We have plenty of quality Group races on offer this coming weekend, but if big field handicapping action is more your flavour then Ascot is the place to be. The 2017 edition of the Heritage Handicap that is the Challenge Cup looks as intriguing a puzzle as ever, and here we take our best shot at solving the riddle.

Race Analysis

This contest has certainly increased in quality over the years, a fact well illustrated by the average rating of the winner here. Between 1997 and 2007 this average mark came to 90.8 but in the past 10 years this has rocketed up to 101.5. Given this trend, it makes sense to concentrate on those towards the head of handicap, with a mark of 99 seeming a sensible cut off point.

The second box we would most like to see a runner tick here is a proven ability to handle the hurly burly of a race of this nature, as irrespective of the talent they possess some runners simply don’t enjoy being stuck in quite so much traffic as this.

Mojito looks the obvious one for William Haggas having landed a mile handicap at York on his previous start in impressive style. That came against 14 rivals and pushed him up to a mark of 104 ahead of this. That’s a little higher than the recent average here though and he will need a career best to prevail. Given his progressive profile, that is by no means impossible but at single figure odds we are prepared to look elsewhere.

Makzeem and Remarkable also arrive on the back of impressive wins and make the shortlist. Makzeem has to prove he is as good away from Newmarket though, whilst a mark of 111 looks a tall order for Remarkable. That said, it would be no surprise to see either make the frame. Mjjack meanwhile has form figures of 22 over this course and distance and looks a solid each way option.

Another interesting contender is the Godolphin representative Yattwee. Only 10th on his only previous outing over course and distance, he rated better than the bare result that day. Only four lengths adrift come the line, despite losing his position and being short of room at a crucial stage, he gets in off a 3lb lower mark here. Having run a rock solid race behind Donjuan Triumphant (who went on to land the rescheduled Ayr Gold Cup last week) on his first run in over a year last time out, he can be expected to come on for that effort.

Betting Tips

We do like Mojito, but at the prices Yattwee looks to be the better value option. A rating of 102 puts him right where we would expect the winner of this to come from. Whilst he may lack a little in the experience department, he did master a 14 runner field on debut at Southwell, giving some hope that he will handle this big field. At massive odds of 20/1 with Betfair, he is well worth chancing each way.