Good morning all,
It may not have been the best of weekends quality wise but there were plenty of notable performances.
Inside today’s main piece you can read my thoughts on the weekend action at Warwick. Plus, I have a couple of each way selections from Punchestown and Wolverhampton for you.
It probably wasn’t the strongest renewal of Warwick’s Classic Chase but it still produced a good race and a battling winner.
Coming to the final circuit Captain Chaos led from Storm Control. Captain Chaos had set a good pace from the off, as he had done 12 months earlier. It was a pace had sorted the “wheat from the chaff” in the jumping stakes.
Joint favourite Notachance was always in a good position tracking the leaders and took over from the long-time leader coming to two out. Achille returning from a 427-day break was given a nice patient hold up ride. And coming to two out it looked like the 11-year-old had been produced to win his race. Despite his brave effort. He couldn’t get past Notachance who found plenty for pressure on the run in to win by ½ length.
It was a third win in the race for Alan King and Notachance looks set to head to Ayr for the Scottish Grand National. Given this was only the 7-year-old’s sixth start over fences he looks an ideal type for the race.
Le Breuil the other joint favourite was up with the eventual winner up to seven out but he got outpaced and lost his place before staying on to grab third off a tiring Captain Chaos. The Grand National is firmly in his sights. However, he may need to win a race to guarantee his place at Aintree.
Captain Chaos ran his heart out from the front to finish fourth. The returning blinkers were key to his better performance. He’s back down to a winnable mark.
Next Destination Cheltenham
Only three went to post for the Grade 2 Hampton Novices Chase and it turned out to be a messy and tactical race.
The outsider of the three Golan Fortune made most of the running and was still in with a chance when making a mistake three out. That left Next Destination and Fiddlerontheroof to fight out the finish. Both had jumped well but Next Destination was the stronger stayer of the pair on the run in.
It was an encouraging performance from the runner-up who was found to have burst a blood vessel after the race. It’s been a tough season so far for trainer Colin Tizzard and he’s now gone 30 runners and 25 days since his last winner. It remains a yard to be wary of.
Next Destination will now head to Cheltenham and he could go for either the RSA Novices’ Chase or the longer National Hunt Chase. He looks a staying type to me, so the latter race would seem the better race for the 9-year-old.
The late money came in for Adrimel in the Grade 2 Leamington Novices' Hurdle. He was backed in from an opening 6/1 in to the 7/2 favourite at the off and racing in the first time cheekpieces, he didn’t let his backers down. Making most of the running, he first held off a strong challenge from my selection Make Me A Believer and then a final thrust from Mint Condition to win by a neck.
It was battling performance by Adrimel who gave Tom Lacey the biggest training success of his career. The winner could now be upped in distance and aimed at the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival
It was a career best by Mint Condition who continues to progress and looks worth a step up in trip. Make Me A Believer ran a cracker in third and was only two necks behind the winner at the line.
More on the weekend’s action in tomorrow’s column. Plus, there’s a trainer who has a 50% winning strike rate with last time out winners.
Monday sees racing from Ayr and Punchestown over jumps. Plus, all-weather action at Wolverhampton and “jumpers’ bumpers” card at Lingfield.
There's an eight-race card at Ayr and the highlight is the extended two mile novices’ chase (1:25). There are only two entries but they are a 2019 Fighting Fifth Hurdle winner Cornerstone Lad and Cheltenham Festival Coral Cup winner Dame De Compagnie.
3:45 – Saddler's Cottage put in an improved performance when 3rd of 19 on his handicap debut at Naas last month. Coming from off the pace, he finished his race off well enough to suggest a step up to 3m will suit the 5-year-old who also gets the addition of the first time cheekpieces today.
Saddler's Cottage – 14/1 @ Bet365 (paying 4 places 1/4 odds).
7:40 – First Dance won a C&D handicap, off 2lb lower, in October 2019. Despite not getting the best of starts or a clear passage in the straight, the mare showed more on her second start after a long layoff when 3rd of 12 here 13-days ago. Today’s extra furlong is a positive and she’s got lively each way claims if breaking on terms this time.
First Dance – 18/1 @ Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook (paying 4 places 1/5 odds).
Good luck with your Monday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk