Inside today’s main piece I continue my look ahead to the weekend’s big race action. Plus, there’s a new feature Stat Of The Day and a selection from this afternoon’s card at Wincanton.
Yesterday’s selection Saint Xavier put in a good display of jumping to win the veterans chase at Haydock. I thought he looked well treated on his best form and so it proved.
Looking Ahead To The Weekend – Part 2
Yesterday I previewed Saturday’s big race the Tingle Creek Chas and today it’s a case of taking a quick peek at the other highlights from Saturday’s cards.
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Close Brothers Henry VIII Novices' Chase – Sandown
Besides the Tingle Creek Chase there’s another Grade 1 on the Sandown card. Just five we’re left in the race at Monday’s final confirmation. Impressive chase debutant winner and Arkle Novices’ Chase ante post favourite Jonbon is a best priced 2/5 for the race. In truth his only realistic rival is Boothill. If as expected Jonbon takes another step forward, then he wins. However, on good ground you would hope that Boothill can give him a race.
Boylesports Many Clouds Chase – Aintree
The going at Aintree was being described as soft on Wednesday morning and I suspect it will prove to be closer to good to soft on the day.
Ten were left in this Grade 2 chase on Monday. Although I would expect the field to be smaller come declarations on Thursday morning. The ante post betting is headed by Ahoy Senor. Two from 2 at Aintree including C&D in April. It’s a no excuses day for the 7-year-old who ran poorly on his seasonal reappearance in the Charlie Hall Chase. This is his track; he gets his ground and if he gets into a good jumping rhythm, he would be tough to beat.
Irish challenger Conflated is top on official ratings and next in the betting. Although there must be a doubt as to whether he will run under his Grade 1 penalty.
Ease in the ground is ideal for Dashel Drasher who gets 3lb form Ahoy Senor and won’t allow the favourite an easy time out in front. Yet to race beyond 2m 6f but I reckon he’ll stay 3m.
Other to note should they run are Dusart and Sounds Russian. The former would be making his seasonal reappearance. Whilst the latter showed his well being when winning a competitive Kelso handicap chase in October and is open to further progress. Course and Distance winner Sam Brown and Grand National winner Noble Yeats have solid claims on official ratings. Dusart’s stablemate Chantry House has penalty to carry for last season’s Grade 2 success. However, he’s well suited to small field and on going day won’t be far away.
If most of the above, do run this could turn out this could be one of the races of the day.
Boylesports Becher Handicap Chase – Aintree
Twenty five were left in the race at Monday’s confirmation stage. Surely the most competitive race of the day, if not the weekend and just seventeen of the 25 are separated by just 4lb on my ratings which underlines just how competitive a race it is.
Looking at the trends which contain 14 winners from 240 runners 51 placed
Age: 9yr old & older – 11 winners from 148 runners 30 placed
Weight: 10-00 to 10-10 – 11 winners from 126 runners 28 placed
Days Since Last Run: 21 to 60-days – 11 winners from 141 runners 33 placed
Odd SP: 16/1 & bigger – 2 winners from 107 runners 13 placed.
Favourites – 3 winners from 14 runners +12.25.
Runs at the track: 0 – 2 winners from 77 runners 13 placed
Last Run Track: Cheltenham – 5 winners from 39 runners +39 11 placed. Those who ran at Cheltenham’s November meeting are – 4 winners from 25 runners +38 8 placed
Top Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies – 3 winners from 17 runners +9.25 5 placed
Trends Verdict: Older horses those aged nine and older have been done well in the race. As have those carrying 10-00 to 10-10. A recent run is favoured, as the race can be a good test of stamina. A previous run at Aintree is also favoured.
The race can throw up the odd big-priced winner – Highland Lodge (20/1) in 2015 and Oscar Time (25/1) a year earlier spring to mind However, in recent seasons its paid to be with horses to the fore in the betting.
I will be looking at the race in more detail when the final declarations are out. However, a cursory glance and my initial long list contains ten contenders: Ashtown Lad, De Rasher Counter, Fantastikas, Dr Kananga, Gesskille Hill Sixteen, Percussion, Snow Leopardess. The Willie Mullins pair of Captain Kangaroo & Recite A Prayer are contenders should they come over as is Didero Vallis, if only because he’s trained by Ventia Williams.
Fairyhouse – Sunday
The entries for Sunday’s three Grade 1’s at Fairyhouse came out on Tuesday and its shaping up to be cracking day’s sport at the Irish track if all the main participants turn out.
Champ Kiely 2-2 over hurdles takes on 10 interesting novices including impressive hurdle debut winner Marine Nationale in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (1:25).
Sixteen were left in what looks an open looking Drinmore Novice Chase. The ante post betting is headed by the Gordon Elliott trained Three Stripe Life and the Grade 1 winning novice hurdler who was an easy winner on chase debut at Naas 22-days ago will bid to give his trainer a 7th win in the race.
Joseph O’Brien who won this in 2019 with Fakir D'oudairies could saddle recent impressive Cheltenham novice chase winner Banbridge.
Willie Mullins and Noel Meade have won the Drinmore twice and both have entries in this year’s renewal. The latter could run the Thedevilscoachman who needs soft ground.
The most eagerly awaited runner on the card will of course be Honeysuckle in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle. The dual Champion Hurdler will bid for a fourth successive win in the race, and she will be short odds to achieve it.
A new month gets underway with four jumps cards at Wincanton, Leicester, Market Rasen, Thurles and the day’s action is completed by an all-weather evening fixture at Chelmsford.
The race of the day is a five runner Listed Chase (1:32) at Thurles. Despite the small field only 2lb separates the four main protagonists. I looked at the race and just didn’t like it and I’m happy to leave it alone. And an hour earlier useful mare Telmesomethinggirl faces 13 rivals on her chase debut in the Beginners Chase (12:32).
Stat of The Day:
Since he started training Darryll Holland has had 27 winners and is operating at a 10% win strike rate. However, that below average strike rate improves tremendously when he books jockey Jason Watson. The pair have combined for 11 winners from 29 runners 38% +27.15 17 placed 59% and are operating at 83% above market expectations. They team up with Grace Angel in the 5f nursery (8:30) at Chelmsford.
I could easily put up Grace Angel as today’s selection given the strong trainer/jockey stats. However, that would be too easy and instead I’m off to Wincanton.
You don’t get many Irish trained runners at Wincanton. Well, Emmet Mullins runs Filey Bay who looked well ahead of his mark when winning at Doncaster on Saturday and you can see why connections want to run him under his 7lb penalty. He faces 11 rivals and the best of them may be Shallow River who looked a nice prospect when winning at Huntingdon on his hurdle debut in January and looks interesting on handicap hurdle debut.
1:25 – Putdecashonthedash jumped well in the first time blinkers to win at Plumpton in January. He's back from wind surgery here and only 3lb higher on his return to action. If ready to roll after his long absence I think he can go close.
Putdecashonthedash – 9/2 @ Bet365.
Good luck with your Thursday bets.