Friday, November 02, 2007

Wetherby and Ascot selections

Only eight go to post for tomorrow's Charlie Hall Chase run over three miles and a furlong at Wetherby. The race represents the seasonal debut for each of the runners, so we're relying on trainers' comments to point us in the right direction. Evan Williams has described this race as State Of Play's 'cup final'; with McCoy on board, the bookmakers have put the horse in as 9/4 favourite. Ferdy Murphy's Aces Four is high class but has been known to miss one out on the odd occasion and is passed over. Twiston-Davies has been making very bullish noises about Ollie Magern, describing him as in 'the form of his life'; Ollie goes well fresh, won this two years ago and is joint top on Racing Post ratings. You pays your money and takes your choice; State Of Play looks the percentage call and gets the vote.

All eyes will be on Black Jack Ketchum at 2.20 as he tries to put some of last season's disappointments behind him. On official ratings he's easily the best horse in the race; he comes here after a wind operation during the summer. Those with a contrarian nature and money to burn may want to consider Faasel, a tricky customer who showed he stays three miles in a grade two novice chase at Aintree last April, and David Pipe's Lough Derg, whose second behind Mighty Man in the Long Walk hurdle (on good to soft ground) would give him a squeak. The trainer reports Lough Derg 'very fit' but I'm going to sit this one out primarily because, although I could easily be described as contrarian, I don't have the money to burn.

Over at Ascot course and distance winner Demi Beau should run his race in the 1.10 while, in the bumper, Hold Em carries a penalty for previous wins but has the form in the book and constitutes a value proposition at around 3/1.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

An enthralling Charlie Hall Chase saw Ollie Magern (11/4) make all to deny State Of Play (15/8 favourite) by one and three quarter lengths. This was a brave display from OM, indicating he has bounced right back to top form; time may show it was a tough task asking SOP to concede 6lbs to this rejuvenated winner.
Black Jack Ketchum (4/6) took the 2.20, holding Faasel (15/2) by a neck with Lough Derg (17/2) eighteen lengths back in third. BJK certainly didn't win in the manner you'd expect of a 4/6 shot. I think Lough Derg would be better served by some cut in the ground but he looks a tricky ride.
At Ascot 3/1 favourite Demi Beau set off plenty fast enough at the head of affairs but ruined his chance with a couple of overstretching jumps down the back straight; he was allowed to come home in his own time in fifth, some twenty five lengths behind impressive winner The Wicketkeeper (6/1).
The withdrawal of The Woodlanders meant the 11/4 tissue forecast by the RP yesterday evening about Hold Em wasn't going to be seen. Sent off 7/4 favourite, HE won readily by one and three quarter lengths from 2/1 market rival Karasakal.