run out an easy winner if he’s on song, that particular aspect will need to be taken on trust.

Alongside the 2013 Champion Chaser’s return and The New One’s Champion Hurdle trial at Haydock, we discussed the pick of Saturday’s races in the Ladbrokes Podcast…

But we know you want winners, so we are going to try and give them to you.

Remember, back a winner at 4/1 or bigger on any live Channel 4 race, and we will give you a free bet, up to £25!

Here’s where we are putting our faith…

Caroles Spirit – Ascot 13:50

Runner-up in this race last year behind the very useful Highland Retreat, Robert Walford’s mare has a perfect opportunity to go one better this time round.

That defeat was the only time the eight-year-old has been beaten over hurdles and has picked up two Listed wins along the way.

A victory over the likes of L’Unique and Clara McCloud last time out at Kempton is form that stands well above anything else in this field has achieved, and should be well supported to triumph.

She’s 10/1 for the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham, so expect that price to shorten if she wins this well.

No Planning – Haydock 15:15

A wide-open Peter Marsh Chase in which a case can be made for any number of the runners, but with Sue Smith’s good record in this race, we are picking one of her charges to come out on top.

The Yorkshire-based handler has had two wins and three places from eight runners in this race since 2000 and coupled with 5lb claimer Callum Bewley on board – five of the last six winners had claiming jockeys on board – the trends point in his direction.

He’s only had one run this season, that over hurdles, after going up 10lbs following a win at the end of last season.

So with the chase handicap mark well protected, he could be primed to challenge.

Fox Appeal – Ascot 15:35

After two efforts in much stronger races, Emma Lavelle’s charge can strike now back in handicap company.

Top-weight he may be, but he could be feasibly treated off a mark of 149.

He finished 16l ahead of the 155 rated Hunt Ball, giving him 6lb last time out, and was only 3l behind 158-rated Rajdhani Express (giving him the same concession).

A strong winner on soft ground at this track in December 2013, and four of his five winners coming when he’s gone right-handed, says the conditions should suit.

With Emma Lavelle’s horses– just two of her last eight runners have been outside the first three – troubling the placings should be the least he is capable of.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.