Ashkazar is the Fred Winter favourite at 5/2 following his emphatic victory in the Imperial Cup on Saturday. Ashkazar won the Imperial Cup at Sandown last Saturday in what was only his fourth outing over hurdles and he took his field apart, helped in his mission by an excellent front-running ride by Timmy Murphy. In fact the only worry punters had was when the loose horse ran across his coming past the stands on the first circuit.
Murphy took the bull by the horns and went straight into the lead, he set only a moderate pace, which contributed to a closely packed field turning for home, but the field did not remain that way for much longer, as once Murphy ignited Ashkazar, the race was as good as over.
He was a top class flat horse as he run in Group 1 company on the Flat in the summer, so it is hardly surprising that he excelled in a race in which speed proved to be a crucial factor, but it was still impossible not to be impressed by the manner of his success.
Connections have to chosen bthe Fred Winter where he will carry only a 4lb penalty.