Jolly's backed to crack it in Ascot contest on Saturday

Richard Johnson riding Sternrubin (yellow) and Noel Fehily riding Jolly's Cracked It dead heat

Sternrubin (yellow) and Jolly’s Cracked It dead heat at Ascot

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

 By Keith Melrose 6:47AM 14 DEC 2016 

JOLLY’S CRACKED IT, who last year memorably dead-heated with Sternrubin in the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle at Ascot – run then as the Ladbroke – has been backed into a general 6-1 for Saturday’s race, having been available at twice the price on Monday morning.

He has not been seen since, but what John Hill from Coral reported as “a flurry of bets” for the Harry Fry-trained runner has shortened him into clear favouritism ahead of the Nicky Henderson-trained Consul De Thaix at 7-1.

Ascot’s Long Walk meeting is often run on ground not as testing as the time of year would normally suggest and a mild forecast for the week means conditions are likely to be less than gruelling once again for this year’s fixture.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, clerk of the course Chris Stickels said: “I changed it to good to soft this morning after 3mm fell overnight, but we’ve had only light drizzle today.”

Stickels added: “The forecast remains mild, with a few showers. There’s a chance of good to soft, soft in places, but it depends on how much rain we actually get.”

Yorkhill, a triple Grade 1 winner as a novice hurdler last season, is on course to make his eagerly awaited debut over fences in a beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday.

His trainer Willie Mullins said: “The plan is to run him once we’re happy with him later in the week.”

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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