Friday, January 14, 2022

Warwick's Classic Chase 2022

I can't quite recall the last time I tipped a horse that even placed in Warwick's Classic Chase and, with recent results predictably more miss than hit, I thought I'd check out Old Moore's Almanac for inspiration. 

The Almanac - a family favourite once upon a time - informs me that a nine-year-old carrying 10-11 may win this year's race. As the only nine-year-old declared, The Hollow Ginge, shoulders 11-11, and not one of the 15 runners has been allocated 10-11, I've had to revert to type.

Tomorrow's card needs to pass an 8.00 am inspection; frost sheets were deployed in vulnerable areas on Wednesday. The going is described as soft, good to soft in places on the chase course.

The quality of this year's race, due off at 3.00 pm, falls some way short of recent renewals, illustrated by the fact that Notachance won last year off 139 carrying 10-5 yet 12 months later tries to repeat the feat off the same handicap mark carrying 11-9.

Top weight tomorrow Corach Rambler goes off 142. Only once in the past ten years has the top weight been rated below that figure - Missed Approach rated 139 in 2018; in 2013 Auroras Encore raced off 142.

2012 winner Hey Big Spender remains the only horse to have carried top weight to victory - indeed, the only horse to have won carrying more than 11-7.

Corach Rambler's trainer, Lucinda Russell, collected the spoils with One For Arthur in 2017. She describes Corach Rambler as 'Scu's favourite horse'; having won his last two chase starts, the gelding has gone up a total of 15 pounds.

His chance is certainly respected but I'm not totally convinced this tight track will play to his strengths.

At the time of writing Gericault Roque heads the market, probably on the back of his noteworthy second behind Saint Palais in the Mandarin Chase at Newbury 17 days ago. 

I note this one is part-owned by Professor Caroline Tisdall and I'm just wondering whether connections see the gelding as a replacement for the recently retired Vieux Lion Rouge - with a crack at the Grand National the long-term aim.  

The horse has only had three chase starts to date and has yet to come home in front but David Pipe's charge has been well backed during the week. 

Evan Williams sent out Prime Venture to win the Veterans' Chase at Sandown last Saturday and Supreme Escape to win the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick yesterday. 

He saddles No Rematch here who has also been well backed. The trip shouldn't be a problem but this one has just two chase starts to his name.

In a race that can ride quite rough, I tend to prefer one with a little more experience over fences.

This has been the target for Notachance who ran well for a long way in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock last time and sports a first-time visor. 

Conceding five pounds he beat Achille half a length in last year's renewal (The Hollow Ginge pulled up) although the grey never looked likely to go past the leader. 

Venetia Williams' charge ran well to finish fourth behind Iwilldoit in an attritional Welsh National 19 days ago in which 15 of the 20 starters failed to finish. That looked a hard race and I wonder whether this might come a little too soon.

Padleyourowncanoe moved to Dan Skelton's yard at the beginning of November and just before Christmas ran a respectable third at odds of 40/1 behind Jesuitique in a Haydock hurdle. His fourth behind Minellacelebration off a mark of 140 in the 2020 Summer Cup at Uttoxeter reads well.

Eclair Surf was close enough to Iwilldoit in the Welsh Grand National Trial at the beginning of December but made a mistake five from home that put paid to his chance; on occasions his jumping  hasn't quite been up to scratch.

Grace A Vous Enki has been racing over fences in France but last time fell three out on his third hurdle start in this country. This will be the gelding's first try over fences over here; the only six-year-old to win this race was Colonel Christy in 1981.

Jerrysback and The Hollow Ginge wouldn't be the most consistent of individuals but the latter underwent wind surgery after his latest run and his record after a break of 50 days or more reads 313211UP2. 

Chirico Vallis made all to defeat Kitty's Light a head at Chepstow in October - noteworthy form. That was run on good ground and I just wonder whether he'll stay this extended trip in prevailing conditions. 

In contrast Game Line has no stamina concerns having won the Norfolk National over three miles five furlongs in May and finished third in the Sussex National at Plumpton last time out. 

