Friday, January 13, 2023

The 2023 Classic Chase at Warwick

Princess Camilla won the inaugural running of what is now known as the Classic Chase in 1973. 

The going for tomorrow's 50th anniversary of that inaugural running is currently described as heavy, soft in places. Fourteen have been declared, and further rain has been forecast before the scheduled off-time of 3.00 pm.

There have been 12 abandonments over the years, and only 12 winners have carried more than 11-00 to victory - four of them in the past decade: Shotgun Paddy 11-07, 2014; Milansbar 11-02, 2018; Kimberlite Candy 11-04, 2020; and Eclair Surf 11-03, 2022.

Hey Big Spender (2012) remains the only horse to have carried top weight to victory.

At the time of writing the Willie Mullins trained Mr Incredible heads the market. 

I saw this one beaten over 30 lengths by Ahoy Senor at Newbury in November 2021 when trained by Henry De Bromhead. 

He didn't jump well that day, refused to race in first-time cheekpieces next time out and has failed to complete on both subsequent starts.

Threeunderthrufive got no further than the first in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury seven weeks ago. 

He looks to have a difficult task carrying top weight on heavy ground but last year he made all and jumped well to win the Hampton Novices' Chase at this meeting.

Lord Du Mesnil can be a moody character but when he's in the mood he's very good. 

His second behind Le Milos in the Sir Charles Lowther Plate at Bangor in November reads very well (Notachance fourth, Grumpy Charley pulled up) as the winner that day went on to win the Coral Gold Cup. 

I'm wary as I've burned my fingers with 'the Lord' before and I just wonder whether he will stay this trip on heavy ground. In the 2020 Grand National Trial run over an extended three and a half mile trip at Haydock he was outstayed by Smooth Stepper. 

Grumpy Charley made connections very happy next time out, winning the Mandarin Chase at Newbury on New Year's Eve; he has been raised six pounds for that effort.

Iwilldoit appeared particularly well-named when winning the 2021 Welsh Grand National but we haven't seen him since. 

Sam Thomas' charge wasn't ready to run in this year's Chepstow showpiece and makes his seasonal debut here. His price appears to be on the drift this evening. 

Slipway was of interest at the five day declaration stage but handler Ben Pauling declared Nestor Park instead. 

Although the gelding has won only one of his 12 chase starts to date, he finished third behind No Cruise Yet (4/1 favourite Wouldubewell sixth) at Haydock last time.

Guetepan Collonges looks short enough in the market for a horse that hasn't always been fluent at his fences and has contested Class 4 and Class 5 chases to date. Handler Charlie Longsdon has described the gelding as 'a horse on the up'.

I tipped Fortescue for this year's Welsh National but he couldn't hold his pitch and looked beaten after the first fence. 

If they go a bit slower in this ground it will certainly help his cause but I don't think underfoot conditions are going to help Commodore.

Dingo Dollar has looked revitalised since a move to Sandy Thomson's yard which is operating at a 50% win strike-rate over the past fortnight. Miss Alice Stevens claims seven and the fact connections have decided to make the long trip south suggests they think he will be competitive.

Wouldubewell hails from the yard that won this last year with Eclair Surf and the mare, a remote sixth in the Welsh National last time out, could well be overpriced at 33/1.  Current stable form is a concern.

Course and distance winner Volcano runs from out of the handicap while Grand Mogul isn't guaranteed to see out the trip.

I'm going to take a chance with Notachance who won this two years ago off 139 and goes off 130 tomorrow. 

Writing in the Weekender handler Alan King tells readers the gelding lost his confidence after suffering an injury behind Lord Du Mesnil at Haydock next time out (20.02.21) and it has taken a long time to restore it.

Wearing a first-time visor he finished eighth in this race last year, 83 lengths behind Eclair Surf.  

His third behind Captain Cattistock at Cheltenham in April (13.04.22) marked an improvement and his fourth behind Le Milos at Bangor on seasonal debut confirmed progress. 

The handicapper dropped him a further two pounds for the Bangor run so he races tomorrow with 10-07. The trainer says he goes well fresh so has been deliberately kept back for this. 

Stable jockey Tom Cannon rides here (rather than Harbour Lake in the Lanzarote at Kempton) and Mr King is on record saying Warwick is his favourite track.

I'm hoping Notachance's confidence doesn't receive a setback tomorrow because if he's back to somewhere near his best, he must have some sort of chance. 

Notachance is the each-way suggestion, generally a 9/1 chance with Sky Bet and Paddy Power paying five places. 


TW said...

Wigley Group Classic Handicap Chase


Lord Du Mesnil topped the system output but, as you note, he is an in and out performer so does not really appeal at 13/2. Nestor Park was next up but he now looks in the grip of the handicapper which means Luca Morgan losing his 3lb claim is far from helpful. A no bet race for me.

The system thinks Notachance has a 12.98% chance of winning, though Simon Rolwands is less favourable stating a 8.3% chance in his ATR column. Every chance neither of us know the time of day so what chance he’ll hose home?

The mare West Balboa catches the eye as the potential big improver in the Lanzarote and I was pleased to see Dan Skelton have a winner today to show all is well at the yard given the lack of runners since the turn of the year. A competitive race and not a lot of juice in 10/1 but sweetened by the generous offer of 6 places 1/5 odds.

Mt Leinster has also caught the system’s eye in the big handicap at Fairyhouse, again there is not too much mileage in odds of 11/2 but the 4 places 1/5 odds help. It’s possible a mark of 147 is his limit, but the system suggests that tomorrow’s deep ground will squeeze a few more lbs improvement from him over the bigger obstacles.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for your ratings, TW.

In the Lanzarote I thought Gary Moore's Mark Of Gold of interest @ 28/1.

TW said...


9,153,RED RISK(FR)
15,147,STAG HORN(GB)


GeeDee said...

Great shout with West Balboa, TW!

Matt B said...

Second that , great nap with WB! Cheers TW.

TW said...

Notachance is the each-way suggestion, generally a 9/1 chance with Sky Bet and Paddy Power paying five places.

Cracking spin from Notachance, against a well handicapped winner, well done.

Mark Of Gold went too early to know how he would have fared


GeeDee said...

A stunning training performance by Sam Thomas as Iwilldoit (12/1) won the Classic Chase after an absence of 383 days carrying 11-10.

Bottom weight Volcano (14/1) set a brisk pace at the head of affairs but relinquished the lead to the eventual winner as they came to the final flight in the back straight for the final time.

Selection Notachance (15/2) set off in pursuit of the leader and was four lengths adrift jumping the last (usual two out) but couldn't make any inroads and was passed by Mr Incredible (8/1) on the run to the line.

5/1 favourite Guetepan Collonges raced wide for much of the trip and jumped right on occasions to eventually finish fourth, ten lengths behind the selection while Volcano stayed on to claim an honourable fifth from ten pounds out of the handicap.