2.40 Ascot, Friday, September 4

The Dare to be Original Harrogate Spring Water Handicap (2.40) at Ascot on Friday is one of the most competitive races of the day and, while the three-year-old contingent is likely to prove popular, it’s possible to make a case for a more exposed older horse, who could go well at very rewarding odds.

Richard Hannon castoff Magnus Maximus ran well on his first two starts for Nick Littmoden, failing by 2¼ lengths to a 100-rated rival at Kempton in January. The son of Holy Roman Emperor has failed to build on that performance, finishing near last than first on all five starts since (albeit in 0-95 company and upwards), but has plummeted down the weights as a result.

Dropped in class, off a handicap mark of 80 – 21lb lower than immediately after winning the £100,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Sprint at Newmarket last April – and with up-and-coming apprentice Tom Marquand taking off another 5lb, if he’s ever to win again, today could be the day. Of course, he comes with risks attached, but that should be reflected in his price and the fact remains that he’d pick these up and carry them if anywhere near his best.

Selection: Ascot 2.40 Magnus Maximus to win

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