Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or treat?

Two jumps cards tomorrow with the feature race of the day, the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, attracting just five runners. I'm assuming heavy rain does not fall before they go to post. On official ratings Tamarinbleu, trained by David Pipe, is the one to beat and is generally available at 9/4. He tends to run well fresh and was unfortunate to be pipped by Snoopy Loopy at Haydock on his debut run last season, with Kauto Star memorably unshipping Sam Thomas at the last. Tamarinbleu's form tailed off after that; on balance, for me, he's a difficult horse to catch right, so I'm going to look elsewhere. Snoopy Loopy has to give weight to the others but Ollie Magern and Deep Purple are of interest. Ollie Magern loves it round here, has won this before and went down fighting last year to Evan Williams' State Of Play, giving that winner ten pounds. Evan Williams saddles Deep Purple this time but this is the horse's first attempt over the three mile one furlong trip; the yard intend to use this race as a pointer for future plans. A couple of layers go 3/1 the eleven year old Ollie Magern which is jolly tempting for me - he's the selection; if you think Deep Purple will stay, at the age of eight he's the one with potential.

In the 3.25 Philip Hobbs' Fair Along is suited by race conditions but was nowhere to be seen in the Cesarewitch a fortnight ago. That run may give him a fitness edge over market rival Pettifour who won this last year but didn't quite go on from that. Lough Derg is as tough as old boots but, according to his trainer, usually needs a couple of runs to reach his peak, while No Refuge is a horse I like, although he doesn't always look the quickest or the best over the hurdles. I've had burnt fingers with Fair Along before but on the back of a positive note from his trainer in a recent RP Stable Tour article, I give Fair Along the vote.

Over the past four years Nicky Henderson has a 31% strike rate at Ascot yet jockey Barry Geraghty has chosen to go to Wetherby instead for just one ride for the yard - My Petra in the 2.20. The layers make the mare a 7/2 chance this evening but she has it to do in my book giving four pounds and upwards to all her rivals. In this very competitive listed event, I'll consider an each-way wager on Alan King's Santia - a recent note described her as a 'very useful mare and a quality individual', hinting the plan was to come here to try and get some black type before sending her to the paddocks.

Before we go any further a word of thanks is due to Betfinder for bringing to our attention the free Betfair / Timeform racecard which covers all tomorrow's terrestrial TV races; if you're thinking of having a wager on any of the Scoop 6 races, the card is certainly worth a look.

At Ascot the feature is the United House Gold Cup run over three miles in which seventeen are set to face the starter. Here are selective comments on selected runners but if you fancy a wager in this, you'd be well advised to consult the aforementioned Timeform card. Teletext reports today that Jeremy Scott has top weight Gone For Lunch 'straighter than this time last year' and 'his work is certainly very good at the moment' - his performance in this will determine whether connections target the Hennessy at Newbury in a month's time; to me Just Amazing looks somewhat exposed here against some battle-hardened handicappers; Seven Is My Number tries the trip for the first time, having won three chases on the bounce but he did everything in his power at Bangor the last time to throw his chance away - he's not an easy ride; Always Waining isn't one to trust implicitly - I've decided to leave well alone - but he has looked well-handicapped for some time and seemed set to win at Cheltenham two weeks ago but, two lengths up, he slithered on landing at the second last, leaving Nelson's Spice to collect; Boychuk, who finished third in that race, is described as 'inconsistent' by his handler; Hold Em isn't the biggest but is as tough as they come and would represent a reasonable each-way chance if handling the stiff fences while Evan Williams said recently they were going to target long distance novice hurdles with Mr Robert! You pay your money and you take your choice.

Others of potential interest include Hibiki in the 3.00 with Giles Hawkins claiming the ten pounds; Cockney Trucker in the 1.20 - looks 'made for fences' says Philip Hobbs, and Pterodactyl (2.25) who should strip fitter following his return in the Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow last Saturday.


Anonymous said...

Morning GeeDee

Deep Purple gains negatives on the Dosage front from me. He also falls down on a couple of others stats as well. I am slighty wary of the small field however as small fields can make the best of stats look foolish! I'm hoping for a true run race though as there are plenty who want to make the pace.

Nothing 'stand out' for me over at Ascot.


GeeDee said...

The treats were to be found at Wetherby rather than Ascot...

Only five runners in the Charlie Hall but what a thriller! Like Ben Aitken, I had my doubts whether Deep Purple would stay. Approaching the last Ollie Magern (85/40) appeared to have put both Tamarinbleu and Deep Purple to the sword as he held a three length advantage. The commentator started to talk of Ollie making history but soon after taking the last this gallant horse started to tire and was overhauled by both Deep Purple (9/2) and Tamarinbleu (2/1f) 75 yards from the post, the former taking the spoils by a head. It was a cracking ride from Paul Moloney. DP jumped well and certainly stayed the trip but in the post-race interview Evan Williams still talked of races over two miles four and two miles five for his charge - it will be interesting to see where connections go from here.

Pettifour was all the rage for the 3.25, being sent off the 11/10 favourite while Fair Along drifted out to 3/1. Many obviously expected Twiston-Davies to gain quick compensation for Ollie Magern's defeat half an hour earlier. It didn't work out like that though as Fair Along raced keenly near the head of affairs while Pettifour wasn't foot-perfect at a number of obstacles. The writing was on the wall as the two market leaders raced round the top of the course - Rhys Flint had hardly moved a muscle while Paddy Brennan was hard at work; Fair Along won by an impressive eighteen lengths. Philip Hobbs' wife (who was saddling the horse) said before the race that FA had ability and liked to race near the head of affairs - if things didn't work out, he often 'sulked' and that, apparently, was what had happened in the Cesarewitch. John Francome suggested they may go back over fences with this winner now, something his trainer also mentioned in the recent 'Stable Tour' notes.

There was drama indeed in the mares' listed hurdle with Barry Geraghty taking the wrong course on 4/1 jf My Petra. Nicky Henderson's charge had made ground smoothly to take it up as they came round the home bend and had the look of the likely winner. That error left the way clear for the selection to oblige at 8/1, although she opened 11/1 on course - if you heeded the advice, I hope you took a price or bet with a bookmaker offering 'best odds guaranteed'.

At Ascot Cockney Trucker (2/1) unseated Richard Johnson at the third and Pterodactyl (opened 7/1, sent off 9/2) fell three out when tracking the leaders in fourth. Hibiki (5/1) was disappointing, finishing eleventh of the twelve runners, never really getting competitive. 33/1 shot The Last Derby took the United House Gold Cup - Hold Em and Seven Is My Number are worthy of a mention. Hold Em led three out but faded up the hill to finish fifth while Seven Is My Number showed his quirks by taking second as they approached the last but then jumped left and lost two places up the run-in.