Generally slim pickings last week but a couple for the notebook – they’re probably obvious enough but I think they could be ‘nice types’ …
Caribean Boy (6YO/N Henderson)
Nicky Henderson’s flashy grey couldn’t have done much more at Haydock, in woeful conditions – ‘Haydock heavy’ + a strong crosswind. I liked how he travelled and jumped here, powering away after the last like a horse with plenty in hand. Obviously you have to be cautious with form achieved in such conditions but the right two horses chased him home. The third came into this on the back of a convincing win. The second had beaten him at Doncaster but that was his first run in 632 days. The horse that split them that day had since hacked up at Fakenham. So, there’s some substance to ‘the form’ I think. This horse looks a unit and if you include his French runs it was his 11th career start and 3rd over fences.
At this time of year the mind can ponder ‘festival’ races to come and I do wonder if he’s a Topham type. Maybe he doesn’t have the experience but Henderson likes winning this race and has done so with a couple of 6YOs, and for these owners. He makes such a natural shape at his fences, although of course better ground/stronger pace/better tempo will be a greater test. Still, I think he’s one to keep onside/a close eye on. He could be a ‘nice type’ in the making.
Danny Whizzbang (7YO/P Nicholls)
There’s something about this lightly raced chaser than makes me think he ‘could’ be very smart in time, possibly with another ‘summer at grass’ under his belt. He ran in the Reynoldstown on Saturday and did better than the finishing result would suggest. Returning after 52 days off he was very buzzy, pulling Cobden’s arms out for most of the way. In what was very testing ground it was no surprise he fell in a hole up the straight. However he’d jumped well and had a lovely way of going through this – bar the fact he needs to settle better. He should matures with age/experience and he must be a slow burner, this being his 5th career start. I’ve no doubt Paul Nicholls will find the key at some point and he should rate much higher than 147.
It will be fascinating to see what they do with him for the rest of the season. Maybe he wants better ground and a stronger pace to sit off – possibly one for Aintree somewhere (the Red Rum maybe?) – i’m not sure if he will go to the Festival and i’m not sure he has enough experience as yet. Connections may well be thinking about The Ladbroke next autumn – you never know. More time and better ground may see him step forward one day. But i’m convinced there’s plenty of ability there, if and when it properly clicks. A day for ‘nice type’ bingo.
Just a mention for the 2m4f Novice Handicap Chase that was run on Boxing Day at Kempton. That’s turning out to be a ‘race to follow’ – the 2nd, 3rd and 4th that day have all since won. The winner, Commanche Red hasn’t been since, but was clearly beating a decent/well handicapped field. Of course he probably won’t go under the radar in the market next time. The other to take from the race could be HOLD THE NOTE... he has ran once since over 3m at Warwick when beaten by Two For Gold (a solid, if unspectacular type/beaten in Reynoldstown on Sat) . That trip may well have stretched him but in the Kempton race he was tanking when almost BD, race over. He moves very well through his races and could do better on decent spring ground. He’s better than 133 and it will be interesting to see where connections send him. He’s got handicap chases in him.
That’s all for this week,