Friday, September 24, 2010

From Ascot to Market Rasen

Canford Cliffs misses tomorrow's Queen Elizabeth II showpiece at Ascot which means French-trained colt Mafki is likely to start odds on and Rip Van Winkle is the most likely to benefit should something go amiss. The only time the favourite has been beaten was in the St James's Palace Stakes over course and distance back in June but a valid excuse emerged for that effort after the race - the bay was found to have a throat infection. French entries haven't done particularly well in this event in recent years (last win 1993); the books offer 11/4 for those tempted to oppose with Rip Van Winkle. This evening's going report is good to soft, soft in places; the race looks an intriguing contest but doesn't make that much appeal as a betting medium - I'll watch from the sidelines.

The National Hunt season starts to pick up around this time of year. Nigel Twiston-Davies made his customary raid on Perth's two day meeting earlier in the week - he came away with a tally of six winners from thirteen runners and Lambs Cross added to that score by taking the opener at Worcester this afternoon. Market Rasen stages an interesting-looking card tomorrow with Betfair sponsoring six of the seven races (as well as preparing for a stock market flotation!) Of those six races, three are preceded with the slogan 'Read Paul Nicholls Exclusively On Betfair'. Readers may recall Mr Nicholls previously wrote a column for The Racing Post but I assume that paper's reporting of Mr Findlay's split with the yard after Mr Findlay was warned off (a decision later rescinded) didn't meet with unanimous approval down at Ditcheat.

The feature is the listed handicap chase at 3.20 in which sixteen are set to face the starter. To say Peter Bowen has targeted the race may be considered something of an understatement - he fields five of the sixteen (including last year's winner Valley Ride) while David Pipe has four entries although there must be a doubt about Frosted Grape taking his chance from out of the handicap, having finished a well-beaten favourite at Worcester earlier this afternoon. Top weight Grand Slam Hero is respected but in an open contest (7/1 the field this evening), 9/1 Peter Bowen's No Panic looks reasonable value and is worth an each-way interest.

Last year the juvenile hurdle (2.50) was won by Barizan off a rating of 140; several commentators thought that too high but the horse proved them wrong running a blinder in the Triumph and winning the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown. Two Kisses is the top-rated for tomorrow's renewal (130); Brendan Powell's filly looks interesting as does Architrave and Beyond (stablemate of Barizan). Using the official ratings as a guide, I have to go for Two Kisses.

Finally I see Chris Bealby has a quiet word for Persian Gates who makes his chasing debut in Singleton Birch Handicap Chase at 3.55. The chestnut gelding has schooled well at home and the trainer thinks his charge is well handicapped.


GeeDee said...

At Ascot even money favourite Mafki ran flat and Rip Van Winkle (11/4) was pipped a nose on the line by Poet's Voice (9/2) ridden by Dettori. On this the 14th anniversary of his seven Ascot winners, the Italian rode a four-timer, perhaps the most remarkable victory coming aboard 7/1f Redford just seven days after the same horse had taken The Ayr Gold Cup.

I didn't bet the Ascot race and I wish I hadn't bet the Market Rasen races too. No Panic (11/2f) may not have had the panics but I certainly did after the first circuit as the selection slowly lost his place in midfield to finish out the back where he was pulled up with around a mile left to run. You could almost hear the jock saying 'Never travelled'; the race went to 16/1 outsider Silmi with Paul Nicholls' Five Dream (15/2) putting in a late charge to take second ahead of Qulinton (7/1).

A decent effort from Two Kisses (11/4f) in the juvenile hurdle but the filly had no answer to the power of Architrave (100/30) who won this from the front beating the selection five lengths. Architrave looks the best juvenile seen out so far this season; although there will be tougher assignments ahead, connections are entitled to start thinking about the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham next March.

Chris Bealby's Persian Gates (7/1) stayed on for third on his first try over fences, some fifteen plus lengths behind the market leaders who had the finish between them - Twiston-Davies' Thai Vango (3/1) beat Rockinorsescience (5/2f).

GeeDee said...

Copied from BHA site regarding No Panic:

Tom O’Brien, the rider of NO PANIC (IRE), reported that the gelding made a mistake in the back straight and lost confidence.