Friday, December 28, 2018

Champ for the Challow?

As there are just seven declared, I've spent most of this afternoon trying to come up with one to turn over Champ in the Challow (Newbury 3.00) and, to be honest with you, I'm beginning to think my time would have been more productively spent sat in a five mile tailback on the M1.

On Racing Post ratings market leader Champ has a minimum of ten pounds in hand over his rivals. In the past decade the favourite has come home in front on five occasions.

Champ's course and distance win in a handicap hurdle on soft ground here four weeks ago sets a high standard and his opponents will need to show improvement to be competitive. Still, he didn't look the easiest of rides last time, pulling his way to the front after five flights and staying on dourly at the head of affairs. Conditions are likely to be a little less testing tomorrow.

Connections clearly hold Brewin'Upastorm in high regard. Beaten four lengths in a Listed bumper here last February the gelding won nicely at Huntingdon last time and steps up in class and trip. In the Weekender Straight from the Stable tour (14-18.11.18) handler Olly Murphy said:

'He isn't a big, scopey horse but has the makings of a smart hurdler... He'll definitely want 2m 4f in time, but he'll stick to 2m for that first run and will be fit enough to do himself justice [Huntingdon win], although he'll improve for the run.'

There looked more to come from Getaway Trump when he won a novice hurdle by five lengths at Exeter three weeks ago. He showed a smart turn of foot on heavy ground that day and stable form is red hot. He was beaten 28 lengths by Senior Citizen at Chepstow on his seasonal debut but that form should be treated with caution as he stumbled three out and could not recover.

Kateson won over course and distance with something in hand last time. In the Weekender Straight from the Stable tour (07-11.11.18) Tom Lacey said:

'His owners have mentioned that they'd love to run him at Cheltenham in March, with the Albert Bartlett the preferred target, but he must take us there as I won't drop him in above his grade. I hope he'll progress to that level by the spring.'   

There's a hint he would ideally prefer softer ground.

On a line through Vinndication, Coolanly has some four and a half lengths to find with Champ which isn't necessarily reflected in the market prices on offer. Fergal O'Brien's charge fell on his seasonal debut and then raced noticeably wide when winning at Cheltenham six weeks ago. The stable won last year's renewal with Poetic Rhythm (15/8f) although Adrian Heskin very nearly pinched it on Mulcahys Hill.

Alsa Mix surprised connections when beating the boys at Sandown three weeks ago. She benefits from her mare's allowance here but trainer Alan King admits this is 'a tough ask'. I didn't come across any fillies or mares amongst the recent winners - I couldn't say for certain whether a mare or filly has ever won this contest.

Nestor Park was beaten over 14 lengths by Coolanly on his penultimate run but settled better to win at Warwick last month. On the Listed bumper form of last February. Ben Pauling's charge has just one length to find with second favourite Brewin'Upastorm.

You pay your money and takes your chance. Brewin'Upastorm (11/2) would be my win play against the short-priced favourite but I note that SkyBet are the only layers to pay three places one fifth the odds.

Coolanly (6/1 each-way with Sky Bet) is the suggestion.


Anonymous said...

Identifying poor favourites is a great modus operandum; that said I think Champ looks very solid, my system has him as an odds-on shot, the early 6/4 looked good value and 11/8 still looks a decent bet.

On a strict interpretation of collateral form, using Vindication as the yardstick, Champ may have over a length to find with Coolanly but Champ does look to have possibly progressed that bit further.

With all of the field relatively unexposed and all having won LTO I’d not be overly surprised at any result, but I do feel Champ clearly has the best credentials going into the race.


Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for your ratings, TW; agreed, I've misread the Vinndication form line. That said, still only hopeful rather than confident... ;)

GeeDee said...

The final selection of the year ranks among the worst of the year (and there have been some right corkers...)

Sent off at 16/1(!!) Coolanly led at a very ordinary pace in a race where no-one was keen to make the running. The result was a three furlong sprint up the home straight which saw even money favourite Champ come home two and a half lengths ahead of Getaway Trump (10/1) with Kateson (9/2) third. Coolanly was beaten some 16 lengths into fifth and was clearly not up to this level. Afterwards connections of most of the runners expressed their frustration with the way in which the race was run.

Here's hoping for better things in the new year...