Fontwell (Part 1)

Good morning all,

It's a trip to Leicester for me today for a card that holds little appeal punting wise. I can only hope there's something to take out of it for the future. I'm not holding my breath on that score either and it may well be the highlight of the day is one of Reg's Beef Rolls, which are superb.

As you know, I was at Fontwell over the weekend and I'm delighted to say there was loads to take out of it with a view to the forthcoming jumps season, So much so that I'm breaking it down into two parts – the second will come tomorrow. I hope you find them of some use. 

We kicked off on the Friday with a juvenile hurdle, and the talk had been about the alarming drift on the Paul Nicholls runner in the race, the French import Risk And Roll. From odds-on to around 4-1 at the off, and as he came into the paddock it wasn’t difficult to see why. Whilst he’s got some size to him, it’s all at the front, there’s very little in the engine room and he badly needs to fill out at the back. When he does, he could be okay, but he went out very quickly here and for the time being, needs treating with a little caution.

I just went with Kozier as the pick, not that big but made for sharp hurdles tracks such as this and looked very fit. A bad mistake late in the day didn’t help his cause, but he was probably being help by Sussex Ranger – more size to him than the winner – and wouldn’t have won anyway. I’m going to suggest Kempton might be ideal for Kozier and he could take a bit of beating in the right company there.

But once again, it was Delannoy that caught the eye. He looked huge (in a physical sense) at Yarmouth and did so again here. Given a pretty educational time of it at the back of the field, he ran on well enough to almost grab third once given his head. This really wouldn’t be his track, though, something far more galloping is needed and given his size, he could be hard to hold in handicaps (as he’ll get allowances as well) early next year. He’s a must for trackers now.

Onto the novice chase at 2.45, and a nice little bunch. Favourite Adrien Du Pont, a classy type over hurdles, wasn’t unfit but it was clear to see Paul Nicholls had left plenty to work on under the saddle. But it was a decent performance he put in, jumping well in the main and in the end, class came out and carried him to victory. Frodon won this last year for the yard and you’d be more than hopeful this one can rack up a sequence too.

It was good that he beat the fittest two horses in the paddock, giving the form a solid enough look for me. Picamix (like one or two of Charlie Mann’s over the weekend) looked ready to roll after a break, and so too did rank outsider Mister Whitaker, who’s jumping wasn’t always the slickest but he’s stuck on well enough for third. Whether he’ll come on from this though, given he was the fittest in the paddock, is a moot point, and I wouldn’t want to get involved at a short price next time.

Fortunate George just continued the run of horses from the Emma Lavelle yard to run way below form – there’s just too many of those for comfort now, and anything short from that yard needs treating with kid gloves.

Onto Saturday, and although there wasn’t too much to say about the opening handicap hurdle at 1.55, make a note of Herdswick Holloa, who has run a stomer given how unfit he looked beforehand. He’s blown like a train for a good ten minutes after and although he might need a week or two to get over the effort, will surely come on plenty for this.

Similar can be said about Roparta Avenue, who I’d bet in the morning but knew my money was done pre-race as he looked badly in need of it. He’ll come on for this and no surprise if he pops up at Plumpton in the next month or two.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Today's racing holds little appeal but the finale at Brighton (5.20) might be the place for a bet. Theres a few in here that like to push on early and that should help Kilim settle that bit better. She's got half a length to find with Esspeegee on their running here last time but the slightly slower ground and a pound better in at the weights will both help. But there's definitely more in the tank with Kilim when she learns to calm down and race better early on. Drawn 9, which is no bad thing, as Nicola Currie likes to challenge middle to stands side on him (as she did when she won on Kilim here in August) and she will surely run her race if settling early.

Today's selection  Kilim 5.20 Brighton

Good luck with all your bets today,

David.

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