Well its bye-bye to the Flat today and hello to NH racing. I wonder how it will go?????
Doncaster 13.35 Cl 2 Hcap 125 (105) 7f sf – 19 Run
3yo – 1lbs wfa allowance
Last year – 187 (101) gd/fm 17 ran
Oh This Is Us 10/1 3-9-5 (101) Dr 5 by 0.25l from Bertiewhittle 16/1 8-8-6 (90) Dr 6
Right Touch 14/1 6-9-5 (100) Dr 3 was 2.55l 7th
Shady McCoy 10/1 6-8-10 (91) Dr 18 was 4.7l 11th
Muntadab 5-9-5 (100) Dr 7
16 Oct Cl 2 Hcap (129 u) 7f sf Muss (99) 8/1 1.25l 1/12 off 97
Made all, ridden over 1f out, kept on well inside final furlong
Has a good record here (1122) and is in good form having just accounted for Right Touch (-13) with Get Knotted (0) and Heavens Guest (-10) further back at Musselburgh last month; has been raised 3lbs for that but no surprise if he was thereabouts yet again.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (C); form run lto (26 days);
Minus: up 3lbs;
Verdict: (50) conditions look to suit for yet further success, a contender.
Right Touch 7-8-8 (89) Dr 2
16 Oct Cl 2 Hcap (129 u) 7f sf Muss (99) 16/1 1.25l 2/12 off 89
Held up, headway over 2f out, ridden to chase winner inside final furlong, kept on, not pace to challenge
Has not won since scoring over 6f at Chester in July 2016 and has now fallen 6lbs below that mark; has made a better showing the last twice though on sf ground at Ripon and Musselburgh; has a bit to find Muntadab on most recent Musselburgh running, but Hanagan’s experience probably counts more than Murtagh’s claim; runs off an 11lb lower mark than when a close-up 7th in last year’s renewal.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); form run lto (26 days);
Minus: 14-long losing run;
Verdict: (46) looks to be coming back to form and could push Muntdab closer this time, a definite contender.
Shady McCoy 7-9-4 (99) Dr 1
13 Oct Cl 4 Hcap (78 u) 7f gd York (91) 5/1 Jt F 2l 1/19 off 91
Held up in rear, steady headway on inner 3f out, tracked leaders over 1f out, ridden to challenge inside final furlong, led last 100yds, soon clear
In grand form this past month with wins at Ascot and York; however, prior to that was coming off a run adding to his dismal record at this level, which now stands 0/19; has been raised 8lbs for his latest successes, which only adds to his task, especially as the ground may be softer than ideal.
Plus: class (F); distance (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (29 days);
Minus: up 8lbs; up 2 classes;
Verdict: capable at lower levels, but doesn’t look a contender here off an 8lbs higher mark than last year.
Heaven’s Guest 7-8-7 (88) Dr 15
16 Oct Cl 2 Hcap (129 u) 7f sf Muss (99) 9/1 7.35l 8/12 off 90
In touch, effort and ridden over 2f out, weakened inside final furlong
Nowhere near the horse he once was, but dropped a further 2lbs for his latest effort and is now off a 15lb-lower mark than for his last win in similar conditions at Ascot; that was 28 months ago though and while he may pop up again one day, today unlikely to be the day.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (F); trainer (14d); recent form run (36 days); down 2lbs;
Minus: last win July 2015;
Verdict: could pop up one day, but not the strongest contender here.
I have to pass on Speculative Bid who still runs off an 11lb-higher mark than for his last win the 2015 Victoria Cup, while Bravery has been more out than in since winning the Lincoln here back in April on first start for the stable. However, he’s now runs off a 3lb-lower mark as he drops back to 7f for the first time since his debut as a 2yo. One of those that could win, but would do so without my support.
Paring my shortlist in half by removing Shady McCoy and probably Heaven’s Guest, I’m going for Right Touch to reverse Musselburgh running with Muntadab with perhaps the veteran Heaven’s Gust making the frame.
Doncaster 15.15 Cl 2 Hcap 436 (106) 12f sf – 23 Run
3yo – 5lbs wfa allowance
Last year – 498 (106) gd/fm 15 ran
Prize Money 4/1 3-8-10 (107) Dr 12 by 0.75l from Erik The Red 8/1 4-8-9 (95) Dr 19
Sir Chauvelin 20/1 44-8-9 (95) Dr 9 was 13.75l 12th
Dance The Dream 4-9-5 (101) Dr 23
30 Oct Cl 2 Hcap (189 u) 12f gd/sf Leic (107) 5/2 F 1.5l 1/9 off 98
Chased leaders, led over 1f out, soon ridden and edged right, stayed on
Useful filly who has won 3 of her 9 starts to date, the latest when settling better under today’s rider and putting up a career’s best when smoothly dealing with Top Tug (+14) on gd/sf at Leicester when Gawdawpalin (+2) was a further 4l back in 4th and Master The World (+16) in 6th; has been raised 3lbs for that but could well have more to show as was off from May to September.
