Friday, April 07, 2023

The 2023 Challenger Staying Chase Series Final at Haydock

A couple of weeks ago I walked into the Warwick branch of W. H. Smith and bumped into David Watts and Johnny Winall promoting their book 'Mug Bookies'. 

With over 30 years' experience as independent bookmakers, the authors quickly identified me as a likely mark and highlighted a piece in their blurb that said the book is 'a must read for anyone who likes a bet'. 

Naturally, I had to buy a copy. 

And ask them to sign the title page - just in case, you understand. 

It's an eclectic mix of tales and characters from the betting ring and the betting shop floor, interspersed with details of numerous business ventures, many of which didn't result in particularly propitious outcomes.

The authors were (mustard) keen to point out they are now the owners of five-year-old bay mare Mug Bookies who is currently in training with Johnny Winall's nephew Joe Ponting; unfortunately, when we spoke, she was out of action with an injury.

I digress.

For this week's wager I'm off to Haydock and the Challenger Staying Chase Series Final Handicap Chase (2.40); fifteen have been declared with the going currently described as good to soft.

At the time of writing Jeffery's Cross and Mucho Mas share favouritism. 

The former has yet to win over fences and was beaten 19 lengths by Coolvalla last time; I'm not convinced Dan Skelton's charge sees out this trip. 

Mucho Mas on the other hand looks a nice staying prospect and beat Feivel at Sandown last month (Morning Spirit third). 

Ben Pauling's charge shares top weight with Frenchy Du Large but off a mark of 129 could easily be up to the task.  Feivel has only completed three of six chase starts this season; connections try cheekpieces tomorrow.

It's no surprise to see money for Enqarde who beat Remastered ten lengths over course and distance in the 2021 renewal of the Tommy Whittle. He starts off a mark three pounds lower tomorrow; the value in the price has long since disappeared.

Planned Paradise was a good second behind Quick Wave in the London National in December. His profile suggests he may prefer to race right-handed and stable form is a concern.

Quick Wave won the Grand National Trial here in February with Small Present sixth and Tim Pat pulled up. Both ran from out of the handicap that day but both were backed, sent off 7/1 chances. 

Small Present has yet to win over fences but Tim Pat has two chase wins to his name, including the Tim Moloney Handicap Chase here back in March last year.

Neon Moon should appreciate drying ground and ruined his chance with a mistake two out at Newbury last month. His profile suggests this trip may stretch his stamina, a comment that also applies to One True King.

To date Sam Barton has been a disappointment over fences (rated:125c / 132h) while Tide Times looked to have a hard enough race behind Latitude at Ludlow last time. 

The veteran in the field, I See You Well, has been in respectable form but may find it all happening a tad too quick.

Mucho Mas looks consistent compared to a number in the field that come with question marks attached. 

I'm going to take a chance with the Donald McCain trained Tim Pat on the back of these comments made in a Straight from the Stable article [RP Weekender 08-12.02.23]:

"He almost made it third time lucky this season when beaten in a head-bobber at Doncaster last time. In another stride he would have been ahead, but it was very encouraging after a couple of poor runs. He is the sort of horse who could turn up in a nice handicap this spring and raise a few eyebrows now that he is clearly coming to form."

His subsequent effort in the Grand National Trial in first-time cheekpieces - pulled up before four out - was disappointing; in general terms, his profile is inconsistent. The vet reported he'd lost his right fore shoe prior to that last run; the cheekpieces remain in place tomorrow. 

Tim Pat is the each way suggestion, 14/1 with bet365 and William Hill who are paying five places.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Mucho Mas was a non-runner on account of the drying ground.

Top weight Frenchy Du Large (18/1) ensured there was no hanging about and led for much of the trip. On the second circuit he was joined up front by Feivel (9/2jf) with Jeffery's Cross (9/2jf) ridden four out to keep tabs on the two leaders.

Feivel fell by the wayside from two out and Jeffery's Cross went on to jump the last in front and come home six and a half lengths ahead of the Venetia Williams trained grey.

Ridden midfield, at various points the pace of the race looked to cause Tim Pat (14/1) problems. He received a reminder approaching the home turn for the final time but stayed on up the straight; the selection was eventually beaten for third by Ladronne (12/1) but claimed fourth, some 25 lengths behind the winner.