Friday, December 29, 2023

The 2023 Coral Mandarin Handicap Chase at Newbury

As it could well prove a case of Last Man Standing in the Last Fling Handicap Chase (1.25 Haydock) with six set to race over an extended three and a half mile trip on heavy ground, I've decided to take a look at the Coral Mandarin Handicap Chase (2.25 Newbury) instead.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Fantastikas is declared for both races, with a stated preference for the longer event at Haydock where seven pound claimer James Turner is booked to ride.

Assuming Fantastikas travels north, a field of 11 will contest the Mandarin; the going at Newbury is currently good to soft, soft in places.

Five-year-old Atlanta Brave heads the market. 

Kerry Lee's charge has just two chase runs to his name and tries a trip beyond three miles for the first time. He made one bad jumping error at Exeter last time but his chase mark (121) is three pounds lower than his current hurdle mark.

Off 128 Surrey Quest is rated six pounds above his hurdle mark. 

At Huntingdon in October this one was three lengths adrift in third coming to the last but won going away from Storminhome and has his first run since wind surgery in November.

No doubt trainer Ben Pauling will use Storminhome as a benchmark for the chances of the two he saddles, Bowtogreatness and Bangers And Cash, both rated 135 and set to carry 12-00. 

The former still has to win a race over fences after six starts but he was highly tried last season, mostly over a shorter trip - he finished fifth in the Scilly Isles at Sandown behind Gerri Colombe and down the field in the Magners Plate at the Festival.  

On his first run beyond three miles over fences Bowtogreatness finished an excellent second to Midnight River in the Freebooter at Aintree (stablemate Shakem Up'Arry fourth and Wednesday's Welsh National winner Nassalam seventh); Ben Jones was aboard that day and keeps the ride.

That form has a strong look about it; the gelding makes his seasonal debut here.

Stablemate Bangers And Cash won the Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen 12 months ago and a Taunton handicap over an extended three and a half miles in March. 

He hasn't been in the best of form on two runs this season - one over hurdles, one over fences - but there was a hint he was on the way back at Cheltenham six weeks ago. Cheekpieces are fitted for the first time.

Grumpy Charley won this race last year with Shanty Alley second and Laskalin third; both placed horses start off a mark five pounds lower than last year.

Shanty Alley had a satisfactory prep behind Some Scope at Catterick last month but, racing from the front, Laskalin finished tailed off behind Hidden Heroics at Ludlow. His second behind Le Milos on New Year's Day two years ago reads well; a return to form would give him a chance.

Certainly Red carries top weight (12-02); on occasions his jumping wasn't particularly fluent in the London National at Sandown. 

Yes Indeed spoiled his chance with a bad mistake at Bangor 15 days ago while Docpickedme fiddled a few Haydock obstacles last time.

Alan King told RP Weekender readers that this race rather than the Welsh National was the better option for Notachance. 

Last year Notachance was third in the Classic Chase at Warwick and third behind stablemate Major Dundee in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter. Dropped three pounds after his seasonal reappearance, he seems feasibly handicapped on a mark of 127.  

Two years ago Striking A Pose was on the radar after winning an Exeter novice chase with Coconut Splash third and Any News fourth; unfortunately he hasn't won since. 

He underwent wind surgery in October but will need to improve from his last run at Wincanton to be competitive here; the majority of his racing has been on right-handed tracks. 

Working through the form I'd have to say Bowtogreatness - trainer Ben Pauling's 'pick' in a Straight from the Stable tour last year [RP Weekender 26-30.10.22] - stands out. To my mind the winner is likely to come from the younger brigade in this field. 

However, at the prices I think Notachance has at least some sort of small chance and he looks overpriced at 20/1 in places. Admittedly there will be a deduction if, as expected, Fantastikas - variously priced between 6/1 and 10/1 this evening - goes to Haydock. 

Notachance is the each-way suggestion, currently 20/1 with bet365, Betfair and Betfred paying four places.

Wishing all readers a very happy new year.


Anonymous said...

YES INDEED (FR),148,12.3%
FANTASTIKAS (FR),148,11.2%
SHANTY ALLEY,148,10.1%
LASKALIN (FR),147,8.3%

I've sided with Yes Indeed [11/1 4 plcs 1/5 odds]. He has hardly set the world on fire since leaving France, but a mark of 125 does look workable and looks to be happier since stepped up in trip.

All the best!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for your ratings, TW.

Happy new year!

GeeDee said...

Tom Cannon was at work from an early stage aboard selection Notachance (25/1).

Placed in midfield the gelding started to go backwards as they raced towards the cross fence; he eventually came home eighth, beaten over 45 lengths.

The finish was fought out by market leaders Atlanta Brave (11/4f) and Surrey Quest (7/2) with the latter prevailing by threequarters of a length.

Ben Pauling's Bangers And Cash (25/1) ran creditably from the front in first-time cheekpieces to claim third, in marked contrast to stablemate Bowtogreatness (7/1) who nearly dispensed with the services of jockey Ben Jones at the eighth and then made another bad error down the back straight - he was pulled up before three out.

TW said...

Final chance for Notachance off a mark of 122 [20/1 5 places]?

NOT SURE (IRE),142,13%
LASKALIN (FR),145,10%
FERN HILL (IRE),145,10%
ANIMAL (IRE),142,8%

On balance I think I pass up the opportunity.


GeeDee said...

Still recovering from Major Dundee's disappointment at Warwick, TW.

I quickly glanced at the race last night and struggled to find value.

Only The Bold is well thought of by David Pipe.

He has been out of form of late (ditto the stable). The trip shouldn't be a problem; he needs cut and I'm not sure enough rain has fallen overnight.

40/1 four places, 33/1 five places - but I'm not going to get involved... :)