Ascot betting tips: Almost Gold, Dolos and Hell’s Kitchen have shouts on Saturday

Ascot betting tips for December 22 from Horsebetting.com rate Dolos the NAP of the six-race card on day two of this Christmastime meeting. While Paul Nicholls’ charge is fancied most in the Sebastian’s Action Trust Graduation Chase over 2m 5f at the race terms, Almost Gold also appeals stepping up in trip for the extended 2m 7f handicap hurdle. Hell’s Kitchen, meanwhile, looks worth an each-way punt in the extended 2m 2f handicap chase. Read more details below in our preview with Ascot betting tips for December 22.

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Odds
7/4
NAP
Dolos
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Odds
7/2
NB
Almost Gold
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Odds
6/1
E/W
Hell's Kitchen
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Dolos gets Graduation Chase vote at Ascot

Dolos is 5lb and upwards clear on official ratings of the field in the five-runner Sebastian’s Action Trust Graduation Chase at Ascot on Saturday (13:15); so, with race terms also in his favour, he looks the one to be on in this 2m 5f test. Trained by Paul Nicholls, the five-year-old son of Kapgarde has been a gallant runner-up on his last three starts, but can gain some compensation with victory here.

As Dolos has only failed to make the frame once in seven chase starts, he is a very consistent sort and a course winner, having bolted up by 29 lengths at the Berkshire venue last November. He has since run a string of solid races in defeat, including at Sandown and in a Listed novices’ handicap at the Ayr Scottish Grand National meeting.

On both occasions, Dolos was beaten just half-a-length and he then returned to action at Newton Abbot in October when reversing the Noel Novices’ Chase form over course and distance with Benatar. Although held 1 1/4 lengths by Beggar’s Wishes, he then tried to give 4lb to Highway One O One at Carlisle and went down fighting by three-quarters of a length.

Ratings topper and race terms favourable

The assessor has eased his mark 1lb to 151, but that still puts Dolos clear of his four rivals here. While the likes of the unexposed Kildisart and impressive Haydock winner Actival oppose him here, the former still has 2lb to find on adjusted figures and the latter faces no mean feat in giving him 3lb when already rated 5lb inferior.

That puts Dolos 8lb well-in on Actival; so, with race terms wholly in his favour, a bold bid looks assured. In-form jockey Harry Cobden is once again aboard, and the yard are also having plenty of winners. Plenty points to Dolos being well worth a wager here, so he rates the NAP of our Ascot betting tips for December 22.

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Almost Gold also fancied up in trip

Almost Gold has only been put up 3lb for a facile success last time out, so is also worth a wager in the extended 2m 7f novices’ handicap hurdle that kicks the card off (12:40) now stepped up in trip. Trained by Ian Williams, the five-year-old cruised clear to win a similar class 4 contest at Doncaster at the end of last month.

After tracking the leader, he took things up two out and left his rivals for dead, bolting up by 19 lengths. The handicapper could easily have reacted far more severely to that bloodless victory, so he may have got into this contest lightly.

His back form when well-behind On The Blind Side (ninth), Mr Whipped (seventh) and King Of Realms (seventh) reads very well at this level. Almost Gold now steps up in distance and tackles a stayers’ trip for the first time but, given the easy nature of his win when last in action, that may not be a problem.

With Robbie Dunne now back on board, and the jockey having three winners in the week, he has claims of making his presence felt if proving his stamina. Almost Gold is another that’s well worth a wager, then, according to our Ascot betting tips for December 22.

Hell’s Kitchen a solid each-way bet

In the extended 2m 2f My Pension Expert Handicap Chase (13:50), leading Irish owner JP McManus has Hell’s Kitchen out to land the spoils for in-form trainer Harry Fry and he’s a solid each-way bet if producing his best. This seven-year-old son of Robin Des Champs has a career win and place ratio of 67 per cent from nine starts.

Hell’s Kitchen had just three starts over hurdles before going chasing and was a not knocked about nine-length third to Different Gravey over this course and distance on debut in this sphere. He then a year off and shaped well on return to action when a three-length runner-up to River Wylde at Uttoxeter.

Comes alive this time of year

Although then unseated at Newbury, Hell’s Kitchen then got back to winning ways at Kempton over Christmas last year in a very competitive class 3 novices’ limited handicap. He jumped boldly and made all, staying on well to beat Mister Whitaker by 1 1/2 lengths. The runner-up has since won three of his four subsequent starts, including the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase – a Listed contest at the Cheltenham Festival.

Mister Whitaker also won another top class race at Carlisle on reappearance off 145 and finished a fine fourth in the ultra-competitive Grade 3 BetVictor Gold Cup off 152 at Cheltenham November Meeting. That form should make the mark of 143 Hell’s Kitchen is on workable in the contest of this lower class affair.

While he was then pulled up in a Grade A handicap at the Punchestown Festival and then well-beaten on reappearance by War Sound, he is sure to come on for the run. Barry Geraghty is on board as ever and operating on a 29 per cent strike rate in the last fortnight at the time of writing. If treated on the pick of his form, then Hell’s Kitchen should be hitting the frame in this. He is thus the each-way bet in our Ascot betting tips for December 22.

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