Saint Palais got back to winning ways with a gutsy success under top-weight in the Trinity Create Novices’ Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter.
Richard Bandey’s five-year-old may have been the youngest of the seven runners but he showed a mature attitude as he saw off his older rivals and made it four wins from five starts this season.
His only defeat came at the hands of the classy Ahoy Senor at Wetherby last month. But he looked a cut above this opposition.
Saint Palais (7-2 joint-favourite) was always close to the pace set first by Docpickedme, before he crashed out at the fourth fence, and then by Young Bull.
Saint Palais was in control at the final fence and though he was not fluent, he stayed on strongly to score by three and a quarter lengths from Gustavian in the hands of Harry Bannister.
Bandey said: “We’ve had a great season and this is a good end to it. He’s been very progressive and it’s just lovely to keep going forward.
“I wasn’t disappointed with the run in the Towton (at Wetherby), Harry said he was there until four out and he just hit four out and then made a mistake at three out and Harry said, ‘that’ll do, we’re not going to be overly hard on him’.
“Up until that point I was very happy with him, it wasn’t a race run to suit him.
“He’s done everything we could ask of him this year and he’ll be a nice horse in a few years back over fences. I still maintain that we’ll have a go over hurdles, go back as a novice and go for some of the staying races over hurdles.
“Where do we go as a six-year-old over fences? He’ll be up at the top grade off level weights with the big horses, he can strengthen and grow and we can take our time with him.
“Hopefully he can be a better horse, a stronger horse, physically and mentally, at six and seven.”
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Richard Bandey is excited to see Saint Palais take another step up the ladder in the William Hill Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby on Saturday.
The five-year-old is unbeaten in three starts over fences since joining the Hampshire handler from Francois Nicolle in France, progressing from a mark of 118 to his current perch of 145.
After completing the hat-trick in the Mandarin Handicap Chase at Newbury five weeks ago, Saint Palais will test the water in Grade Two company this weekend, with the high-rated Ahoy Senor likely to be among his rivals.
“He had a school this morning (Tuesday). He’s in good form and I think we will take our chance,” said Bandey.
“He’s done absolutely nothing wrong this season. He’s had a nice progression through the grades and we thought this was a nice option. It’s a track he’s won round already this season.
“He won’t mind the ground. Obviously, Ahoy Senor is quite a talking horse but we’re not afraid of taking him on and having a crack.
“He ran on good ground over hurdles over two miles. There is a bit of rain forecast so it could be good to soft and I’d be happy with that.”
https://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/2.64531059-scaled.jpg12802560Geegeez Newshttps://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/geegeez_banner_new_300x100.pngGeegeez News2022-02-01 16:15:202022-02-01 16:15:20Saint Palais primed for Towton challenge
Saint Palais is set to return to Wetherby for the Towton Novices’ Chase next month after being hiked 10lb by the handicapper following success at Newbury last week.
The Richard Bandey-trained five-year-old made it three wins from four outings over fences, completing a hat-trick, with a comfortable win under Harry Bannister in a competitive renewal of the Mandarin Chase.
Having previously scored at Wetherby, the Tadley handler hopes the diminutive Saint Palais can take a step up to graded company in his stride with a return to the West Yorkshire track.
Bandey said: “The handicapper has put him up to a mark of 145 now. He is absolutely fine. He’s been bucking out in the field since the race.
“He will be back in training on Wednesday, but he is in great form and we are looking at Wetherby for the (Grade Two) Towton Novices’ Chase on February 5.
“We don’t want to over-face him, but with his new mark, we just have to see how he fares in a race like that. It will tell us where we go with him until the end of the season.
“We are not going to run him at Cheltenham. He liked Wetherby the other day and it is a 10lb rise from what he was running off last time, but we will see how he fares.
“Either that race or the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot (February 19) – that is another race we have got on our mind. They are both going to be slightly differently-run races with smaller fields, but not unlike a handicap, and so he has to step up again, probably.”
While Saint Palais took time to warm to the task in soft at Newbury and his winning margin over Gericault Roque was just a length and a quarter, he could be called the winner a long way from home in the three-and-a-quarter-mile event.
Bandey has no qualms about the lackadaisical way he raced early on.
“We have watched the replays of Newbury plenty of times! He looked like he wasn’t jumping and wasn’t travelling early on, but that is him,” said Bandey.
“He just switched off. Actually, he jumped fine and just wasn’t exuberant until Harry put him into the race and then you watched his jumping come to life.
“Jumping the last three in the home straight – he was awesome and didn’t put a foot wrong and jumped the last probably the best of all of them.
“When you have got a horse like that who can switch off and then jump like that, it is lovely.
“It was a competitive enough Mandarin and they went a good gallop end to end and then the front two quickened quite significantly. That is when the jumping did what it had to do. It was there every time you asked for it.
“I’m not going to say he is going to improve another 10lb at all because that would be dreaming, but talking to Harry, if he had asked him to go on another five lengths or so, he could have done. He only does enough when he gets to the front and his ears start flicking.
