Jac The Legend – 1 point win – 6/1 (general) 3rd, 7/2 *
*travelled well most of way round, possibly tiring in final stages or he just couldn’t go as quick as winner, on that ground. Stayed on same pace. Would like to think there are long distance chases in him, when ground softens. May come on for run, we shall see. Market/way he ran suggests he was fairly straight here, beaten by better horses on the day.
Well try as I might I just cant get away from this one. He is young, still with the promise of more to come, tries his best for you, won on seasonal reappearance last year and looks like he is crying out for a return to this trip. His jumping got better as he gained experience last season and he just keeps galloping and responding to pressure. He tried a similar trip at Catterick last season but unshipped fairly early. He rarely runs a bad race and given how he goes over 24-26f you would think this 29f is exactly what he needs. There is only one way to find out and I was happy to take a poke on him at 6s.
Fitness is clearly a question and I would have preferred a prep run. He may fade out but given he won last season on reappearance I will take the chance that they can clearly ready him at home if needed. A quick check in Mark Howard’s One Jump Ahead ‘Talking Trainers’ section indicates that this race is the target for this horse – so hopefully fitness isn’t an excuse. On his last start of the season they raced him prominently, having been holding him up- I have no idea what they will do here but can track Ready Token if desired.
All in all he looks like the one I want to be on. I think I could get Thistlecrack or Douvan (they must target the latter at the big one!) beaten at the moment were they to be ‘tipped’ but hopefully this one gives any backers a run for their money. Two ifs, but If he completes/jumps well, and if he is fit enough, I would be shocked if he were out the frame here. Ellison is in form also, 6/27,10 places last 14 days, oh and the horse knows his way round this course. That run at Haydock suggested a sound surface is no problem for him. Its the distance that I think could be the key. He could have a bit in hand over trips like this. On paper he has a lot going for him for me and I want to see if my views as to his stamina requirements are correct.
Five In A Row- well his stablemate could take this. His long term target is The Scottish Grand National (mark howard’s book again) but this is his early season target also. I prefer that the selection has proven stamina for me over 24f+, over fences. This one has yet to win beyond 20f over fences, albeit stayed 24f over hurdles well enough. Connections clearly think there is stamina there but on what they have done to date I would be more confident about Jac getting this. But, he could go well.
Royale Knight is a clear danger but at 3s I am happy to cheer him home- a fine servant who clearly stays well and has had a prep. But he is another year older now and I would hope some younger legs may trouble him here today. Still, he will be doing all his best work late.
I am not overly keen on the rest for one reason or another.
Ready Token- he will try and lead all the way- I wouldn’t say he looks like a dour stayer in the making but his superb jumping will take him a long way. The 7lb rise doesn’t bother me really- the problem could be the rise in class.
Buachaill Alainn – well he promises to stays this distance albeit not conclusive,but his problems are all in the mind- he is very lazy and is now 0/6,0 places in blinkers. It is possible you could make excuses for those runs, but his profile suggests he responds better to other headgear. He isn’t one to trust but if putting it all in will just keep galloping and may not be too far away. I can see why some would have an EW poke at the odds but I think there are other more likely winners in here. I could have that wrong- and you get the feeling of what might happen next!…
The others all have a bit to prove for me now.
PACE… well Ready Token will try and lead. Jac The Legend, well he may track, be up there, or be held up. There are a few other prominent racers and hold up types. I can’t see many excuses on that front.
Hopefully he can give backers a run for their money and I haven’t picked the wrong Ellison horse! The jockey booking did make me scratch my head- wasn’t sure if Cook had the choice. Hughes riding a bit more for him now, including winning on a TTP selection at Ayr on Monday.
2.50 Strat – Foxtail Hill UP 2/1 (ticks extreme weight positive)
4.00 Strat- Big Casino WON 6/4 (ticks 1 run 90 days I think, + extreme weight positive and rest pattern)
5.00 Strat – El Terremoto WON 7/4 (ticks 1 run last 90 days positive)
Ewart (all handicappers)
3.00 Sedge- Ascot De Bruyere 3rd 16/1>8/1
Handicap Hurdle/Chase Portfolio
5.10 Sedge – Signed Request UP 25/1
STATS/ANGLES OF INTEREST
4.30 Stratford- Lost Legend – 9/1… UP( looks in doldrums at the moment, never in it. Needs the headgear it seems ) This one is in my tracker as having a ‘chase profile’ … in handicap chases, 20/21f, C2 or below, 1-11 runners, OR 140<… a formline of 1,4,6,1,1,2,1,1,5,7. He was highlighted on here before his last win which he did well at 8s or so, last year. Arguably his worst two runs have been his last two. I don’t quite know what to make of him. He is 0/5,0 places 61-120 days rest , and is much better 31-60 days, 3/9,4 places. He is well handicapped now but goes again without his usual headgear. Coleman is back up in the saddle. I suspect he may go in again with similar conditions and it may be today. Looks a competitive little race though.