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CAN'T IGNORE CHATTERBOX; VALUE SCOPE.

Byline: DAVE MITCHELL on the 3.35 @ Ascot

YOU used to be able to ignore the four-year-olds in this Ladbroke Hurdle (3.35 Ascot) but that all changed with Cause Of Causes last year.

The Irish had a shocking record until the Gordon Elliott-trained runner bucked the trends, so now it's all to play for as far as those stats are concerned.

We are, however, not looking for anything older than seven years old, so Ronaldo Des Mottes and Dan Breen can go.

In fact, seven-year-olds don't have much of a record either, so we will take a view at this point and lose Shotavodka, Alaivan and Recession Point too.

Horses who failed to make the frame last time out don't tend to bounce back here, so Irish Saint, Pine Creek, Waterunder, Swing Bowler, Alaivan, Kaylif Aramis, Vulcanite and Totalize are notable casualties.

A mark of 144 seems to be the handicap ceiling, so we can lose Ptit Zig and Rolling Star on that.

That's about it, so we need to look to Chatterbox, Chris Pea Green, Flaxen Flare, City Slicker, Dell' Arca, Landscape and Willow's Saviour to chisel out a winner.

I have to admit the stats don't favour Landscape on his seasonal debut, so he can go too. There won't be much between Dell' Arca and Flaxon Flare on Cheltenham form and I've a feeling their best on that course won't be quite good enough against less exposed horses here.

Chris Pea Green shouldn't reverse Newbury placings with CHATTERBOX on these terms, so it's the Nicky Henderson-trained animal who is the first selection.

He has top form in the bank on a line through his beating of My Tent Or Yours, but is best coming off the kind of strong pace he will get here - 2pts win at 9-1 with Totesport.

We need an each-way poke and that's why WILLOW'S SAVIOUR is the second selection.

Like several of these he's improving at a rate of knots and he has won here, albeit from a lower mark. Go 2pts ew at 16-1 with Paddy Power to FIVE places.

CAPTION(S):

CLASS Chatterbox (right) has what it takes to land The Ladbroke
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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 21, 2013
Words:362
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