Friday, February 25, 2011

The Racing Post Chase or The Eider Chase?

Going through the form for tomorrow's Racing Post Chase at Kempton, I'm struck by the number of big stables that are currently struggling - in the past fortnight Nigel Twiston-Davies has recorded three wins from 37 runs; Philip Hobbs two from 27 runs; Jonjo O'Neill one from 21 runs; David Pipe one win from 22 runs while Tom George's last winner was over 50 days ago. Of the 17 declared for the Kempton feature, only six are set to carry 11 stones or more, yet in the past decade seven winners have carried 11 stones or more to victory, three having won with top weight (Gungadu 2008, Farmer Jack 2005 and Marlborough 2004). Last year Nacarat (11-8) tried to make all under Tony McCoy but was denied a neck by Razor Royale (10-5) ridden by Paddy Brennan; tomorrow Brennan is aboard Nacarat while McCoy rides likely favourite Fistral Beach who unseated Ruby Walsh at the second last year. At present both Nacarat and Razor Royale look a little out of form but I'd still consider the latter at a price as in the autumn Twiston-Davies put this one up as his best chance in a Gold Cup after Imperial Commander. 20/1 about Nicky Henderson's Polyfast looks quite big but the gelding doesn't look certain to stay so I'll have an each-way wager on Colin Tizzard's Hey Big Spender (14/1 totesport); all the major layers offer a quarter the odds the first four places.

Four declared for the Pendil and that is likely to be reduced to three as Kerada is considered doubtful this evening. Plenty will see this as a golden opportunity for Captain Chris to record his first win over the larger obstacles following his second behind Arkle hope Medermit at Sandown three weeks ago. Captian Chris wasn't foot perfect that day and given the stable form (see above - and two favourites turned over at Huntingdon on Thursday) I was tempted to oppose with Paul Nicholls' highly-regarded American Trilogy until I read the grey had jumped out left when winning over course and distance the last time.

The Adonis looks trappy. Paul Nicholls' French import Tonic Mellyse has his first run in this country and is priced up favourite. Nicky Henderson has won this previously with the likes of
Soldatino, Binocular and Punjabi -the Weekender suggested Celtus was likely to be that handler's entry but Celtus goes for the Dovecote while Molotoff runs in this. On official ratings Molotoff has something to find with a couple of these so I'm going out on a limb to back Maoi Chinn Tire each way at 25/1 or bigger. Granted, he carries top weight and we don't know how he'll cope with this right-handed track but trainer Jennie Candlish is in good form at the moment; she states in the Weekender her charge wasn't suited by Cheltenham the last time - I'm prepared to forgive that effort. Aintree is the plan so connections clearly hold the gelding in high regard; Jennie's partner Alan O'Keefe takes the ride.

In the Dovecote Celtus holds a Triumph Hurdle entry and is another having his first run in this country; over in France the gelding won three of his four starts, finishing second on his penultimate run. At the weights there's little to choose between this one and Paul Nicholls' Toubab. Toubab didn't appear to find a lot in the Tolworth the last time and the winner of that race, Minella Class, hardly franked the form at Huntingdon on Thursday, even if the starter did gift eventual winner Aikman a soft lead. The flat track here may suit Toubab better than Sandown but I'm still wondering whether he's something of a bridle horse - we should find out tomorrow. This evening they bet 5/2 Toubab 7/2 Celtus so Celtus gets the vote - in the last five years a four-year-old has collected the spoils on two occasions (Trenchant 2009, Escort'men 2010).

The Eider meeting at Newcastle, where the going is heavy, is subject to an early morning inspection. I note that Tom Scudamore, not one to turn down a long journey in the quest for a winner, rides here rather than at Kempton. If the meeting gets the green light I'll take a small each-way interest in Flintoff, part-owned by Freddie Flintoff. Somewhat like his owner, the chestnut gelding comes with something of a health warning but the stable is in good form and this slog in the mud should suit; there's the added advantage that conditioins will also slow the others down - William Hill offer 16/1 this evening.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Short on time so quick results only...

Hey Big Spender (12/1) - fourth in the RP Chase but never near enough to mount serious challenge.

Maoi Chinn Tire (25/1) Held up and some headway down back straight but went out like a light before the home turn. Finished eighth of nine.

Plenty of money for Celtus (2/1f) who ran his race from the front but tired two out to finish third behind the impressive Sire De Grugy (11/4) and Empire Levant (5/1), another part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson.

What a monkey Flintoff (14/1) is! Ran in snatches when the fancy took him but Tom Scu was busy pushing after half a circuit. He was pulled up, as were eight others in the desperate ground. Companero (16/1) beat Giles Cross (9/2jf) 30 lengths; distance to third horse Morgan Be (13/2) recorded as 99 lengths - only three finished but at one point it looked a possibility that none of them would get home. Not a pretty sight.