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Metier extends unbeaten run with impressive Tolworth triumph

Metier maintained his unbeaten record over obstacles with a facile victory in the Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown.

A useful performer on the Flat in Ireland for Andrew Slattery, the Mastercraftsman gelding subsequently changed hands for 150,000 guineas to pursue a jumping career with Harry Fry.

He made a fine start for his new connections when impressing on his hurdling bow at Newton Abbot in October – and having since doubled his tally with a dominant front-running display at Ascot, Metier was the 7-4 favourite to complete his hat-trick in this Grade One feature.

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Always travelling well in the hands of Sean Bowen, the five-year-old loomed up to challenge long-time leader Shakem Up’Arry early in the home straight.

The latter did his best to make a race of it, but Metier had far too many guns and powered clear in the testing conditions to score emphatically by 12 lengths.

Paddy Power reacted by cutting the winner to 10-1 from 25-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Fry said: “He comes alive on the racecourse. It was ideal we didn’t have to make our own running today, as they went a good tempo. Sean said he just jumped for fun.

“Turning into the bottom, he had a double handful. Very rarely do races go quite so smoothly, and certainly not at this level, but I’m absolutely delighted for Gary Stevens. We bought him over a year ago now and he had to wait over 12 months to see him first run. I’m delighted that patience is being rewarded.

“He relishes those conditions. He is a very exciting hurdler. With the action on him, I wouldn’t be in too much of a hurry to run him on drying ground, but good horses have to run on all grounds.

“This is a lovely race to win and I’m absolutely delighted to get a first Grade One winner from the new yard, having only moved in back in June.

Metier clears the last at Sandown
Metier clears the last at Sandown (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“A lot of people have helped us to get where we are. To get the new yard up and running, moved in and set up, is a lot of hard work from the team – not least for my wife Ciara, who not only is assistant trainer but is married to me, so it is a double-edged sword. It is great for all the team.

“I think you’ve got to consider that (Supreme). We will enjoy this moment then work out whether we go straight there (Cheltenham) or look at something in between.

“The Betfair (Hurdle) entries close this week, for which you have to have a third run by next weekend anyway, but he has probably gone about it the wrong way. He will certainly have an entry. It will be an interesting conversation with the handicapper.”

Monmiral extends winning run with Summit strike

Monmiral staked a claim for Cheltenham Festival honours when maintaining his unbeaten record in the bet365 Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster.

The French import was slashed to 12-1 from 25-1 for the Triumph Hurdle with Betfair and Paddy Power after adding to an Auteuil success when with Francois Nicolle and a win at Exeter for his new trainer Paul Nicholls.

Monmiral travelled like a 1-2 shot should throughout the extended two-mile journey as Gold Desert made a bold bid to lead all the way.

The race looked over when Monmiral went to the front at the third-last flight, but he gave Gold Desert another chance when fluffing the penultimate obstacle.

However, Monmiral was fluent at the last and drew away on the flat to score by 11 lengths in the hands of Sean Bowen and lift the Grade Two spoils. Glorious Zoff was 22 lengths away in third place.

Nicholls said: “He went to Exeter and won his prep for that very well. He will have one run before the spring, either here or possibly at Haydock and then he will go to either Cheltenham or Aintree.

“The idea is then look after him as he will be a chaser in the future.

“He made a bit of a mess at the second last, but he soon picked up and took off again which was good to see.

“Sir Alex (Ferguson, part owner) was up there to watch it and he nearly had two winners with Give Me A Copper, who has run well in defeat, so he has had a good day up there.”

Bowen added: “He’s a lovely horse. He travelled great. He was probably in front too soon.

“He was just travelling and winging hurdles.

“He’ll be better with a lead for longer, but I like him a lot.

“He wasn’t great at the second last, but he was just having a look round in front and he was good at the last.

“He’ll keep improving. He’s a very nice young horse.”

Bowen, who had fallen from Billingsley earlier on the card, did not take up his mount, Give Me A Copper, in the concluding bet365 Handicap Chase.

He was signed off by the racecourse medical officer and replaced by amateur rider Angus Cheleda.

Stat of the Day, 3rd September 2020

Wednesday's pick was...

5.00 Wolverhampton : Swiss Pride @ 11/2 BOG 2nd at 5/1 (Towards rear, switched right over 1f out, ran on final furlong, no threat)

Thursday's pick runs in the...

4.30 Southwell :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

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Classic Escape @ 5/2 BOG

...in an 8-runner, Class 4,  Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 3m1f on Good ground worth £4,289 to the winner...

Why?...

Again, the racecard holds all the clues for me today...

Essentially we have a trainer and a jockey with good course records (C5) and the trainer is also one of a list of trainers I keep an eye out for in Class 4 & 5 handicap chases.

So, let's start with the jockey, Sean Bowen. A closer look at his overall record here at Southwell shows that he has won 13 of 40 (32.5% SR) races for 45.92pts (+114.8% ROI) in handicap chases here since the start of 2016 when sent off at 12/1 or shorter and this includes a 9/23 (39.1%) for 30.1pts (+130.9%) return over trips of 3m to 3m2f.

And now to the trainer, Dr Richard Newland. Of his C5 record, I'm particularly interested in his runners sent off shorter than 4/1, as they are 10 from 18 (55.6% SR) for 6.32pts (+35.1% ROI) profit, whilst more generally he's one of a number of trainers that I look for in these type of events, as his record in Class 4 handicap chases since the start of 2016 stands at 22 from 75 (29.3% SR) for 12.76pts (+17% ROI).

So, a strike rate approaching 1 in 3 and a profit of almost 20p in the pound from blind backing? What's not to like?

Well, blind backing is what's not to like, as we should always seek to eliminate some of the losers where possible without affecting our returns and in this case, we should focus on the...

  • 18 from 44 (40.9%) for 9.72pts (+22.1%) at 3/1 and shorter
  • 15 from 41 (36.6%) for 13.02pts (+31.8%) with 6 and 7 yr olds
  • and the 11 from 27 (40.7%) for 27pts (+100%) at 11-20 days since last run.

The above 22/75 also includes a 35% strike rate (7 from 20) at 3 miles and beyond, whilst 6/7 yr olds at 3/1 and shorter at 11-30 dslr are 10/16 (62.5% SR) for 14.47pts (+90.5% ROI) and an A/E of 1.66 including 7 from 10 (70% and A/E of 1.68) from 7 yr olds...

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Classic Escape @ 5/2 BOG as was available at 8.05am Thursday, but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 4.30 Southwell

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!