Friday, January 28, 2022

Doncaster's Sky Bet Chase 2022

Connections of Aye Right (rated 159) and Simply The Betts (rated 157) have chosen to contest tomorrow's Cotswold Chase (2.30 Cheltenham) rather than take up alternative options, namely the Sky Bet Handicap Chase (3.20 Doncaster) and the Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase (1.55 Cheltenham) respectively. 

The Trials Day card has a number of small fields - just five declared for both the Cotswold Chase and the Cleeve Hurdle (3.05) and six for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (3.40); officials have put this down in part to the prevailing going, now described as good.

I've decided to head north. 

The going at Doncaster is described as good, good to soft in places; 17 are set to face the starter for the Sky Bet Handicap Chase due off at 3.20.

A number in the field have questions to answer over this trip.

Favourite Fusil Raffles won the Charlie Hall at Wetherby on his first try at three miles but that day Shan Blue was 20 lengths to the good when taking a crashing fall three out.

Demachine appeared to be outstayed by Remastered in the Reynoldstown at Ascot last February and Cap Du Nord likewise when third behind Takingrisks in this race last year. 

Midnight Shadow and Nuts Well try the trip for the first time while both Janika and Grand Sancy look suspect stayers.

Kapcourse is another to try three miles for the first time. 

I'm guessing this one has been difficult to train but the gelding didn't appear to be stopping when taking the Sir Peter O'Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase at Newbury over two miles six and a half furlongs (Grand Sancy fourth). The handicapper has raised Paul Nicholls' charge eight pounds for that effort but his chance is respected. 

Debece joined the Skelton yard last spring and on his first run for new connections was passed by Fortescue after the last at Sandown. Now aged 11, he underwent wind surgery in September - the market would appear to indicate a bold run is anticipated. 

Canelo's defeat of Snow Leopardess (Windsor Avenue third) in the 2020 Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby reads well. 

Trainer Alan King won the 2016 and 2017 renewals of this race with Ziga Boy. Canelo came home fourth behind Takingrisks last year but the gelding has been out of form this term and the yard hasn't recorded a win over the sticks in 47 starts over the past month.

Windsor Avenue ran with credit to finish second behind Snow Leopardess at Bangor on seasonal debut but next time was never travelling in the Rowland Meyrick and was pulled up; connections try first-time blinkers. 

Cloudy Glen isn't the most consistent of individuals - another pulled up behind Good Boy Bobby in last month's Rowland Meyrick - but Charlie Deutsch prefers to ride the Ladbrokes Trophy winner here rather than Farinet at Cheltenham.

Demachine's stablemate Storm Control bounced back to form at Newbury - the worry would be that race was just 10 days ago. 

Rocco looked a horse to keep an eye when racing up with the pace and then going on to win the Badger Beer Handicap Chase at odds of 40/1 (Hurricane Harvey third, Cap Du Nord fourth and Some Chaos pulled up). However he didn't jump well next time behind Commodore at Cheltenham.

The form of Snow Leopardess acts as a useful benchmark for a few of these and I'm going to make a case for Hill Sixteen.

Hill Sixteen wasn't the most consistent last term and moved up to Sandy Thomson's yard in Berwickshire in the autumn. 

After finishing sixth behind Hold That Taught on seasonal debut at Carlisle he ran a stormer in the Becher Chase from four pounds out of the handicap, beaten a nose by Snow Leopardess. 

I expected a reasonable showing in the Welsh Grand National next time but he was nowhere to be seen and was eventually pulled up. This year's Welsh National was a messy affair run on desperate ground - the start was an absolute shambles - and, with only five of the 20 completing, I'm prepared to forgive that effort.

Hill Sixteen has previously been trained by Sue Smith and Nigel Twiston-Davies. Sandy Thomson's yard has a respectable record with this type of animal; if the gelding can rediscover that Becher form, 20/1 looks value. 

Hill Sixteen is the each-way suggestion, generally a 20/1 chance, with sponsors Sky Bet paying six places.


Anonymous said...

Sky Bet Handicap Chase

175,CAP DU NORD(FR),6.3
171,NUTS WELL(GB),5.5

Going at Doncaster this morning is now Good.

The system has filed this as unfathomable so well done on tackling it!

Given this, I've decided to head south.

Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase

163,EDEN DU HOUX(FR),8.6

Spiritofthegames would not have the ideal profile for this and can be a difficult ride but with the help of the handicapper [down 4lbs and running of his lowest ever chase mark], a 5lb claimer taking off a bit more weight, back at Cheltenham [yet to win but ran some fine races in defeat] and dropping down again to 2 ½ miles on good ground everything looks aligned for a huge run. I'm hoping he'll pass most of the field coming up the hill and take one of the 4 places Coral are offering at odds of 12/1 [1/5 odds]

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings, TW.

I think the handicapper has given Magic Saint a chance in that Cheltenham race, although the horse has yet to win over the trip. Tempted by Sky's offer - stake returned (to maximum £10) if horse finishes second, third, fourth or fifth.

Good luck!

GeeDee said...

Windsor Avenue (40/1) and Storm Control (9/1) had the Sky Bet Chase between them up the Doncaster home straight.

The latter, clear from two out, jumped the last five lengths ahead and appeared to have the race in safe keeping. However he slowed dramatically on the run-in allowing Windsor Avenue to mount his challenge and claim an unlikely victory by thee and a quarter lengths with Cap Du Nord (15/2) a further 16 lengths adrift in third.

Selection Hill Sixteen (28/1) claimed a prominent pitch behind the early leaders but laboured at a number of the obstacles and quickly went backwards, looking distinctly like a another lost cause at the rear of the field with a mile or so to run.

With Craig Nichol pushing for all he was worth, Hill Sixteen started to respond to the urgings; he stayed on through beaten horses into fourth spot, three and a half lengths behind Cap Du Nord.

The race was marred by the fatal injury Midnight Shadow suffered after a mistake at the seventh fence.

TW's each-way play Spiritofthegames was well backed at Cheltenham, eventually going off a 7/1 chance; he finished a creditable third behind Torn And Frayed (5/1jf).

Unfortunately Magic Saint (8/1) was more Tommy Cooper than David Blaine, racing in rear and then failing to pick up in the home straight - he finished a sixth. Another sleight of hand...

Anonymous said...

Hill Sixteen is the each-way suggestion, generally a 20/1 chance, with sponsors Sky Bet paying six places.

Well done; desperate news for connections re. Midnight Shadow, an 9YO that still had many a fine race in him.

The Festival looms.