Friday, February 05, 2010

Saturday fare

Earlier today Alan King went to Bangor with three fancied runners but they were all turned over - Asturienne (2/7f), Devil To Pay (5/6f) and Pennek (9/4).

A couple of Festival fancies take their chance at Sandown tomorrow but they'll make no appeal as betting material - Binocular faces just two opponents in the opener while Punchestowns would be expected to take the 2.35 on the way to the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. Nicky Henderson's According, currently second favourite for the Triumph Hurdle, is likely to start at a cramped price in the 2.05 - he boasts smart form on the Flat but has yet to jump an obstacle in public. Killyglen catches the eye in the Totesport Masters Handicap Chase - the yard is in form but after a break of 70 days you can't help but wonder what the plan is. If I have a bet at Sandown I'll have a small interest in Song Of Songs in the finale. He sometimes finds the fences getting in the way but on right-handed tracks this one has won four times from seven attempts, finishing second, third and fourth on the other three occasions. Consigliere, receiving seven pounds, beat the selection sixteen lengths at Newbury in November and rates a danger, with the jock claiming a handy-looking three pounds.

There are plenty of runners at Doncaster, no doubt tempted by the prospect of better ground; however this evening the going is described as good to soft, soft in places. Hen Knight has chosen to withdraw Arkle Chase fancy Somersby from the Lightning Novices' Chase in which just five go to post. Following a breathing operation Nicky Henderson's giant of a horse Mad Max won well enough on his seasonal debut in the soft ground at Kempton. On official ratings he has it to do giving seven pounds to El Dancer and Woolcombe Folly but I wouldn't be inclined to oppose.

The feature is the Blue Square Handicap Chase at 3.25 - I can't deny I'm a bit concerned to see my Champion Chase fancy, Kalahari King, head the weights for this fifteeen runner handicap with underfoot unlikely to suit. Lennon ran a good race after a long layoff in the Victor Chandler a fortnight ago - he may well bounce on this second run but at 16/1 I'll take a small each-way interest.

In the four miler at four o'clock I'll have a second look at former pointer Knighton Combe who looks to have been trained specifically for this race.

Paddy Brennan has a couple of good rides at Wetherby on Battlecry and Weird Al. The latter, a 12/1 chance for the RSA Chase at the Festival, takes on old adversary Knockara Beau (33/1 for the same race) in the 2.50. On official ratings KB is the one to beat but this step up to three miles one furlong isn't certan to suit. A race to watch with Cheltenham in mind...

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

At Sandown we learned nothing from Binocular's length defeat of Dee Ee Williams while Punchestowns had one serious scare at the seventh in the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase. He wasn't hurried, recovered well and won impressively given that mistake - he remains 7/2 in places for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. 11/10 favourite According was most disappointing, beaten a distance and some more; this evening several bookmakers have removed him from their Triumph Hurdle betting - William Hill offer 33/1 and I'd be surprised if there were any takers.

I was surprised to see Song Of Songs sent off 3/1 favourite - he was beaten after the eighth finishing fourth, seven lengths behind Russian Flag (7/2) who collared Consigliere (7/2) on the run to the line - the winner was in receipt of a hefty thirteen pounds.

Mad Max (6/4f) failed to concede weight to Woolcombe Folly (7/2) and I'm Delliah (4/1), the former beating the latter a nose with the selection four lengths back in third. This evening William Hill stand oput by offering 33/1 Woolcombe Folly for the Arkle while Coral go 40/1 Mad Max. Generally the Arkle is a race I tend to leave alone at the Festival - those prices look about right.

I had my reservations about Kalahari King in the Blue Square Handicap Chase and Ferdy Murphy's comments in the Racing Post suggested his charge would come on for the run. Nobody said a word to the horse as he won in impressive fashion at 10/1; this evening most bookies go 5s and 6s KK for the Champion Chase but Paddy Power have taken a stance by offering 8/1. At this stage he's still my fancy for the two mile championship at Cheltenham. 20/1 chance Lennon ran a good race and looked likely to take a place coming to the last but he weakened to finish sixth.

Knighton Combe (10/1) ran third in the four miler behind Gidam Gidam (16/1) and Turpin Green (33/1).

At Wetherby Weird Al and Knockara Beau were sent of 5/4 joint favourites - the former travelled supremely well and jumped more cleanly than the latter up the home straight to win by two and a half lengths. Weird Al is now 10/1 with most layers for the RSA Chase and on this evidence is no forlorn hope. Knockara Beau is out to 33/1 for that race.