Friday, October 28, 2016

Ascot's Sodexo Gold Cup 2016

A feature of this week has been the mixed messages coming from connections of Saphir Du Rheu, with owner Andy Stewart appearing to indicate the gelding was set to make his seasonal debut in Wetherby's West Yorkshire Hurdle while trainer Paul Nicholls favoured the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot; the horse also held an entry for the Charlie Hall Chase.

Saphir goes to Ascot tomorrow (3.35) where the going is officially good, good to firm in places.

In the Weekender Andrew King writes:

'...and [Saphir Du Rheu] has looked a different horse in his work at Manor Farm so far this autumn.'

I've never really been convinced by Saphir's jumping over fences - last year's Hennessy effort sticks in the mind - and all his chase wins to date have come in fields with less than ten runners.

Feltham winner Tea For Two looks short enough in the market even with Lizzie Kelly's five pound claim while Voix D'Eau ran well on his seasonal reappearance at Chepstow but isn't guaranteed to stay the trip.

In the past ten years only three horses have carried more than 11-0 to victory: Roll Along (2008), Massini's Maguire (2010) and Houblon Des Obeaux (2013); in the same timeframe no horse has won carrying more than 11-03.

Two trainers in fine form at the moment are Colin Tizzard and Tom George with win strike rates for the season of 16.05% and 19.78% respectively.

Three weeks ago Buckhorn Timothy looked to have made progress when second at Chepstow behind Potters Cross, holding A Good Skin one and threequarter lengths (Killala Quay pulled up). Rivalry is renewed tomorrow with A Good Skin, second in the Kim Muir at the Festival in March, three pounds better off. The form was given a further boost yesterday when fifth Buachaill Alainn turned out to take the Durham National at Sedgefield.

The pair look closely matched. A Good Skin, best-priced 15/2 with Stan James at the time of writing, has the better form in the book but I am tempted by the 12/1 on offer about Colin Tizzard's inmate.

A Good Skin is the selection.

Over at Wetherby Cue Card is the one to beat in the Charlie Hall but the race makes little appeal as a betting medium while the preceding West Yorkshire Hurdle should prove informative but looks particularly trappy beforehand.

After a visit to Robin Dickin's yard last week I note the stable has two entries over the weekend - Thomas Crapper in the opener at Ascot and Dontminddboys in the 2.10 at Carlisle on Sunday.

Thomas was well behind over the smaller obstacles in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow three weeks ago where Crimson Ark finished second to Ballyoptic; I think this is probably the last chance Thomas has to race as a novice. On ratings the top five are closely matched; with Crimson Ark making his chase debut, Remind Me Later having his third chase start and San Benedeto his fourth, at around 12/1 Robin Dickin's inmate is probably overpriced.

Dontminddboys is a tall, striking grey who certainly caught my eye - a chaser in the making. He returns to action in a novices' handicap hurdle following a long lay-off through injury.

And finally, just in case you missed it, my old friend Johnny Og (PG's Tips, passim) scored at odds of 11/2 on his seasonal debut at Stratford yesterday...


TW said...

Excellent write up and with doubts about fitness and/or going for much of the field I agree with your conclusion but not the selection! I also honed in on A Good Skin (AGS) and Buckthorn Timothy (BT); both still look to have some scope to progress and whilst BT is slightly more exposed overall he is less so as a chaser and this and the better value odds have swayed me in BT’s favour.

BT Chase Record: Wins 2, Placed 3, Runs 7
AGS Chase Record: Wins 2, Places 6, Runs 11

Good luck


GeeDee said...

In the event the dilemma over A Good Skin and Buckhorn Timothy proved incidental with the selection finishing sixth at odds of 6/1 and Buckhorn Timothy tenth at 10/1.

Bottom weight Antony (11/1) scooted away up the hill to win decisively with Junction Fourteen (16/1) holding 9/4 favourite Saphir Du Rheu a short head for second.

Buckhorn's stablemate Fourth Act was an eye-catching fourth on his seasonal debut while Tea For Two ran a decent race under a big weight to come home fifth. Nick Williams' charge looked a little gassy on his first run since last February and can improve next time if he settles better.