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RACING DEBRIEF – WEEK ENDING 25/11/12
By Dan Kelly – 28yo student of the Sport of Kings, Form-bookworm. Result is not only about who and the what, it’s just as
much about the how and why – Editor of http://racingtictacs.wordpress.com
ASCOT 23-Nov-12 Soft C: 6.4 H: 6.7
12:55 ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle 2m 3f 110y
Many Clouds got on top late on, and sounded as though he had a hard race going by the post-race quotes “He’s just a bit wobbly now” but I was interested in a couple of those in behind.
Barney Cool was very green when he won his bumper on debut, I think he is still green. He cruised into the race last time out at Kempton, but went down in a driving finish, here he travelled fairly comfortably until approaching the home bend where he didn’t seem to handle it well and from then on in his chance was gone. Described as a big baby in stable tours, even though he’s had a few runs and not one to give up on just yet.
The Potting Shed caught the eye when running behind Atlantic Roller at Exeter, and given the form the yard is in currently, this was another eye catching run. Well off the pace throughout, he made late gains and no doubt is destined for handicaps over further.
HAYDOCK 23-Nov-12 Soft (Heavy in Places) 5.9
1:55 Novices’ Chase 2m 6f
I thought that Poungach was given a very easy time of it in the Rising Star Novices’, however following this run I think it’s a case of what he wants to put in rather than what the jockey can get out of him. Today, sporting first time cheekpieces, he was slow and deliberate at the first two fences, but jumping improved as the race wore on. Cajoled throughout the second circuit by Ruby, he looked to have the measure of Super Duty up the straight, and was pulling away at the end. He was beating good sorts here, 135+ rated hurdlers; you’d also think that better ground would suit him too so be very interesting to see where he goes next. Connections said they won’t aim him too high, with another novice likely in the next month, Lingfield on the 15th “RSA Novices’ Steeple Chase Trial” could be one for him if they decide against a tilt at the Feltham.
Super Duty has found one too good a few times now, but he has had excuses. Simonsig start over timber and soft ground over fences. Donald McCain is looking forward to better ground, and letting him bowl along in front. With the recent weather it’s going to be a long time before we see Good ground, but he will find a race soon enough.
Couple of disappointments in the race; Knock A Hand should have loved the ground, but never travelled and need to be encouraged for the majority of the race. Gullinbursti scoped dirty post-race, and given the poor form of the Lavelle yard compared to previous seasons (2008: Oct 32% Nov 15%, 2009: Oct 29% Nov 19%, 2010: Oct 23% Nov 40%, 2011: Oct 13% Nov 33%) her stats of 4% SR in Oct and 13% in Nov could point to a problem at the yard.
2:30 The Newton Novices’ Hurdle (Listed) 2m
Impressive performance from Clondaw Kaempfer here, and connections have some questions to answer now with regards to stepping him up in trip, or leaving him over two miles. I liked his move coming into the straight, able to get himself out of a pocket fairly quickly to bag the rail three out. Hung after the last, he had to be driven out to account for a fair rival in Lienosus. Next run will be over Christmas time, and be interesting to see if they step him back up in trip, or keep him over two. Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle could be one for him Friday 21st December, otherwise they are looking at Kempton. With Peddlers Cross Donald kept him over the minimum trip, so even if running over two miles I wouldn’t take it as a pointer to the Supreme in March.
Lienosus was outpaced in the straight but rallied well and enhanced the form of the Persian War Novices’ where he ran a promising third to Wonderful Charm and Ballybough Pat. Step up in trip looks likely, and be interesting to see where the two in front of him at Chepstow go next.
Landscape was there three out, but got put in his place fairly comfortably. I can’t imagine the sharp hurdles track suiting him, and even though the ground would have favoured him, it wasn’t enough to level the playing field against better rivals. Now rated 124, he should find himself easier contest in handicaps.
3:05 ‘Fixed Brush’ ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle 2m 4f
Many Clouds had shown the Aintree form in good light earlier in the day, and Gevrey Chambertin was a very game winner of this Fixed Brush Hurdle race. He appreciated the step up in trip and got the better of long duel in the shadows of the post. However the form of the runner up brings me back to Coneygree and Cheltenham.
Corrin Wood was a 20l second to Coneygree at Uttoxeter, further 18l behind that day in third was Explained who won an EBF Qualifier at Folkestone this week, so it’s safe to say that not only does Cheltenham form look fair, but Uttoxeter does too.
Fourjacks and Haydock wouldn’t have been a combination I’d think of being suited and so it proved here, a staying chaser in the making he’s got the size for a fence. Sixty Something would have hated this ground, and off 124 is still over interest in handicaps.
ASCOT 24-Nov-12 Heavy C: 6.3 H: 6.9
12:35 Novices’ Hurdle 2m 6f
Easter Day looked to have a fair bit up his sleeve when winning here. Travelling well through his race, McCoy was going after Dursey Sound coming into the straight, whereas Daryl Jacob allowed Easter Day to take him into the race and only need to be driven out close to the line. His win at Fontwell is working out, with Millarow coming out and winning readily over fences since. Challow Hurdle was mentioned as his next target.
Ubak was a fair third behind two speedsters in My Tent Or Yours and Tarquin Du Seuil, and again he ran a sound race finishing fourth here. He’s related to some fair types in Rebel Fitz and Otage de Brion, so the mark of 123 will not be insurmountable.
2:10 Amlin 1965 Chase (Grade 2) 2m 3f
I’m finding it difficult to get enthused by Captain Chris’ performance here. For Non Stop didn’t travel on this easier ground, nor did he jump. Ghizao was giving Captain Chris 6lbs, so was 18lbs wrong at the weights, and Finians Rainbow detested the easy ground. As such it leaves with questions about what next.
