by David Massey

February 26, 2021

Good morning all,

I was going to put up the third part of my Cheltenham previews but I attended Haydock last Saturday and I think the notes from the paddock are worth putting up, as they definitely have some use as far as Cheltenham goes.

It's a fairly quiet Saturday tomorrow so I'll put Cheltenham up then, and do a video for Kempton and Newcastle. Thanks!

1.30 – 2m4f Chase

A good start to the day for me, as I narrowed it down to three, namely The Mulcair, The Ferry Master and Galahad Quest, a horse I have always found difficult to get right. I split stakes on The Mulcair and Galahad Quest and came out on the right side, with the latter always travelling well and held off favourite Marown well in the closing stages. It may be that it has clicked with him over fences now, and having only been put up 5lb for this win, that still looks workable.

Marown has done nothing wrong and has simply bumped into an improver. He’ll win more.

The disappointment was Bold Plan, who had been off for a couple of months and I thought would improve for a run. I didn’t expect him to finish last, though, so this has to rate a poor effort, particularly as nothing was found by the vet afterwards.

2.05 – 3m Rendlesham Hurdle

It was pleasing to see Third Wind come out on top. He deserved this after a couple of solid efforts this season, and he clearly likes Haydock, having run well here in November. He looked fit and well in the paddock, quite an athletic sort (I’m not sure he’ll jump a fence) and connections are having a think about what to do next. Aintree could be right up his street.

The headline to take out of this, though, was the run of Lisnagar Oscar. Beforehand, I felt he needed the run more than anything in the field, and so for him to be beaten under a length, giving 6lb away, rates a superb effort. The turnaround time isn’t that long until the Stayers Hurdle, but connections could barely disguise their joy afterwards. You’d have thought they had already won the big one!

It was reported afterwards that he’d been held up in his work over Christmas due to the wind operation he’s had, and that very much reflected in the way he looked pre-race. He (almost) goes to the top of the tree as far as the Stayers goes, for me.

The other that looked like a run might put him spot on was Itchy Feet. He drifted a bit in the betting beforehand but I didn’t think this was a bad effort, and it might not have been the trip that beat him. He’s worth another go at it, possibly on slightly better ground.

On The Blind Side has run his race, but was fit and is unlikely to improve on this. Main Fact, after a good early season, appears to have had enough and has now seen the back of Third Wind twice after beating him here in November. Ballyoptic simply wasn’t quick enough and Emitom, sadly, appears a shadow of himself at present. He never looked happy and doesn’t look like he wants to put himself through any pain barriers at present.

3.14 – 2m Juvenile Hurdle

I went the wrong way here. Nassalam has a bit more substance about him and with Montmiral on his toes a bit beforehand, I thought he’d simply gallop the others into the ground.

I think Nassalam has the scope to make a chaser in a couple of years and given he seems a little tapped for toe over hurdles, he may well improve for a switch to bigger obstacles. For the time being, a step up in trip looks like it will help.

Montmiral, side on, has what I call “a knights head” – he looks like a chess piece, that sort of classical head, and is undoubtedly a handsome horse. He looks a quicker type that Nassalam and put that speed to good use here. I wondered whether he’d be able to, in the ground, hence me backing Nassalam, but once he went clear two out, the race was over.

He’s not in anything at Cheltenham, but is a horse of great potential for next year, whatever he does this term.

Progressive looks anything but and Elham Valley might find his size holding him back a bit – he isn’t the biggest around.

4.25 – 3m Albert Bartlett Prestige Hurdle

In the main, a decent lot. Beatthebullett has chaser written all over him but, like the earlier Curtis runner, looked badly in need of the run. He faded pretty quickly once headed and may need his sights lowering a little next time.

Exploiteur is a stocky type that’s a full brother to Oliver Sherwood’s useful chaser Dominateur, which shows where his future lies. It’s a shame he got no further than the second here as I was quite interested to see how he would have got on.

Winner Alaphillipe was fit, and for a three miler, quite an athletic rather than staying chaser sort. It was still up in the air when Young Buck departed three out when two lengths in front of Alaphillipe, but he took his chance well and can’t be faulted for that. 20-1 for the Albert Bartlett seems fair enough.

Young Buck was carrying my tenner and was still going along nicely in front when he unseated three out. He looked fittest of these in the paddock and most ready on the day. He’s not in anything at Cheltenham at present, but appears to be going the right way and I’d be giving him another chance off the back of this.

Having not seen Tupelo Mississippi before it was hard to fully tell, but I thought he looked like a run would do him good. He’s a chaser next year, for sure, and might even stay further than this.

Mr Harp has scope for fences too. He finished second here but looks one that definitely wanted better ground. He still looks on a workable handicap mark and as the ground dries up, there should be a decent handicap in him.

Mint Condition, as he did at Warwick, was no paddock standout and he hardly advertised the form of the Leamington here, finishing well beaten. It’s possible he’s had enough of slogging around on winter ground, but this was nowhere near his previous form.

5.00 – 2m6f Hunter Chase

The final kick in the betting teeth came in the last, where four of them looked fit and well, and most of the others didn’t. Unsurprisingly, three of them occupied the first three places, but the fourth was Garde Ville, a horse I have a bit of a soft spot for anyway, and at a huge price on Betfair, I had a small win bet and a bigger bet 4 places.

As they turned for home, with four gone miles clear and Garde Ville one of them, I felt quite smug and was looking forward to collecting the place part. Sadly, Garde Ville got very tired very quickly at that point, and within a furlong, was pulled up. Goodbye, four places…and hello, the southbound M6…..

Today at Warwick, there are a few small fields but an old friend in Late Shipment might be worth a small each-way bet in the 4,23, a 26f hands-and-heels race for conditionals. You want something that wil keeep going and stay well, and Late Shipment fits both of those criteria – as long as he's on a going day. 18-1 with an extra place makes plenty of appeal.

Good luck with all your bets today,


Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TGH Trading Ltd or it's employees.

About the author 

David Massey

David Massey is an on course bookmakers clerk, a Sporting Life race card author, a horse racing punter and of course a regular contributor here at the Daily Punt

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