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Exeter Preview: Ascendant can rise to the occasion

The Andrew Reid trained Ascendant looks weighted to take all the beating in the 2m handicap hurdle at Exeter today (2.20).

The gelding was a three-time winner over hurdles earlier in his career when trained by Howard Johnson and Paul Nicholls, with the last of those successes coming in a selling hurdle at Hereford in December 2011 off an official rating of 130.

Ascendant was bought by Reid after that success and highly tried in two hurdle runs in 2012, including in the class 1 Listed Imperial Cup at Sandown off a mark of 128.

The eight-year-old then had his attentions switched to the level, and landed a 1m 5f handicap on the all-weather at Lingfield last year.

Since then his form has been very hit and miss, but there was lots to like about Ascendant’s penultimate start at Huntingdon when runner-up to Workbench in a decent class 4 handicap hurdle.

The son of Medicean stayed on strongly to go down by just a neck to the well-treated winner who has since gone on to score over fences off 10lb higher.

It was an effort which suggests Ascendant should be more than capable of winning a race of this nature off his current mark of 117, and with Jamie Moore in the saddle a huge run looks on the cards.
In the 3m handicap chase (3.20), Caulfields Venture can defy top weight to make a winning return to action after a break.

The gelding was most progressive last season after joining trainer Emma Lavelle, rattling up a four-timer in a jumpers’ bumper and three handicap chases.

In the last of those successes, Caufields Venture showed terrific battling qualities to score by a short-head over course and distance, and then ran well off a revised mark of 114 to go down by just 1/2 a length to Fruity O’Rooney in a class 3 contest at Fontwell.

Although now 6lb higher in the weights, the eight-year-old takes a welcome drop back down to class 4 company and could well have even more to offer this season.

Bach On Tow has slipped back down to handy mark and looks decent value to take advantage in the 2m 1f handicap hurdle the closes proceedings (4.50).

The Sue Gardner trained gelding scored twice last year, with the last of those successes coming off a mark of 79 at Newton Abbot.

The seven-year-old is now able to race off 2lb lower, having shaped far better than the distance he was eventually beaten when seventh of 11 to Party Girls at Newton Abbott last time out suggests.

That was Bach On Tow’s first run after an 87 day break, and the son of Bach should now be spot on to do himself justice.

Selections:
2.20: Ascendant (NAP)
2.50: Ni Sin E Mo Ainm
3.20: Caulfields Venture (NB)
3.50: Mackeys Forge
4.20: Landau
4.50: Bach On Tow