Friday, January 01, 2021

Sandown's Veterans' Chase Final 2020

Amongst the presents beneath the Christmas tree this year I found a copy of Barry Geraghty's autobiography True Colours; something to look forward to after the recent tightening of lockdown restrictions.

For the first wager of the new year, I'm off to Sandown for tomorrow's final of the 2020 Veterans' Chase Series (3.00) where 16 are set to face the starter; the going on the chase course is currently described as soft, good to soft in places.

Crosspark heads the market at the time of writing and I confess to being a fan. 

Back in 2019 Caroline Bailey's charge won the Eider at Newcastle off a mark of 135 and followed that with a fine second behind Takingrisks (declared for the 3.15 at Ayr) in the Scottish National off 142. 

Last season was a complete write-off but the gelding has returned to form this year. 

He was beaten threequarters of a length by Doing Fine (Regal Flow third) over an extended trip in the London National at this track four weeks ago and the handicapper subsequently raised him three pounds. 

Prior to that he was beaten threequarters of a length by Step Back in leg 9 of this veterans' series (Sametegal third, Regal Flow sixth, with Jepeck pulled up and Gold Present refusing to race). 

He races off a career-high mark tomorrow; the balance of his form suggests he is best on good / good to soft ground.

Sir Ivan has been running well recently. Connections had a handicap chase over two miles three and a half furlongs at Chepstow's Welsh National meeting as their original target; this one is short enough in the market as he doesn't look guaranteed to stay this trip on this ground.

Late Romantic was pipped at the post in heart-breaking fashion by The Dutchman in leg 12 of the series at Haydock 31 days ago (Fingerontheswitch fourth with Seeyouatmidnight and Burtons Well pulled up). Five pounds higher, the gelding also holds an entry in the 3.15 at Ayr but this race is the first preference.

On his first run after wind surgery Potters Legend won leg 10 of the series at Warwick (Theatre Guide second, Strong Pursuit third, Gold Present fourth, Valtor sixth). His subsequent second behind Storm Control at Cheltenham off a five pounds higher mark reads well. 

The first four from that Warwick leg appear closely matched - Strong Pursuit, with just ten starts to his name at the age of 11, looks comparatively unexposed but has yet to win over this trip while it's interesting to note that of the two Henderson runners Valtor, owned by Simon Munir and Issac Suede and with some decent form in the book, has been well backed during the day and is now much shorter in the market than Gold Present.

In last year's renewal Jepeck (132), sent off the 3/1 favourite, beat Regal Flow (127) a short head with Theatre Guide (137) a neck away in third (Burtons Well pulled up). Anthony Honeyball's charge has been pulled up twice this term and connections have decided to fit first-time cheekpieces; Burtons Well wears blinkers for the first time.

Theatre Guide and Regal Flow are aged 14 and both turn up in decent form; four of the past five winners have been no older than 12. 

Ben Poste parted company with Minellacelebration on the flat after the seventh in the Becher Chase. Prior to that Katy Price's charge won leg 8 of the series at Aintree with Sametegal third, Theatre Guide sixth and Ballydine ninth; Sametegal is the other runner in the field who has not won over this distance. 

In a competitive event two each-way chances are of interest: Fingerontheswitch and Seeyouatmidnight.

The former finished some 24 lengths behind Late Romantic in leg 12 while the latter pulled up in the same race, form I'm not reading too literally as both horses were making their seasonal debut. Late Romantic has gone up five while Fingerontheswitch has gone down two, Seeyouatmidnight one. 

I tipped Seeyouatmidnight to win the 2018 Grand National; in the event Sandy Thomson's charge ran out of petrol from three out. In his younger days he beat the likes of Bristol De Mai and Blacklion and finished third behind Vicente in the 2016 Scottish National. 

In more recent times he won leg 4 of this series at Carlisle in March (Jepeck fourth, Takingrisks fifth). A fragile sort with not too many miles on the clock, I'd expect to see significant improvement for that spin; his past record shows he has produced a good performance after a similar preparatory run.

Millie Wonnacott gets on well with Fingerontheswtich, her seven pound claim an added bonus. Form behind Copperhead in the Silver Buck Chase at Wincanton and Ok Corral in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster reads well. 

Millie fractured vertebrae in her back in a fall at Newton Abbot in August but returned to ride Doing Fine to victory for this stable in the London National here four weeks ago. The Mulholland yard has been operating at a 24% win strike rate in the past fortnight; Fingerontheswtich is the younger of the two under consideration.

It's possible to make a case for several in the field. Fingerontheswtich is the each-way selection; at the time of writing Paddy Power offer 12/1 and pay one fifth the odds five places. 


Mulldog said...

Good luck PG and all the best for 2021.

GeeDee said...

Wishing you all the best for 2021, Mully.
Looking forward to getting back on the track.

Anonymous said...

I also received a copy of Barry Geraghty's autobiography for Christmas which I’m looking forward to reading, however I’ve started with another present, Harry Pearson’s The Farther Corner which is proving a delight.

After two losing wagers yesterday…..I’m already on the back foot for 2021!

164,SIR IVAN(GB),3.6
161,REGAL FLOW(GB),3.5

A competitive affair, the system can see potential value in Sametegal [14/1], Fingerontheswitch [12/1] and Seeyouatmidnight [18/1].

While it is true Sametegal has yet to win over the trip he has posted some decent efforts in defeat, does not have too many miles on the clock for a 12yo, has been running consistently and I’m happy to forgive a bit below par effort over the National fences LTO and take an interest at 14/1 [4 places ¼ odds].

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings, TW.

I've just looked up The Farther Corner and added it to my list of books to read during lockdown.

A competitive race this afternoon - wishing you all the best for 2021.

Anonymous said...

In a competitive event two each-way chances are of interest: Fingerontheswitch and Seeyouatmidnight.

Useful narrowing of the field...


GeeDee said...

Still weeping, TW... ;)

GeeDee said...

Held up at the back of the field, selection Fingerontheswitch (14/1) made a mistake at the twelfth (interference caused by Ballydine). With finger on the switch, Millie pressed it as they raced down the back straight and the pair made some noticeable headway. Disappointingly, that effort petered out before the Pond Fence three from home.

Fingerontheswitch came home a well beaten ninth, over 40 lengths behind 10/1 winner Seeyouatmidnight who raced prominently, jumped well and had enough in reserve to keep Crosspark (8/1) at bay up the hill with Sir Ivan (20/1) third, TW's each-way selection Sametegal (17/2) fourth and 5/1 favourite Potters Legend fifth.