I hope that For Non Stop does still go for the King George, he’s likely to find better ground, he’s likely to find a stronger gallop, and he’ll be racing off levels. You could see a long way out Finians Rainbow wasn’t enjoying it, and his last jump wasn’t a pretty one. You have to hope the actions of Nicky Henderson in keeping Finians Rainbow away from Sprinter Sacre, that he’s not taken him out of his comfort zone, and potentially wrecked his season as early as November. King George supposedly the next target…answers on a postcode.
2:45 The Ascot Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 3f 110y
You can’t help but be impressed by Oscar Whisky’s performance here, confirming he’s the best 2m 4f hurdler around. Travelling easily through the mud, he had this field accounted for a long way from home. I expect this years campaign to mirror last years, Relkeel and New Years’ Day meet at Cheltenham, followed by Welsh Champion early Feb, and if missing the Festival then possibly the National Spirit at Fontwell. If a soft Festival you’d have to give him every chance in the Champion Hurdle, so be worth following noting how Cheltenham ground is through the season.
Raya Star ran a fine race here, confirming his maturity in that he no longer needs a searching gallop, nor does he pull anymore. Connections were thinking of Chasing this season after Ascot, so be interesting to see if that is still on the radar, if not he wouldn’t be without a chance in the Ladbroke off top weight, and would see Balder Succes run off a handy weight. Relkeel was mentioned in this week’s Weekender, but you wouldn’t want to be racing against Oscar Whisky again so maybe a tilt at the Bula if handicaps are no longer an option.
3:20 Handicap Chase 2m 1f
King George is the early season target Champion Court, and no doubt this fitted into his schedule, a nice pot along the way, but given his success last season over 2m4f, I’m surprise that connections didn’t aim him at something like the following; £55k Peterborough Chase, £25k Graduation Chase back here on 22nd or £100k Cheltenham Handicap at the International Meeting. Martin Keighley isn’t the first, nor will he be the last, to try and make a stayer out of a 2m4f horse.
HAYDOCK 24-Nov-12 Soft (Heavy in places) C: 5.3 H: 5.7
12:55 Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f
A number of solid performances here, starting with Double Ross, he did his best to follow up his Cheltenham win under penalty here and the mistake at the last cost him dearly, as whatever was left in the tank went there. A fine effort, course like this suits front runners, so he should be back here in future. Again this shows how dangerous he is; now he’s settled in his races, if given an easy lead.
Yesyoucan was able to capitalise on that mistake to land the spoils. The form of his run here behind San Telm had got a boost when he ran 4th to Double Ross at Cheltenham, and with conditions in his favour here today he was a game winner. Positioned well throughout by Danny Cook, his best SR are at Sedgefield, Musselburgh, Huntingdon and Haydock, all sharp tracks, so points to him being able to judge pace of the race fairly well.
Black Thunder looked a non-stayer for me at Kempton, and this slight drop in trip and easy track suited him. I think he could be one for the Swinton later in the year as he would certainly appreciate a strongly run two mile race.
2:30 ‘Fixed Brush’ Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 3m
A race that has been worth following in recent years with Grands Crus and Dynaste previous victors, and there was a lot to like about Trustan Times’ performance here off top weight. Held up early, Dougie Costello ensured he was up there as they left the back straight and had it in sewn up after the last. Already a winner over fences, which would have helped over these obstacles, he left his poor run at Perth behind him on seasonal debut, and happy to say he bounced following his run at Aintree. Be interesting now to see if connections stick to hurdles, or try their hand again at fences.
How Dominic Elsworth wasn’t questioned about Holywell’s ride at Aintree I’ll never know. Detached out the back, headway in back straight, given a tap and improved position, deliberate at every hurdle in the home straight under tender handling to finish a never near 2nd to the front runner…all this and he weighed in 2lb overweight. It must have been the cheekpieces, as today he was prominent throughout and bar the game winner had everything beat. He’s one that is made for staying hurdle/chases so one to still have onside.
Sunnyhillboy outpaced after leaving the back straight, he ran well here and is ticking over nicely for the Festivals, and Katkeau ran a race of huge promise. Jockey tweaked his knee when blundering 3 out, so was unable to ride out for a place, but in doing so also ensured he remains off 124, and he’s bound to win one off that mark.
3:05 Betfair Chase (Registered As The Lancashire Chase) (Grade 1) 3m
I am of the opinion that Long Run was further forward this year than last, and this time Sam Waley Cohen was the reason behind his defeat. Above is the 2012 running, below the 2011 running.
2011, Long Run was not at peak fitness, he was facing Kauto who had questions to answer, and following his Gold Cup win, which flattered him greatly, that was the ultimate aim once again, but this year he was the one with questions to answer, the horse answered them, jockey did not. If you look back at 2011 running you will see that SWC made a move going out for final circuit to be up with the Kauto Star for the fences in the back straight. Not the most fluent of jumpers, he was never travelling there on in, and his class got him home second in a better field that today. If SWC had employed the same tactics this time around I am of the opinion that Long Run would have won. He tanked along for the first circuit and a half, and whereas last year he went for the lead in the back straight, this year he didn’t even get within a length of Silviniaco Conti. Kauto Star was the winner last year in victory here and at Kempton, but Sam Waley Cohen was very much the loser, he lost his conviction and confidence and as a result I very much doubt we will see Long Run return to the winners enclosure in a Grade 1 chase while he continues in the saddle.
In turn, what did Silviniaco Conti beat? Not much for me. He was given an easy time of it up front, by far the better jumper in the field, and won it comfortably. He most certainly won’t get it this easy in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but with only Denman Chase the possible race between now and then he will goto the Gold Cup without a stiff test at Grade 1 level.