Good morning all,
Loads to get through this week in your regular look back at the weekend’s racing, and there's an 18/1 chance that I like in the Melbourne Cup.
Let’s begin on Friday with the performances of Samcro and Kameko.
Samcro does what’s needed on chase debut.
Last season was a bit of a write off for Samcro, who was making his debut over fences at Down Royal.
Jumping well enough in the main. in fact, at times his jumping belied his inexperience of the larger obstacles. He winged a couple of fences at speed and those he got slightly wrong he still managed to find his feet on the landing side.
Coming to three out the race was in the bag and although he got a little tired after the second last, as could be expected given this was his first start since December. All in all a pleasing return to action.
Tougher assignments lay head for the 7-year-old, with the Drimore Novices Chase being talked about as his next race but he looks capable of taking high order over fences.
Kameko lands Vertem trophy
Aidan O’Brien saddled five of the 11 runners in the Vertem Trophy. Mogul was his number one choice, according to the betting, albeit he was weak in the betting before the race. He could only finish 4th but this full brother to Japan has got the pedigree to do well over middle-distances as a 3-year-old.
In fact, Mogul finished behind two of his stablemates Innisfree & Year Of The Tiger. The former is another who can do well when racing over 1m 2f+ as a 3-year-old.
But keep Kinross onside
Perhaps surprisingly, Kinross was sent off the 13/8 favourite for the race, he just lacked the race experience needed to win a race like this and could only finish 5th.
I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss his claims for Group 1 glory, as a 3-year-old and he will have learnt more about racing than he did during his impressive Newmarket debut.
Kameko, who had been a shade disappointing when runner-up, behind another O’Brien runner Royal Dornach in the Royal Lodge Stakes.
The son of Kitten’s Joy seemed to handle the tapeta better than some of his rivals, but it was still an impressive win.
He’s now as short as 12/1 for next year’s 2,000 Guineas which looks plenty short enough to me and I think at least three of those who finished behind the winner will rate higher next year.
Charlie Hall thoughts
Not for the first time Wetherby's Charlie Hall Chase produced a good finish. Top Ville Ben set a good gallop from the off and that combined with soft ground meant the race turned into a real test of stamina.
The one horse with a recent race under his belt was Ballyoptic and that probably proved vital as he ran out a 3 ¾ length winner at the finish.
The softer the ground the better for the winner, who could now head for the Betfair Chase, if it comes up heavy at Haydock, he wouldn’t be without a chance either. Longer term, surely the Welsh Grand National will also be a target for this mud loving 9-year-old.
If only Elegant Escape jumped better
If only, Elegant Escape could jump and travel as well as the winner.
Last year’s Welsh Grand National winner was another to relish the soft ground. The 3m trip was just on the short side for the 7-year-old but he stayed on well enough at the finish on his seasonal return.
The only thing stopping him from winning a staying Grade 1 is his propensity to make silly mistakes at crucial stages of a race.
Third home, Aso looked like he would win three out but 3m, in the mud just found him out stamina wise on his seasonal return.
Vinndication showed that he was a well-handicapped horse when winning the Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase, off a mark of 151. The step up to 3m suited the second season chaser. Now he must show he can show his form going left-handed.
The Ascot card also provides two horses for the notebook.
Acting Lass was having just his second start since February 2018. The 9-year-old only finished 9th behind Vinndication but he ran better than his final position suggests. He had worked himself into contention for place three out but soon weakened out of it.
Yet to win further than 2m 5 ½. All three of his chase wins have come in field sizes six or less. In fact, he’s 3 wins from 3 runs over fences in field sizes six or less.
He’s down to his last winning mark and can strike in a small field handicap chase.
Red Force One
The second of the Ascot eyecatchers is Red Force One. The 4-year-old was only having his fourth start over hurdles on Saturday.
A winner of a Fakenham novice hurdle on his return from a summer break. I didn’t think he was especially well handicapped off a mark of 125. However, he proved me wrong and produced an excellent display.
He was well suited to the tempo of a big field handicap hurdle and was staying on best off all after the last to get within a neck of the all the way winner Gumball, a recent eyecatcher of mine, at the line.
There could be a decent handicap hurdle in the gelding although he probably won’t want the ground much softer than it was on Saturday.
Melbourne Cup Selection
It’s ‘the race that stops a nation’ in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Rather than give a Monday selection from Monday's racing action in Britain. I have a selection for the Melbourne Cup.
Master Of Reality, trained by Joseph O’Brien and ridden by Frankie Dettori is my Cup selection.
The 4-year-old has been a much-improved horse this season and his length third to Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup is some of the best form on offer in the field.
The big field set up should suit and he looks to have the right profile for the likely winner.
The rain that fell on the track late last week means that underfoot conditions will hold no terrors for him and should ensure his stamina comes into play.
At 16/1 & above he looks good each way value to this particular pundit.
Master Of Reality – 18/1 @ William Hill – each way
Until next week
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk