Friday, October 23, 2009

Aintree and Chepstow

Only eight are set to go to post for tomorrow's Aintree feature, the Old Roan Chase, which is run over two and a half miles. Howard Johnson's Tidal Bay proved somewhat disappointing last term - it was no disgrace to be beaten by Master Minded in the Tingle Creek, but when tried over two and a half and three miles his jumping never really convinced. Earlier in the week stable jockey Denis O'Regan said he was 'wary' about this race and that the horse was only 'OK' after sitting on him. On balance, I'm happy to look elsewhere. At eleven years of age, Monet's Garden and Knowhere are probably past their prime. For a nine-year-old Don't Push It has plenty of hurdle experience while both Kicks For Free and Tartak come to this after contesting novice chases last year. Having won four of his eight races, one over course and distance, and with the stable in decent form, Tartak gets the vote - he won't be inconvenienced should the predicted rain arrive.

The Veterans' Chase at 1.40 looks trappy while Noble Alan is expected to take the 3.25 although his price is likely to be short.

At Chepstow the going is good to soft with further wind and rain predicted. Six face the starter for the Persian War Novices' Hurdle at 1.20 - a fascinating contest over two miles four furlongs. Reve De Sivola, sixth in last year's Triumph, sets the standard here with an official rating of 143; the yard is in good form at present. Paul Nicholls' entry Aiteen Thirtythree catches the eye, being owned by Mr Paul Barber and Mrs M. Findlay, mother of one Harry Findlay. Speaking of his charge in The Times recently the handler said "If ever there was another Denman, this is it." Pterodactyl is no mug but has to give weight to the field and Frascati Park is interesting on his hurdles debut. This evening's tissue has Reve De Sivola 10/11 and Aiteen Thirtythree 4/1; at those prices I will go for value and take a chance with Aiteen Thirtythree.

The Silver Trophy at 1.55 looks something of a puzzle with seventeen declared. Top weight Elusive Dream is set to carry eleven stones twelve pounds (minus claimer Harry Skleton's three pounds allowance). The next horse in the handicap, El Dancer, carries just ten thirteen, while the bottom seven are all set to carry more than their long handicap weight. Many will suspect the top weight has been left in to benefit the other Nicholls runner and likely favourite Alfie Sherrin who is, nonetheless, two pounds out of the handicap. If you're brave enough to have a bet in this, here are recent notes from the Racing Post on some runners which may be of interest: Philip Hobbs on Prince Taime - '...race should tell us where we go with him this season: if he wins or runs well off his mark of 145 we can start thinking about conditions races; failing that we can switch to fences.'; Philip Hobbs on Ring The Boss - 'So disappointing last season.'; Alan King on Bakbenscher - 'I might still give him one run over hurdles just to take the freshness out of him, then we'll go chasing...'; and Evan Williams on Dantari - '...could be a decent horse in the spring in a big handicap off a light weight.' I shall watch from the sidelines.

The 2.25 Beginners' Chase is intriguing with Meanus Dandy, another owned by Mrs M. Findlay and Mr P. K. Barber, likely to be sent off a short-priced favourite. Course and distance winner Brenin Cwmtudu likes Chepstow and will get the cut in the ground he requires. His handler told the Weekender recently 'I feel he could make significant progress this season' and he would be disappointed if he wasn't better over fences than his current hurdles rating (117). If the eight go to post I'll check out the each-way betting opportunties.

The finale is a three mile maiden hurdle, although three of the field are recorded as having won over the distance. Paul Nicholls ex-French grey Royal Collonges will feature near the head of the market as will the Sir Robert Ogden owned Chamirey. This one is rated 130 but has been off the track for 552 days; trainer Alan King comments - "If he recaptures his French form, he could be interesting." I'll check prices beforehand but am tempted to take a chance with Chamirey.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Not a good day at the office - started with a big disappointment and went downhill from there.
Before the Old Roan Chase I had reservatons about Tidal Bay (11/4jf) and his jumping, but it was Tartak (11/4jf)and his fencing that proved the major cause for concern. He was far too novicey against seasoned chasers and was effectively out of contention as they went out on the final circuit, finishing a well-beaten last of the eight runners. 11 year old Monet's Garden proved he's far from past his prime by jumping his rivals into submission from the front. Tidal Bay travelled kindly for Denis O'Reagan and was the only one to get close to the leader, eventually going down two and a half lengths. The comments from the BBC team indicated the second was carrying some condition so this was a good effort - he can be expected to improve for this.
Noble Alan may have been quoted in the Arkle betting before his race but the 4/9 favourite fell at the third - Five Dream (11/2) was the benefactor.
Chepstow had plenty of rain before racing; the official going was described as soft and plenty finished tired.
Reve De Sivola and Aiteen Thirtythree both opened 11/8 on course - Reve De Sivola went off the 6/5 favourite, Aiteen Thirtythree 11/8. Aiteen Thirtythree went out like a light rounding the home turn - if he is to be the next Denman, it won't be on the back of a performance like this. Frascati Park (7/1) ran a decent race from the front but was reeled in by the favourite up the long home straight.
Brenin Cwmtudu (10/1) made a bad mistake at the twelfth which effectively put paid to his chance. He stayed on up the straight to finish third, over twenty lengths behind winner Jaunty Jig (4/1); unfortunately only seven went to post...
Chamirey (9/2 second fav) offered some value against Nicholls hotpot Royal Collonges (4/9f) and tried to go with eventual winner Tell Massini (7/1) from two out but Tom George's charge came clear and won as he liked; the favourite finished third.
Before racing Ruby Walsh looked to have a nice book of rides for the Nicholls yard at Chepstow but they were all turned over - Aiteen Thirtythree (11/8) third; Alfie Sherrin (11/8f) third; Meanus Dandy (4/5f) fourth; Apocal (11/4f) pulled up; Royal Collonges (4/9f) third. Was the ground a factor? The yard has two entries at Aintree and just two runners at the local track, Wincanton, tomorrow; I'll watch closely. You'd imagine they'll be trying to collect the Paul Nicholls Racing National Hunt Novices' Hurdle at 4.10 with Pepe Simo...