Ascot hosts a top notch day of racing on Saturday and the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices Chase looks set to be a very competitive renewal. There is very little to choose between four of the five runners due to go to post and it is Paul Nicholls' Rocky Creek who edges favouritism with bookmakers for this three mile contest.
The race is often used as a useful trial for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham Festival and Rocky Creek is right in the mix for that one too. The 7-year-old is currently a top price 16/1 for the RSA with Bet365, who price Nicholls' gelding 5/4 to win this Saturday's renewal of the Reynoldstown. Albertas Run was the last to win the Reynoldstown and the RSA during the same season back in 2008 and Nicholls will be hoping Rocky Creek can emulate those feats.
The son of Dr Massini was a Grade Two winner over hurdles in January and he has made an immediate impression over fences, finishing runner-up to Harry Topper at Exeter before landing the spoils at Doncaster and Warwick. There is no doubt that Rocky Creek will need to step up on those efforts but he looks open to plenty of improvement and can justify his place in this company with a resounding performance.
Houblon Des Obeaux has also moved on from some impressive efforts over hurdles as the 6-year-old has shown great promise as a chaser by winning at Worcester before landing a Grade Two at Wincanton. The Panoramic gelding certainly hasn't been embarrassed in three defeats since and he is 11/4 for Saturday, while he is a 33/1 punt for the RSA Chase.
Real Milan can also be backed at 33/1 for the RSA at Cheltenham Festival and he is available at 9/2 this weekend. Donald McCain Jr's entry was a two-time winner over hurdles last season and he has made an excellent start to life over fences as he won in tough conditions at Carlisle and Ayr, with the 8-year-old likely to appreciate this step up in class.
Tour Des Champs also steps up in class for Nigel Twiston-Davies and he is an entry that remains well respected by bookies, with B365 pricing him 9/2 this weekend and 33/1 for the RSA Chase. The 6-year-old is an inconsistent sort as victory in a novice chase at Uttoxeter was followed by a fall, while two further victories, at Ludlow and Ffos Las, sandwich another fall, this time at Warwick.
Finally, Turtlethomas (50/1) completes the field but the 7-year-old, who won a novice hurdle in March, has struggled against better opposition in the past and he faces a tough test in this company. The son of Turtle Island takes on fences for the first time and the preference could be for bookies' favourite Rocky Creek at this stage.
5/4 Rocky Creek
11/4 Houblon Des Obeaux
9/2 Real Milan
9/2 Tour Des Champs
Odds supplied by Bet365.com, with best odds guaranteed on all UK and Irish horse racing.
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