Friday, February 21, 2020

Eider Chase 2020

Nike Vaporfly running shoes have thrown up some difficult questions for the world athletics ruling body in recent weeks. In some cases, athletes have reported a 4% improvement on the time taken to run a marathon; they have been described as 'magic' shoes and 'likened to doping'.

Yesterday, a sufficiently well-refreshed reader, swaying gently in the wind, beckoned me over and proceeded to suggest that, using similar patented technology, Nike should consider branching out into the manufacture of thoroughbred racing plates. Perhaps brand them 'Horsefly' (not 'Horseplay' - a singular point on which we could both agree). He continued along the lines that these hi-tech racing plates should then be fitted to all the blog's selections in the future - that way down-at-heel readers might at least retain a modicum of hope of receiving some small return on the wagers suggested.

Quite cutting remarks, I think you'd agree.

'A sort of shoe-in, do you mean?' I enquired. 'Have a sole!'

Too late. Showing plenty of toe, he'd already hoofed it - straight into The Trotting Mare across the road.

Tomorrow's meeting at Newcastle is subject to an eight o'clock inspection; the going is currently described as heavy, soft in places. Twelve have been declared for the Eider Chase (2.45) which this year will be run over the slightly longer distance of four miles one furlong and 56 yards.

In 2018 Baywing won carrying 11-00 off a mark of 140 while last year Crosspark won off a mark of 135 carrying 10-13. Tomorrow Prime Venture heads the handicap off a mark of 136 which suggests this year's renewal may not be among the best but that's unlikely to make finding the winner any easier.

A number in the field wouldn't be guaranteed to see out this trip in this ground but Prime Venture isn't one of them and trainer's daughter Isabel Williams can claim seven. His fourth in the Welsh National behind Potters Corner reads well and, although he has yet to score over the larger obstacles, his handler hopes 'his time won't be long in coming'.

Favourite Petite Power comes into this in very good form. Fergal O'Brien's charge finished third behind Kimberlite Candy in Warwick's Classic Chase and before that was pipped a neck by Belle Empress - Belle Empress finished a creditable third in the Devon National at Exeter earlier today. Mr Liam Harrison claims seven pounds.

Owned by The Black Horse Hotel Bridgnorth, Calipso Collonges was a well-beaten second behind Lord Du Mesnil in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock last time. That still rates a good effort and his handler has said 'I can see him winning a nice handicap somewhere this season'. This is his first try at a trip beyond three miles two furlongs.

On the other hand Hugo 'N' Taz won the Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen over three miles three and half furlongs on his first run in this country. Quoting David Pipe in this week's Weekender:

"I would be disappointed if he didn't build on that next time. He is in the Eider on Saturday and and could be a possible for the National Hunt Chase next month."

Three and a half weeks ago Fortified Bay beat Hill Sixteen two lengths here with Glittering Love third and Ascot De Bruyere fourth. Fortified Bay has been raised seven for that effort and on a strict interpretation of the form still has the beating of the third and fourth. That was over a trip just shy of three miles and clearly the market expects more from the Paul and Clare Rooney owned Glittering Love who sports first-time cheekpieces. Quoting handler Nicky Richards from the Weekender 04-08.12.19:

"He's a grand horse who has been very successful so far. He won four of his five point-to-points and began his chasing career on a very good mark last season... I think he could have another good winter given the rub of the green. He wants proper soft ground and stays well." 

Alminar won last time out and Financial Outcome has undergone wind surgery since finishing third behind Fortescue at Uttoxeter. Both are aged seven - only one seven-year-old has come home in front since Domaine De Pron won in 1998 - Portrait King in 2012.

Shanroe Santos is inconsistent but would have his chance on a going day while Very First Time didn't appear to stay when fourth behind Hugo 'N' Taz in the Lincolnshre National.

A most open affair; I'm considering two at a price. On his first run after wind surgery Donna's Delight won well from the front over three miles three at Ayr last time out. On a tenuous line through Lord Du Mesnil, Calipso Collonges has the beating of Sandy Thomson's charge.

At a much bigger price Ascot De Bruyere has a very good record at this track and on his only try beyond three miles finished a creditable sixth - beaten under 12 lengths - behind Harry The Viking in the 2018 Scottish Borders National at Kelso.

I still haven't forgiven myself for failing to look more closely at Smooth Stepper at Haydock last weekend (put off by those veterans' chase runs) so this week I'm going to take an each-way chance on Ascot de Bruyere and hope that, although a lot of his racing has been over two and half to three miles, he can see out the marathon trip in the manner he did at Kelso; Danny McMenamin does his bit for the cause by claiming three.

At the time of writing William Hill offer 28/1 and pay one fifth the odds five places. Ascot De Bruyere is the each-way suggestion.

Now, if only he could race in those 'magic' plates...

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

In the event magic shoes were not required. Meeting abandoned - waterlogged track.