Not really firing on all cylinders yet this year, but at least we have a couple of decent races today, although both are of the tricky variety as they usually go to younger improving horses. Still, you can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket, so let’s see how we make out.
Kempton 14.40 Listed Hcap Hurdle 256 (130.1) 21f gd/sf – 14 Run
Last year – 256 (130.1) gd – 14 ran
Big Time Dancer 16/1 6-10-10 (125) by 1.5l from Solomon Grey 12/1 7-11-7 (131)
Canyon City 16/1 6-11-9 (133) was 41.25l 10th
Echiquier 6-11-2 (130) (142.3)
Showed promise over fences in France and won a NHd over 23f on his stable debut at Hexham in October; decent effort over 19.5f at Chepstow later in the month, was followed by an attempt over 24f in a Gr 3 HHd at Haydock the following month where he ran well until weakening and obviously didn’t get the trip; poor effort on hv at Southwell lto and that best forgotten;
Plus: class (F+); going (F); distance (F); recent outing (27 days); down 2lbs (OR);
Minus: course (?); down 2lbs; up 3 classes;
Verdict: Haydock running suggests he may well by suited by this trip and ground and thus a possible contender.
Debestyman 7-10-4 (114) (139.6)
Won a Plumpton NHd last January and looked to need his return run there in early November; last 2 starts have been over 24f and has run creditably till weakening, particularly at Cheltenham on penultimate start; drop back in trip looks ideal and is now off a 3lbs lower mark than when starting the season.
Plus: going (?); distance (W); recent form run (29 days); down 2lbs (OR); down in trip;
Minus: class (?); course (?); up 3lbs (wt); up in class;
Verdict: back to a more suitable trip and not entirely dismissed.
Notre Pari 6-11-2 (130) (138.9)
07 Dec Cl 2 HHd (186/135.0) 20f gd/sf Aint 5/1 10-5 2.25l 1/8 off 122 – 126.9
held up in rear, closed 6th, hanging right when challenging last, soon led and hung left, driven out
Just the 4 runs over hurdles, winning on his HHd debut at Aintree lto; raised 8lbs for that but looks as if there’s far more to come; not sure on the jockey, however, as Geraghty not riding to his best at present.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); form run lto (35 days);
Minus: class (?); course (?); up 8lbs (OR); up 11lbs (wt); up in class;
Verdict: rapidly improving hurdler and must be considered a contender.
Burrows Edge 7-11-4 (132) (136.9)
Twice placed over hurdles here last spring and was still going well when falling on his chase debut at Ludlow last month;
Plus: going (F); distance (W); course (F); recent outing (24 days); down 8lbs (wt);
Minus: class (?); up in class;
Verdict: looks the more likely of the Henderson pair and a contender.
Tight Call 6-10-5 (119) (130.1)
Ended first season with a NHd win at Fontwell in April, but looked to need his return at Market Rasen in October; has had a breathing operation since and is fitted with a first-time tongue tie today; not sure he’ll be fit enough to answer the call today.
Plus: distance (W); down 3lbs (OR); down 8lbs (wt);
Minus: class (?); going; course (?); 84-day break; up 2 classes;
Verdict: has scope, but a contender with questions coming back from a break.
Larkbarrow Lad 7-11-8 (136) (121.6)
23 Oct Cl 2 NHHd (190/117.7) 20f gd/sf Worc 9/2 F 11-7 1l 1/13 off 128 – 115.6
led into start, held up in rear, headway approaching 3 out, challenged from 2 out, stayed on, driven flat, led towards finish
Second season hurdler who won a NHd at Southwell last March and battled on well to win at Worcester on his HHd debut in October; while that form has not worked out particularly well, he has had a breathing operation since and this will be first run back.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); course (F); form run lto;
Minus: class (?); 80-day break; up 8lbs (OR); up 1lb (wt); up in class;
Verdict: has scope for improvement but tough ask on return from break and not the strongest contender perhaps.
