Timeform’s Adam Houghton highlights a Nap, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Ascot on Saturday.
“Pencilfulloflead has been very well placed by Gordon Elliott and this looks a good opportunity for him to make a successful return to action.”
NAP: Lots to like about Pencilfulloflead
Pencilfulloflead showed smart form in four starts over fences last season, producing his best effort when easily winning the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown. That form sets the standard in this line-up and it’s still early days in his chasing career, so he may yet have more to offer. Pencilfulloflead has been very well placed by Gordon Elliott and this looks a good opportunity for him to make a successful return to action.
NEXT BEST: Thyme Hill can take Grade 1 spoils
Thyme Hill was disappointing when finishing down the field in the Grand Prix d’Automne at Auteuil six weeks ago, but he is clearly better than that, as he showed when winning two of his three starts last season. He won the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree either side of his thrilling battle with Paisley Park in this race, just losing out by a neck on that occasion. Connections will be hoping to go one place better this year and he looks to have plenty in his favour with the run in France under his belt.
EACH-WAY: Cloth Cap can outrun his odds
Cloth Cap is a smart chaser who won last year’s Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in devastating fashion, making virtually all to land the spoils by 10 lengths. He found life tougher when lining up in the latest edition of that race from an 18 lb higher mark, but it was still an encouraging run to finish sixth, understandably getting tired late on after setting a strong gallop. The handicapper has given him a bit of respite since then and he should find things easier in these slightly calmer waters.