Good morning all,
As Cheltenham fades into the background, Doncaster looms large and with it, the start of the Flat season. I'd have loved to have gone but alas, it's not to be this year. Never mind.
I'll be paying more attention to that tomorrow but for today, my four to follow from Cheltenham, plus today's selectrion, are on the main piece.
Beatthebullet (Rebecca Curtis)
By the time the Albert Bartlett came around on Friday, the ground was quickening up all the time and any chance Beatthebullet had of claiming a minor prize was literally evaporating. It’s a shame, as I was quite hopeful that, on soft ground, he might have a run a half-decent race but he found things happening far too quickly for him.
I’d seen him run at Haydock the time before where he looked huge in the paddock but still ran a solid race from the front. I’ve got him pegged for three-mile novice chases next year when the ground is soft, and I think that’s where you’ll see the best of him.
I don’t think he’ll be a star, but there are handicaps to be won with him next season, and the fact he has plenty of point-to-point experience can only help him.
Nube Negra (Dan Skelton)
It’s easy enough to argue that 7lb mares allowance swung the Champion Chase in Put The Kettle On’s way, but Nube Negra ran another terrific race in finishing second and in 12 months time, might be the one to beat. And yes, I include Shiskin in that.
The worries about his jumping holding up on a more undulating track, and that he wouldn’t come up the hill, were both put to bed as he ran on gamely for second, and that after making his one and only small mistake at the last. Harry Skelton got some stick for a couple of his rides last week but he looked like he’d timed this one right, only for Put the Kettle On to stick her head down in game fashion to hold him off for the win.
The impression he created when successful at Kempton last Christmas was merely continued here, and on this side of Irish Sea at least, he’s going to prove a tough nut to crack next season.
Alnadam (Dan Skelton)
It wasn’t the weight that beat Alnadam in the Ultima, in my opinion, it was the trip, him finding the last 300 yards just a bit too much for him and he weakened out of it up the hill after getting himself into a challenging position.
He might get 3m on a flat track, but ultimately I think 20-22f will prove his optimum trip next year and I expect him to win a couple more handicaps before he steps up into Graded company. He’s better than his finishing position here and having only had five starts, should be capable of better again.
And the one that didn’t run, but is worth inclusion….
Lieutenant Rocco (Nick Mitchell)
I felt really sorry for connections of Lieutenant Rocco, unable to take his chance in the Ultima after being found to be lame on the Saturday before the Festival, as I’m sure he’d have had an excellent chance in the race itself, given the way it panned out and the fact his form was given a boost by both the runs of Fusil Raffles and Chantry House later in the week.
There can’t much doubt now that his Cheltenham run in December when he split that pair looks very solid and a mark of 147 still looks more than workable with big staying handicaps in mind. Given the way things have dried up, it might not be the biggest surprise if he’s now put away with a crack at the Ladbrokes Trophy next season in mind, as he needs soft/heavy going to really show his best. There’s a top-class handicap in him for sure, and probably better than that going forward.
It's the Northern Lights finals at Musselburgh today and I have to say, given how many qualifiers there's been throuhgout the season, they look pretty winnable affairs in the main.
At 11-1 The Navigator is worth an each-way bet in the 3.05 (Skybet 5 places if you are able to). He looked ready to win again after his latest start at Newcastle where he travelled really well and wasn't given a hard time in finishing third. That was his first start after a break, and I expect he will come on from it. The good ground is ideal and he still looks on a very fair mark given he was rated 80 on the Flat. The faster they go up front the better his chance late on.
Today's selection – The Navigator (e/w) 3.05 Musselburgh
Good luck with all your bets today,