A race normally won by a young horse (6/7yo) just making his way over hurdles with 1-3 wins only, but who has raced in the past 49 days.
Tricky to call with so little reliable HHd form available, but Northofthewall has only a Cl 5 mdn win to recommend him and I need more than that. A similar comment also applies to Larkbarrow Lad who is also coming back from an 80-day break after wind surgery, while Tight Call has had an 84-day break with wind surgery. Any of them may win, but I’ll draw a line through them for my calculations.
Burrows Lad looks the more likely of the Henderson duo, while one can understand the support for Notre Pari, although Geraghty worries me – did his last injury have more effect than he’s letting on? Debestyman and Echiquier, meanwhile, have both been nibbled at in the betting and are not without claims. Of the pair, Echiquier makes more appeal but any of the quartet could win. Sp sticking my neck out, I’m going for Echiquier from Burrows Lad and Notre Pari and hope that Debestyman and Tight Call don’t throw egg on my face!
Warwick 15.00 Gr 3 Hcap Chase 427 (135.1) 29f sf – 15 Run (13 at best)
Last year – 427 (143.9) gd – 12 ran
Impulsive Star 8/1 9-9-12 (133) by 3.25l from Calett Mad 7/1 7-10-13 (145)
Crosspark 9/1 9-10-3 (135) was 5.5l 3rd
Milansbar 16/1 12-10-5 (140) was 38.25l 8th
The Conditional 8-11-6 (142) (156.8)
30 Nov Gr 3 HCh (1424/147.8) 26f gd/sf Newb 20/1 10-3 1.5l 2/24 off 137 – 148.8
chased leaders, went 2nd before 3 out, ridden before next, one pace and held when hit last
Appeared no great shakes in Ireland, but has sparkled since joining his new yard, beating useful yardsticks West Approach and Cogry on his UK hcap debut at Cheltenham in October; followed up with a fine effort to finish runner-up De Rasher Counter in the Ladbrokes at Newbury in late November; raised 5lbs for that, but could well have further improvement to come as this only his 10th chase start.
Plus: class (F); going (W); distance (W); form run lto (42 days);
Minus: course (?); up 5lbs (OR); up 17lbs (wt);
Verdict: rapidly improving chaser and a contender despite worries about big rise in physical weight to be carried.
Impulsive Star 10-11-1 (137) (154.8?)
Last year’s winner off a 4lbs lower mark, but has been PU in his 3 subsequent starts including at Cheltenham on his return last month; dropped 2lbs for that and first-time blinkers fitted; this would seem to be his target, but was in better form last year, plus was carrying 14lbs less physical weight; however, this is not as strong a renewal by the look of it.
Plus: class (W); going (Wh); distance (W); course (W); recent outing (29 days); down 2lbs (OR); first-time blinkers;
Minus: no recent form; up 14lbs to last year’s renewal;
Verdict: no doubt this is his target, but not in same form as last year and a contender with questions.
Kimberlite Candy 8-11-4 (140) (154.6)
07 Dec Gr 3 HCh (842/144.1) 26f sf Aint 11/1 10-4 2.5l 2/18 off 137 – 144.6
tracked leaders, ridden before 2 out, went 2nd before elbow, unable to get to winner, stayed on
Third-season chaser who showed improvement on his return when runner-up in the Becher at Aintree last month; raised 3lbs for that and will carry 14lbs more actual weight here; ability to stay this trip has to be taken on trust though, as he proved a little one-paced from 3 out when joint favourite and 5th to Crosspark (-4) in last season’s Eider.
Plus: class (F); going (F); distance (F); form run lto (35 days);
Minus: course (?); up 3lbs (OR); up 14lbs (wt);
Verdict: looks to be an improving staying chaser and a contender.
