Good morning all,
Some terrific racing today, with something to suit everyone. Future Champions Day at Newmarket for those that like their juveniles (plus the Ces, of course), some ridiculously difficult handicaps at York and the jumps season continues to get into gear with the second day of Chepstow. Head-spinning stuff!
If I get chance I will add a video for Chepstow on here around 10.30 Saturday morning, with the ground clearly a bit quicker than was advertised today, it has made me take a second look at the card.
2.35 York – 6f Handicap
Came From The Dark won well at Haydock last time and is clearly improving at the right time, but he’s up a furlong in trip, has another 6lb to carry and from stall 20, it means he’s probably going to need some luck in running, given his hold-up style. He’ll win more races regardless of what he does here, but there are plenty of alternatives.
I was quite keen on Kynren for Ascot’s abandoned fixture last week, but that was over 7f and although he can operate fine at 6f, he makes slightly less appeal here. Similar comments apply to Greenside, but if they did go too quickly, he’d have a chance late on.
Recon Mission in stall 1 is worth a mention, especially in the first time hood. He’s fallen a fair way in the handicap since the start of the season but there have been a couple of runs that suggest he’s not totally gone at the game. A C&D winner that has to have a bit of cut, if the headgear works and he settles better in front then he’s got to be of some interest.
Bielsa is the other I like. Given he basically raced solo from his high draw for much of the Ayr Gold Cup I thought it wasn’t bad effort to be only beaten three lengths, and the handicapper has dropped him another 2lb for it. He came good this time last year in heavy ground at Doncaster and is shaping like he’s on the way back.
3.55 Newmarket – Cesarewitch Handicap
In truth I don’t have a strong opinion about the race, but there are a couple at big prices worth a mention.
Blue Laureate is as inconsistent as you like, but he’s not tried 18f with some cut in the ground and I wonder whether it might bring about an improved effort.
He’s tried it on quick ground when third to an (at the time, improving) Land Of Oz in the 2019 Ces Trial (giving weight, too) and then ran his best race over hurdles when beaten a head over 2m7f in soft ground at Haydock, looking a thorough stayer in the process. There’s enough in a couple of his runs this season to suggest the ability is still there, and this mark is workable. Ian Williams having a handicap winner yesterday increases confidence a bit, too.
Those wanting a swing at something at an even bigger price might want to look at Mukha Magic, who produced a tremendous effort to be third to the 100+ rated pair of Who Dares Wins and The Grand Visir at near-level weights in the Queen Alexandra, and he clearly stays well and acts with a bit of cut. His efforts since then have been mixed, to say the least, but it was much better at Southwell earlier in the week when finishing a solid second and he did win after a five-day turnaround earlier in the year, so he can clearly stand a quick run after another.
3.57 Chepstow – Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle
Again, I have to say no massively strong opinion on the race, as you can make cases for almost everything in the field.
Kalondra is thrown in off this mark based on some of his chase form, where he more often than not found the fences rather getting in the way, but this strong traveller could make a mockery of this mark if fit after a massive absence. Interestingly was taken out at Fontwell last week (with the reason given as Other, so your guess is as good as mine) so comes here a fresh horse.
Flash The Steel won this last year but he took advantage of the leaders going off way too fast that day, merely sitting off them and running his own fractions to come through late to win. He’s 8lb higher here and that might be enough to stop him following up.
Saint Sommet, despite top weight, is arguably the most interesting of the lot. After just one run (at Catterick, of all places) he was thrown in at the deep end at the Festival, taking part in the Marsh Chase against Samcro, Faugheen et al. To be beaten just 13l there was quite some effort and whilst I have no doubt that fences is where his future lies, if he is genuine Grade 1 material, as it appears connections think he is, then a mark of 147 back over hurdles here could well be on the low side. With the yard among the winners yesterday, he’d be my pick.
Today's selection – Saint Sonnet 3.57 Chepstow
Good luck with all your bets today,