Wednesday 1st January

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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Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:29 am

Wednesday 1st January

Postby Devasteve » Wed Jan 01, 2020 11:40 am

Happy New Year to you all and let’s hope we can get 2020 off to as good a start as we finished 2019! Just the two from Cheltenham with the hurdle being consigned to the waste bin the moment I realised Henderson was running chasers up at the top end of the handicap – it’s too early in the year to try and untangle such a Gordian knot!

Cheltenham 12.50 Cl 2 Hcap Chase 156 (135.0) 26.5f sf – 10 Run

Last year – 155 (134.3) gd/sf – 9 ran
Beware The Bear 7/2 9-12-1 (146) by 5l from Shanroe Santos 10/1 10-11-6 (137)

Singlefarmpayment 10-11-9 (140) (147.7)
13 Dec Gr 3 HCh (338/139.4) 26f sf Chelt 7/1 11-2 3l 4/11 off 140 – 142.7
mid-division on inside, headway 4 out, chased front pair after next, ridden between last 2, upsides and every chance last, no extra flat, lost 3rd towards finish
Often runs well in better class than this, but usually finds something to beat it, having finished behind Cogry on more than one occasion; however, 4lbs better off with C for latest defeat here last month and cheekpieces fitted for the first time.
Plus: class (W); going (Wh); distance (W); course (W); form run lto (19 days); down in class;
Minus: up 7lbs (wt); no win for 3 years;
Verdict: has chance at the weights, but past record suggests he’s not the strongest contender.
Cogry 11-11-12 (143) 145.4
13 Dec Gr 3 HCh (338/139.4) 26f sf Chelt 5/1 11-1 0.05l 1/11 off 139 – 143.4
made most, driven and headed narrowly turning in, pecked 2 out, ridden to lead again flat, held on gamely near finish, all out
Genuine front-runner who won the Gr 3 BetVictor over C&D here off 139 for the second year in a row; raised 4lbs for that, but has never won off higher than 139 and thus may not record a double for the first time in his career, although likely to be thereabouts in this field.
Plus: class (W+); going (W); distance (W); course (W); form run lto (19 days); down in class;
Minus: up 4lbs (OR); up 11lbs (wt);
Verdict: likely to give his running but perhaps a vulnerable contender off this mark.
Another Venture 9-11-4 (135) (141.6)
07 Dec Cl 2 HCh (127/134.4) 23.5f sf Chep 11/2 10-8 0.5l 2/7 off 132 – 131.6
always well placed, niggled along approaching 5 out, ridden and led 3 out, headed 2 out, stayed on flat
Not the most consistent of animals but won a Cl 3 HCh at Plumpton back in March, although well beaten at Kelso the following month; returned with a decent effort at Chepstow early last month; raised 3lbs for and unlikely to build upon that.
Plus: class (F); going (W); distance (W); form run lto (25 days);
Minus: course (?); up 3lbs (OR); up 5lbs (wt); 7lbs above highest winning mark;
Verdict: not the most consistent and unlikely to prove a strong contender.
Doing Fine 12-10-7 (124) (127.3)
25 Oct Cl 3 Am HCh (96/120.7) 25f gd/sf Chelt 15/2 11-12 7.25l 4/13 off 125 – 106.3
behind from 4th, headway under pressure 3 out, chased leaders next, ridden and kept on same pace flat, no impression
Has struggled rather in recent times and win in a conditional HCh at Fontwell in early October was his first since winning a Cl 3 over 28f here back in April 2017; followed up Fontwell effort by being placed in an amateur HCh here later in the month and then was first past the post in a void race at Sandown last month; not getting any younger, but seems in fine fettle at present and may run well; however, I’m a little wary of form on sf ground as he hasn’t run on softer than gd/sf for night on 4 years.
Plus: class (F); going (F); distance (W); course (W); recent run (25 days); down 1lbs (OR); down 19lbs (wt);
Minus: up in class; going (??);
Verdict: could run well, but reservations as to going and not the strongest contender.

Of others, Equus Secretus may prove a contender stepping up in trip a fraction on his second run back, although for me he’s just a watching brief at present. Tricky race, as a number of these can be politely classed as ‘inconsistent’. The one that generally gives his running up to the end of December no matter what is Cogry and with us only being a day over, he’s my choice from perhaps Singlefarmpayment and Doing Fine.

Cheltenham 14.00 Gr 3 Hcap Chase 393 (149.3) 20.5f sf – 12 Run

Last year – 423 (142.0) gd/sf – 7 ran
Aso 3/1 F 9-11-12 (158) by 2l from Happy Diva 8/1 8-10-5 (140)
Ballyhill 7/1 8-10-12 (144) was 4.75l 3rd