Plus: class (W); going (F); distance (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (12 days);
Minus: course (?); up 3lbs;
Verdict: (50) improving filly who has not been overly raced and a contender on ground that should suit.
Wild Hacked 4-9-4 (100) Dr 10
22 Sep Cl 2 Hcap (162 d) 12f gd Nwby (103) 7/2 2.25l 3/7 off 100
Held up in touch in midfield, effort to chase leaders 2f out, driven over 1f out, chased winner briefly 1f out, 3rd and kept on same pace inside final furlong
Better record on AW, but handles turf as well as shown lto at Newbury when 3rd to Blakeney Point with Gawdawpalin (-4) 0.5l further back in 4th; runs off the same mark today but AW mark is 6lbs higher; won on gd/sf at Windsor in October last year, but had earlier been withdrawn from a Haydock hcap on sf because of the ground; thus a question there.
Plus: class (W); distance (W); course (F); trainer (14d) trainer (C); form run lto;
Minus: going (?); 50-day break;
Verdict: (38) wither question about ground and performing better on AW. Not the strongest contender here.
Syphax 3-8-11 (98) Dr 7
14 Oct Cl 2 Hcap (218 d) 10.5f gd York (103) 8/1 2.25l 2/12 off 98
In touch, headway over 4f out, close up over 2f out, ridden to lead well over 1f out, headed and driven entering final furlong, kept on
Won both his starts at 2yo including the Gr 3 Acomb at York; had not shown much as 3yo though until fitted with first-time cheek-pieces over the extended 10f at York lto; cheek-pieces dispensed with today as he’s raised in trip, plus has yet to try ground this sf.
Plus: class (W+); form run lto (28 days);
Minus: going (?); distance (?); course (?); up in trip; trainer form (14d – 0/14)
Verdict: (34) chance on 2yo form, but too many questions to be a leading contender.
Top Tug 6-9-11 (106) Dr 1
30 Oct Cl 2 Hcap (189 d) 12f gd/sf Leic (107) 6/1 2/9 off 105
Held up, headway over 2f out, ridden to chase winner and edged right inside final furlong, stayed on
Back to winning ways over 14f at Goodwood in May and then 4th in the Duke of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot; disappointed in the Ebor and given a break, but decent effort to finish runner-up to Dance The Dream (-14) at Leicester, although never getting close enough to challenge; has been raised 1lb for that, but re-opposes off 2lbs better terms; question about the ground as was out of form on only previous try, but did win a hcap on gd/sf.
Plus: class (W); distance (W); trainer (C); form run lto (12 days);
Minus: going; course (?); up 1lb;
Verdict: a little high in the weights, but a contender if handling the ground.
Saunter 4-8-13 (95) Dr 15
28 Sep Cl 2 Hcap (129 d) 12f gd/sf Nwmk (95) 6/1 3l 2/8 off 93
Settled towards rear, progress on far rails 4f out to chase winner well over 1f out, driven and tried to get on terms and going clear of rest 1f out but well held
Twice a winner as a 3yo, but had lost his way this year until putting in a season’s best at Newmarket on first start for yard after coming over from Menuisier; the only problem is that he’s gone back up a couple of lbs for that; nevertheless, could well show further improvement for his new handlers and the stable is in form, moreover, form on hv in France last November suggest he can handle today’s conditions..
Plus: class (F); distance (F); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto;
Minus: going; course (?); up 2lbs; 44-day break;
Verdict: (26) a question or two to answer, but not enough to prevent him from being a contender.
Missing from my shortlist is the likely favourite Royal Line, a 3yo colt who didn’t see a race course until September having arrived unraced from the Fabre yard in mid-July. Won his first 2 starts easily enough but couldn’t match the pace of Time To Study over 13.5f at Newbury a fortnight ago. Has shown he handles soft ground and that this trip suits, but faces more horses today than in his whole career to date. Gosden has a fine record in the race and is in good form at present, but I have to pass on such an inexperienced entry as a short-priced favourite. He may well win, but not for me. I have a similar argument for not supporting Towerlands Park, just 5 starts overall and only one since being gelded in August. He looks undercooked to me.
From my shortlist, meanwhile, the first to be ruled out are Syphax and Wild Hacked, but I can make a case for Dance The Dream, Top Tug and Saunter, while as a long-priced outsider I wouldn’t be surprised if Sepal refound the plot and made the frame at a appetizing price. So for me, it’s Dance The Dream from Top Tug and Saunter.
