Friday, December 18, 2020

Tommy Whittle and the Christmas whatchamacallits

Christmas is going to be different this year. Small. No trifle. No postprandial port either. The whochamacallits won't be calling round with their Christmas whatchamacallits; every cloud, I suppose...

Here's a quick look at the Tommy Whistle Chase to whet your whittle. Have I said that right? Anyway, ten declared for the 2.40 at Haydock tomorrow where the going is described as heavy (with heavier bits in places, no doubt). 

Last year the distance of this race was extended from two miles seven furlongs to three miles one and a half furlongs; Lord Du Mensil collected the spoils carrying 10-5.

Of those near the head of the market, Sojourn looks the one guaranteed to stay the trip on this sort of ground, having won at Carlisle on seasonal debut (Roll Again beaten over 95 lengths in fifth, Sam's Adventure pulled up). The handicapper has raised Anthony Honeyball's charge 11 pounds for that effort; in two of his three chase starts minor jumping issues have been referenced in the formbook- stumbled after the last when second at Chepstow 12 months ago and then at Carlisle pecked on landing at the sixth and clear when blundered two out.

Hill Sixteen just caught Lil Rockerfeller in a three mile handicap hurdle on good ground at Newbury three weeks ago; that looked a hard enough race. Winner of a three mile point-to-point, this is the first time the horse races over this extended distance.

Top weight Roll Again has won at Ludlow since defeat behind Sojourn at Carlisle and meets that opponent 10 pounds better off tomorrow. It's noticeable that when trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland and since moving to Venetia Williams' yard in Herefordshire, his racing for the most part has been on right-handed tracks. 

Enqarde has plenty of French chase form around two and a half miles to his name and appears to have settled into new surroundings very quickly, having finished second in a novices' handicap hurdle at Ascot before winning a novice hurdle at Newcastle nine days ago. He could be anything; with Cillin Leonard's seven pounds claim, the partnership has a racing weight of just 10-2.

I'm not convinced Crixus's Escape or Salty Boy will last home (Salty Boy's form behind Sevarano looks respectable with Mahlervous winning at Kelso next time) but Pop Rockstar, twelfth behind Potters Corner in last year's Welsh National, should have no worries on that score. He's the only one in the field who can boast course winning form yet, on balance, his profile appears inconsistent; beaten a short head behind Court Dreaming on seasonal debut, he was subsequently pulled up in Snow Leopardess' race over this course and distance four weeks ago. I just wonder whether he might prefer better ground.

With Sam's Adventure out of form so far this season, I've concentrated on Highest Sun and Lord Napier - and watched the prices of both contract after final declarations were made yesterday.  

Last season the former finished third behind Champ and second behind Pym before winning a two runner chase over this sort of trip on heavy ground at Plumpton off a mark of 142; he subsequently went on to finish seventh behind Imperial Aura at the Festival in March. That form reads well; he looks dangerous off 134 although there have been issues at the obstacles in the past.

Lord Napier finished fifth behind If The Cap Fits in the 2019 Aintree Stayers' Hurdle off 144. There was a hint of a revival last time at Chepstow on his third start over fences where a mistake at the fourth last didn't help the cause; he was probably a little flattered to finish second but off a mark of 132 he's another that looks well-treated.

At the time of writing Highest Sun is 9/1 with both bet365 and William Hill. I've just received some quite unfortunate Christmas news (see below) - Highest Sun has to be a win selection.


What's this? An email invite from the whochamacallits to a Zoom meet scheduled for 14:30 on Boxing Day? Good Lord! I thought I'd got away with it. What about the King George? 

And in a further manifestation of the sort of misguided decision-making a bout of false febrile festive festivity can lead to, I've just learnt that the bosses at Zoom have removed the 40 minute call limit on their free accounts so that 'those connecting with friends and family won't get cut short'. 

It never rains but it pours - enough to bring on an unsolicited attack of the Christmas whatchamacallits.

Season's greetings.


Sandracer said...

Win Only Geedee.. It must be nearly Watchamacallit.

GeeDee said...

I'm beginning to think you're right, Sandracer.

What with the whochamacallits and their whatchamacallits going on about their whichamacallits, right next to the wherechamacallits, it's a bit of a struggle to keep tabs on what the hell's going on.

Happy Christmas ;)

Anonymous said...

Betfair Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase

154,ROLL AGAIN(FR),3.9
154,SALTY BOY(IRE),1.9

It is I whatamcallit a no bet race for me.

There looks some potential value in hill Sixteen at 7/2 but the system has perhaps taken his 46l Ffos Las win a little to literal. Pop Rockstar also looks big at 20/1+ but looks to be following the same course as last term in that he runs well on seasonal debut but goes downhill from then on in. In his favour jockey Kevin Brogan looks to be worth almost every lb of his claim just now.

Don’t forget to #VoteHollie in #SPOTY tomorrow….25/1 into 9/4 to win!

Good luck


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings, TW.

Missed that 25/1 about Hollie - distracted by the whochamacallits.

GeeDee said...

A trappy-looking race beforehand and so it proved.

Sam's Adventure (14/1) may have been in the doldrums on his two runs so far this season but he put all that behind him in no uncertain terms by taking the Tommy Whittle under a fine ride from champion jockey Brian Hughes.

As they entered the home straight 11/4 favourite Sojourn went on to win his race but was joined by the winner two out, eventually coming home four lengths in arrears.

Under a hold-up Robbie Power ride selection Highest Sun (15/2) made an error at the third and then slowly crept into contention down the back straight. For a moment he looked dangerous as they came round the final bend but he wasn't able to keep tabs on the two principals; he lost third spot to Salty Boy (14/1) after the last, finishing just over seven lengths behind the winner.

Mulldog said...

Only Brian Hughes could have led me into picking Sam's Adventure.

GeeDee said...

Indeed Mulldog.

Sam's Adventure:
Pulled up behind Sojourn, Carlisle 01.11.20
Beaten 32 lengths behind Snow Leopardess over yesterday's course and distance 21.11.20.

'Trainer's rep could offer no explanation for the gelding's improved form'.

Good to hear from you. All the best this Christmas time.

Anonymous said...

Sam’s Adventure was 3rd top rated on my system with an estimated win chance of 12.4% giving fair odds around of 8/1 so there was potential value at 14/1.


GeeDee said...

Fair comment, TW.

Just looking a little further back for some 'missed' clues, I now note:

Nov. 2019: Four lengths fourth behind Two For Gold at Carlisle;
Nov. 2019: Neck second to Lord Du Mesnil (who goes on to win 2019 renewal) at Newcastle;
Mar. 2020: Wins Class 2 novices' handicap chase @ Uttoxeter in March.