Hollie Doyle: Grand Traverse can bounce back at Ascot | Racing News

Our Ambassador is riding at Ascot on Friday and Saturday before pursuing more French Classic success on Sunday aboard Fred Darling heroine Folgaria – all live on Sky Sports Racing.

Ascot-bound Traverse can bounce back

We think highly of Grand Traverse at Archie Watson’s Saxon Gate Stables in Lambourn and he is one of my strongest chances in a busy two days at Ascot this weekend.

I’m hoping he can prove his recent Newbury run all wrong when he re-appears in the Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% “Live Every Moment” Handicap (3.30) on Friday, live on Sky Sports Racing.

This ex-French performer made the perfect start for new owners Hambleton Racing when scoring impressively over 6f at Newcastle in March, but then ran well below expectations at Newbury when a poor draw may have put paid to his chances.

He’s a lovely, honest horse who will enjoy the track so it won’t come as a surprise if he quickly bounces back to the form we know he’s capable of. The 1lb he gets back from the handicapper can only help, too.

Tulip out to bloom in re-appearance

Heather Main’s Tiger Tulip has claims in Friday’s Racing Together Community Day Ascot Handicap (4.00) if she can resume the promise she showed when winning on the All-Weather at Wolverhampton in October.

She ran too freely and clipped heels on her next start at Lingfield so will need to take a step forward to make her presence felt in this grade on her first outing since.

Rey De La Batalla gets into the Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% Handicap (4.35) on Friday off bottom weight and I’m expecting him to acquit himself well over this stiff mile.

I won a Kempton Park handicap on Simon Dow’s colt in March when he finished his race off strongly. He’s been beaten on the Polytrack since but remains unexposed on turf after just one run in an Epsom maiden.

Earlier, Gay Kelleway puts me up on her filly Kylie Of Lochalsh in the Juddmonte British EBF Restricted Maiden Stakes (2.20). I don’t know much about her but Gay’s horses are well prepared so this filly should know her job on debut.

Merlin can work magic in Victoria Cup

Merlin The Wizard was a progressive handicapper last season, winning two on the bounce for my boss Imad Alsagar, and should give me a live chance in the Lavazza And Ascot 10 Year Anniversary Victoria Cup Handicap (2.40) on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Racing.

He took his form to a higher level when winning over one mile at Newmarket for William Buick back in August and had excuses for two defeats, getting bogged down in the mud at Sandown and then failing to see out the trip in the Cambridgeshire.

Harry Charlton is very happy with him following his winter break and the stiff seven furlongs should be ideal. The ground is drying out, too, which is in his favour.

Flying Finn holds hat-trick claims

Adrian Keatley’s progressive three-year-old Flying Finn has a strong chance at the prices in the Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% British EBF Fillies’ Handicap (2.05) on Saturday.

She’s 17lb higher than when winning at Ripon in April and followed up at Doncaster just over a week later for apprentice Mark Winn. I rode against her that day and was impressed by the tempo she set on Town Moor, albeit in a lower grade race.

This test looks right up her street and with the ground likely to be in her favour she can show her talent on a much bigger stage off such a light weight, even though she’s a few pounds out of the handicap.

Longer trip they key to Magico

I team up with Marco Botti in the Carey Group Handicap (3.45) on Saturday with Magico, who was progressive last year in winning 1m races at Kempton and Pontefract.

He hasn’t run yet this season so it’ll be interesting to see how he’s trained on and how much he can achieve off his mark of 86. The way he kept on at Kempton in November over 1m suggests he will enjoy this extra two furlongs.

The two Michaels, Murphy and Keady, have done very well with Temple Bruer who returns to action in the Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% Blue Ribbon Handicap (4.55) in top form.

He repelled a competitive field to win a 6f handicap on the All-Weather at Chelmsford City last week and is arguably even better on turf. A six-times winner in this sphere, he is up only 2lb for his latest success and is the sort who should thrive in a big field.

Graham back over optimum trip

Richard Hannon’s Graham probably has a bit to find on his latest form in the Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% Handicap (1.30) on Saturday – but that’s not to say he can’t run well.

He should have come on for his re-appearance over a shorter trip at Newbury and is only 3lb higher than when winning there over this trip last summer.

Later, I’m booked for Robert Cowell’s debutant Chasing Gold in the Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% Novice Stakes (3.10). He’s a speedily bred colt by Twilight Son who has a decent middle draw and should learn plenty on his first day at school.

Form boost bodes well for Botti filly

I’m so excited to be riding the beautiful FOLGARIA in Sunday’s French 1000 Guineas, the Emirates Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (2.50) at ParisLongchamp, live on Sky Sports Racing.

I won the Fred Darling on her at Newbury last month on her British debut and the form of that trial couldn’t have worked out much better. The third, Emalka, went on to win the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last weekend, of course, and my filly beat her fair and square.

Folgaria proved in Italy that she is ground versatile and lacks nothing in guts and determination. It’s a big ask but I don’t think she’ll be in any mood to surrender her unbeaten record without a fight.

Hollie Doyle was speaking to Sky Sports Racing’s Simon Mapletoft.