A nice 8/1 winner for NTD made it a decent enough day with the other qualifier coming 3rd at 8/1. The shortlisted horse just wasn’t very good and drifted out to 16/1 which on this occasion did look a negative – and runs like that with handicap debutants happen. Not a horse I will be looking out for next time! But, in general, Scott’s handicap debutants should be kept onside and will pay over time.
Straidnahanna 9/2 (general) – 1 point win
Sue Smith has a respectable enough record with her chasers here, 12/69, 25 places and her string is in decent form at the moment. I keep saying I should leave these chases alone for now but 9/2 just felt too big – if this horse had a run, and had gone well, he wouldn’t be this price. So, clearly I am taking a chance on fitness but Sue Smith has a respectable record with those returning after a break and this horse ran well enough on his reappearance last season. He is unexposed over fences and ran in a hot C2 race at Ayr last time out. He went well for a long way there in a race that looked strongly run to the eye. What’s more he has been dropped 4lbs as well. I think he is open to any amount of improvement and the way he was campaigned last year suggests they like him, and they think he has a touch of class. Smith and Cook are also 6/17, 8 places when teaming up in all chases as well, so that is no bad thing. Finally, he will race up with the pace or lead and he could well get this lot at it. If he is fit I think he will make 9/2 look big. If not, well he is a horse to follow up North in the next few weeks – albeit it looks like he may prefer a sound surface – so hopefully this is the time to catch him. 9/2 is just too big to my eye on what he has done and his potential and I am happy to take a chance.
Of the rest – By The Boardwalk won easily last time out in a race that fell apart and I am not sure how strong that was. He has gone up 11lb but is fit and clearly going the right way. But, his main market rivals there didn’t stay and the second could well have needed the run. The form may well hold up if the others need the run but he is priced up as such. Enchanted Garden fell last time out when going well but under no pressure – that would be a concern as would the unknown about his stamina. No idea. He is related to a lot of flat horses and he has that to prove. I couldn’t back him on that basis. If he stays he could be thereabouts. Loose Chips has a 0/3, 0 places record on seasonal reappearance which would be a concern and he is enigmatic. Others look more progressive in here, albeit he has the ability to go close, if putting his best foot forward. George Fernbeck has a lot to prove.
1.50 Uttox – The Friendly Gremlin – Upson is 4/11, 7 places with handicap hurdlers here and 4/6, 6 places with this jockey. This is a poor race but 12/1 seems big to me. He doesnt stay the trip he ran over LTO but before that won over CD. He races prominently and if repeating that run should be thereabouts. If the fav repeats her last run, and that is an if, she has every chance. The only ‘could be anything’ horse is the Kirby runner making handicap debut. An improved show there would be no surprise. These C5 handicap hurdlers are not races to go mad in but 12s seemed big for a horse that goes well at the track.
8.15 Chelm – Forgiving Glance (9/1 or under)
4.05 Uttox – Monderon (12/1 or under)
Signing Off 09.45 – 15/10/15