Friday, November 02, 2018

Walter Sickert, Laurence Robertson and an each-way chance at the Ascot races...

Samcro suffered a shock defeat over in Ireland earlier today and, unfortunately, there just hasn't been enough rain around Wetherby with the result that both Thistlecrack and Bristol De Mai never made the final declaration stage for tomorrow's Charlie Hall Chase (2.40); Regal Encore has since been declared a non-runner.

At the time of writing there are four left standing - Black Corton, Double Shuffle, Definitly Red and Virgilio. The going at the Yorkshire track was changed from good to good, good to firm in places after the second race on today's card.

Over at Ascot I've concentrated on the listed 'Bet With Ascot Handicap Hurdle' (3.00) for which nine have been declared.

Market leader Global Citizen makes his seasonal debut here and was impressive winning the Dovecote at Kempton in February, eased-down to finish nine lengths ahead of Scarlet Dragon (beaten four and a half lengths into third in the Group 3 St Simon Stakes at Newbury last Saturday).

Magic Dancer was sent off  9/2 favourite for what looked a competitive handicap hurdle at Cheltenham last Friday. In the event Kerry Lee's charge was beaten by very easy winner Storm Rising who went in again this afternoon running off the same mark at odds of 2/5f (Wetherby 3.40).

Simply The Betts first came to my attention in the Supreme Scottish Trial Novices' Hurdle at Musselburgh, beaten a neck by Beyond The Clouds with Claimantakinforgan adrift in third (although Nicky Henderson's charge didn't run his race that day).  Simply went on to finish tenth in the Supreme at Cheltenham and has blown away any cobwebs with victory at Hexham three weeks ago; his chance is respected.

Sent off favourite for the 2017 Fred Winter, Divin Bere was beaten a neck into second by Flying Tiger. He subsequently finished second to Defi Du Seuil at Aintree but last season was something of a write-off - he finished well down the field at this track in the Grade 3 Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle (formerly the Ladbroke) and was then pulled up in both the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and the County Hurdle at Cheltenham.

After a wind operation Paul Nicholls' charge returned to the track to win a handicap on the Flat at Bath two and a half weeks ago, finishing one and a half lengths ahead of Walter Sickert (the artist forever associated with 'The Camden Town Murder'). This one is bang there if back to his very best and is joint top-rated with Magic Dancer on Racing Post ratings.

In the current edition of the Weekender Alan King appears a tad lukewarm about Fidux and is contemplating chasing (although the handler admits 'he's not the biggest'):

"He'd been dropped a bit in the weights [before his Southwell win], but he's back up to 135 so he won't find it easy."

This looks a tough ask for four-year-old Sussex Ranger but Nicky Richards' Caius Marcius is of interest. His latest defeat of Theclockisticking by 11 lengths in a listed event at Market Rasen reads well; in the Weekender Stable Tour 17-21.10.18 the handler said:

"He's gone up 13lb for that, which I think is a bit harsh, so he'll have to progress again, but I think there's more to come and the handicapper doesn't often get it wrong."  

The stats show that no horse older than six has won this race in the past ten years so as a seven-year-old Caius Marcius doesn't have the perfect profile but at 12/1 with both Paddy Power and Betfair at the time of writing Caius Marcius is the each-way selection.

On the same card I'll watch Amour De Nuit in the 1.50 and Fubar and Emitom in the concluding bumper.

I saw Amour De Nuit win a match at Ludlow last week with the absolute minimum of fuss and the race here should be run to suit while Fubar looked unlucky the last day when slipping up but still managing to finish second.

The layers appear to have factored that in to their price but Kim Bailey's charge is unlikely to have things all his own way going by Warren Greatrex's opinion of Emitom on the Sporting Life website:

"He's won his only outing in a Warwick bumper back in April. It didn't come as a huge shock to us as he'd been showing all the right signs at home and he travelled really well.

The form isn't much to write home about but he won pretty well and if we've got a novice hurdler that could go to the top then it might just be him.

Put it this way, he's in Cole Harden's box so he's obviously got a lot to live up to!"

Finally, I don't know about you but I've never really been tempted to take a gamble on a career in politics, what with Brexit and all that sort of stuff. That was until I heard that Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson had received £7,433 worth of free tickets, all for horse racing events.



Anonymous said...

The Bet With Ascot Handicap Hurdle looks, to me, to revolve around whether Divin Bere is back on track; if he is he could win hard held. Lots to like about Caius Marcius’ win at Market Rasen [cheek pieces and a return to hurdling look to have rekindled him] but a nagging doubt remains that the winning margin flattered him a bit.

In the Sodexo Gold Cup Art Mauresque has been well tipped up [Tom Segal, Paul Kealy et al] but with William Hill paying 5 places on a ten-runner race there still looks to be some value in backing him EW at 10/1 1/5 odds.

Good luck.


GeeDee said...

Hi TW,

Agree - Divin Bere looks the key horse.

Good luck with Art Mauresque - I've always thought he's a better horse on decent ground.

GeeDee said...

In a fast-run race selection Caius Marcius (presumably named after the Roman general Coriolanus) struggled to keep with pace with the other leaders in the pack and gradually went backwards through the field. Three out the 12/1 chance was stone last - another battle lost crossed my mind - and looked to be in a lot of trouble but much to my surprise he stayed on stoutly up the hill to pinch third place from Sparkleandshine (28/1) in the final strides.

This went to 9/1 chance Fidux who won by eight lengths in something of a common canter, obviously finding it a lot easier off a mark of 135 than his trainer had anticipated. What I like about Alan King is he generally tries to call it as he sees it; his post-race interview indicated he hadn't seen this coming at all. Presumably those plans to go novice chasing are going to be revised.

Global Citizen (9/2) ran his race from the front to secure second spot but 5/2 favourite Simply The Betts disappointed badly while Divin Bere (5/1) faded up the hill to finish fifth.

Finally, spare a thought for regular contributor TW. His each-way selection in the 3.40 Art Mauresque (14/1) jumped into the lead at the final flight and looked to have the spoils in the bag only for Traffic Fluide (4/1) to rally and regain the lead in the final 75 yards. That's racing, as they say.