Friday, February 26, 2021

Eider Chase 2021

Last year the amendments Newcastle Racecourse announced to the running of the Eider Chase were of little consequence as the meeting was abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

This year's renewal will be the first run over the revised distance of four miles one furlong and 56 yards. Don't quote me but, after the Aintree Grand National, I think this race may the longest in the calendar.

12 have been declared for tomorrow's renewal with the going currently described as soft, heavy in places; at the time of writing Salty Boy and Sam's Adventure head the market. 

Sam's Adventure went into a number of notebooks on his penultimate start when he comfortably beat Sojourn over three miles one and a half furlongs at Haydock with Salty Boy, in receipt of 11 pounds, six and a quarter lengths behind the winner in third; next time out Sam parted company with jock Ryan Mania in the Haydock race won by Royal Pagaille. 

Back in September Brian Ellison said:

"This lad [Sam's Adventure] loves a trip and plenty of mud....

The big target for him this season will be the Welsh National, where you would expect him to get his preferred conditions." 

Last month Salty Boy, yet to win over fences, was sent off  9/2 joint second favourite for the Sussex National at Plumpton over a trip of three miles four and a half furlongs. He finished sixth behind Seaston Spirit, beaten just under six lengths, with connections indicating the sharp track didn't suit.

On revised terms Salty Boy and Sam's Adventure look closely matched.

Crosspark did me a big favour winning this two years ago off a mark of 135; tomorrow he carries top weight racing off 150. Caroline Bailey's charge has finished second on four occasions this season - and has been raised eight pounds for his trouble. Comply Or Die (2008) was the last horse to carry top weight to victory (off a mark of 139). To date, Crosspark has shown his very best form on good or good to soft ground.

Big River seems to have been around for ever. 

His fifth in the Ultima at Cheltenham last year reads well, beaten just over three lengths, as does his fifth in the 2019 Scottish National. Eighth in the rescheduled Welsh National last month, the ground underneath the required frost covers probably proved better than ideal for this one once they were removed. Perhaps I'm being a tad unfair to the old boy but over the years I've felt his jumping hasn't always been quite up to scratch; of his seven wins under rules, six have come at Kelso.

For his age The Dutchman doesn't have that many miles on the clock. 

On his penultimate start he was pipped on the line by Late Romantic over a trip of three miles one and a half in a veterans' chase at Haydock. Last time he held a narrow lead when taking a crashing fall four from home in the Rowland Meyrick on Boxing Day.

Previously with David Dennis, Cyclop clocked up three of his four chase wins following the move to Tom Symonds' yard last October. Now in the care of Matt Sheppard, he has been kept busy enough over the winter months; the booking of Brian Hughes here catches the eye.

Crossley Tender is another who has been kept on the go - this will be his ninth start since October. His defeat of Samuel Jackson last month was franked earlier this afternoon when that one beat Tea Time On Mars a neck in the Devon National Handicap Chase at Exeter. 

Springfield Fox has struggled in the jumping department this term. Connections try cheekpieces while David Bass travels north for this one ride.

Those not already mentioned race from out of the handicap. 

Little Red Lion lost his confidence on his last run over the larger obstacles, eventually coming to grief five from home; since then he returned to winning ways over hurdles at Chepstow. 

On the face of it, this one doesn't have an obvious chance but I'm wary - I'm sure I can recall the yard having a stab or two at this race in the past and, of course, Comply Or Die won in 2008. If Ben Jones can do the necessary, he'll be able to claim three of the five pounds 'overweight'; in the last 12 months Ben's lowest riding weight is recorded as 9-12.

The mare Haul Us In (47 lengths behind Tea Time On Mars at Bangor last time) is probably the stable's second string and Friends Don't Ask is 27 pounds 'wrong' but from three pounds out of the handicap Strong Economy is worthy of a second look. 

Last time out this one won on heavy ground over three miles three at Ayr and he comes into this in decent form - and a good deal fresher than a few of his rivals. He hails from the yard that sent out 2015 winner Milborough. 20 of the 21 starts to date have been at Ayr (the other one at Perth) so I'm hoping a change of scenery might eke out some further improvement, together with the first-time cheekpieces.

For those with a (particularly) strong constitution Strong Economy is the each-way suggestion. At the time of writing Paddy Power offer 14/1 and pay one fifth the odds four places.

Regular contributor TW has provided his ratings and selection for this race:

Vertem Eider Handicap Chase

166,BIG RIVER(IRE),17.4
166,SALTY BOY(IRE),8.5
161,HAUL US IN(IRE),0.4

11YO Crosspark running off a career high mark of 150 surely not? But with most of his rivals having one or more questions to answer it is perhaps not beyond the realms of possibility.


Anonymous said...

A smashing write up for the race.

Clerk of the Course James Armstrong suggests that the going is:

"Sunny & breezy afternoon @NewcastleRaces ahead of the @vertemam #EiderChaseDay. Course is drying all the time & Going is now SOFT, Good to Soft in pls. 5.0 on @TurfTrax. Dry outlook with temps tomorrow around 11c accompanied with a moderate westerly wind."

The going stick reading was 5.6 for the 2019 renewal and if the ground dries a bit further we might end up with 5.2 or 5.3 tomorrow?

I think, distance wise, the Midlands Grand National might sit between Aintree and the Eider.

Good luck


GeeDee said...

Thanks for the going update, TW; that looks quite significant. Will certainly help Crosspark's cause.

Confirmed - distance of the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter is four miles two furlongs and eight yards.

Mulldog said...

I'm going down the Big River with Lucinda today. This boy stays forever.

GeeDee said...

Good luck, Mully!

Anonymous said...


Well I picked the wrong horse at the wrong odds....could not have got much more wrong!

Exciting finish though...

This Jockey Club PDF of the Festival Handicap weights is a nice resource:



Anonymous said...


Ignore that link I sent through....I've lost the plot!


GeeDee said...


Took a small each-way interest in Crosspark - for old times' sake, you understand.

Travelled well within himself but a mistake six from home put him on the back foot just as the pace had started to increase.

RP reports he went second four out but lost his action before two out and was quickly pulled up before last. Vet said gelding was treated for post-race stress.

GeeDee said...

Wearing first-time cheekpieces Springfield Fox (10/1) made much of the running in the Eider.

The pace picked up in the final mile or so; Sam's Adventure (15/2) made his move from midfield while Crossley Tender (13/2) crept into contention from the rear. The pair had the finish between them with the former prevailing by threequarters of a length.

Salty Boy (9/2f) stayed on for third some 10 lengths adrift while Cyclop (10/1) claimed fourth after recovering from a mid-race 'flat spot'.

Selection Strong Economy (12/1) made a bad error around the two mile mark. He was given time to recover and for a brief moment, turning into the home straight for the final time, held second place. He quickly went backwards thereafter, eventually finishing sixth, beaten a total seventeen and a half lengths.