The handicapper dropped Peter Bowen's charge one pound after that run to a mark of 116; the lowest official rating of the past 10 winners is 122 (Rigadin De Beauchene in 2013).

Two recent Ludlow winners come into this in fine form. 

Head To The Stars beat Didero Vallis three lengths last time while Minella Encore beat Bobo Mac an eased-down 18 lengths and on the back of that performance is of interest. 

Dr Richard Newland's charge doesn't have a lot of mileage on the clock and looked to have benefitted from wind surgery at Fakenham in October before disappointing at Cheltenham the following month. The fitting of first-time blinkers certainly helped the cause at Ludlow, the handicapper subsequently raising the gelding nine pounds.

I'm hoping the blinkers can continue to work their magic and that the horse can see out see out this extended trip on this ground.

At the time of writing William Hill offer 14/1 and pay one fifth the odds five places.

Minella Encore is the each-way suggestion.


Anonymous said...

Agetur UK Ltd Classic Handicap Chase


I’m going to try and make a, tenuous it has to be said, case for Game Line [GL] at 50/1+.

System top rated Gericault Roque [GR] looks an exciting prospect but it’s possible that this will be a tough race for a 5yo.

Take GR out of the race and there is not really a lot between these on my system ratings.

How many will stay this marathon trip, only Notachance and GL are proven over the distance. GL has won in a bog and won on better ground but this Soft, GS looks perfect. GL runs better after a recent run [under 40 days] and this makes his recent effort in the Sussex National look decent [his 2 previous runs came after 49 and 140 days absence]. GL’s never had a day out at Warwick but has performed well on courses with a similar profile. GL has snuck in at the bottom of the handicap, horses with less than 11-00 tend to out run those with more in this.

This is a step up in class for GL, he will need to improve to get involved in the finish, can he? GL’s 161 rating is based on his 2nd to Dressedforsuccess [DFS] at Cartmel over 25.5F in June of 2021. DFS has won his next two races, the latter of 17lbs higher, and DFS does not look to have stopped improving just yet. The 3rd and 4th from that Cartmel race have also since ran 10lbs better in later races. Crucially the Cartmel race came after a lay off of 54 days for GL which might suggest he was not at his absolute best. Perhaps he does still have improvement in him.

All codswallop of course but it wont’ stop me having 2 Bob EW.

Minella Encore scored very well on the system and he is currently available at 25.0 on BF which was tempting. He did not see much racing for Willie Mullins but the fact that he hung on to him until he was an 8yo which suggests Willie certainly thought a bit of him.

Good Luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings, TW.

Agree with the points you make and certainly think Game Line can make a place.

Peter Bowen stable form over last 14 days: 2 wins from 11 runs (18%). Definitely worth a small each-way wager.

Good luck!

GeeDee said...

Nothing could live with the searching pace set by Eclair Surf (11/1) in the Classic Chase.

Emma Lavelle's charge set off in front with Chirico Vallis (33/1) from the off and then went clear after the sixth. Apart from one mistake, there was little sign of the jumping issues seen previously and nothing could get anywhere near close enough to land a blow.

Gericault Roque (7/2f) bravely gave chase up the home straight but the winner wasn't for catching, coming home 13 lengths ahead of the favourite, with Chirico Vallis a further length away in third, Corach Rambler (11/2) fourth and Jerrysback (22/1) fifth.

In the circumstances Corach Rambler did well to finish where he did; he looked likely to lose touch completely as they raced down the hill for the final time.

Selection Minella Encore (20/1) was prominent in third on the first circuit but started to lose his pitch as they raced passed the stands. He quickly went backwards after that and, along with Game Line (28/1), was pulled up before the sixteenth.

Anonymous said...

Not our finest hour.....still the Peter Marsh should be easier :-)


GeeDee said...

My sub-editor appears to have missed a couple of typographical errors in that race report.

Particularly galling - the use of 'passed' instead of 'past'.

Bring on the Peter Marsh...