Friday, March 03, 2017

Doncaster's Grimthorpe Chase 2017

"Alexa, what's going to win this year's Gold Cup?"

A copy of 'Cheltenham: The Ultimate Guide 2017' successfully secured from my local newsagent, plans to watch Channel 5 box sets 'Baby-faced Brides' and 'Tattoo Disasters: What Were You Inking?' have been put on indefinite hold.

With less than a fortnight to the start of the Festival, somehow tomorrow's cards at Doncaster and Newbury feel like a couple of Eddie Jones' diversionary tactics.

Just seven are declared for the Grimthorpe Handicap Chase (3.35) run over three and a quarter miles at Doncaster where the going is currently described as soft.

Last year's winner The Last Samuri used this as a stepping stone for the Aintree Grand National  where Kim Bailey's charge ran a fine race to finish second behind Rule The World. Connections are following the same route this season but the gelding starts off a mark of 161, 12 pounds higher, and faces a stiff task conceding 11 pounds and more to his field.

Market leader Definitely Red looked a horse to reckon with when winning the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on Boxing Day seven lengths ahead of Wakanda with RSA winner Blaklion a further three and a half lengths away in third and Yala Enki fourth.

Next time in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock third looked the best Brian Ellison's charge could achieve behind Bristol De Mai when he was hampered three out, unseating Henry Brooke in the process.

Wakanda's second in the Rowland Meyrick reads well but he jumped poorly and never went a yard in the Grand National Trial at Haydock a fortnight ago; he was eventually pulled up. On Wetherby form he is closely matched with Definitely Red.

Sego Success has disappointed this punter too many times but he has won here before and the first-time visor may help the cause while Yala Enki hasn't raced over this trip previously and I'm not convinced he'll see it out.

Vivaldi Collonges is priced up the outsider of the seven but he ran well for a long way behind One For Arthur on desperate ground at Warwick seven weeks ago. Joint top on Racing Post ratings, he isn't readily dismissed but Sam Twiston-Davies rides at Kelso.

Looking Well, second behind Ziga Boy last time, gets in at the bottom of the handicap with a feather weight and Ryan Day can claim a further five. On New Year's Day last year he was beaten five lengths by Definitely Red in a Catterick novice chase off level weights. Quoting from Nicky Richards' stable tour in the Weekender 12-16.10.16:

"He needs goodish ground so I won't be overracing him this winter, but I think he'll be one to follow as we get into the spring."

Only the seven runners but it's a wide open contest and you can make a case for each. Since 2000 five horses have carried 10-00 to victory - Knight Templar (2000), Skillwise (2002), Out The Black (2009) Ikorodu Road (2012) and Quentin Collonges (2013).

The ground isn't ideal but I'm going to take the chance - Looking Well (11/2) is the selection.

"Alexa, haven't you heard that Thistlecrack is a non-runner?"


Anonymous said...

Great write up and with only 4lbs between the field on ratings the Grimthorpe does look a hard race to call and the way it is priced up I’m struggling to find any edge.

Your old friend Thomas Crapper has dropped to a very attractive handicap mark which sparked interest but the rain around Newbury will ensure the going is quite testing so today may not be the day.

In the 2:40 at Newbury Bloody Mary may well be best horse in the field but I cannot see the mare being given a hard time if the race turns in to a scrap today and her odds look short enough. With that in mind I’ve taken a chance on Remiluc at odds of 20/1. He did not take to the bigger fences but ran well when reverting to hurdles before disappointing LTO. I’m hopeful with a drop back in trip and the use of a 7lb claimer he can turn things around.

Good luck


GeeDee said...

Good luck with Remiluc, TW.

Yes, I think TC would appreciate better ground.

Stablemate Vocaliser runs in the following race; a key factor will be how well he takes the journey to the course. A recent update on the yard's blog indicated it was slow work but they were making progress with the way the five-year-old handled the preliminaries.

I had hoped for something slightly better from Get Involved at Newbury yesterday (beaten some 70 lengths). He weakened three out; the RP reported he practically walked over the line...

Sandracer said...

Al Co goes today Geedee. Big price. Strange horse. No gonna back it haha.

GeeDee said...

Al Co pulled up, Sandracer. Probably past his best these days, he has plenty in common with me.

Still haven't forgiven myself for not backing him in the 2014 Scottish National which he won at 40/1. He has obliged just once since, on 13th May 2016 at Aintree where he was sent off 3/1 favourite. That was the second of three consecutive races where he was went off favourite, having started at 66/1, 20/1, 20/1 and 14/1 on his four previous runs. Some people in the know or what?


GeeDee said...

I watched the Grimthorpe through my fingers having seen old favourite Thomas Crapper hack up in a common canter at Newbury twenty minutes earlier carrying none of my money.

The writing was on the wall early enough for Looking Well (9/2) who looked anything but. He started to feel the pace on the second circuit and was out of contention before the cross fence. He finished a well-beaten sixth.

Definitely Red (7/2) won impressively with The Last Samuri staying on doggedly for second after looking in serious trouble half a mile from home. Covered in sweat, Yala Enki (7/2) threw away his chance by practically bolting to the start.

Finally, congratulations to TW - his pick Remiluc (2.40 Newbury) took up the running in the long home straight to win readily at 9/1.

Anonymous said...

Concerns over the going were ill founded and as you have noted Thomas Crapper won as he liked. It feels like one that got away and it might be a while before he wins again!

Cheltenham beckons.


Sandracer said...

Aah Remiluc. I knew I had read somewhere that might win haha. Nice. 20's. V Nice..