Ascot preview: Sodexo Silver Cup Handicap Chase (15.00)
David Metcalf | December 18, 2015
Salubrious has hown a good attitude to win both his starts over fences, and looks decent value to complete the hat-trick in the Sodexo Silver Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot (15.00).
The Paul Nicholls trained gelding was a very smart staying hurdler in 2013, when his runs included an excellent 2 1/4 length second to subsequent World Hurdle winner More Of That in a Grade 1 contest at Cheltenham and a fine second to Reve De Sivola in the Long Walk Hurdle at this venue.
Salubrious has had just four runs since the latter and has clearly not been the easiest to train.
Salubrious a superb shout
However, the eight-year-old showed he retained plenty of ability when overcoming a long absence to scoring on his chasing debut at Fontwell 16 months ago and after another lengthy spell on the sidelines made a very pleasing winning return to action at Carlisle last month.
After being held-up in the latter, Salubrious made smooth headway five out and after being produced to lead at the last found plenty on the run-in to beat Masters Hill by a neck. The runner-up is a decent sorted rated 144 and the pair pulled 31 lengths clear of a 133-rated rival.
That gives the form a solid look and suggests that Salubrious could well have got in lightly on his handicap debut off an opening mark of 148.
The son of Beneficial certainly has a few pounds in hand based on his hurdles’ rating, and Salubrious also remains unexposed over fences and open to further improvement.
Plenty of dangers
Houblon Des Obeaux has conditions to suit and looks capable of going well from a sliding mark, whilst Pendra is a big player for trainer Charlie Longsdon if backing up his recent success over course and distance.
For those looking for a lively outsider, The Giant Bolster fits the bill. The David Bridgwater trained gelding finished runner-up to Synchronised in the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival, and also ran well in the same contest to finish fourth to Bobs Worth in 2013 and an excellent 3/4 length third to Lord Windermere in 2014.
Having been rated 164 at his peak, the 10-year-old is now able to race off a reduced mark of 149 having shaped better than the bare result suggests last time out when a 30 length seventh of 15 to Smad Place in the Hennessy at Newbury.
The Giant Bolster showed plenty of zest to race at the head of affairs until weakening two from home, and it was an effort which suggested he was no back number.
This is also by far the easiest assignment that The Giant Bolster has faced for some time, and with Tom Scudamore in the saddle it would be no surprise to see him outrun his odds.
Coral’s top tip: Salubrious looks on a handy mark and well worth a wager to maintain his unbeaten record over fences. The Giant Bolster is capable of going well at a big price.