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With plenty of rain set to fall at Ascot I’ll be amazed if the ground isn’t riding nearer heavy come Saturday afternoon and for that reason I’d want to be siding with proven mudlarks.

And in the case of the Challenge Cup Handicap at 15:05 I think Young Fire is massively overpriced at 33/1. He ran well two races ago, when winning over seven furlongs at Haydock on soft ground, getting to the lead inside the final furlong and pulling away.

The second that day, Tranchee , came out and won really well next time, giving a real boost to the form. Young Fire then went on to run in the Ayr Gold Cup finishing 10th, but only four lengths behind the winner.

I’m happy to overlook the Ayr run given it was just the six furlongs on good to soft and Young Fire’s winning form is all seven furlongs plus, with his best form on soft.

The stiff seven on proper soft, even heavy, ground at Ascot, will be far more his cup of tea with his record on soft or heavy reading nine runs yielding three wins and two places. The fact he’s won at nine furlongs shows he won’t lack for stamina.

He also goes well at this time of year with four of his five wins having come in September or October, while the David O’Meara stable has been banging in a few winners of late, so 33/1 looks a tasty each-way proposition

Of the others, Kynren, River Nymph and Orbaan all look likely to run big races, but at the same time are all short enough in the market.

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Maid in India will take all the beating

I also like the look of Maid in India in the 13:55 at Ascot. She’s another with a good record on soft or heavy with two wins from three runs, so the ground should be ideal, while her last run was full of promise.

That came in the Group 1 at the Curragh on Irish St Leger day and given she hadn’t run since July she showed up for a long way, only dropping to fourth very close home. I’d put that down to running against more race-fit rivals and the ground not being soft enough.

She’ll have come on for that run and with the soft ground and the booking of Jamie Spencer – who rides the straight course at Ascot as well as anyone – then I really think she takes all the beating at around 6/1.

Champers time at Newmarket

My final pick is Champers Elysees in the 14:45 at Newmarket who heads the market at 7/2, but should be a lot shorter. She won decisively at Leopardstown last time out and I cannot see Peaceful reversing the form.

The three-year-old has winning form on softer ground – two wins and three places from five runs on soft or heavy – and looks tough so I’ve no worry this is her third run in the space of a month. In all, a really strong chance and the price looks worth taking.

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