Sandown’s Tingle Creek Meeting gets underway today. And inside today’s main piece I look at the best of Friday’s action at Sandown and Exeter.
Wincanton was a waste of time yesterday the racing should have been abandoned after the second race. You couldn’t even see the final fence by the third race due to fog. I was on Shutupshirley in race four, so I made a small profit on the day, but I still think the racing should have been called off.
The whole afternoon was an utter shambles and a dreadful look for the sport but sadly par for the course these days.
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Racing is a spectator sport, and the spectators could hardly see any of the action. I wonder if it will be low sun or fog that manages to spoil the action this afternoon at Exeter and Sandown.
A potentially high class renewal of the Tingle Creek Chase all the big names have stood their ground for now. Although it seems like we can look forward to the ‘will they, won’t they run’ saga on Saturday morning. Just four have been left in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase but they do include the main contenders Jonbon and Boothill.
At Aintree 23 were left in the Becher Handicap Chase which is pleasing. And six have been declared for the Many Clouds Chase. In the latter race Conflated and Dusart apart, all the main contenders have stood their ground.
Dry weather means more concern over weekend field sizes
You must feel for Sandown Clerk of the Course Andrew Cooper. The weather forecast for Sandown is a dry one as it is everywhere and he’s to having selectively water the chase course. He’s dammed if he does and dammed if he doesn’t.
Greaneteen will be fine on the prevailing ground in the Tingle Creek, but Edwardstone and Shishkin will probably want soft in the going description. Without soft in the going description, I wonder if ante post favourite Jonbon will take up his place in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase.
For what’s worth Andrew Cooper has never been afraid to turn the taps on so I fancy the going should be suitable for the big names. The problem is that we punters have no real idea just how much he will have poured on.
Besides Sandown there are jump fixtures at Exeter & Sedgefield. At Exeter Gelino Bello, who missed Newbury last weekend, faces one rival in the novices chase (2:15). There are also a couple of competitive handicap chases on the Exeter card. The day's action is completed by teatime all-weather fixtures at Newcastle and Dundalk.
Trainer Gary Moore has won this juvenile hurdle (1:10) three times in the past decade. Kansas Du Berlais who was a length 4th of 10 in Listed newcomers race at Auteuil on hurdling debut is his runner in this year’s race and looks the one to be with here.
The race of the day is the Ballymore Winter Novices' Hurdle (2.20). Six have been declared for this Grade 2 contest which is run over 2m 4f. Five of them are last time out winners and all of them are capable of more progress.
Paul Nicholls has the likely favourite in Henri The Second who shaped promisingly when runner-up on his hurdles debut at Chepstow in October. Maximilian unbeaten on two bumper starts made it 2-2 over hurdles when winning at Bangor (heavy) 23-days ago. Very effective in the mud. He looks a useful prospect and well worth his place in graded company. Man At Work looked very street wise when winning on hurdle debut at Aintree last month. Dropped into the rear that day his jumping warmed up as the race progressed and he showed a good attitude from two out.
Handicaps lack depth
Connections of Valsheda will be disappointed if the promising 7-year-old can’t win the Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase (12:50).
The Lucinda Russell trained Corrigeen Rock a faller on chase debut made no mistake next time when winning at Kelso 41-days ago. There should be more to come from the 5-year-old over the larger obstacles in the Betfair Exchange Handicap Chase (2:55).
Raymond Tusk is rated 101 on the flat and gets into this handicap hurdle off what looks a very good mark of 114. He’s open to further progress on handicap hurdle debut. Hugos New Horse still looked green when winning at Wincanton 27-days ago. He’s another capable of improvement for going handicapping. Sadler’s Bay looked in need of further when 3rd at Exeter last time but is another capable of better on handicap debut. You couldn’t totally dismiss Galahad Threepwood from the inform Ben Pauling yard either. Granted he’s not won on his five starts over hurdles but once his hurdling improves, he can win a race.
Unlike Sandown, where the handicaps seemingly lack the quality for the grade of racing, there are two competitive looking handicap chases.
2:35 – Martin Jones Decorative Specialists Handicap Chase
Ede'iffs Elton was going as well as the winner when falling two out at Hereford last time. He’s on a mark he can win off if his jumping holds up.
Shakem Up’arry hails from the inform Ben Pauling yard. His best form has come over shorter, but the 8-year-old should stay 2m 3f on this sort of ground.
Tile Tapper got off the mark at the third attempt over fences when winning at Chepstow (heavy) in February. Now 9lb higher but capable of better over fences.
Ree Okka is one of the least experienced of the field, but he shaped well when 2 ¼ length 2nd of 4 in novice handicap at Aintree on chase debut last month. He jumped a bit to right that day so going this way around should suit. There should be more to come from the 6-year-old.
Dual chase winner Galop De Chasse looked as good as ever when a 2 ¼ length 2nd of 6 to Gunsight Ridge at Aintree on his seasonal return last month. Yet to race beyond the minimum trip since joining Venetia Williams but has shaped like further will suit.
3:10 – Millie, Mo And Meggan Birthday Handicap Chase
I love Exeter marathon handicap chases as they are normally competitive races. You just hope the sun stays away. Plenty in with a chance as you would expect in this 3m 6 ½ f contest.
Alminar was back to winning ways at Ffos Las last month. If he stays, he won’t be far away from just 3lb higher. Previous course winner
Don Herbager posted a career best on RPR’s when winning at Bangor in February. He really appreciated the step up to 3m 5f that day and a stamina test really suits the 8-year-old.
Favori De Sivola won twice last Nov/Dec but hasn’t been at his best on four subsequent starts. Not sure he stays this far but he is back down to his last winning mark.
Light Flicker was back to his best when a neck 2nd of 7 at Wetherby last month. Stays this far and although he’s been nudged up 2lb he shouldn’t be far away especially if the ground isn’t too testing.
Top weight De Young Warrior won here (3m) on seasonal return last December and followed up at Chepstow in February. A thorough stayer, this sort of trip should the 9-year-old. And he’s one to be interested in given he goes well fresh.
Some Detail a winner at Taunton in February, from 3lb lower. He’s another thorough stayer as she showed when a staying 9 length 3rd of 15 in the Highland National (3m 6 ½ f) at Perth in April. Not seen to best effect on two starts in August & Sept. Capable of better for a yard that had a couple of winners last week.
Stat of the Day
Trainer Ben Pauling is 4 winners from 14 runners 29% +14.14 with his chasers racing in a first time tongue tie. The trainer puts the tongue tie on Shakem Up'Arry for the first time in the 2:35 at Exeter.
Shakem Up'Arry in the first time tongue tie takes a drop in class on his seasonal return in the 2:35 at Exeter but he does face several interesting rivals in Ede'iffs Elton, Tile Tapper and Ree Okka. The first named looks on a good mark and the latter pair are capable of better over fences.
I like the claims of De Young Warrior in the 3:10 at Exeter. He’s a staying handicap chaser who can win races this season, but I wonder if he wants softer ground. Exaggerated waiting tactics seem to suit Some Detail and he would have each way claims.
At Sandown Valsheda is likely to be odds in the 12:50 and the others that caught my eye are too short and offer little in the way of value.
Gloire D'athon could be a bit of value against the likely favourite Milan Bridge in the 1:45. Milan Bridge walked over last time but he was a useful hurdler who should well over fences. Gloire D'athon made it 2-4 when successful at Worcester 36-days ago. Up 7lb for his latest win but the 6-year-old remains with scope from a handicapping perspective.
1:45 – Gloire D'athon – 11/4 – Gen.
Good luck with your Friday bets.