Wincanton 15.35 Listed Hcap Chase 341(154) 25f sf – 18 Run
Last year – 344 (147) 25f gd 7 ran
Gentleman Jon 9/1 8-10-6 (130) by 25l from Set List 10/1 7-10-5 (129)
Southfield Theatre 11/8 F 8-11-6 (147) Fell at last when leading
Present Man 7/2 6-10-3 (132) UR 2nd
Mr Mix 6-11-2 (144)
29 Oct Cl 3 Hcap Chase (95 u) 26.5f gd Winc 11/4 Jt F 2.25l 1/10 off 139
Held up, steady progress from 15th, challenged 3 out, soon ridden, led after last, stayed on well
Having only 4th chase start when winning over 26.5f here last month on gd; did win a HHd on sf here though, so should have no problem with today’s ground; runs off a 5lbs higher mark today and is up a couple of classes, but looks the sort to show swift improvement this year and 1 of 3 Nicholls’s entries.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d) trainer (C); form run lto (13 days);
Minus: up 5lbs; up 2 classes;
Verdict: (50) young chaser who should have a lot more to show and a contender.
Yala Enki 7-11-9 (151)
25 Mar Cl 2 Hcap Chase (175 d) 26f hv Kelso (147) 9/4 7l 1/7 off 146
Made all, ridden and hard pressed from 2 out, driven clear from last
Useful hurdler and looks as if he will make a better staying chaser after winning in hv ground at Kelso when last seen in March; starts this season off 5lb-higher mark; fitness to be taken on trust as stable not really firing at present (1/24).
Plus: going (W); distance (W); trainer (C); form run lto;
Minus: class; course (?); up 5lbs; up in class; 231-day break; trainer (14d 1/24);
Verdict: (45) capable if fit, but that’s the question and perhaps not the strongest contender on current stable form.
Hennlan Harri 9-10-2 (130)
17 Oct Cl 3 Hcap Hdl (94 d) 23f gd Worc (131) 6/1 1.75l 3/7 off 126
Led, driven approaching 3 out, hard pressed from next, kept on under pressure, headed and unable to quicken final 100yds
Closed last season by being shock winner of Bet-365 Gold Cup at Sandown and has had a couple of outings since, finishing 4/20 in the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter, and then 3/7 over hurdles at Worcester last month; now looks to continue his progress over fences and one can be sure his mark will rise appreciably from its current 130 level; did win on hv at Ffos Las back in March, so should handle the ground.
Plus: class (W); going (F); distance (W); trainer (14d); form run lto (25 days);
Minus: course (?); up 2 classes;
Verdict: (42) should have come on for hurdle outing and nicely weighted with another family member able to claim his full allowance, a contender.
Present Man 7-11-0 (142)
22 Oct Cl 4 Nov Hd (39 d) 21f gd Kemp (135) 4/7 F 0.75l 1/5 off 135
Tracked leader until led before 2 out, joined and mistake 2 out, ridden and forged ahead before last, hung left flat, stayed on, ridden out
Didn’t do badly overall last season winning 4 small field chases, although UR at the 2nd fence in last year’s renewal here off a 10lb-lower mark; has had a sighter over hurdles, which he won at Kempton, and now it’s back to the main business; however, untested on ground over fences and in fields this large.
Plus: class (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (20 days);
Minus: going; up 3 classes;
Verdict; (39) major question about the ground and was PU behind Hennlan Harri on last chase start; not the strongest contender.
Vic De Touzaine 8-10-11 (139)
19 Oct Cl 3 Hcap Chase (81 d) 24.5f sf Carl (133) 4/1 Jt F 0.02l 1/9 off 132
Held up, headway into 3rd before 3 out, driven into 2nd 2 out, 1 length down last, ridden and ran on gamely run-in, led last stride, all out
Didn’t perform too badly over fences last season on sf and hv ground, and having made a successful return should be ready to carry on in similar conditions this time round; raised 7lbs for his narrow victory at Carlisle last month and this is a far stronger test, but should have come on for that.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); course (F); trainer (C); form run lto (23 days);
Minus: class; up 7lbs; up 2 classes; trainer (14d 1/24);
Verdict: (34) has shown his fitness, but this is a much tougher task, so a contender with questions.
Of others, I’m passing on Double Shuffle as the stable is rather struggling at present (1/17), while Theatre Guide appears to have it all to do off top weight. The one who gives me problems is Southfield Theatre who looked to have the race all but won when falling at the last in last year’s renewal; his subsequent failure at Cheltenham the following month didn’t help much and we didn’t see him thereafter. Lightly raced he may be, but he hasn’t won since February 2015, so while I can understand Sam taking the ride in first-time cheek-pieces, he’s not for me. He may well win, but it’s a reach for me.
Another Nicholls’ contender is the first to be cut from my shortlist as I have problems with the ground for Present Man. Queries about the current form of Venetia Williams’ yard have me questioning the chances of Yala Enki and Vic De Touzaine, although I would prefer the latter who has had a recent run. However, the strongest looking contenders to me are Nicholls’ Mr Mix and Henllan Harri from the Bowen stable. So I’m going with Mr Mix from Henllan Harri and perhaps Vic De Touzaine.
Any comments on today's racing. Please don't just put in selections ... please add some reason why you think a runner will win
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