Friday, October 08, 2010

Chepstow's first meeting

Over the years tomorrow's Chepstow card has come to be seen by many traditionalists as the first meeeting 'proper' of the new National Hunt season. A few years ago Philip Hobbs was a trainer to note here but in more recent times Paul Nicholls has used the meeting to set down a marker. Of course, the world and his wife is now fully aware of the above - a while back I set about trying to exploit this fact by opposing fancied runners from the Nicholls stable, the theory being that the yard may not be quite in full swing and many of the horses not 'cherry ripe'.

This approach hasn't really been that successful - here's a quick summary of how Nicholls-trained horses ridden by Ruby Walsh have fared at this meet over the past four years:

Tito Bustillo won 11/8f
The Gossmoor Yank third 11/4f
Gullible Gordon won 4/6f
Tot Of The Knar third 100/30
Classic Swain second 7/2jf
Murrell second 8/11f

Five Dream fourth 7/2 2f
Herecomesthetruth won 10/11f
Bold Policy fifth 4/1 2f
R Rien De Sivola won 8/1
Tchico Polos won 5/2 2f
Tataniano won evens fav

Natal UR 100/30f
Gwanako won 6/1 2f
Petit Lord won 6/5f
Qrackers second 5/1 (beaten by 4/11f Franchoek)
Pertinent F 4/1 2f
Hercomesthetruth fifth 7/4f

Bold Fire tenth 9/2
East Lawyer PU 8/1
Hot N Holy won 9/4f
Chaninbar second 5/1 2f (beaten by 4/11f Katchit)
Armariver second 3/1 2f (beaten by 4/11f Massini's Maguire)
Earth Planet won 11/4 2f

Those looking for value should note that the Nicholls runner has won the past four runnings of the 3.25.

I intend to oppose Escort'men in tomorrow's 4.00 race. This horse won the Dovecote at Kempton in impressive style last February but his subsequent effort at Aintree was disappointing; I'm not certain whether he's better going right-handed or whether he can handle an undulating track - certainly his hold-up style of racing won't be suited to Chepstow. Having said all that, I should point out Nick Mordin rates Escort'men 'a Champion hurdle prospect'. I'll take a chance with Tom George's course and distance winner Olofi who won the juvenile hurdle at this meet last year.

Gullible Gordon will be popular in the 5.10 but this is a competitive handicap. Twiston-Davies has his team in fine form (9 wins from 32 runs in past fortnight) so last year's winner Beat The Boys isn't lightly dismissed. Le Beau Bai is interesting, especially with a seven pound claimer up. Connections are likely to be aiming for another stab at the Welsh National but I'm tempted to take fitness on trust and have a wager on Richard Lee's Le Beau Bai.

In the opener I'll monitor the market to decide whether Alan King's Groove Master is a play against the Nicholls favourite Domtaline (third in the Prix Wild at Auteuil, a race that historically throws up plenty of future winners according to the Weekender) while in the concluding bumper Kartanian is likely to have his work cut out giving seven pounds to Merehead.

Over at Bangor the 5.15 looks a hot novice for the time of year. Henry Daly's Wessex King was withdrawn at Uttoxeter on Sunday presumably on account of the heavy ground. The going may be more to his liking here but the opposition is far stiffer; the race should provide some valuable pointers for the weeks ahead.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Horses make fools of you. Speaking as someone who doesn't need any particular help in that department (from friends equine or otherwise), I was particularly dismayed to see Olofi (2/1f) beaten a nose by 5/1 chance Escort'men; a mistake by each of the protagonists at the final two flights set up the thrilling finish. Fair play to the winner who held on resolutely after landing in a heap at the last - he succeeded in conceding sixteen pounds to the runner up.

Le Beau Bai was sent off a 10/1 shot which told you he wasn't ready to do himself justice on his seasonal debut - he finished a distant seventh in a race that went to 8/1 chance Ballycarney.

Nicholls' Watamu Bay (even money) did himself no favours jumping right on several occasions in the novice chase; he was beaten by Philip Hobbs' Balthazar King while Kartanian (11/4) took the bumper, Merehead (11/10f) finishing a modest third.

At Bangor Robinson Collonges (3/1) won in a common canter and will have gone into many notebooks as a result. His task was made somewhat easier by Tara Royal's unseating of A P McCoy.