Friday, January 13, 2012

Saturday's Warwick card

Warwick is a few short miles down the road from here but I haven't attended a meeting there for well over ten years; I find the hill in the middle of the course particularly disconcerting. However, I've had my leave form signed off so tomorrow I'll put the concerns to one side for the Classic Chase meeting, the course's best jumps card of the year. The going is described as good to soft with soft places on the hurdles course - most people think it will ride 'dead' as there has been very little rain during the week. This is my thinking at the moment...

12.50 Novices' Handicap Hurdle. No selection.

1.25 3 mile Novices' Chase. Four of the seven have an official rating and of those Frascati Park, priced up favourite this evening, is best served by race conditions. I'm tempted to chance Emma Lavelle's unexposed gelding Court Victory. In a recent Stable Tour article the trainer described her charge as a giant, measuring 17.3hh. This sharpish track may not be ideal and he may need a bit more cut but the trip should suit and the accurate jumping he displayed last time at Uttoxeter should serve him well down the back straight where the fences come thick and fast. In the past Golden Chieftain has been seen to have problems in the jumping department. Only one favourite has obliged in the past six renewals, with either the second or third favourite taking the spoils on the other five occasions.

2.00 2 mile Handicap Chase. Previous course and distance winner Marodima made all to win over two and a half miles at Fontwell on Thursday and is priced up favourite on the back of that. A talented individual who was something of a tearaway in his younger days, he's more settled now but may struggle to build up a lead against these. Educated Evans makes more appeal than Roi De Rose who has tended to race over further and has blinkers fitted for the first time. I'd forgive Tara Royal his last effort - 10/1 could look big after the event.

2.30 3 mile one furlong handicap hurdle. Looks incredibly competitive. Two each-way chances against the field - Barwell Bridge (9/1) ran well on his seasonal debut at Wincanton 19 days ago while Venetia Williams' runners are currently in exceptional form and Aachen (20/1) catches my eye. Tenth in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, he's never really delivered to his potential but connections try cheek pieces for the first time; he travelled well for a long way at Bangor the last time before fading badly.

3.05 Leamington Novices' Hurdle (2m 5f). The favourite has taken five of the last six renewals and Emma Lavelle appears particularly bullish about the chances of her well-regarded gelding Highand Lodge (owned by the marvellously-named syndicate 'The Unusual Suspects'). There are some interesting sorts in this, including Cotton Mill and Ambion Wood; on balance I'm not inclined to oppose the favourite.

3.40 Classic Chase (3m 5f). Six of the 14 runners are set to carry more than their long handicap weight. In the past those who have run in the Welsh National have struggled here - this year Bench Warrent finished fifth, Hey Big Spender fell and Blazing Bailey was pulled up. I quietly fancied Neptune Equester at Wetherby last time but he lost touch mid-race before staying on again in the Rowland Meyrick. The trainer put that down to a slow pace so I'm going to stay with Neptune Equester who looks nicely weighted and has Aidan Coleman in the saddle.

4.00 Bumper. No selection.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

A couple of A1 stinkers in this little lot...

Frascati Park took the 1.25. One look in the paddock and you wouldn't have touched him with the proverbial bargepole - he was given permission to go to post early and seemed jolly keen to get there. Those antics saw his price go out to 9/2 while the money came for Court Victory (3/1f) and Alfie Spinner (100/30). FP went to the head of affairs early on and never saw another opponent; jock Sam Twiston-Davies nicked it by injecting some pace entering the back straight for the final time. The winner looks quirky enough and has an ungainly head carriage but he saw the trip out really well and wasn't for being caught by Alfie Spinner. The selection practically slipped up on the first bend but was given plenty of time to recover - a mistake two from home put paid to his chance but he would have struggled to overhaul the leader; he finished third.

Educated Evans (9/2) got worked up at the start and ran a howler. He was detached in rear at the first and by the second couldn't get anywhere near winning - he was pulled up before the fourth. Marodima (9/4f) made all to win from Gracchus (33/1 - one to note) and Tara Tara Royal (14/1).

Reasonable displays from Barwell Bridge (third @ 10/1) and Aachen (fifth @ 12/1) in the handicap hurdle.

Plenty of hype surrounded Highland Lodge (5/6f) in the 3.05; Emma Lavelle's gelding was backed accordingly but he went out like a light on the home turn. On course I took the view 11/2 about Cotton Mill (rated just one pound lower than HL) was too big a price and had a small wager. CM fought gamely to hold Ambion Wood (7/2) half a length while Mrs Tips collected on each-way selection Same Difference (16/1).

A dismal display from Neptune Equester (9/2jf) in the Classic Chase, starting off at the rear and finishing there - twelfth of the thirteen. The trainer hinted he can race lazily - he looked pretty hard work for Aidan Coleman. The spoils went to Hey Big Spender (14/1) who made light work of top weight to sprint past Strongbows Legend (receiving over two stones) after the last to win by three quarters of a length from 25/1 shot Fredo.

Quick note on the opener won by Roll The Dice (8/1) - the second horse, the four-year-old Easydoesit (7/1), got loose before the start, throwing Noel Fehily. The bay was eventually caught and in the circumstances put in a fine effort to go down just one and three quarter lengths.