Friday, January 04, 2019

The Veterans' Chase Final at Sandown

Small fields for the most part at Sandown tomorrow.

Ed Chamberlin won't be the only one desperate to see the Irish-trained mare Laurina, currently as low as 7/2 with several layers for the Champion Hurdle, make her seasonal debut at 1.50. She faces just three opponents.

Thirty five minutes later six face the starter for the Tolworth. Seven days ago at Newbury the Challow turned into something of a tactical affair; here both Elixir De Nutz and Southfield Stone have made all previously so, hopefully, we'll see a truly run race.

By contrast seventeen runners have been declared for the Veterans' Handicap Chase at 3.00. 

Those looking for an unexposed type in this sort of race might usually expect to have their work cut out but market leader Rock Gone has relatively low mileage on the clock with just six chase starts to his name; he has never won over this trip.

Sam Twiston-Davies rides for Dr Richard Newland and I'm assuming Sam has chosen Rock Gone, having also ridden the favourite's stablemate Band Of Blood when fourth behind Cultram Abbey at Kelso last month. 

Cultram Abbey was raised five pounds for that effort but he looked good. He has done a lot of his racing around Perth and Carlisle.

Charlie Longsdon saddles Pete The Feat and Loose Chips who finished first and third respectively in the 2017 renewal; both clearly love it around here and hold each-way chances.

Aged 15, the former is the oldest runner in the race while the latter beat Rock Gone over this course and distance in November (Rathlin Rose fourth, Pete The Feat seventh, Tenor Nivernais ninth and Theatre Guide tenth) and now meets the second eight pounds worse off.

Rathlin Rose would be expected to come on for that fourth behind Loose Chips on his seasonal debut and has also been dropped two pounds to a mark of 130. Last March Rathlin Rose won at Ascot off 128 with Houblon Des Obeaux third, Loose Chips fourth and Band Of Blood fifth.

Buywise came home in front last year (Pete The Feat second, Loose Chips fifth and Houblon Des Obeaux sixth) but he has always been a horse that takes at least one liberty at the obstacles in his races.

With the covers down and the going on the chase track currently described as good to soft, soft in places, good in places on the back straight, underfoot conditions may not be quite as testing as in some previous years. 

Course and distance winner Le Reve is likely to appreciate better ground and that comment may also apply to top weight Exitas and Houblon Des Obeaux who appeared to get stuck in the mud behind Daklondike at Haydock last time. Although apparently unfancied in the market, Venetia Williams' charge is there with every chance on Racing Post ratings and the stable is in very good form.

Henlan Harri likes it here, will appreciate the better ground and has gone well after a layoff in the past but the stable hasn't had a winner for 24 days.

A wide open event and, of course, it's possible to make a case for several in the field. 

I'm tempted by Band Of Blood who should certainly finish closer to Cultram Abbey but Sam Twiston-Davies is clearly keen on Rock Gone so I'm going to take an each-way interest in Houblon Des Obeaux, sixth in this race last year off 143, beaten under 12 lengths. Paddy Power offer 20/1 and pay one fifth the odds six places.

A quick footnote on Plumpton's card on Sunday. The novice chase at 1.10 should prove highly informative while my New Year's Day each-way selection Big Meadow tries again in the Sussex National after unseating at the first at Exeter. Richard Johnson rides but the drying ground is still the negative.


Anonymous said...


Both Houblon Des Obeaux [HDO] and Theatre Guide [TG] look to be potentially well handicapped in this but both need to show a return to form.

In HDO’s case you need to go back 5 runs to March 2018 when, in first time blinkers, he finished with gusto to claim 3rd place in another Veterans race at Ascot. I think I’d have liked to see the ground more testing for him but could certainly envisage him staying on once again to take one of the six places you have secured.

You need to go even further back to find the last time TG put in any sort of shift; in November 2017, he put in a cracking effort to take 3rd place in the Badger Ales Trophy off a mark 17lbs higher than today. He had wind surgery after that race and has never managed to get involved in 6 subsequent starts with any real mitigating circumstances.

On balance I’ll sit it out, but it is a great race for these stalwarts and I hope they all come home safely.

Good luck.


GeeDee said...

Thanks for your ratings and analysis, TW. As you say, the most important consideration is horses and riders all come back home safely.

Anonymous said...

Very well done!

Houblon Des Obeaux, well backed from your advised 20/1 down to 7/1, ridden much more prominently and won easily [Buywise might have given him a bit more of a race but still think HDO would have won].

Happy days!


GeeDee said...

Sent off a 7/1 chance, selection Houblon Des Obeaux raced mid-division on the first circuit but took much closer order going down the back straight for the final time. He took up the running from long-time leader Loose Chips as they approached the Railway fences and quickly established a substantial lead.

Last year's winner Buywise (25/1) emerged as the principal threat; six lengths down two out, he was eating up the ground and was roughly three lengths in arrears when taking a crashing fall at the last, allowing Houblon Des Obeaux to come home in splendid isolation some 15 lengths ahead of Theatre Guide (14/1) with On Tour (12/1) third, Rock Gone (13/2) fourth, Loose Chips (14/1) fifth and Exitas (20/1) sixth.

Looking at the ratings TW supplied above, I note that the top three finished second, first and third respectively (with fourth rated Buywise falling at the last). For information purposes only, you understand, I draw your attention to the following declared payouts:

CSF: £96.48
Exacta: £115.30
Tricast: £1180.84
Trifecta: £1792.40.

I'm going for a lie-down.

Anonymous said...

Sussex National Handicap Chase


I see Big Meadow is being nibbled at in the betting in what looks an interesting affair.

The Two Amigos & I See You Well might struggle of their new marks and look short enough in the betting as a result. Pearl Swan, as an 11yo, may well need this on seasonal debut. As you note the drying ground may be against Big Meadow and it probably won’t help The Tin Man’s cause either.

This leaves the three biggest priced horses in the field so perhaps suggests a value bet might be found.

I’m not sure whether Cal In Du Brizais’ amateur jockey in his recent runs has been a plus [his 7lb claim] or a hinderance [he might not be that good] so it will be interesting to see how he fair’s under Tom Cannon; that aside the current form of the yard is a concern.

Rightdownthemiddle tops the ratings courtesy of a fine effort at Perth as recently as September last year when trained by Gordon Elliot. Won a selling handicap hurdle in December and subsequently changed yards. First effort for new connections was disappointing and needs to prove he can stay this trip but could still outrun his odds.

Lac Sacre runs from 3lbs out of the handicap; drifted in the betting on his seasonal return and it is hoped he need the run to put him spot on for this. He is sure to stay the trip, should cope with the ground well enough and it is easy enough to see him making the frame at 16/1 [3 places ¼ odds Bet365].


GeeDee said...

Thanks for your analysis, TW. I haven't done the homework so will watch with interest but won't get involved.

Good luck!