Friday, October 12, 2012

Chepstow choices

Tomorrow sees Ruby Walsh take his first rides this side of the Irish Sea since the spring, a sure indication the jumping season is moving into gear. I've driven past Chepstow racecourse on numerous occasions but I've never actually been to a meet - a colleague regularly attends but never quite manages to sell it to me...

The Nicholls / Walsh combination is always popular here. This post on the eve of the 2010 meeting details how the pairing fared between 2006 and 2009; there will be plenty who fancy Far West, third on his only start in the Grandak Junenille Hurdle at Auteuil last April, to do the business in the opener but Alan King appeared particularly sweet on Handazan in last week's Weekender stable tour - Handazan rates a play against Far West if the latter is chalked up favourite.

De La Bech brings interesting form to the table in the 2.25, having finished third behind Simonsig in the 2011 Champion Bumper at Fairyhouse. Now with Philip Hobbs, he missed last season due to a leg injury.

Betting novices on their first try over the larger obstacles is a risky business at the best of times (Attaglance won handicap hurdles at both the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals in the spring yet was pulled up behind Rival D'Estruval on his chase debut at Carlisle earlier today) but it will be disappointing if Fingal Bay can't start off with a win in the 3.00 race; Tiger O'Toole is a useful benchmark but Poungach is the obvious danger.

Hinterland goes in what used to be known as the Free Handicap (3.40) and is likely to be a short-priced favourite. Tipped as a future Arkle horse, he has to concede at least thirteen pounds on soft ground to all his rivals; on official ratings both Ubaltique and Captain Sharpe are weighted to come out on top - the former is a small individual and could be a week's work short according to his handler in the Weekender while the latter has certainly been kept busy of late and has an additional five pounds taken off his back by claimer Robert Williams. In the past Captain Sharpe hasn't tended to show his best at this track but he represents an each-way play for the very brave at 10/1 or bigger.

The 4.45 is particularly competitive - the interesting ones for this observer are course and distance winner Ace High and Golden Chieftain; Rangitoto is reportedly being aimed at the Badger Ales at Wincanton next month while Victors Serenade is best on heavy ground. Denis O'Regan names eight-year-old Ace High as one of his ten to follow in Mark Howard's One Jump Ahead and an eight-year-old has taken the last five renewals of this event but top weight Ace High has a stiff task on his plate - none of the past five winners has carried more than 10-10 to victory. Colin Tizzard has seen a couple oblige recently so the unexposed Golden Chieftain is a tentative each-way suggestion at around 8/1.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

In the opener they came for Handazan (even money favourite) but it was Far West (15/8) who won in something of a common canter for the Nicholls/Walsh combo; a most impressive performance from the winner.

Fingal Bay (8/13f) jumped well to win the novice chase but it was disappoinitng to see main opponent Poungach (7/4) slither on landing at the first.

Hinterland (evens favourite) provided another easy win for Walsh in the Free Handicap - selection Captain Sharpe was a non-runner.

On the day there were no each-way prices about Golden Cheiftain (3/1jf) and he put in something of a mundane performance, coming home fifth without every getting involved. By stark contrast Ace High's (8/1) valiant attempt to make all under top weight was worthy of note - Victor Dartnall's inmate was passed by winner Lost Glory (12/1) coming to the last and Mostly Bob (25/1) on the run to the line - he was beaten five and a half lengths into third.