Friday, February 15, 2008

Notes for Haydock, Wincanton and Ascot

A conundrum for punters at Haydock tomorrow is that Peter Bowen runs fancied horses in the first three races - Serabad, Special Envoy and Souffleur - but the stable hasn't had a winner for well over a month. Wichita Lineman, who has run a couple of lethargic races this season, takes on Special Envoy in the second race but I'm going to take a chance on David Pipe's Lough Derg here on a track that tends to serve front runners well. In the Red Square Vodka Handicap Chase Philson Run appears to be getting better with age, which is more than can be said for yours truly. On his first run of the season PR was beaten seven lengths by D'Argent at Warwick over three miles five furlongs. That form reads well; he's worth an each-way interest at around 11/1 in a competitive race.

Over at Wincanton Katchit is the clear form choice for the Kingwell but I won't be tempted at too short a price with Amaretto Rose and Blythe Knight interesting runners returning after a break. On official ratings there isn't much between the six runners in the Country Gentleman's Association Limited Handicap Chase at 3.10. With the early tissue marking up Neptune Collonges odds on, I'll take a chance with Nigel Twiston-Davies' front runner Naunton Brook who ran third behind D'Argent and Philson Run last time.

At Ascot all eyes will be on Kauto Star in his final run before next month's Gold Cup. Apropos of nothing in particular, I'm still searching for a Royal and Sun Alliance Chase bet that offers some value. With that in mind, I will keep my powder dry but watch the opener very closely; the race has already been labelled a 'mini Sun Alliance'. Air Force One takes on Joe Lively while Albertas Run is interesting. The early tissue has AR at 5/1 while Donald McCain's Ice Tea is a 25/1 shot; both horses are officially rated 136 - AR is set to give IT three pounds here. Another potential RSA Chase runner of interest, Starzaan, is in a match with Duc De Regniere in the 4.15 at Wincanton. Starzaan is talented but has legs like glass - he certainly isn't one to bet ante-post.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Peter Bowen's Serabad (6/5f) took the opening Victor Ludorum Hurdle at Haydock but the other two ran below form; Peter's horses are still not firing after the bout of coughing that has hit the yard.
Lough Derg opened at 15/2 on course, was backed in to 9/2 and ran a game race from the front but ultimately had no answer to the finishing kick of Kasbah Bliss (17/2), being four lengths adrift at the line. I've had burnt fingers before with Kasbah Bliss but he showed here, for the first time in this country, why he's held in high regard by trainer Francois Doumen. The question is whether the flat track at Haydock brought about the improvement or whether the horse is being trained specifically for the World Hurdle. If you take the latter view, KB is a stand out 12/1 with Boylesports and that looks decent each-way value.
Philson Run, available at 11/1 in the morning but only 13/2 at the off, was unfortunate to be brought down by Sixo five from home.
Having said that, the horse had hit a couple on the way round and looked booked for a place at best.
Katchit (4/5f) put in a tenacious performance to hold Blythe Knight up the home straight and is now quoted a 10/1 chance for the Champion Hurdle which looks about right. That's the first time this year we've really seen this horse's battling qualities.
Naunton Brook opened 9/2 on course, was backed in to 100/30 but, although leading for a circuit, was always second best to Neptune Collonges (5/4f) who won by an eased down thirteen lengths whilst conceding twenty pounds - impressive indeed. Paul Nicholls said before racing that NC is suited by a flat track, so I'd be wary about backing him for the Gold Cup.
Albertas Run won the opener at Ascot and is now joint 8/1 favourite for the RSA Chase. Air Force One ran his race to finish third but Joe Lively was anything but, being one of the first to crack; he is now 16/1 with totesport for Cheltenham. That looks quite big, given the horse prefers to race left-handed, but he'll have to leave this run well behind to be in with a shout next month.
Over at Wincanton I fancied Starzaan (5/4) to beat Duc De Regniere (8/13f) in the match, which he duly did. Ladbrokes are out on a limb offering Starzaan at20/1 for Cheltenham but, as I have indicated, the trick will be getting the horse there in one piece. If he's 20/1 on the day, that will represent excellent each-way value.