“We will look forward to the next step up because that will tell us where we go afterwards.”
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Some of the best things come in small packages and Saint Palais defied his diminutive size to land a decent renewal of the Follow @masionbetrace on Twitter Mandarin Handicap Chase in the hands of Harry Bannister at Newbury on Wednesday.
The three-and-a-quarter-mile race, won in the past by the likes of Jodami, Master Smudge, Night Nurse, Zongalero, Ten Plus and Party Politics, may have lost much of its lustre in recent years, but is still a good test. And a stiff one this year, given the going, officially described as soft, heavy in places.
Yet the Richard Bandey-trained four-year-old took advantage of his weight allowance to score by a length and a quarter from Gericault Roque (11-4), with Nestor Park (7-1) a further 11 lengths back in third, as he completed a hat-trick for the nearby Kingsclere yard.
“I have been trying to convince (owner) Tim Syder that the horse is 16 hands, but in reality he is 15.3 with his shoes on,” said Bandey.
“Harry (Bannister) said he struggled with his jumping a bit in this ground, but he has a great constitution and is as tough as old boots. He doesn’t do an awful lot in front and he was tanking turning in.
“Hopefully we will run him a couple more times this season, but we will mind him. I want him winning chases when he is a six or seven-year-old, not a spent five-year-old with nowhere to go. He is the best one I’ve got so we want to look after him.”
He added: “He has been working well at home on the back of his win at Wetherby and it was always going to be test. I’m over the moon. It is very special.
“I’d like to think we’ll take a chance in a Graded race at the end of the season. Maybe the Future Champions race at Ayr is something we will look at.”
Peking Rose was cut to 25-1 (from 40-1) by Betfair for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle after turning the MansionBet Watch And Bet ‘Introductory’ Hurdle into a procession.
Under Paddy Brennan, the evens favourite ploughed through the mud and a strong headwind to open his account for the season, clearly showing improvement on his Ascot hurdling bow in October.
The in-form Fergal O’Brien-trained six-year-old had 11 lengths to spare from Hardi Du Mensil in the extended two-mile heat, but the trainer admitted he may bypass the Cheltenham Festival and wait for Aintree.
O’Brien said: “It was always the plan to ride him prominently. We thought we needed to go up in trip, but once the ground turned soft to heavy, we were just going to be handy and go forward, that is why we came here, really.
“We had him in a Listed race at Cheltenham on Saturday – that’s what we thought of him.
“He is just been a lovely horse to train. The owners (Coln Valley Partnership) have been very patient. He ran very well at Carlisle last year and then he went to Ascot and then didn’t run again until the following year at Aintree (when runner-up in a Grade Two bumper).
“He has matured and he is getting better. I would be more of an Aintree man I think. I’m not sure. Two and half (miles) is probably his ideal trip.”
Gran Luna (100-30 favourite) made it three from three at Newbury as Nico De Boinville got the better of 7lb claimer Joe Anderson aboard Voice Of Calm in a titanic battle after the last in the MansionBet Bet £10 Get £10 Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.
The pair had it to themselves from some way out, but Gran Luna took her record to three wins from four over hurdles with a head verdict.
“She likes it around here, doesn’t she?” said winning trainer Nicky Henderson.
“She is tough and she wants further. You are thinking that two miles in this ground would take some getting anyway. She wants to go up to two and a half (miles), really.
“She probably wants better ground but at least she stays. That is three out of three here.”
The progressive Gallic Geordie (9-4 favourite) completed a hat-trick of wins in good style under Adam Wedge, with the bottom-weight in the MansionBet Faller Insurance Handicap Chase supplementing his two victories at Lingfield with a four-and-a-half-length success from The Russian Doyen.
The lightly-raced eight-year-old has had his problems, but in-form trainer Sam Drinkwater felt that the testing conditions helped.
He said: “Heavy ground is key to him. He has had pins in his legs, heart problems, the lot. He has literally had everything go wrong with him.
“He is just a horse in form and they can run up a sequence. He was 6lb well in, but heaven knows what the handicapper will do. It is a nice problem to have.”
In conditions that suited those who raced prominently, Dashel Drasher (4-1) showed his versatility and guts galore, taking the Bank A Winner With MansionBet Handicap Hurdle under a fine ride from Rex Dingle.
The top weight, who won three chases at Ascot last term, including a Grade One, was reverting to hurdles and made most of the running, to fend off the persistent challenge of Beauport by half a length.
Co-owner Richard Lock, representing winning trainer Jeremy Scott, who was at a funeral, said: “We will probably go for the Silviniaco Conti Chase (at Kempton) if he comes out of this all right.
“We knew he needed the last run. We didn’t fancy going in a handicap at Cheltenham on Saturday, so we switched here to hurdles.
“We thought we’d drop back and get a run into him and then pop on from there. If he had gone to the Silviniaco Conti without a run, we would be concerned he might have needed a run. We will probably go to Ascot after that.”
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