Didn’t do too badly last week and am back a little earlier than expected after being in hospital for minor surgery, so at least I’ve got an excuse this time round!
Ascot 15.35 Gr 3 Hcap Chase 570 (149) 24f gd – 10 Run
Last year – 570 (150) gd – 16 ran
Go Conquer 7/1 8-11-0 (142) by 4.5l from Rock Gone 20/1 9-10-8 (138)
Art Mauresque 20/1 7-11-3 (150) – Fell 1st
Traffic Fluide 8-11-12 (149)
13 Oct Cl 2 Hcap Chase (220 d) 23.5f gd Chep 16/1 2.25l 2/12 off 147
mid-division, headway 8th, every chance flat, no impression towards finish
Won a Gr 2 HCh over 21f at Cheltenham on final start in April and made a positive return over 23.5f at Chepstow last month; yet to win over this trip yet, but ground should suit and has fitness on his side.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (F); course (F); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (21 days);
Minus: up 2lbs; up in class; 9lbs above last winning mark;
Verdict: (44) could prove better over this trip this year and ground will suit, a possible contender off top weight.
Kings Lad 11-11-1 (138)
14 Oct Cl 2 Hcap Chase (190 u) 23.5f gd/sf Chep 8/1 0.5 1/13 off 131
left in lead 1st, headed after 7th, chased leader, led again 5 out, made rest, driven out
Never shown a lot at this level, but showed improvement to win a Cl 2 at Chepstow on first chase start since wind operation during the summer; raised 7lbs for that and as an 11yo it’s asking a bit much to expect further improvement to contest at this level.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); course (W); trainer (C); form run lto (20 days);
Minus: class; up 7lbs; up in class;
Verdict: (39) asking a lot for an 11yo and perhaps not the strongest contender.
Go Conquer 9-11-10 (147)
Impressive winner of last year’s renewal off 5lbs lower in similar conditions when with Jonjo O’Neill, although failed to build on that in 3 subsequent starts; has joined the Twiston-Davies yard last month and makes his first start for his new connections today; had a prior run last year, but this yard can get them ready for return.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W);
Minus: 5lbs above last winning mark;
Verdict: (37) can never write off TD, so a contender.
Geordie Des Champs 7-11-1 (138)
Won 2 of his 5 chase starts last season at up to 25f and not disgraced in the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter in June when he appeared to handle this ground; young chaser who could improve this season and stable in form.
Plus: class (F); going (F); distance (W); trainer (14d);
Minus: course (?);
Verdict: (35) potential contender.
Adrien Du Pont 6-11-7 (144)
Won novice on chase debut on return last season, although failed to add to his tally in 5 further starts at up to 21f during his formative year; likely to be far more of a force for the Nicholls yard this term and is preferred to Art Mauresque who fell at the first in last year’s renewal.
Plus: going (W); course (F); trainer (14d); trainer (C);
Minus: class; distance (?);
Verdict: (30) another young chaser with potential and a contender.
Always difficult with early season chases, but I’m usually looking for likely improvers rather than more experienced handicappers. Thus Kings Lad is the first to be dropped from my list. I can, however, make a case for the remaining quartet and would not be overly surprised whichever won. Although Traffic Fluide ran well enough at Chepstow lto, he has yet to win over this trip and runs off 2lbs higher today, so perhaps has less of a chance than those lower weighted. Of the Nicholls pair I have to favour Adrien Du Pont, but question his staying powers as yet, so I’m going for Geordie Des Champs to upset last year’s winner Go Conquer as having made a habit of picking up big Saturday wins a couple of seasons back, it looks as if the Curtis yard may have re-found its mojo after a dismal time last year.
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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