Friday, January 20, 2017

Haydock's Peter Marsh Chase 2017

Old friends Johnny Og, Thomas Crapper and Wolf Of Windlesham hold entries on tomorrow's card at Ascot but I'm afraid prospects of racing going ahead look about as remote as one of my selections coming in.

Fourteen have been declared for the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock due off at 3.15. Market leader Alary, quoted as low as 16/1 in places for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, makes his debut in this country carrying top weight off a mark of 162.

That looks a pretty stiff ask for Colin Tizzard's charge, particularly on soft ground, although his participation ensures the bottom five must race from out of the handicap.

Market rivals Bristol De Mai and Definitely Red finished second and third respectively behind Otago Trail in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle in November with Bishops Road fourth, Virak sixth.

On Boxing Day Definitely Red won Wetherby's Rowland Meryck in impressive style. Last season in races at both Warwick and Wetherby I felt his jumping wasn't quite good enough but there have been no such problems this term.

Bristol De Mai meets Definitely Red seven pounds better off tomorrow. Twiston-Davies' charge holds entries in the Ryanair and the Cheltenham Gold Cup and bids to become the first six-year-old to win this race since its inception in 1981. The last day was his first attempt beyond two miles four; he appeared to stay the trip but there is just a hint of a doubt and on occasions his jumping can be a little wayward.

Rehearsal winner Otago Trail subsequently blotted his copybook when pulling up at Leopardstown over Christmas. Nonetheless his chance is respected, as are the chances of two course and distance winners, Sausalito Sunrise and Virak - the latter finished second in last year's renewal and tries this time from a mark seven pounds lower although some of that benefit is now eroded as Harry Cobden can only claim three.

Bishops Road was beaten nine lengths in the Rehearsal on his seasonal debut but he disappointed badly behind Native River in the Welsh National (Firebird Flyer eighth) eventually coming home in tenth. Handler Kerry Lee explained there was a valid excuse that day and anticipates an improved showing.
The market suggests Vintage Clouds, owned by Trevor Hemmings, is the one worth a second look from those out of the weights.

Two each-way options that make some appeal are Virak and Bishops Road.

18/1 Virak could well look big after the race if Paul Nicholls' charge bounces back to form but Bishops Road (12/1) appears a more consistent proposition; he finished over thirty lengths ahead of Virak in the Rehearsal so gets the nod.

Finally, eight weeks today we'll know the winner of this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Festival bandwagon is already moving into gear with pundits starting to make predictions. It's far too early for me; I offer just one piece of information which has come my way - Dan Skelton is aiming North Hill Harvey at the County Hurdle, the race he won last year with Superb Story.


Anonymous said...

I also think that Bishops Road is the value selection in this race.

It is a competitive renewal but of the 3 shortest in the market the Tizzard newcomer needs to be watched on his British debut and I think Definitely Red will struggle off his new mark despite his impressive win last time out.

Bishops Road still has a progressive profile and I was already prepared to forgive him his run in the Welsh National even before you highlighted the knock he received. Kerry Lee’s string also look to have hit a fine run of form so I’m quite optimistic of a big run. I missed the early 16/1 but did manage to get on at 14’s and as my tissue price was 9/1 12’s still represents some value to me.

It’s a shame Ascot looks unlikely to pass its morning inspection.

Good luck and apologies in advance if I’ve put the mockers on your selection.


GeeDee said...

If everyone was talking about Alary (4/1jf) before the race, they were talking about Bristol De Mai (4/1jf) after the event; Twiston-Davies' charge jumped his rivals ragged to beat nearest pursuer Otago Trail (11/1) 22 lengths without ever being asked a serious question.

Widely tipped up, Bishops Road (8/1) made stealthy headway down the back straight on the final circuit but was unable to go with the principals off the home turn. Vintage Clouds' heavy fall three from home resulted in Definitely Red unseating and the selection stayed on to claim a modest third, beaten some 26 lengths; just six of the fourteen completed.