Friday, December 02, 2011

The Tingle Creek and the Becher feature

A cursory glance at tomorrow's Tingle Creek and Champion Chase winner Sizing Europe looks the one. With Tataniano now written off for the season, the current champion has 13 pounds in hand over nearest rival Wishfull Thinking. The market has priced the race accordingly; it's worth noting that the favourite has obliged on five occasions in the past decade and in that time the biggest-priced winner was 6/1 shot Cenkos in 2002. Having said all that, Sizing Europe had a right hard race over a mile further in the Champion Chase at Down Royal four weeks ago where he ran out of petrol on the run-in and was passed by Quito De La Roque. It's difficult to know how much that race will have taken out of him. Wishfull Thinking raced from the front in the Paddy Power over an extra half-mile but faded into sixth at the business end and was reported 'very thick in his wind' afterwards; Philip Hobbs, never one to talk up his horses for the sake of it, does not think his charge will be done for pace. While Kauto Stone could be one for the future, it's worth remembering this particular track provides a stern examination of any youngster's jumping but course and distance winner Gauvain isn't totally written off, although I've never found the gelding easy to win with. Sizing Europe is the clear form choice and 6/4 will look easy money to many but in search of a bit of value I'm going to chance Wishfull Thinking at around 3/1. Once again he's likely to race to the fore so at least I'll know my fate soon enough.

At Aintree the feature is The Becher Chase (2.10) run over the National fences. Fifteen go to post and there are plenty with chances including last year's winner Hello Bud who tries to repeat the trick just a couple of weeks short of his 14th birthday. I like a horse at a price with form over the fences in a race such as this and, to be honest, I'm struggling to find something to fit the bill. Niche Market appeals having finished fifth in the National but 8/1 is short enough  and the layers are similarly shy about Topham winner Always Waining. Alan King holds National aspirations for West End Rocker and the bay looked unlucky to be brought down at Becher's in the spring so at around 14/1 I'll take a small each-way interest; he didn't shine on his seasonal debut around Cheltenham so connections will be hoping for a better showing here from their Warwick Classic Chase winner.

The opener at the same course sees a clash between Keys and Cinders And Ashes; the last time the pair met the former prevailed by a short-head in a Cheltenham bumper. Cinders And Ashes should come on for his seasonal debut two weeks ago while Keys was last seen finishing down the field in the Cesarewitch. In my book Cinders And Ashes will represent a play against likely favourite Keys if priced 11/4 or bigger.


GeeDee said...

Richard Johnson set out to make all on the aptly-named Wishfull Thinking (3/1); fifteen lengths clear turning into the back straight, the selection was a spent force before the railway fences, losing his place and coming home a remote fifth. Did he go off too fast or does the horse still have a breathing problem? Perhaps a bit of both... In commentary John Francome said he'd wait to see the horse finish a race before looking at him again - that sounds sound advice which I've taken on board. 11/8 favourite Sizing Europe collected the spoils with Kauto Stone putting in a decent display chasing the winner home; connections of the second have nominated the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival as a target for their charge.

Apart from a slip at the first, West End Rocker (10/1) jumped well and came home in splendid isolation to take the Becher by 22 lengths from Niche Market. He is now generally a 20/1 shot for the 2012 National next April.

No fancy prices about Cinders And Ashes (6/5f) but Donald McCain's charge drew clear of market rival Keys (6/4) in the final 200 yards to win by nine lengths.

Anonymous said...

Well done with the Rocker!

GeeDee said...

Cheers, Mully.