Friday, February 22, 2019

Eider Chase 2019

There's a top-class card at Kempton tomorrow with Angels Breath set to go in the Dovecote (3.00) but with just ten declared for a trappy-looking 888Sport Handicap Chase (3.35) - the favourite has failed to oblige in the past decade - I'm off to Newcastle in search of some each-way value in the Eider Chase (2.40). A field of sixteen face the starter; the going is described as good to soft, soft in places.

According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) the eider is the UK's heaviest duck and its fastest flying - and that looks suspiciously like a tip for top-weight Daklondike to me.

Comply Or Die won this race for trainer David Pipe in 2008 and six weeks later added the Grand National to the haul. Daklondike is clearly talented but he has never looked the easiest of rides although, to be fair to the horse, he appeared unlucky when unseating Tom Scudamore at Haydock last time.

It's no surprise to see Vicente at the head of the market. Paul Nicholls' charge won the Scottish Grand National in 2016 and 2017 off a mark of 146 and he races off exactly the same mark tomorrow. His third at Taunton last month should have put him spot on for this.

Vicente won't mind drying ground but a number in the field would prefer more cut and Baywing certainly falls into that category; last year's winner beat West Of The Edge four lengths on heavy ground. Trainer Nicky Richards seems decidedly more bullish about Baywing's stablemate Progress Drive on his first start after wind surgery - Brian Hughes rides.

Just Your Type is very short in the market for one with just three chase starts to his name. He appeared to have the spoils in the bag when coming to grief two out at Exeter last time; since 1989 only two seven-year-olds have come home in front - Domaine De Pron in 1998 and Portrait King in 2012.

The ground shouldn't inconvenience Ange Des Mirabeaux but following two wins he's now 17lbs higher in the handicap. The trip is an unknown but, that said, this has been the plan all season and I prefer Dan Skelton's charge to Kimberlite Candy whom handler Tom Lacey described as 'inconsistent' in his 'Straight from the Stable' tour (Weekender 07-11.11.18), going on to say '...I'd admit he could be a hard horse to catch right.'

Potters Corner is part-owned by Wales centre Jonathan Davies who will presumably be preparing for the match against England when this race is run. Potters Corner was still in with a shout when coming to grief two from home at Wincanton last time; the nine-year-old has just seven chase starts to his name.

A fourteen-year-old has never won but two contest tomorrow's renewal - Raz De Maree and Harry The Viking. The former would want more cut but the latter deserves a mention for his Scottish Borders National win at Kelso in December (Progress Drive third, West Of The Edge eighth).

On a line through Callet Mad, Crosspark, third in a competitive renewal of the Classic Chase at Warwick six weeks ago, should finish ahead of Harry The Viking and should also handle underfoot conditions. Here he races off the same mark of 135 as at Warwick.

The Charlie Mann trained Morney Wing is another outsider in with a sniff. He looked to have a hard enough race the last day when holding Red Infantry a length in the London National at Sandown but connections have given their charge plenty of time to recover.

Rock On Fruity goes beyond three miles one for the first time; owned by JP McManus, he'll be worth monitoring in the market.

I feel Irish raider Kilkishen may struggle beyond three and a half miles on the balance of his form to date while Mysteree won this in 2017 but has not been competitive of late.

Racing Post ratings indicate Vicente is the one to beat but at the prices I'm going to take an each-way interest in Crosspark, one of two Jamie Moore rides at the track for Caroline Bailey (the other is Don't Tell The Wife in the 1.35). At the time of writing several layers offer 16/1 one fifth the odds five places while William Hill offer 14/1 one fifth the odds seven places.

To my eye Crosspark looked as though he would stay further the last day - Crosspark is the each-way selection, generally available at 16/1 one fifth the odds five places.

I'd like to conclude this post with a slight digression...

Last month the Queen's mare No Trumps (sire: Black Sam Bellamy; dam: Magic Score) was sent off a 33/1 chance in a low-key novice hurdle at Warwick and, after running in snatches, finished a well-beaten fourth.

Speaking personally, if the horse's name brought anything in particular to mind, it was the sort of hand my father complained he was habitually dealt at whist drives in the local church hall - do those things still take place? - but the following day a wry snippet appeared in The Times Diary (aka TMS in recognition of its current location at Thomas More Square, Wapping, E1) highlighting the pre-eminence of the owner and linking the mare's name to Donald Trump and members of his family.

Somewhat taken with this general persiflage, I decided to mail a couple of other equine suggestions to the Diary, including Getaway Trump (fourth in last Saturday's re-arranged Betfair Hurdle at Ascot) and, for beleaguered British bettors besieged by the Brexit brouhaha, Article Fifty.

And, bless my old boots, editor Patrick Kidd replied saying he was potentially interested in the Article Fifty horse.

Now, the beast in question was declared to run at Wetherby on Tuesday so before racing I provided Mr Kidd with some points of interest, the regular stuff, you know - owners: Swanee River Partnership; Mr Richard, not Boris, Johnson doing the steering; required major (wind) surgery last November; competing against the likes of Thelongwayaround, All Hail Caesar - feel free to make up your own comments and insert them here.

In the event, second favourite Article Fifty ran something of a full-blown stinker, finishing eleventh of the thirteen starters, beaten over 90 lengths. It was clear hold-up tactics hadn't worked and questionable whether the administered surgery had, while comments-in-running included terms such as 'headway', swiftly followed by 'soon lost place' and 'behind'. Simply all too bad to be true.

Mr Kidd though was unimpressed - a sort of thanks, PG, but no thanks, didn't really work, the sort of knockback I've become accustomed to receiving after every job interview I've bothered to turn up for over the past 25 years and, with this particular rejection, was there just the slightest suggestion the copy hadn't quite met the exigent editorial standards in place at such an august publication as The Times?

Gutted, I took the hint and instead had a quick word with the editor of this blog, a scruffy, indolent individual, often to be found in the shed at the bottom of the garden reeking of ale and old socks - to quote my dear old mother, 'a man who could use a damned good wash'.

He had no editorial qualms whatsoever.


Anonymous said...

Very well done!

I would have submitted my missive for the Eider as usual but was very worried that it would suffer a Timesesque rejection in the cutting room of the Editor’s garden shed!


Sandracer said...

Missed it, jeez, what a plonker. Nice bet GD.

GeeDee said...

Thank you, Jamie Moore - an exemplary waiting race aboard selection Crosspark (12/1).

Previous winner Mysteree (16/1) certainly benefited from the application of first-time blinkers and jumped the last in the lead but on the run-in Jamie eked out the necessary required to collect the spoils by a neck. Absolutely thrilling stuff - my sofa has the weal marks to prove it.

Morney Wing (33/1) finished six lengths adrift in third with Kilkishen (33/1) fourth.

This evening I'm obliged to report the smell of beer emitting from the editor's shed is distinctly stronger than has been the case in recent weeks. Somewhat predictably, neighbours have stared to voice their concerns but they have been unequivocally reassured there is no need for worry as stunts such as this are comparatively rare and are unlikely to be repeated before the end of the NH season.

A desperately sad postscript - old friend Baywing took a crashing fall at the first that proved fatal.