Good morning all,
As you may remember, I was lucky enough to be at Warwick last weekend, and I thought I'd share my paddock thoughts from the day with you. They are on the main piece, along with today's selection.
12.40 – 2m Novices Handicap Hurdle
I’d not even so much as glanced at the form for this, and wasn’t expecting to see anything out of the ordinary, so it was a very pleasant surprise when Will Sting came strolling in to the paddock. He looks better than a 0-115 handicapper, a lot better in fact, loads of size and scope for fences later, and a touch of quality about him. I had no idea of what price he was and started dreaming he might be double figures as I opened up Betfair, but alas, 4-1 was the price.
He’s travelled well all the way around and put the race to bed on the home turn pretty quickly, and with previous winner Frankincense in second, the form looks solid. He’s earnt the 12lb rise he’s got for this, but off his new mark of 122 he might still get in a 0-120. You’d fancy him strongly under the same conditions if he did.
Words of caution – he didn’t spend long in the paddock and went to post early. He might have his quirks (he’s a Scorpion…) but he’s very useful with it.
The rest were much of a muchness. K’Chou du Pecos got warm, then warmer still going down, but looks a chaser already. The Garrison dropped out like a stone and hasn’t gone on from that Uttoxeter win earlier in the season, the form of which is very good indeed. Memphis Bleek was another to attract support but again, failed to deliver. His early promise is disappearing fast, too.
1.50 – Hampton Novices Steeplechase (Grade 2)
You knew what would be paddock best before you even got there, as Fiddlerontheroof is one of the best-looking horses in training and again didn’t disappoint. I don’t know what to make of his effort here, on the face of it it’s fine, but he was getting 5lb from Next Destination and despite the better jump at the last to almost get him on terms, never looked like winning. Indeed, had it not been for Golan Fortune’s awful mistake at the last in the back, he may well have finished last of the three, but that’s all if’s and maybe’s.
Next Destination looks a NH Chase rather than RSA type to me at this stage as staying is clearly his game, although missing Cheltenham altogether and aiming for Aintree was also mooted afterwards by Harry Cobden.
Golan Fortune was merrily bowling along and had just started to get the other pair at it when he made his mistake. He then used up plenty of petrol to get track position back, but paid the price in the closing stages. Another excellent effort and if he can cut the mistakes out, he’s got every chance of picking up a nice prize before the season is out.
2.25 Ballymore Novices Hurdle (Grade 2)
Red hoods in the paddock for both Jay Bee Why and Make Me A Believer. The latter of those two is huge, lengthy and already looks ready for fences. He was a little keen in the prelims but settled down nicely. Beaten just two necks here, he’ll appreciate a step up to 3m, with some useful staying chasers in the family.
Adrimel didn’t look like he was concentrating all that much pre-race, and it isn’t hard to see why he needs the cheekpieces, but he knuckled down well when asked to win narrowly. He does no more than asked at home, said his trainer afterwards, and he looks the sort that might keep a bit for himself. Saying that, he had a good blow afterwards, so may need a break now. Possibly straight to Cheltenham?
Lord Of Kerak and Pure Bliss both look the type to do better over fences, and the big disappointment was Oscar Elite. He looked nothing out of the ordinary when the rug came off and was just the latest in a long list of Tizzard horses to disappoint.
The first five here have finished on top of each other, so it isn't hard to crab the form, but Adrimel looks capable of better again.
3.35 – Pertemps Hurdle Qualifier
With Mr Harp (second) beating Saint Dalina (fourth) by pretty much the same margin as he had done at Uttoxeter the time before, this is very believable form. The winner, Imperial Alcazar (fit and well beforehand) and the aforementioned Mr Harp are both on an upwards trajectory. The 8lb rise the winner has got for this cements his place in the final come March and give his local connections, it’ll be a race they will be keen to win.
If Mr Harp is to take his chance he’ll need to win another race and win it well, as he’s probably about 8lb shy of getting a run, but this was only his second handicap and he looks a useful prospect for the rest of the season. He’s not overly big and I can see better ground suiting him. I like him a lot, he’s progressing nicely.
Potters Corner looked huge in the paddock and badly in need of the run.
There are times when you don’t need an official announcement to tell you what is going on, and after the awful melee at the last hurdle, with Flemcara falling and bringing down both Espion and Ardlethan, the tears of both of their lasses as they walked back from the green screens told you all you needed to know. Your heart goes out to them, it really does.
On to today, which makes little to no appeal for me from a betting perspective. The only bet I'd have is Mr Mac in the 1.00 at Lingfield, who has his conditions and shoulod be able to get track position behind likely leader Pearl Spectre here. Worth a small win bet.
Good luck with all your bets today,