Friday, January 26, 2024

The 2024 Great Yorkshire Handicap Chase


Another email from The Times' business editor hits the inbox. 

This one informs me that two bookmakers are among the top five taxpayers in the UK - Denise, John and Peter Coates of bet365 (£375.9m) and Fred and Peter Done of Betfred (£204.6m).

This season my tips have played their part in boosting the layers' profits - and their tax bills too - and there's no substantive reason to suggest anything is likely to change for the better tomorrow with a trip to Doncaster for the Great Yorkshire Handicap Chase which is due off at 3.15.

It seems churlish to complain, especially after the recent winds and rain, but the last time I had a bet in a three mile chase at Doncaster - the bet365 Handicap Chase on December 16th 2023 - only ten of the 18 fences were jumped on account of the low sun. 

With sunny intervals and a moderate breeze forecast for Donny tomorrow there must be a fair chance we'll see something similar once again.

Forward Plan beat Mister Coffey (second), Twoshotsoftequila (third), Whistleinthedark (fourth) and Sail Away (sixth) six weeks ago; after the race winning jockey Ben Godfrey said:

"He's only a little horse [Forward Plan] but he's been holding his own in nice races and shaped well in the Badger Beer. The fences were out and I knew he has a nice turn of foot."   

Naturally, with eight fences omitted, that form needs to be treated with a certain amount of caution.

18 are set to face the starter tomorrow with the going described as good, good to soft in places. 

Famous Bridge heads the market, having won the Tommy Whittle at Haydock last time out on heavy ground. Nicky Richards' charge won on good ground over a trip of just under two miles six furlongs at Wetherby last March so clearly is no slouch.

Christian Williams hasn't had a winner for 66 days but his Cap Du Nord bounced back to form in this race last year - when it was known as the Sky Bet Handicap Chase - beaten a length by Cooper's Cross off a mark of 125 and then going on to win the Swinley Handicap Chase at Ascot. 

He races from one pound out of the handicap tomorrow on 122; his prominence in the betting suggests connections expect a big run although this looks more competitive than last year.

Cooper's Cross went on to finish second to Kitty's Light, a stablemate of Cap Du Nord, in the Scottish Grand National last April but he has been out of sorts this term; connections try to rekindle the flame by fitting first-time blinkers.

Irish raider Sweet Will won a three mile handicap hurdle on good ground here last March off 126 and races off 122 while Erne River clearly likes Doncaster but drying ground is unlikely to play to Surrey Quest's strengths.

Kandoo Kid tries this trip for the first time while Strictlyadancer, another stablemate of Cap Du Nord, hinted at a return to form when second behind Tweed Skirt at Kempton.

Somehow I'm drawn back to the dubious form of that race won by Forward Plan here six weeks ago. 

It's hard to recommend Mister Coffey (no wins in 11 chase starts) but of those behind I think Twoshotsoftequila and Sail Away were both at a disadvantage as a result of the omitted fences.

Twoshotsoftequila was well backed that day and made plenty of ground up the home straight while Sail Away did well to finish less than nine lengths behind the winner in sixth.

With the Skelton yard hitting top form last weekend and Sail Away dropped two pounds for that latest effort, the grey gets the nod. He beat Forward Plan 11 lengths on similar terms at Ayr last April.

Sail Away is the each-way suggestion, at the time of writing 14/1 with bet365 who pay six places.

Hoping they jump all the fences this time...


TW said...


The old saying 'You never see a poor bookie....'

Sail Away tops the ratings, my take on the weather forecast is that there will be enough cloud cover for all 18 fences to be jumped, so 14/1 6 places looks a decent bet to the system.

If Christian Williams yard is about to hit a seam of good form then perhaps there will be a twist in the Cap Du nord plot with Strictlyadancer the system's 2nd top rated.

I'd like a bet in the race, I like both the two top system rated but....I wanted to see a bit more, not withstanding the omitted fences, from Sail Away LTO and I'd like to see some concrete evidence that the Williams yard has turned the corner.

I'll, with some reluctance, sit it out.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Very fair assessment, TW.

Apparently Ed Chamberlin has backed Strictlyadancer after that last run at Kempton...



Sandracer said...

10 minutes after reading: Enya.

Probably for 3 days solid. nice

A week if he wins ;)

GeeDee said...

Just played the track now, Sandracer.

In a desperate attempt to invoke some good luck...


GeeDee said...

Mister Coffey (10/1) and Annual Invictus (16/1) set off in front in a race where several runners failed to land any sort of a blow.

Eventual winner Annual Invictus took up the running from the second fence but was running on empty after jumping the last; Forward Plan (11/1) passed a number of rivals up the home straight to throw down a determined challenge on the run-in but was pipped a nose on the line.

Selection Sail Away (12/1) raced in second for much of the trip but could never quite get to the winner; he was passed by Charlie Uberalles (50/1) two out but stayed on at the one pace to claim fourth, four lengths behind the winner.