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Horse Racing Tips: Keith Melrose's Ascot tips

Ascot's first big jumps card of the season takes place on Saturday and Keith Melrose from the Racing Post sends his best bets on the day.

1.30 Ascot

Goshen @ 6/5

1pt win

2.40 Ascot

Before Midnight @ 4/1

1pt win

3.15 Ascot

Mister Malarky @ 12/1

1pt each-way

No dramas expected for Goshen

Even last season, which was the lightest on drama of his three campaigns over hurdles, Goshen achieved a level of form that entitled him to run against the best hurdlers around. In fact, on Racing Post Ratings he was just 2lb behind Honeysuckle.

Because he has shown a tendency to go markedly to his right in the past, Goshen rarely runs left-handed these days and right-handed Ascot has been chosen as the place for him to make his debut over fences.

This is a race in which Goshen's trainer Gary Moore has dominated, with two winners and a second in the last four years.

It is also notable that only two horses have run in novice handicap chases off a similarly high mark as his 157 in the last 12 years, and both have won.

There are risks attached with Goshen, no one with the most passing interest in jumps racing could deny it, but they are more than baked in at odds against given he is forcing all three of his rivals out of the weights.

Midnight to get there in the nick of time

There are plenty of old faces in this 2m1f handicap chase, including Amoola Gold who has been first past the post in this race for the last two years, and Monsieur Lecoq who was handed last year's race.

Before Midnight has his own course form, he won over course and distance in November and kept progressing until he was just beaten by subsequent Champion Chase second Funambule Sivola at Doncaster.

His only run since was a modest one, he was sixth in the Red Rum at Aintree, but all told Before Midnight is a progressive horse. In among a group of largely exposed sorts, he deserves to be well clear in the betting for this race.

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No nonsense for returning Malarky

The feature London Gold Cup is a competitive race, as would be expected for a £100,000 prize.

While market leaders Major Dundee and Our Power have good form in the spring to call on, their experience and attitude respectively are hardly beyond question and so there is value to be found down the betting.

One who combines loads of course form - which is important at Ascot, just ask 14-year-old Regal Encore who has run here 15 times - with a good handicap mark and being in form when last seen is Mister Malarky.

He used to be with Colin Tizzard, but recovered some of his old spark in two runs for up-and-coming trainer Richard Bandey. He was second in the Grimthorpe at Doncaster and then second at Cheltenham in April.

Mister Malarky's biggest days have come at Ascot, he is a Grade 2 and Listed winner over course and distance.

It is often the case that he needs his reappearance, or at least it was with Tizzard. If his new trainer has him further forward, then he is a steal in the enhanced four-place market at least.

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