Little Miss Poet well treated on handicap debut – Ascot 24/11/2017
The 3.50 at Ascot on Friday is the Coutts Handicap Hurdle over two miles for four-year-olds and upwards.
Speredek raised 7lbs for Exeter victory
Nigel Hawke saddles the improving six-year-old Speredek under a 7lbs penalty. The gelding improved last season, winning chases at Taunton, Sandown and Ludlow. He reappeared over hurdles at Exeter recently where he made all the running to beat Brave Eagle by fifteen lengths. He was always travelling strongly in the lead that day and drew clear to win comfortably.
Hawke has booked 3lbs claimer Ciaran Gethings to reduce the penalty. Gethings has ridden the gelding in the past, notably when winning by 14 lengths at Taunton in February. He goes well on soft ground and his rivals cannot afford to give him too much rope in the early stages.
His biggest danger may come from Nicky Henderson’s Verdana Blue. The mare was well backed for the valuable William Hill Hurdle earlier this month where she finished fifth behind Elgin. The winner followed up in last weekend’s £100,000 Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham. Verdana Blue held every chance at the second last but couldn’t quicken. She has shown her best form on a sound surface and conditions are unlikely to be ideal for her at Ascot.
Little Miss Poet represents Hobbs’ team at Ascot
Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson team up with Little Miss Poet, a five-year-old mare by Yeats. She has been a model of consistency, finishing out of the first two just once in her eight career starts. That was in a Grade 2 National Hunt flat race at Aintree last year. She has been kept to lower grade races since and ended the season with a 12 lengths victory at Newton Abbot. This is her handicap debut and she could be leniently treated on a mark of 121.
Top weight Peter The Mayo Man has not raced since finishing sixth of seven at Punchestown in April. He is better judged on his previous run when third to River Wylde at Kempton in February. Peter The Mayo Man is making his debut for the Neil Mulholland stable on Friday with Harry Cobden in the saddle.
Midnight Maestro finished just behind Verdana Blue at Ascot last time. That was his first run since being pulled up at Haydock in April. That run could have put him straight and Barry Geraghty takes the reins.
Ascot Betting Tips 24/11/2017
3.50 Little Miss Poet @Ladbrokes