Friday, January 15, 2021

Warwick's Classic Chase 2021

In an upbeat column in this week's RP Weekender Alan King highlights the chance of Notachance in the Classic Chase (3.00); the trainer describes Warwick as 'probably my favourite course' and adds 'I've been very lucky there too'.

Warwick is my local track but I'm afraid I'm obliged to report none of Mr King's luck has rubbed off on me personally; perhaps I should take the hint.

This has been the target for Notachance following victory in the Anne Duchess of Westminster Memorial Handicap Chase at Bangor in November (The Two Amigos, second in the Welsh National at Chepstow last weekend, seven lengths adrift in third with Captain Chaos pulled up). 

At the time of writing Notacahnce is favourite and next up is, er, Captain Chaos. 

Dan Skelton's charge ran a blinder from the front in last year's renewal, eventually succumbing to the challenge of Kimberlite Candy approaching the last, with Petite Power third and Le Breuil fifth. Seven weeks later he gained deserved compensation when beating Worthy Farm 54 lengths in the Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at Doncaster.

The Captain hasn't been in quite the same form this term (PP0) and, to be honest, I've always thought he was difficult to predict but I note connections have reapplied the blinkers for tomorrow's race. Captain Chaos first wore blinkers on 11th November 2017; his form figures when sporting blinkers read: 1141522621.

Walk In The Mill sports blinkers for the first-time - at the age of 11. This one is a bit of a character who tends to reserve his very best for the Grand National fences at Aintree; he blotted his copybook in the Becher last month, coming to grief at The Chair. The suspicion is the Aintree showpiece is the target once again (as it is for the 2019 Welsh National winner Potters Corner who goes in the Pertemps qualifier at 3.35). 

Thirteen have been declared for tomorrow's renewal with the ground currently described as soft, heavy in places - and further rain is forecast.

Top weight Ballyoptic stands his ground; Jordan Naylor lightens the burden with his five pound claim. Achille, Red Infantry, Django Django, Didero Vallis and Petite Power all race from out of the handicap (the last-named 12lbs 'wrong' at the weights). 

Le Breuil, Late Romantic and Red Infantry are all re-routed here after the cancellation of Thursday's meeting at Catterick where they were due to contest the North Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase.

The chance of Le Breuil, fifth last year, on his first run after wind surgery is respected, as is that of Storm Control, but the prices don't tempt. 

Storm Control, Captain Chaos and Achille all race prominently - no bad thing around here.

Last January Django Django beat Notachance just under five lengths off level weights on heavy ground at Newbury. The horse doesn't appear to have been in the same form this term; connections have chosen to try cheekpieces for the first time and Richard Johnson in the plate rather than Jonjo O'Neill Jr certainly catches the eye.   

Venetia Williams won this in 2013 with Rigadin De Beauchene, three pound claimer Robert Dunne doing the steering. Robbie rides Red Infantry for Ian Williams tomorrow, minus the three pound claim, of course. 

Red Infantry is a fragile sort who hasn't seen a track in over 400 days but he still has decent form in the book. Achille is another who hasn't been seen at the track for over 400 days; Charlie Deutsch prefers to ride this one for Venetia rather than Didero Vallis. 

Despite the big weight, Ballyoptic looks big at 20/1; he won the Charlie Hall in 2019, beating the likes of Elegant Escape, Aso and Definitly Red. To my mind he isn't always the slickest at his fences and those five flights down the Warwick back straight place a premium on good jumping. Stablemate The Hollow Ginge has failed to complete in two of his three starts this term but finished a respectable fourth in the Ladbrokes Chase at Newbury in November.

As I'm sure you can tell - if you've managed to make it this far - I'm struggling to come up with a value each-way selection. 

Ballyoptic was beaten 53 lengths behind Cloth Cap in the Ladbrokes Trophy last time but that was run on good ground and underfoot conditions tomorrow will be more to his liking. 

I'm going to take a small each-way interest in Ballyoptic; at the time of writing William Hill offer 20/1 and pay five places. 


Anonymous said...

McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase

173,LE BREUIL(FR),4.3

As I'm sure you can tell - if you've managed to make it this far - I'm struggling to come up with a value each-way selection.

The system also considers the race Mission Impossible.

Ballyoptic scores well in lots of areas but gets a red card for the extended trip on ground as testing as today's? That said the system has found one or more issues with all of the field.

Indeed, the system has struggled to find a bet in all of the races it has assessed today and a rare bet free Saturday for me.

Good luck


GeeDee said...

Hear what you're saying, TW.

Sixth behind Elegant Escape in the 2018 Welsh National is the best I can come up with. Stayed four miles on better ground when beaten a nose by Joe Farrell in the 2018 Scottish National.

Hopeful rather than confident, as they say.

GeeDee said...


Good run from Achille, top-rated on your system; thought he looked like the winner as they came off the home bend.

GeeDee said...

Alan King won the Classic Chase at his lucky track, Notachance (7/2jf) taking up the running from three out and managing to repel a strong challenge from Achille (12/1) who benefitted from a fine hold-up ride by Charlie Deutsch; the winning distance was half a length.

It was evident from the off Harry Skelton and Captain Chaos (7/1) were going to employ the tactics used last year. The Captain raced into an early lead and quickly established a jumping rhythm that had several of those in behind in trouble. He was headed two from home by the principals and lost third spot to the fast finishing Le Breuil (7/2jf).

Selection Ballyoptic (28/1) raced midfield on the first circuit; a couple of small niggles at the fences didn't help the cause. As the leaders pressed on, he was in danger of losing touch completely but, with plenty of help from Jordan Nailor in the saddle, he managed to remain competitive and was disputing second place three from home. Despite the strong arm tactics from Nailor, he couldn't keep tabs on the leaders off the home turn and was beaten a nose for fifth place by Late Romantic (20/1).

Ballyoptic finished just under 14 lengths behind the winner and was the last of the 13 starters to complete. The prize money for sixth place was the princely sum of £670; I respectively suggest connections may want to consider passing on the winnings to Jordan Nailor...