Friday was a day of very few winning chances, although we did manage to find a couple at Limerick. Monalee fell when travelling into contention and Faugheen, was pulled up, this follow’s the sad loss of a couple of really nice horses on Thursday and we extend our thoughts to those connected with them. Like all thing’s we must look forward…. And onto today. With ONE all weather flat card and 3 NH Cards to look at, here is what myself and Charlie have found….
We head to Lingfield to start Saturday and the opening race at 11.50, is a class 4 6f Sprint, with Joegogo looking to make up for his last time out 5 & 3/4 length 5th when stepping up to Class 2 company in a Conditions race, following from winning 3 on the bounce in Nursery races, now back in that company and down to Class 4, can get his season back on track.
One who has been heading in the right direction is Dean Ivory’s Tropics(12.00) having spent much of the last couple of seasons on the turf and contesting in Listed class, has found life a lot easier down in Class 3 waters, the 9 year Old is the eldest in the race and had been heading in the right direction since switched to AW and dropped in class, with 7 – 4 – 2 before landing a Class 3 6f sprint at Wolverhampton from a mark of 88, the once rated 115 gelding, could still be well in on old form, although has not won 2 in a row since 2014, when winning off a mark of 94, before winning again from 100. Now rated 92 and if a going day, you never know…
Charlie – 3.30 Attain has won around here 5 times in the past and has placed 3rd on last two runs here. Should be thereabouts again and at 5-2 is nicely priced.
Now we move onto the 3 National Hunt Cards and start at Haydock, where the going is Heavy, as it is so often at this time of year…
Ravensdale(1.00) is a 3m PTP winner back in Ireland prior to joining Nigel Twiston Davies and is from the same connections as Bristol De Mai, with Daryl Jacobs on board. A 2 length runner up in a NH Flat race on UK debut over 1m 7f at Southwell in late October and made his hurdle debut at this course earlier this month, yet again the going was heavy but Ravensdale ran out a winner by 3/4’s of a length over 2m 2f in a class 3 novice Hurdle. This represents a step up down in class as well as trip, but with being a Course and going winner, he is expected to go well.
The 2.10 is a class 2, 3m 3f Handicap Chase and with the going on the deep side, I found West is the Edge, has had 2 runs over hurdles this term, both being non events really and now goes back chasing, on ground he seems to like with 5 wins and 2 places from 10 runs on heavy ground, while is a 4 time winner over 3m+. Last seen in this sphere beating Talk of the South by 8 lengths at Warwick over 3m 5f and was a class 3 winner back in March.
Charlie – 11.50 War Creation is out of Scorpion the same sire as Might Bite and looks an interesting runner for Nicky Henderson and at 100-30 could be a bit of value if the fav flops.
2.10 Lesson’s in Milan is another Henderson runner who looks to be on a winnable mark, has won on heavy going over hurdles, although was pulled up here back in November, a line can be drawn through that run as was first run for 9 months.
We now head to Newbury, just like Haydock, the going is Heavy….
Trainer Neil Mulholland runs Chirico Vallis(1.15) for owner JP McManus, who was brought over from Gordon Elliott in Ireland and has had 3 Chase outings so far for the connections. Winning on debut at Southwell by 8 lengths over 1m 7f before falling 4 out at Ludlow over 2m. Back on track at Bangor, in heavy conditions last time out, in what was a Match race, coming some 18 lengths clear of his rival. The return of Noel Fehily to the saddle will help cut out the jumping errors and if keeping them to a minimum, could land the odds here.
With stamina needed I think Kilbricken Storm(3.00) can land the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle, already a Grade 2 winner last time out over 3m at Cheltenham, albeit in a 4 horse race, winning by 2 & 3/4 lengths for trainer Colin Tizzard, a 2m winner by 26 lengths at Wincanton over 2m and this trip should be fine….
Charlie – 12.40 Royal Ruby has won at Southwell on hurdles debut and had a subsequent hurdle winner back in 3rd. Was then sent to Fakenham and upped in trip to 2m and was 3rd. Nicky Henderson has won this race 9 times in the last 10 renewals and Royal Ruby looks the most likely winner at 2-1
1.50 Brave Eagle – Has won twice over 1m 7f at Ludlow then at Fontwell over 2m 3f. Goes back up in distance and has been dropped 2lb by the handicapper and that could swing this race in his favor.
And finally we are off to Taunton, the going is Soft…..
Trainer Paul Nicholls has a fine record at his local course and has a good chance in landing the Novice Handicap Chase at 1.25 with Silent Steps, a runner up on chase debut over C/D by 3/4’s of a length last time out and was also a runner here on final Hurdle run to the smart prospect Comely on season return. Now heading out with first time Cheek pieces, hoping to spark the much need improvement to land in the winners enclosure on the second time of asking….
The race of the day has to be the 3.15 Mares’ Class 1 Listed 2m Hurdle, with some fine runners on the card, this looks to be a cracking race, with local trainer Paul Nicholls sending his facile last time out winner from 4 days ago If You Say So, Nicholls has won this race twice in the last 3 season’s including last year, If You Say So only ran on Boxing day and won with plenty in hand in a class 4 2m Novice Hurdle at Wincanton, but comes up against front running Maria’s Benefit, who is fresh from winning a Ludlow Class 2, 2m Hurdle by 7 lengths. Another last time out winner comes from Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson’s Stable and is owned by The Queen, Sunshade won with plenty in hand too, well 14 lengths over 2m 2f in a Class 4 Novice Hurdle at Market Rasen. All 3 are stepping up in class, All 3 are last time out winners and ALL 3 are in with a chance, as long as this doesn’t come to soon for If You Say So. Maria’s Benefit like’s to front run and may have this race sown up with a furlong to go, unless they can keep pace with her, but that said Sunshade is unexposed and is unbeaten in 3 runs…. And I cannot pick the winner…. But I dare say that these 3 will be in the mix at the end.
Rich had a question for Nicky Henderson that appeared on his Stan James blog you can read that below.
All we ask is that everyone comes home safe and that racing is the winner!
Thanks for your support this year and let’s look forward to the New Year with plenty of decent horses to look forward to and many winners to find…
All the Best – Charlie and Rich