There is an opportunity to increase your betting bank for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend at Longchamp by backing Berkshire Rocco at around -225.02 to win the Class 1 Listed Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot (14.30 GMT) on Friday.
The highlight of the weekend at the Paris track is Enable’s quest to win a historic third Arc, which could be thwarted by Love. Berkshire Rocco has a more modest target but has the form to win the richest race of the day. The horse has something in hand over the rest of the four-runner field on official ratings.
The one mile and six furlongs contest is for horses aged three and older, and the forecasted ground at Ascot is good. Berkshire Rocco has won once in eight starts, and that win was achieved on good ground at Chester.
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The Andrew Balding-trained runner finished a close second behind Galileo Charm in the St Leger at Doncaster 20 days ago. The horse was just a neck away from winning a Classic, and no other runner at Ascot on Friday has produced that level of form.
Berkshire Rocco has run to the same rating or an improved rating in each successive start. He was fourth in a Group 1 at York in August when beaten four and lengths by Pyledriver, who finished behind Balding’s horse in the St Leger.
The Racing Post publish ratings which generally mirror the official figures. They rate a runner from their first race, whereas a horse can only earn a British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) mark after three races. Berkshire Rocco’s RPR has gone up in each race after his debut as a juvenile. The horse is progressive and proven well above the level of the Noel Murless Stakes.
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The Listed race at Ascot is a huge drop in class from the two Group 1 races Berkshire Rocco has contested on his last two starts. This is a great chance to improve his strike rate and win over £22,000 in prize money.
On his recent form and rating, Berkshire Rocco looks a good thing. The three-year-old colt was second in his two previous starts, beaten by horses fancied for the English and Irish Derbies. He was just two-and-three-quarter lengths adrift of English King in the Lingfield Derby Trial, and that horse then finished fifth in the Epsom Derby.
Santiago won the Irish Derby at the end of June, and Berkshire Rocco was just two-and-three-quarter lengths behind the Aidan O’Brien horse at Royal Ascot earlier in the month. So, despite not winning a race as a three-year-old, Berkshire Rocco has been competitive in much better company than the opposition in his next race on Friday.
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Albalflora could be the fly in the ointment because the filly gets a 5lbs allowance from the colts. She is relatively unexposed after not running as a juvenile, and she has progressed in each of her subsequent three races after winning a maiden at Haydock in June. However, Albaflora would have to improve significantly again to beat Berkshire Rocco.
Without A Fight has a similar profile in not running as a two-year-old and producing progressively higher ratings this season. He has won his last three races, but they were two novice stakes and a Class 2 handicap. Table Mountain is not good enough at this level.
Berkshire Rocco is not a working man’s price. The money buyers will be interested in making a 44% return on investment because the horse looks head and shoulders above the rest of the Ascot field. However, smaller punters can get money in the bank before the French racing over the next two days.