Friday, July 15, 2022

Market Rasen Summer Plate 2022

Having recently awoken from my rostered summer slumbers, I have been confronted with the news that summer jumping is in something of a 'dire state'. Apparently you're likely to find as many declarations for a Tory party leadership contest as for a race over the sticks around this time of year. 

Traditionally Saturday's card at Market Rasen is a highlight, marking the mid-point of the summer programme; fourteen are set to face the starter for the Summer Plate (3.14) with the official going described as good. 

Tomorrow's renewal certainly appears to lack the quality seen in recent years. 

Light N Strike, Peregrine Run and Francky Du Berlais share top weight on a handicap rating of 139; compare that rating with those of horses allocated to carry top weight in this race over the past decade:

2021: Talkischeap (150)

2020: San Benedeto (150)

2019: Pacific De Baune (149)

2018: Alcala (148)

2017: Henryville (152)

2016: Ballynagar (157)

2015: Conquisto (143)

2014: Pantxoa (142)

2013: Woolcombe Folly (153)

2012: Auroras Encore (149)

Last year Francky Du Berlais claimed the honours beating Exelerator Express seven and a half lengths off a mark of 137; he tries to repeat the trick tomorrow off a mark just two pounds higher.

Unusually, three in the field have raced in the past week.

Both Texard (won at Uttoxeter on Wednesday) and Rostello (won a Class 5 Handicap Chase at Stratford on Sunday with comparative ease) have been raised five pounds for their efforts while Al Roc finished 25 lengths second behind Chapmanshype at Newton Abbot on Monday. 

Mortlach heads the market at the time of writing on the back of three novice chase wins. 

Fergal O'Brien's charge has dominated small fields by racing from the front but this is likely to prove a different test altogether and certainly his stiffest to date. 

The Clarke Chase run at Uttoxeter at the end of May can often prove informative - Francky Du Berlais won last year's renewal. 

This year Demachine beat Manofthemountain three and a quarter lengths (Al Roc eighth); both had undergone wind surgery following their last run. 

To be honest, I expected to see Kerry Lee's charge entered here but he's nowhere to be seen. 

The handicapper has decided to leave Manofthemountain on a mark of 138. In April 2021 Emma Lavelle's inmate won a handicap chase at Cheltenham off 137; my slight concern is this tight track may not play to his strengths.

In the Summer Plate Trial Handicap Chase run over course and distance last month Mahler's Promise beat Statuario two lengths with third Costly Diamond 15 lengths adrift. On revised terms the pair look closely matched, although Peter Bowen's charge has yet to win in 13 attempts over fences. 

Two mares have come home in front in recent years - Casablanca Mix (2019) and Really Super (2020) - and J.P. McManus will be hoping La Domaniale can add to that total. La Domaniale has just three chase starts to her name.

The other mare in the field, Rapid Response, makes the trip over from Ireland. 

The stable has been operating at a win strike-rate of 23% on the Flat over the past fortnight; Rapid Response appears to have had this race as a target but she would probably prefer some cut underfoot.

Light N Strike has finished in the first three on all seven chase starts. 

His win at Stratford last time reads well and Jack Wildman claims seven but there's a slight question mark over this extended trip - a comment that also applies to Tardree. 

Since 1995 four six-year-olds have collected the spoils: Stately Home (1997); Chicuelo (2002); Iron Man (2007); and Really Super (2020). 

Stately Home remains the only winner to carry more than 11-07 to victory while just two older than ten have obliged: Saskia's Hero (1998) and Glinger (2004). 

I could certainly see Licklighter outrunning his current odds of 33/1 if allowed to bowl along in front while Peregrine Run should appreciate decent ground but, to date, no twelve-year-old has collected the spoils.

Not the highest quality renewal but a very competitive race nonetheless. 

The chance of  Francky Du Berlais in particular is respected - Peter Bowen has trained seven previous winners - but I'm going to take an each-way interest in Mahler's Promise; Seamus Mullins' charge has finished in the first three on nine of his ten chase starts.

Mahler's Promise is the each-way suggestion, at the time of writing 10/1 with bet365 who pay one fifth the odds four places.