Cloonacool hot stuff in big Handicap Hurdle at Ascot
Cloonacool the ace in the pack at Ascot
Cloonacool looks on a handy mark at present and decent each-way value in the big 2m Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday (15.00).
The Stuart Edmunds trained gelding showed progressive form throughout 2014 when winning three times and went on to round-off the campaign with a solid fifth of 13 to Qewy in a competitive affair at Newbury.
Cloonacool then looked better than ever on seasonal reappearance last year when landing a Listed class 1 handicap hurdle at Market Rasen by two lengths off a mark of 132.
The seven-year-old then finished fifth of 11 to Nabucco in this contest off a mark of 136, but did well to be beaten just 5 1/2 lengths having made a bad mistake three from home when still going well.
Promising return to action
Cloonacool is now able to race off 1lb lower and comes into the contest on the back of a highly promising return to action at Market Rasen.
The son of Beneficial was making stealthy headway from the rear and tanking into contention when coming to grief two from home.
He had yet to be asked a serious question by regular jockey Joshua Moore and, although there was still some way to go, there is little doubt in my mind that he would have taken all the beating had he stood on his feet.
Well-treated on pick of form
It was an effort which suggested Cloonacool may well have more to offer this season and his current mark of 135 looks exploitable given that he has been placed over fences off 4lb higher.
The stable is also in decent nick having saddled a couple of winners in recent weeks and Cloonacool is versatile as regards ground and should get the strong end-to-end gallop in this that he needs to be seen to best effect.
Providing he is none the worse for his tumble last time out, everything looks in place for a huge run.