Friday, February 16, 2024

An Ascot anodyne

When favourite Ocastle Des Mottes spread a plate just before the start of the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last week, I couldn't help but wonder what the racecourse farrier carried in that tool bag of his - it had clearly seen several years of dedicated service. 

Daryl Jacob managed to get a good snoop - was there a kitchen sink in there? - but while Ed Chamberlin bemoaned the effect of the protracted delay on the other runners (official off-time some 13 minutes late), it was refreshing to hear Ruby Walsh tell Ed - and anyone else listening - that it wasn't the first time a horse had spread a plate before the start of a race and it certainly wouldn't be the last, so just suck it up!

Such flagrant disregard for circumlocutionary practice can only be applauded.

Further examples of circumlocutionary practice follow.

Sixteen have been declared for the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards Handicap Hurdle (2.25 Ascot); Turftax report the going as good to soft.

When I first looked at this race earlier in the week two Twiston-Davies entries caught the eye - Cuthbert Dibble and Guard Your Dreams. 

The former runs in the Pertemps qualifier at Haydock (3.50), the latter in the Kingwell Hurdle (2.05 Wincanton). 

Cuthbert Dibble - named after two members of the Trumpton fire brigade - won at Chepstow last time out; after that race jockey Sam Twiston-Davies said in an interview with Sky Sports Racing:

"I gave Cuthbert Dibble a terrible ride in the EBF Final. I watch the race back every now and again just to kick myself and remind me why we ride the horse the way we do. I tried to tuck him in but ended up too far back in testing ground. If you'd have asked me this morning I'd have said I'd be incredibly disappointed if he was beaten, because we'd rate him far better than a mark of 125 in the yard. He'll have tougher assignment in future. He'll jump fences one day."

Fire fighting, the handicapper raised Cuthbert Dibble eight pounds after Chepstow but Finn Lambert claims five tomorrow.

The Nicky Henderson trained Hyland has the Pertemps Final at the Festival as his stated target; Hyland takes his chance here following a break of 78 days.

Now, I know you might reasonably expect a rare edition to be of some interest to someone with a background in libraries but I'm afraid this particular Rare Edition is of limited interest because the layers have priced him up favourite. 

On Boxing Day 2022 Charlie Longsdon's charge beat Rubaud seven lengths in a Kempton novice hurdle. 

Rubaud is now rated 149 and counts Guard Your Dreams as one of his opponents in the Kingwell while Rare Edition comes into this on 139. 

On his only start beyond an extended two miles Rare Edition was beaten just under three lengths in the Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon 12 months ago.

This term Bad has been reasonably good over two miles and won over an extended two and a quarter miles at Bordeaux Le Bouscat in November 2022. He underwent wind surgery last month and wears cheekpieces for the first time.

Formerly with Philip Hobbs and Johnson White Monviel finished fifth in the Imperial Cup at Sandown last year. In the RP Weekender [18-22.10.23] new handler Harry Dereham said:

"He's going to go chasing and I'm quite excited about him." 

After two chase starts, connections have decided to revert to hurdling.

Irish Hill won this race last year off a mark of 128. 

Subsequently tenth in the Martin Pipe at the Festival, the grey looks feasibly handicapped off 125 and Freddie Gingell can claim a further five. 

On his penultimate start he led narrowly two out but was well beaten by Rambo T at Newbury. 

Last month he raced prominently and led clearly on the home turn in the Lanzarote but eventually finished behind winner Jay Jay Reilly (effectively ten pounds higher here), Teddy Blue (sixth), and Mothill (eighth).

Teddy Blue (dam: Tickle Me Blue) finished third behind Aucunrisque and Filey in the 2023 Betfair Hurdle and posted his best effort this term in the Lanzarote. Racing in rear, he looked to be fighting for his head in the early stages - no laughing matter - before making ground and then weakening into sixth after the final flight. 

He was dropped one pound for that effort; with Tom Cannon replacing Caoilin Quinn on board he effectively carries two pounds more tomorrow.

Mothill boasts a consistent profile and can be expected to improve in first-time cheekpieces; drying ground will suit and Joe Anderson claims five.

Issam jumped well and travelled like the best horse on desperate ground at Sandown last time; he appeared to have the spoils in the bag after the final flight but slowed dramatically to a walk up the hill and was collared by Havaila. Drying ground and a slightly shorter trip should help. 

Santos Blue (sire: Blue Bresil) has raced primarily on left-handed tracks to date while Soaring Glory must be a source of some frustration to connections.

Coral Gold Cup winner Le Milos was last seen in a Pertemps qualifier at Market Rasen in November. He's quoted 50/1 for this year's Grand National which is the main target - he finished tenth behind Corach Rambler at Aintree last year.

Arqoob's two and threequarters length second behind Rare Edition at Kempton last time isn't reflected in his market price but he showed a marked tendency to jump out to his left that day which won't help the cause and he races from two pounds out of the handicap.

This looks a competitive race for Ostend on debut in this country but the stable boasts a 38% win strike rate in the past fortnight while In The Air has his first run for new connections having pulled up twice over fences when trained by Gary Moore - his two and threequarters length second behind JPR One at Taunton last March reads well. 

Teddy Blue, Mothill and Issam are the ones on the shortlist; with Teddy Blue backed during the afternoon I'll take a small each-way interest in Issam.

Issam is the each-way suggestion, at the time of writing 14/1 generally with several layers paying five places. 


TW said...

RARE EDITION (IRE),IRISH HILL (GER) and HYLAND (FR) were the three my system focused on but I'm not interested at the odds so I'll sit it out.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks, TW.
Difficult race.

TW said...

Teddy Blue, Mothill and Issam are the ones on the shortlist...

Putting the hours in studying the race yields some positive notes and on another day you may have put up Mothill :-|

Deja Vu


GeeDee said...

Mothill (18/1) and Bad (9/2jf) had the race between them after the last.

Ben Pauling's inmate appeared to have the upper hand on the run to the line on this first run after wind surgery but the grey still carried his head high when under pressure.

Winning jockey Joe Anderson had dropped his stick before the final flight but managed to coax Mothill up the hill; in the end Neil Mulholland's charge prevailed by a head.

Something had clearly upset Teddy Blue (14/1) in the preliminaries and the omen were not good; in the event but he gave chase to the two leaders before losing third place to Arqoob (28/1) in the final strides.

Jordan Nailor took selection Issam (12/1) wide throughout.

He raced in midfield for much of the race but weakened quickly from the penultimate flight and eventually beat just one home (Soaring Glory), over 25 lengths behind the game winner.