Friday, February 18, 2011

From Ascot to Wincanton via Haydock

If identifying a vulnerable favourite is half the battle, there are three forecast at Ascot I won't be taking on... In the feature Betfair Ascot Chase, Riverside Theatre has, on official ratings, nine pounds and upwards in hand over his six rivals and looks the one to beat. Pride Of Dulcote will have his supporters but the gelding had a wasted trip to Leopardstown a fortnight ago when that meeting was abandoned and the form of his head defeat of Punchestowns at Newbury wasn't franked by that one the next time at Kempton, even though Punchestowns ended up winning the race by eleven lengths. I've always thought Tartak something of an enigma but Paddy Brennan's record on the horse speaks for itself - five wins from eight rides.

Sprinter Sacre, described recently as the apple of Nicky Henderson's eye, is as low as 10/1 for the Supreme Novices' at Cheltenham. He's expected to oblige in the 4.05 but will be no price.

Persian Snow went into many notebooks when winning over course and distance last October. That was run on good ground - perhaps connections are slightly wary of underfoot conditions here as they've opted to fit a tongue-tie this time.

Of the four in the Reynoldstown I prefer Master Of The Hall to The Minack. Having said that, there's nothing between them on ratings and The Minack beat Nicky Henderson's charge fifteen lengths in a novice hurdle at Huntingdon a year ago...

There's a decent card at Haydock where the feature is the Grand National Trial at 3.20. Fourteen face the starter for what looks likely to be one long slog in the mud; the going on the chase track is reported to be heavy, soft in places and further rain is expected. Aidan Coleman has been sweet on Mobaasher for a while now and the chestnut gelding gets another mention on his blog this evening. I'll take a small each-way interest in Le Beau Bai who will relish conditions; the stable is in fine form (three wins from 11 runners in past fortnight) and conditional rider Jake Greenall takes off a handy-looking seven pounds.

One of Aidan's I will bet provided the gelding isn't priced up favourite is Houbon Des Obeaux (1.40) who looked impressive behind Marsh Warbler on his first run in this country.

Court In Motion, currently 6/1 favourite for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham, goes in the 2.10 and on ratings is entitled to win with something to spare. He'll be a short price but I wouldn't be tempted as the yard has been a bit in and out of late.

Over at Wincanton five go in what looks a fascinating renewal of the Kingwell. In the Weekender Alan King is bullish enough about Mille Chief, although he does caution the horse is better on better ground. Overturn is likely to run his race from the front and won't be easy to pass but at this evening's prices 4/1 Silviniaco Conti (bet365, SkyBet) looks value. Admittedly he has to give weight to all his opponents but his third behind Menorah (9/2 in places for the Champion Hurdle) conceding four pounds in the International at Cheltenham comes right out of the top drawer. For me, the stand-out feature of Paul Nicholls' charge is the speed with which he takes his hurdles.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

The media built the Betfair Chase into match between Riverside Theate and Pride Of Dulcote but the market told a different story with Riverside Theatre sent off11/10 favourite while Pride Of Dulcote was practically friendless at 100/30. In the event Pride Of Dulcote took a crashing at the eighth; the favourite showed a smart turn of foot between the final two flights on the rain-softened ground beating Gauvain ten lengths. A sad footnote - Pride Of Dulcote broke a leg in his fall and had to be put down.

Sprinter Sacre (3/10f) won as expected but Nicky Henderson's fourth winner of the day, Mono Man (6/4) had too many guns for selection Persian Snow(10/11f) who came home third.

Master Of The Hall (6/5jf) took the Reynoldstown - The Minack lost his chance with a bad blunder at the fourteenth.

Le Beau Bai (15/2) stayed on grimly to claim third spot in the Grand National Trial, having being outpaced after a circuit. Silver By Nature (10/1) carried top weight to an impressive victory on the heavy ground - will connections be able to resist a stab at the National now?I would have thought not!

Houbon Des Obeaux was 11/2 in Friday's tissue - there was none of that available on the day. Backed in from 15/8 to 5/4 favourite, he looked in trouble as
Third Intention went into a clear lead at the final flight but the leader emptied dramatically allowing the favourite to get back up in the shadow of the post.

Court In Motion (8/13f) was upstaged by 16/1 chance Back In Focus. Sky Bet make the winner 10/1from 50s for the Albert Bartlett at the Festival.

Difficult to know what to make of the Kingwell with both Overturn and Silviniaco Conti (7/4f) failing to give their running. The selection was very well backed during the day but was one of the first beaten. Mille Chief (15/8) just held Celestial Halo (8/1) a nose on the line. I think Alan King will expect more from his charge on better ground but that didn't look like the performance of a future champion hurdler.