Friday, November 05, 2021

The 2021 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase

Owen Paterson may have been in the supermarket yesterday when he learnt of Boris Johnson's latest handbrake turn -  at this stage it's unclear whether Mr Paterson was in the middle of a big shop down the Asda or picking up a few bits and pieces in the local Nisa - but how about this for an unexpected item in the bagging area: they've brought the Grand Sefton forward four weeks. Whatever next?

Fourteen have been declared for tomorrow's renewal which is usually run when we're all supposed to be doing our Christmas shopping; the going on the National course is currently described as soft, good to soft in places.

I've checked it out - just four of the fourteen have jumped the National fences before and a couple on the list look decidedly short on chase experience, including the well-touted manager's special, Midlands Grand National winner Time To Get Up; the concern is the trip may be on the sharp side for the J.P.McManus owned runner.

Cat Tiger showed a liking for these fences when finishing third behind Cousin Pascal in the Foxhunters' Chase run over course and distance in the spring while Senior Citizen finished seventh in last year's race and then a highly creditable third behind easy winner Livelovelaugh in the Topham (Sir Jack Yeats fifth).

Alan King's inmate swept down the home straight in the manner of a well-oiled trolley to win at Market Rasen last month (Francky Du Berlais 31 lengths adrift in sixth) and this race is his autumn target. In the RP Weekender the trainer states:

"He just doesn't want really soft ground as he doesn't quite get home." 

Jamie Snowden's two runners are certain to attract the attention of punters. 

Hogan's Height won the 2019 renewal 16 lengths and had a pipe-opener over hurdles at Newton Abbot last month.

Thomas Macdonagh has only contested five steeplechases to date but, in his 'Straight from the Stable' tour (RP Weekender 29.09.21 - 03.10.21), Snowden says:

"His final run of last season was a very good one when second to Informateur at Haydock off a mark of 131. He is a decent hurdler (rated 136) but has the potential to do even better over fences (130). He will be at his best on deep ground and the plan is to go for the Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree. I think a good gallop over 2m 4f will be ideal for him and he could be a very interesting contender."

Francky Du Berlais was impressive when winning the Market Rasen Summer Plate in July. 

The handicapper didn't give Peter Bowen any change after that, raising his charge ten pounds; he subsequently relented, dropping the gelding two after he came home well beaten behind Senior Citizen last month. Every little helps. On that form Francky will struggle to reverse placings.

Peter Bowen's other runner, Mac Tottie, has decent form on display and, despite the price, wouldn't be immediately discounted.

Spyglass Hill is worth another look on the back of his fifth behind Ontheropes in the Munster National last month - Ontheropes is quoted a 7/1 chance for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in three weeks' time. 

After that race trainer Henry de Bromhead said connections thought 'that maybe the drop back in trip might suit him.'

After a quick scan I see that Five Star Getaway finished a long way behind Paint The Dream at Chepstow and doesn't have that much experience over fences, in marked contrast to The West's Awake and Via Dolorosa. The latter moved to David Pipe's yard last month so this looks an intriguing first run for new connections, although Tom Scudamore is aboard Time To Get Up.

Dr Richard Newland won last year's renewal with Beau Bay; he saddles Al Roc this time who has his third run in this country and second following wind surgery in January. The run over hurdles at Warwick last time should ensure he won't be left on the shelf. 

I always prefer one that has jumped the unique National fences previously for this and Sir Jack Yeats fits the bill. 

He finished second last year from three pounds out of the handicap, leading to the elbow before being passed by Beau Bay. 

Sir Jack races off the same mark tomorrow (126) with a weight of 10-6. 

Earlier in the week I'm sure seven pound claimer Angus Cheleda was jocked up but I'm pleased to see handler Richard Spencer has used his loyalty card and put James Best up; James was aboard last year and in the Topham as well. 

Last season the gelding came into the race with a couple of warm-up runs under the belt so I'm taking fitness on trust; I'd expect to see him racing up with the pace.

At the time of writing Paddy Power offer 14/1 and pay one fifth the odds five places; Sir Jack Yeats is the each-way suggestion. 

I should point out that, in the event of a disappointing performance, in line with stated policy no refunds or exchanges can be given.


Anonymous said...

Betway Grand Sefton Handicap Chase

A slight drying of the ground overnight, Good to Soft, Soft in places, but with showers forecast from lunchtime.

Five Star Getaway is now a non-runner [Self Cert (Abscess)] so only 13 going to post and the 5 places special offer available with SB and WH make it an attractive EW play.

161,AL ROC(FR),11
164,MAC TOTTIE(GB),9.8
159,CAT TIGER(FR),8.2

I can see the case you have made for Sir Jack Yeats [experience over the fences and same mark as last year], the system has only rated him at 155 which looks like it might be just a tad short in this renewal.

I popped three potential bargains in my shopping basket; Francky Du Berlais [16/1], The West’s Awake [14/1] and Mac Tottie [14/1] before realising I only had enough money to take one to the checkout.

FDB’s 165 rating may be conflated by the manner of his Summer Plate win along with the better ground that day. MT has been beaten 20L+ on each of his seasonal debuts so may well pick up again on his progressive profile. So in the end I’ve scanned through TWA at 14/1 5 places 1/5 odds in the hope of getting some cash back.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Think you've bagged a top bargain there, TW.
Hope the cashback offer kicks in this afternoon.

GeeDee said...

James Best positioned Sir Jack Yeats (14/1) on the inside rail and the pair took up the running from the off.

Going out into the country, Sir Jack appeared to be going well within himself although he wasn't as clean as I've seen him at one or two of the obstacles. He hit the fifth quite hard and was joined up front by Via Dolorosa (40/1) as they approached Becher's.

The partnership were lucky to survive a horrendous blunder at the Canal Turn, James Best momentarily situated half way up Sir Jack's neck. Spyglass Hill (10/1) had just taken over the running as they approached the fence but Hugh Morgan unseated leaving the selection still in the lead.

Gradually Sir Jack's jumping become more ragged and those mistakes started to take their toll; he was a spent force coming to two out, going backwards quickly to finish a well beaten ninth, some 47 lengths behind winner Mac Tottie (20/1) who took up the running approaching the last.

Regular contributor TW had the winner in his bargain basket beforehand but, unfortunately, put him back on the shelf before reaching the checkout...

Senior Citizen (9/2) made stealthy progress and looked the winner coming to the elbow but Mac Tottie wasn't for passing. He was beaten a length into second with Manwell (40/1) passing Via Dolorosa on the run to the line to claim third.

A short spell of window shopping will now ensue.