Kalashnikov 7-11-12 (161) (160.9)
29 Nov Cl 2 Hcap (313/145.6) 20f gd/sf Newb 13/8 F 11-12 0.02l 2/12 off 155 – 151.3
tracked leaders, went 2nd and slight peck 4 out, challenged 3 out, led last, ridden and battled on gamely run-in, headed post
Winning hurdler who had an excellent first season over fences winning 3 of 6 starts and making amends for UR when hampered in the Arkle at Cheltenham by winning a Gr 1 at Aintree on his final start in April; made favourite for the Old Roan there on his return in October, but possibly just needed the race and finished runner-up to Forest Bihar; showed admirable courage in a battle at Newbury at the end of November, but just headed on the post by Oldgrangewood (-20); raised 6lbs for that, but meets O on 1lb better terms and as a 7yo with only 8 chase starts should have greater scope for improvement.
Plus: class (W+); going (W); distance (W); form run lto (33 days);
Minus: course; up 6lbs (OR); up in class;
Verdict: promising second-year chaser who looks to be still improving, a contender despite his rising mark.
Ballyhill 9-10-2 (137) (159.2)
12 Nov Cl 3 HCh (96/131.9) 21f gd/sf Here 9/2 11-12 35l 6/9 off 140 –
prominent, mistake 5th, led 8th, headed 3 out, soon weakened
2018 winner off 133 and finished 3rd in last year’s renewal off 144; was in better form coming in, however, and has shown little in his 2 starts this term; has been drooped 3lbs, but still 3lbs above career best winning mark.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W); recent outing (50 days); down 3lbs (OR); down 24lbs (wt);
Minus: up 2 classes;
Verdict: useful on his day, but hard to fancy on current form despite his strong record in the race.
Cepage 8-11-6 (155) (155.1)
14 Dec Gr 3 HCh (732/143.3) 20.5f sf Chelt 5/1 11-12 2.6l 4/13 off 155 – 147.1
chased leaders, mistake 7th, 4th and one pace 2 out, kept on final100 yards, carried right towards finish
Just the single start last season when runner-up on the Caspian Caviar over C&D here in the December off 143; fine effort on his return at Aintree in November when runner-up to Riders On the Storm with Oldgrangewood (-11) 12l behind in 3rd; raised 8lbs for that and could only finish 4th in this season’s Caspian Caviar off a 12lbs higher mark than the previous; handicapper looks to have him about right and might need dropping a few lbs before returning to the winner’s enclosure.
Plus: class (F); going (W); distance (W); course (F); form run lto (18 days); down 6lbs (wt);
Minus: 19lbs above last winning mark;
Verdict: useful sort who goes well here, but might need help from the handicapper and perhaps not the strongest contender today.
Mister Whitaker 8-11-4 (153) (152.9)
17 Apr Gr 3 HCh (339/143.2) 20.5f gd Chelt 4/1 Co F 11-9 0.25l 1/8 off 149 – 142.9
held up in mid-division, headway 8th, challenged 2 out, led last, edged slightly right towards finish, held on well
Has made half of his 10 chase starts at Cheltenham with a record of WW4PUW, the only disappointment coming in the Ultima at the Festival last March when he never seemed to be at ease; made up for that the following month, however, in winning a Gr 3 over C&D, although that was on gd; makes his season return today off a 4lbs higher mark, but did win on his return last year; biggest worry though is the ground, as while he won the 2018 Close HCh at the Festival on sf, he seems more at home on better ground.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); course (W); form run lto; down 5lbs (wt);
Minus: 259-day break; up 4lbs;
Verdict: C&D certainly suit, but I’m not so sure about sf ground on season return and a contender with questions.
Oldgrangewood 9-10-7 (142) (152.3)
29 Nov Cl 2 Hcap (313/145.6) 20f gd/sf Newb 6/1 10-6 0.02 1/12 off 135 – 131.3
patiently ridden towards rear, steady headway approaching 4 out,3rd between last 2, went 2nd 100 yards out, strong run to lead post
Wind surgery between seasons seems to have paid dividends as following a strong effort until running out of steam when 3rd behind Cepage (+11) on his return at Aintree in early November, he responded to a well-judged ride by today’s jockey to get up on the shadow of the post and literally nose out Kalashnikov (+20) at Newbury later in the month; has been raised 7lbs for that and meets K on 1lb worse terms today, which life more difficult; has to show Cheltenham suits, but could have a little more to show this season following his breathing operation.
Plus: class (F); going (W); distance (W); form run lto (33 days);
Minus: course; up 1lb (wt); up 7lbs (OR); up in class;
Verdict: obviously improved for breathing operation, but may find it hard to confirm Newbury running with Kalashnikov and not the strongest contender perhaps.

The past 17 winners had all run over the Cheltenham fences before, plus 16 had run within the past 2 months, while only 3 had not previously won over at least 20f. Taking into account that the winner is usually priced in single digits, and there are several towards the front of the betting that have a few questions to answer.

OK Corral won his first 2 NCh (over 24f+), was PU over 31.5f at the Festival, and likely needed the race when beaten 51l in the Ladbrokes on his return. However, that wouldn’t see me rushing to support him at single digit odds. It could be Henderson playing games again, but not for me, especially as Geraghty doesn’t look to be the rider he once was.

The Irish-trained Ex Patriot won his last 2 chase starts last season and has been placed in a couple of Grade NCh this term, so he can’t be entirely ignored. However, I’ve got trouble equating his HCh form to anything meaningful this side of the Irish Sea, plus Cheltenham’s fences will prove a new test.

Saint Calvados and Magic Saint, meanwhile, both have to prove that they can handle the trip, plus neither looks to be a handicap blot!

Looking at my shortlist, I have to suspect that Oldgrangewood won’t be repeating his Newbury win, while a combination of the ground and season return sour me on the chances of Mister Whitaker despite his excellent record here. Having won 3 of the last 9 renewals you can’t ignore Twiston-Davies entries, but 2018-winner Ballyhill seems to be on a decline and I can’t honestly see him winning this year. Cepage strikes me as being a genuine sort and while he may need help from the handicapper could go close. For the winner though I have to row in with top weight Kalashnikov who looks to be an improving sort and should certainly reverse Newbury running with Oldgrangewood. So it’s Kalashnikov from Cepage for me with course specialists Ballyhill and Mister Whitaker fighting it out for the minor places.

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Re: Wednesday 1st January

Postby martinkil » Wed Jan 01, 2020 3:26 pm

Those combi CSF are back in vogue again!!

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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:59 am

Re: Wednesday 1st January

Postby GMBing » Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:52 pm

Yet again you nailed the second and first. Well done and keep it up.

Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:54 pm

Re: Wednesday 1st January

Postby gpnt » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:02 am

So often hold up horses do well at this meeting,this winner does stand out but only when you look at the pace.

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