Friday, January 20, 2012

The Ascot and Haydock features

Ascot's Victor Chandler Chase (3.10) looks a trappy affair. Layers have priced up Nicky Henderson's Finian's Rainbow the favourite; of the eight runners in the field seven have an official rating and in the eyes of the handicapper Finian's Rainbow is the sixth best horse in the race, looking to find some nine pounds with top-rated animal Somersby. Henrietta Knight's charge hasn't won over two miles since December 2009 and last time finished fourth behind Kauto Star in the King George, a trip of three miles - here connections try cheek pieces for the first time but his chance is respected. Al Ferof is a novice of considerable potential - his neck defeat of For Non Stop at Sandown last time wasn't done any favours when the runner-up was beaten four lengths in receipt of seven pounds from Cue Card at Newbury. I've had my fingers burned a couple of times with Wishfull Thinking this season; Philip Hobbs' horse weakened three out in the Paddy Power Chase at Cheltenham's Open meeting before ruining his chance by racing far too freely in the Tingle Creek. The last time Richard Johnson held his mount up and that tactic appeared to work better with Wishfull Thinking going down threequarters of a length to Finian's Rainbow (receiving one pound) in Kempton's Desert Orchid Chase (Oiseau De Nuit in third). In that race Finian's Rainbow blundered badly four from home but recovered well to take the spoils on the run-in while once again Wishfull Thinking, whose breathing problems have been well documented, didn't look the easiest of rides and appeared to hang slightly left at the obstacles up the home straight. Trappy indeed, but at the prices on offer I'm going to give Wishfull Thinking (13/2) one more chance while I wouldn't put anyone off having an each-way dabble on Oiseau De Nuit (40/1 with the sponsors) provided the eight make it to post.

The feature at Haydock, where there is a precautionary inspection at 8.00 am, is the Peter Marsh Chase; the going is reported as heavy. At twelve years old Grand National winner Mon Mome isn't getting any younger but he put in an eye-catching round behind Mostly Bob at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. Venetia Williams' charge was fourth in this race last year carrying 11-10 off a mark of 156; this year he's on a mark of 145 and carries 11-8 so I'm thinking he could be in the mix - he's worth  an each-way interest at around the 8/1 mark.


GeeDee said...

Sat in the kithcen next to a bucket of ice into which I am periodically placing my burnt fingers...

It was clear four out Wishfull Thinking (15/2) was going to play no part whatsoever in the finish - he came home a poor fifth, over thirty lengths behind Finian's Rainbow, the horse he'd run to threequarters of a length the last time. On this showing the horse continues to suffer with breathing problems.

Nobody would begrudge winner Somersby (9/2) his first Grade One - he stayed on well to pass Finian's Rainbow (5/2jf) on the run to the line.

In the Peter Marsh Mon Mome (8/1) was just about managing to keep in touch with the field when he was suddenly pulled up five from home; it looked as though something may have been amiss but I haven't seen any reports after the race.

Accordidng To Pete (9/1) saw the trip out best and had enough in hand to win although he slowed to a walk crossing the line on the heavy ground.

Mulldog said...

I did indeed stick with MM & ATP