It’s Tuesday so it must be tracker day. Inside today’s main piece I have a handful of horses that are worth adding to your trackers.
Although Saturday’s racing at Doncaster wasn’t of the same quality as Cheltenham. There was competitive renewal of the Sky Bet Handicap Chase. With £56,950 on offer to the winner not surprisingly we got a decent sized line-up. I mentioned in yesterday’s review of Cheltenham’s Trials Day that the going looking at the times was much quicker than the going description of soft. Well, it was also quicker at Doncaster than official going description and the times suggested it was closer to good to firm than good.
The application of the first time cheekpieces worked the oracle for Il Ridoto at Cheltenham on Saturday. And the valuable Sky Bet Handicap Chase also went to horse wearing the first time cheekpieces. Cooper’s Cross, trained by Stuart Coltherd, was traveling so well coming to three out that you thought he had just joined the race at that point. The step up to 3m suited the 8-year-old as did a return to a sound surface. However, the real edge came for the fitting of the first time headgear. His jumping was much better than it had been on his last two starts and he took the rise in class in his stride.
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They had gone quick from the off with Tea For Free setting a strong gallop. He was headed by the winner three out but was still in there pitching when taking a heavy fall two out. That left Copper’s Cross, Ga Law and Cap Du Nord to fight out the finish. Ga Law was still very much in with a chance when falling at the last. It would have been a close run thing if he hadn’t have come down although the winner was going slightly the better of the pair at the time. He could now head for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, if none the worse for this mishap.
Cap Du Nord had to swich coming to the last but kept on well on the run in to get within a length of the winner at the line. Third in last year’s race before going onto win Coral Trophy at Kempton. Back to form here Cap Du Nord will no doubt bid for back to back wins in the valuable Kempton handicap chase.
One of today’s tracker horses comes from Saturday’s Doncaster card.
Tommy’s Oscar – Anne Hamilton
High class hurdler Tommy’s Oscar hadn’t really kicked on over fences after his chase debut success at Carlisle. However, he was back to his very best when winning the Grade 2 Lightning Novices' Chase in good style. He jumped well and was too strong for the very useful Boothill who had a 5lb penalty for his win in the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton over Christmas. A flat track really suits Tommy’s Oscar, as does a sound surface, which means he will swerve Cheltenham and wait for Aintree. The valuable Red Rum Handicap would be a good option for him, but he could also go for the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase at the same meeting.
Precious Eleanor – Henry Daly
Precious Eleanor finished a 16 length third to Il Ridoto in the valuable 2m 4 ½ f handicap chase at Cheltenham. Although ultimately well beaten this was a step back to form by the mare. Well suited to a sound surface and with all three of her career successes coming in the spring she’s one to follow in handicap chases back against here own sex in the coming months. She won a valuable mares’ handicap chase at Cheltenham last April and that race will likely be on her agenda once more.
Front View – Jonjo O’Neill
Front View will likely have gone into plenty of notebooks after his 7 ½ length 7th of 15 to Hacker Des Places. The 8-year-old was having his first start since switching from Joseph O’Brien and his first run for 721-days. Given his long absence he wasn’t subjected to hard race, and this was a very encouraging performance. He looks nicely treated over hurdles and fences and it will be interesting to see which route connections take. If he comes out of Saturday’s race sound, then there’s a big race to be won with him.
The last of this week’s tracker horses ran at Huntingdon on Friday.
Mullinaree – Milton Harris
The lightly raced Mullinaree looked well suited to the step up to an extended 2m 4f on his handicap debut when a 1 ¼ length 2nd of 17 to Moveit Like Minnie. This was a much improved performance from the 7-year-old who should stay further. There’s a handicap hurdle to be won with him in the coming weeks.
Yesterday’s selection Eaton Collina didn’t stay and could only finish 5th. To confirm I’m not in much form at present. I could blame the equine flu jabs but that wouldn’t be fair. I’m finding the winners are on the race shortlists I’m just going for the wrong ones.
Goshen faces two rivals and gets the first time cheekpieces in the beginners’ chase at Lingfield (1.15). Lingfield is one of four jump meetings across Britain & Ireland this afternoon. There’s also an evening all-weather card at Southwell.
The most interesting race on Tuesday is the Quinnbet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Chase at Newcastle (2:35). One of my recent tracker horses Castle Rushen is the early bird favourite. I have to say the best priced 15/8 doesn’t appeal although I like the 8-year-old. He will like the step up to 3m and will go well. He does face a couple of others that I also like.
Old Painless is a good jumper for a novice. And although he’s 6lb higher than when runner-up to Bill Baxter at Kelso last time he’s open to further improvement. French Paradoxe ended last season with a win over fences at Doncaster. And began this this one with an improved win at Wetherby. He was set to win when falling at the last at Ffos Las last month. A 7lb rise in the weights makes life tougher but he’s open to further progress over fences and appeals most of the three at the 7/2 available with Bet365. Or maybe I have gone for the wrong one again.
French Paradoxe – 7/2 @ Bet365.
Good luck with your Tuesday bets.