Last year’s race
- Winner: If The Cap Fits
- Jockey: N D Fehily
- Trainer: Harry Fry
- Owner: Paul & Clare Rooney
- Age: 6 Weight: 11st 0lbs
- Starting Price: 4/5
- Season Form Figures: 2
- Previous Best: 2nd - Elite Hurdle (Grade 2), Wincanton (Nov 2018)
Harry Fry has won this Grade 2 registered as the Ascot Hurdle with Rock On Ruby in 2015 and with If The Cap Fits last year who may well kick off his season attempting to retain his title but this time carrying a 6lb penalty for his victory over Roksana in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle over three miles.
In the last decade only Oscar Whisky and Rock On Ruby have overcome the maximum penalty which Roxsana would also have to carry after winning the Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, though 11 of the last 20 winners had won a Grade 1 race at some point earlier in their career. Winners of non-novice Grade 1 or Grade 2 races after September 30th 2018 have to shoulder that additional 6lb so Grand Sancy will also race off 11st 6lb having won the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle.
Watch Ascot live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd of November.
It’s a close call which of the unpenalised Call Me Lord, If The Cap Fits or Roksana will be sent off favourite but I wouldn’t look beyond that triumvirate on SP trends as the last 20 winners since Juyush won in 1998 were returned at no bigger than 7/2. With a stat like that it is unsurprising that only three of the last 20 winners had won at Grade 2 level or higher before.
Six-year-olds are on a roll winning the last four of the last five runnings which is another positive for the Nicky Henderson-trained Call Me Lord who is officially joint top-rated alongside the seven-year-old, If The Cap Fits, but receives 6lb. Roksana is also aged seven, so Call Me Lord may well start favourite in a race where the market leader has gone on to win in five of the last seven years and the stable have won three times in the last 11 years with Chomba Womba, Zaynar and Oscar Whisky. The Irish have raided this prize four times since 2006 have no entries this year.
If Roksana is successful, she will be the fourth winning mare this century following Kate’s Charm, Chomba Womba and Annie Power.
Six of the last 18 winners had won at Ascot before so the 2018 winner, Lil Rockerfeller, and Le Patriote have that in their favour in addition to last year’s winner, If The Cap Fits.
At a glance summary
- Not saddled with 6lb penalty
- The favourite
- Trained by Harry Fry or Nicky Henderson
- SP of 4/1+
- Yet to win a Grade 1 or Grade 2 race