Saturday saw some great racing from Sandown, with the feature race on the day being the Tolworth Hurdle, more on that in a bit. But the race I enjoyed most was the Veterans Chase Series Final.
The introduction of this series of races during the year for these grand old staying chasers has been a great success and I think it’s one that has been embraced by race-goers. A field of 16 went to post for the race which goes to show how popular the concept has been with trainers and owners as well as racing fans.
A Great Feat For Pete
As for the race itself I suppose it was ironic that one of the two oldest horses in the races the 13 year old Pete the Feat bounced back to form with a battling win at odds of 20/1. Can’t say I backed him but he was reasonably handicapped on his 2nd to Le Reve over C&D back in February and probably should have started a bit shorter than his odds even though his two runs of this season at Fontwell were hardly inspiring.
The race was a bit of a triumph for trainer Charlie Longsdon who not only saddled the winner but also the third in Loose Chips. If you had booked the latter I think you can probably count yourself a shade unlucky as the trainer revealed after the race, to the Racing Post, that the gelding: “did that off ten days´ training. He cut himself very badly after Sandown at the beginning of December and had three weeks off so he has run a blinder”. A blinder indeed from the 11 year old who will no doubt be aimed at next years race.
Dynaste trained by David Pipe who had come in for some decent support in the ante post market for the race and went off 5/1 favourite, was given a patient hold up ride from jockey Ton Scudamore but his attempt to ’smuggle’ the former Ryanair Chase winner into the race came to nothing as the horse never really got competitive and eventually finished 7th. After the race connections announced that the 11 year old would be heading for a well earned retirement.
All Roads Lead To Cheltenham for Finian’s
The great season for Colin Tizzard just continues to get better and better! As he unleashed yet another potential top class horse in Finian’s Oscar. A winner on his first start for the trainer at Hereford the 5 year old had created a very favourable impression when winning there. The trainer hadn’t hidden how highly he regarded the son of Oscar before the race and the horse was sent off a well backed 11/10 favourite.
The Hereford win was over 2m 5f but the drop back to 2m didn’t inconvenience him, as he jumped very slickly through the contest and apart from a slight mistake at the last, ran out a decisive 5 length winner at the line.
All roads now lead to Cheltenham for the winner who can go for either the Supreme or the Neptune Hurdle. Clearly soft ground holds no terrors for him and if the going is soft come March you would think that would be the race he would go for but if the ground is good then the Neptune would be the logical race given his stamina.
Stats corner returns this week as I look at today’s Doncaster card and as I haven’t got a selection for this Saturday’s big race action, with no ante post markets up yet for the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton or the big handicap chase at Warwick, I thought I would share with you my horse to take from the Sandown card with the future in mind.
My usual look at trainer stats returns with today’s Doncaster card in focus. One trainer’s record at Doncaster stands out. Nicky Henderson is 23 wins from 57 runners 40% +29.22 A/E 1.2 37 places 65% with all his runners here since 2014. He sends four up to the Yorkshire track today:
1:00 – Lough Derg Farmer
1:30 – Hammersly Lake
2:40 – Stowaway Magic
3:10 – Towering
Given the trainer has his horses in good form at present, I am sure he will be disappointed if he cant return with at least one winner and you could rule him out having 3 or even 4 winners. I am sure plenty of punters will be having his horses in multiples today!
Of the four the first to catch my eye is Hammersley Lake in the Novices Chase who is to be ridden by David Mullins who comes over from Ireland for just this one ride.
The horse has been placed behind likes of La Prezien and Top Notch on his last two starts. He is likely to go off a hot favourite but anything above evens would still be value. Lough Derg Farmer should be suited by the better ground and made a promising first start over hurdles at Warwick last month. Towering makes his chase debut today in the first time cheekpieces and in a recent Racing Post Stable Tour the trainer said the 8 year old has a “bright future as he’s always been a good jumper. Needs decent ground”. if the ground stays good he would be my selection in that race.
Another trainer with an interesting record here is Johnny Farrelly albeit from a very small sample of runners. In the past three years he is 1 win from 3 runners 2 placed in handicap races here. He saddles the 5 year old Lake Shore Drive in the 3m handicap hurdle at 2:05. The step up in trip could bring out improvement in the horse, he could be the answer in what looks a very moderate looking contest and it’s a long journey from Somerset with just the one horse!
Monday’s Stat Selection
3:10 – Towering – 6/1 available with BOG firms
One To Note:
2:05 – Lake Shore Drive
For The Tracker:
Bright New Dawn was a fairly expensive purchase from the Gordon Elliott stable by Venetia Williams at £56,000 considering the gelding is now 10 years old but he does look on a competitive handicap mark. He travelled well through his race on Saturday and was still very much in contention three out before eventually finishing 4th. He still managed to get with 5 lengths of the winner Garde Le Victoire. Fairly ground versatile, his last win came at Punchestown back in April over 2m but its worth remembering he is also 5 wins from 12 runs 7 places over 2m 4f. His profile suggests he is a ‘quirky’ sort but he has ability and can be placed to win a decent race off his present mark.
Good Luck with your Monday bets!
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