Le Breuil 8-11-12 (148) (149.6)
07 Dec Gr 3 HCh (842/144.1) 26f sf Aint 14/1 11-3 19.75 7/18 off 150 – 147.6
held up towards rear, headway 15th (canal turn), ridden before 2out, no extra before elbow
Impressive first season over fences culminating in winning the 32f NH Chase at the Festival in March; slow return this term when PU over hurdles at Wincanton in November, but showed some improvement when 7/18 in the Becher at Aintree last month when Kimberlite Candy (-13) was runner-up; has been dropped 2lbs for that and likely to come on for the race, plus with rider’s claim meets KC on 12lbs better terms; not sure this is the prime target, although further improvement expected.
Plus: class (W); going (W); distance (W); recent outing (35 days); down 2lbs (OR);
Minus: course (?); up 2lbs (wt);
Verdict: proven at this sort of trip and likely to be thereabouts, a contender,
Bobo Mac 9-10-13 (135) (139.2)
18 Dec Cl 3 HCh (150/131.2) 24f sf Lud 7/2 Jt F 11-3 3l 2/9 off 130 – 124.2
held up towards rear, headway after 13th, chased winner from 3out, kept on, no impression
Twice a winner over hurdles, including over 25f here, got off the mark over fences in a Cl 3 HCh over 25.5f at Ludlow in November; bet in an even better effort over 24f there last month when runner-up to Roll Again in a Cl 3 HCh off a 10lbs higher mark; has been raised a further 5lbs today, plus goes a long way up in class never having run in even Cl 2 before over fences.
Plus: going (W); distance (W); form run lto (24 days); down 4lbs (wt);
Minus: class (?); course (?); up 5lbs (OR); up 2 classes; up in trip;
Verdict: improving chaser who looks likely to stay the trip and ground should suit; however, up 5lbs having placed effort in lower class lto and thus not the strongest contender.
Petite Power 11-10-9 (131) (128.3)
06 Dec Cl 3 HCh (162/119.5) 30.5f sf Exe 9-1 11-5 0.25l 2/11 off 125 – 109.3
mid-division, chased leaders after 5 out, went 2nd 3 out, ridden when switched left between last 2, kept on under pressure flat, not quite reach winner
A little longer in the tooth than most, but has been in fine form this term winning at Cheltenham and Uttoxeter before improving on that when just denied over the extended 30f at Exeter early last month; has been raised 6lbs for that, but still at the right end of the hcap here and get on well with his amateur rider; nevertheless, is rising a long way in class of opposition having never even run in Cl 2 over fences.
Plus: going (F); distance (W); form run lto (36 days); down 10lbs (wt);
Minus: class (?); course (?); up 6lbs (OR); up 2 classes;
Verdict: in good form, but hard to see him competing at this level and not a strong contender.
A race that generally goes to an improving chaser in the 7-9yo age group that has run within the last 6 weeks, plus finished within the top 3 in at least one of their last two starts. Other things to note include a previous chase win over at least 24f, preferably at a LH track.
That is one of the reasons that Darlac doesn’t make my list, he’s yet to win a chase of any sort. Of those that do, although creditable, the efforts of Bobo Mac and Petite Power have been in Cl 3 and now they jump to Gr 3 without even a stop in Cl 2. Not for me I’m afraid. That still leaves me with four to consider, including last year’s winner Impulsive Star. Difficult to know where to place him seeing he’s been PU in his three subsequent starts, including on his return at Cheltenham. On balance, I think I’ll pass although will not be surprised if he runs well. The same applies to Le Breuill who has yet to really get going this year, but with his rider’s claim shouldn’t be far away. However, the pair that excite me most are the 8yos The Conditional and Kimberlite Candy. The Conditional is a worthy favourite, but is carrying 17lbs more actual weight than when runner-up in the Ladbrokes. KC is carrying a stone more too than in the Becher, but I have a feeling he might a little more scope at present. Thus I’m going for Kimberlite Candy from The Conditional with Le Breuill and perhaps Impulsive Star filling the minor places.
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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