Well this is my first ever post, the analysis is a bit rushed, but hopefully some food for thought…
Huntingdon’s biggest race of the season brightens up a typical mundane mid-week card tomorrow. Near enough £35k is up for grabs for the winner and while it isnt a massive field that goes to post, it certainly is one deep with talent. Captain Chris and Riverside Theatre share 5 Grade 1 wins between them, and the field combined have 9 Grade 2 wins between them. Finding a winner maybe tricky!
so, lets have a look.. (feel free to skip to the ‘race round up’ at the bottom if you are pressed for time!!)
firstly there is one main trend from the last 8 years or so that sticks out… 7 of the last 8 winners carried 11-5 or more. That would automatically rule out Module, Riverside Theatre and Alasi. however, lets look in more depth at each runner..
- well we know there is no problem with class. 2 from 6 in grade 2, with 2 further places
- Good ground is fine, and clearly preferred from his profile…8 runs, 5 wins, placed a further once
- distance is fine, 2m4.5 f , 2 runs , 1 win, 1 further place
- going right handed is preferred, 12 runs, 5 wins, 8 wins/place, so no problem here
- running after a break is no problem, with 1 win from 3 attempts when off track between 121-365 days.
- He has never ran at Huntingdon before but I cant see that being a problem.
- concerns would be he is only 1 from 8 with a rating of 161 + and he has never won carrying above 11-7 outside of novice company. Will the weight be too much? given he was only just beaten in last season’s King George, in heavy ground, carrying 11-10, maybe not.
- in general he is a very sound jumper, although does have tendency to put in the odd clanger every now and then!
so, in summary. The trainer won this race with menora last season, and this is a class horse on his day, hence the highest weight in the race! He won on his reappearance last season and although he is clearly being aimed at the King George he may be ready to go here. I did read that he had a set back last month but is now working well..make of that what you will! All in all, despite a couple of niggles about weight and rating, he has to be on the shortlist. if this were a handicap, he would be giving Champion Court 12lb, as it happens he is only conceding 4lb!!
- solid overall profile, ground is OK, although slight suspicion he fancies a bit of cut in the ground! (although if there is one thing I have learnt, official ground readings are dubious to say the least, and ideally I dont like dismissing a horse simply on ground conditions)
- 6 runs in Grade 2, 3 wins, and 2 further places. – no problem there. indeed, at the moment this would look like his level.
- small fields are not a problem with 3 wins from 9 runs in fields of 7 runners or less.
- and he has won and placed when running within 16-30 days of last run (you would be amazed at the rest patterns you can see in certain horses, well i am anyway!)
- he is OK going right handed, although on history at least there is a preference for going left.
- ran a good race LTO before blundering and tiring. He may have needed the run, although was backed as though he would go much closer.
tricky one this. Undoubtedly has the talent to win I think. if he was race fit on reappearance then is there much improvement to come? undoubtedly he will give you a good run for your money though. again, probably on shortlist..
Conquisto and Alasi – i dont think either will be good enough and would be surprised if either won.
- again, never raced at the course, and slightly worrying is that his form on good ground is poor. 0/7 with 2 places, although he has won on ‘good to firm’, good-soft and soft -so maybe too early to discount.
- he is 1 from 5 in Grade 2 with no furthe places – this is a concern, especially due to other consistency in grade.
- he has also never won of a rating higher than 151, with 9 runs and only 1 place. again, will this race be too hot for him.
- As with a lot of Nichols inmates, running after a break is no problem with 1 win from 3. Right handed is also fine.
summary – all in all I am not sure if he is good enough, or maybe I should say not consistent enough in the grade and with quality of opponents.
not too much can be said about him. he is improving, he is the unexposed horse in the race who ran a cracker behind Somersby LTO, after he had made a couple of mistakes as well. He needs to prove that he handles good ground, given he has looked most convincing on heavy. The distance should be fine, but again, he has to prove that it is ok. truly run race on good ground over this trip..will speed affect his jumping. Now, he could go very close, he is clearly smart – but I would want a bit more than 3/1 on offer.
Along with Captain Chris, the proven G1 performer in race.
- proven in grade, ground, and distance.
- also 5/5 in fields of 7 runners or less! and superb right handed.
- 5/4 when running after this kind of break.
- he also gets in with not much weight at all.
- again, if this were a handicap, he would be getting 2 lbs from Captain Chris. as it happens he is getting 10lbs! That must surely make a difference.
all in all he ticks a lot of boxes. The doubt is about his form last year. He has been treated for ulcers since and if over them and revved up (couple of big ifs!) he will surely go very close. also had a wind operation.
race round up
well having now looked at this race I would be lying if i said i had a strong opinion! there are questions marks a plenty. With Captain Chris and Riverside Theatre you wonder if they will be fully revved up. BUT they are the proven G1 performers. Champion Court has a couple of questions to answer for me, and if the two big guns are race fit, will he be good enough? Module is unexposed and exciting, but still quite inexperienced and at the prices I am tempted to say no.
so, where does that leave us. if having to bet, probably would just go with Riverside Theatre given the weight he is getting from CCs. All in all, after writing all that, it is probably a race to just watch as I cannot find much value in the main players.
** UPDATE** Riverside Theatre won in a thrilling renewal, from Champion Court and Captain Chris. Superb race and worth another watch!