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Ascot preview: Flying Hammer can nail hat-trick

Flying Hammer has a progressive profile and can defy a rise in the weights to land the hat-trick in the 7f handicap on today’s card at Ascot (15.30).

The William Haggas trained colt shaped with bags of promise on his sole run as a juvenile when third at Newmarket, and showed the benefit of that experience when overcoming an absence of 278 days to make a winning return to action at Chepstow.

After travelling strongly on the heels of the leaders, Flying Hammer showed a nice turn of foot to put the race to bed when driven to take up the running inside the final furlong and win easily by 1 1/2 lengths.

There was lots to like about the way in which the three-year-old got the job done, and it was a performance which suggested the son of Acclamation needed keeping firmly onside.

That view was confirmed when Flying Hammer overcame trouble in-running to score on handicap debut at Kempton off an opening mark of 79.

After tracking the leaders, jockey Pat Cosgrave found himself blocked behind a wall of horses two from home and had to switch Flying Hammer to the outside.

Once he did see daylight, Flying hammer showed a nice turn of foot to get up close home and score be a short-head.

To me he was value for much more than the winning margin, and a 6lb rise in the weights is unlikely to be enough to stop the unexposed and improving Flying Hammer going in again.

Sagaciously disappointed last time out but looks worth another chance to confirm previous promise in the 1m 6f handicap (16.00).

The Ed Dunlop trained filly had some smart form as a juvenile, winning on debut before finishing a fine fourth to the classy Irish Rookie in a Listed contest at Newmarket.

Sagaciously then shaped as if badly needing the run on seasonal reappearance at Ascot after 251 days on the sidelines, and duly put in a much improved effort at Newmarket when runner-up to Novancia off mark of 87.

The three-year-old looked all over the winner when taking up the running inside the final furlong, but Novancia rallied gamely to get up on the line and prevail by a nose.

It was a really solid performance, and Sagaciously was clearly not right when beaten out of sight and heavily eased at Newbury when last seen in action.

If forgiven that run, the daughter of daughter of Lawman looks the one to beat off a mark of 90 in what isn’t the strongest of class 3 contests.

Selections:
14.20: Excellent Guest
14.50: Roxy Star
15.25: Roossey
16.00: Sagaciously (NB)
16.35: Flying Hammer (NAP)
17.10: The Cashel Man