Friday, December 26, 2008

Chepstow, Kempton and Wetherby

Precautionary inspections have been called tomorrow morning at both Chepstow and Wetherby. The Welsh National is usually a slog in the mud over three and three quarter miles and this year looks no different. Of the twenty to go to post, four are set to carry eleven stone or more while the bottom seven entries have to carry more than their allocated long handicap weight; I'd be surprised if any of the top four win. There are some nice horses carrying a racing weight including Nenuphar Collonges and Mon Mome; it not a surprise to see these two at the head of the market. Of the two I prefer Mon Mome as he's a bigger price and the jockey can claim a valuable three pounds. His tussle with Star De Mohaison just a fortnight ago at Cheltenham is something of a concern. I'll keep an eye on how Darkness runs in this - he was a good horse, suffered an injury that kept him off the course for two and a half years but made a decent comeback at Haydock five weeks ago.

The 2.40 is pretty hot with the protagonists likely to be Simarian, Pepite De Soleil and Walkon. In a recent stable tour trainer Evan Williams indicated tough customer Simarian was being aimed as this, so he gets the nod ahead of the other two.

At Kempton Twist Magic sets a poser in the Desert Orchid Chase at 3.15. He's the top-rated animal and looked a big danger to eventual winner Master Minded when coming down two out in the Tingle Creek. If he runs to that level he can win, but he has disappointed too often in the past.. McCoy rides - every horse has his price and on value grounds alone I'll be tempted to play if he's priced at 5/2 or bigger. Connections of Starluck appear to have dodged the serious opposition by opting to run here rather than in Chepstow's 2.40; Starluck is the one to beat in the opener.

At Wetherby Pop steps up in class in the trappy-looking 2.30; if the ground were better I'd consider a wager but on this occasion I'll watch from the sidelines. In the Castleford Handicap Chase Moon Over Miami is talented but not guaranteed to perform. In the past he has allowed the preliminaries in the paddock to affect his performance on the track. The Racing post report he has recently had a wind operation and quote him at 6/1 in their tissue. In a race that is likely to be run to suit this hold-up performer, 6/1 would be of interest, especially if it turns out the operation has worked.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

An Irish horse with a French name wins the Welsh National. 16/1 chance Notre Pere surprised me (and many others I suspect) by carrying eleven stones to a facile victory and put a big smile on the bookmakers' faces in the process. Mon Mome was backed in to 9/2 favourite but lost any chance of winning with a bad error as early as the second fence which resulted in Miko De Beauchene unseating Andrew Thornton. Mon Mome was given time to recover but faded up the home run to finish eighth. Darkness was never competitive and was pulled up.
Simarian (11/4) was well beaten in fourth behind the impressive Walkon (7/2), with Pepite De Soleil second. No excuses, but I wondered whether jockey Donal Fahy missed a trick at the off. The start was particularly untidy and ragged; both Ruby Walsh (Pepite de Soleil) and Choc Thornton (Walkon) were alert, had their mounts ready and consequently raced closer to the pace in better positions while Simarian had work hard to get into contention.
Sometimes bookmakers can save you from yourself. 5/2 or bigger was never available so I didn't bet Twist Magic. The 13/8 favourite was reluctant to start and put in another disappointing display, finishing sixth - the horse is an enigma. 4/5 favourite Starluck won the opener in the manner a 4/5 favourite should.
At Wetherby Pop (9/4) couldn't keep tabs on Will Be Done (9/4). Jason Maguire rode a good race on Will Be Done, quickening up decisively off the home turn, having led from the start. Pop's jumping suffered a little thereafter - he was beaten fifteen lengths. A feature of Pop's jumping is that he's often very low at his fences.
6/1 Moon Over Miami never appeared. Opening at 7/2 he went off at 9/2 in a helter-skelter contest won cosily in the end by 5/1 chance Santa's Son. Moon Over Miami made his ground coming up the home straight to finish second but he was nowhere near the winner. As Jim McGrath observed, since the re-design work which placed the chase course inside the hurdle track, we've seen some hell-for-leather contests at Wetherby (including yesterday's Rowland Meryck); I'll think twice about betting chases at this venue in the future.