(Free tips 2016: +75 points ; 2017 18/185, +79.5; 2018, 9/89,28p, +64.5, Members Festival Tips: +140)
3.15 Summer Plate
Bagad Bihoue – 1 point win – 15/2 (sky/lad/betfS/PP) 7/1 (gen) UP, poor, travelled well enough in right spot for a time, but just not good enough come the business end.
Brian Boranha – 1 point win – 14/1 (gen)* travelled well enough near the back, made a crunching error, never really in it.
Close to More Bucks but not close enough in truth, great ride by Sean and clear why he wanted to be on him and neither of Nicholl’s. Used his extra stamina by having him up there, I thought he may get outpaced at some point but that didn’t happen. Decent performance for the red hot Bowen. A poor day at Market Rasen.
Bagad Bihoue... this race has a fairly open feel about it with plenty arriving in form, both young/unexposed types and the older brigade. It looks sure to be a decent enough chase for the time of year. I have decided to focus on the younger ones who look open to further progress and if one of the older/more exposed ones beats me, then so be it. This horse arrives at the top of his game having got it all together in a handicap chase LTO. That was after quite a time off and the hope is that he may step forward again. Whether he’s up to this challenge we shall see but he jumped well enough and races prominently which is always a positive for me in a chase. He beat Alcala and Viconte Du Noyer fair and square the last day to my eyes and IF he ran his race here today, i was struggling to work out why either should overturn that form. The jockey bookings are intriguing as Sam jumps off him and back onto Alcala. Maybe that is a sign that they fancy him more, or Sam just wanted to ride the horse that won him the race last year- he knows he is proven in conditions and that probably swung it for him. So, I could have that wrong, but on the basis of that last run, and the fact I think there could be more to come from the selection, I was happy to go with him. It also looks as though Nicholls has allowed Sean to ride for his dad, which is another intriguing element here, but I won’t over-think this jockey merry-go-round. If Cobden was fit he’d have probably ridden Alcala LTO and Sam would still be on BB, maybe. Schofield knows the horse having ridden him in his bumper and a G2 hurdle, and he is a fine rider, so I won’t be looking for excuses there, and given Sean hasn’t ridden him in a race before, it could be that simple. It could be that he just goes best under Sam, but time will tell. Of the unexposed brigade I liked him most and with any luck Nicholls can win this for the second year in a row, and hopefully with this one!
Brian Boranha... He was the most interesting of those at a double figure price to my eye. He is unexposed and looks to have got his act together over fences the last twice, possibly coming into his own now as a 7 year old. The horse he beat LTO came out won fairly well at Aintree next time in a decent enough C3 handicap chase. So, there is some substance there. That was his first run since September and he should have come on for it, and it looks like he may be best fresh. His trainer can clearly ready them. I suspect if Hughes wasn’t now retained by McCain, (up at Cartmel with plenty of rides today) that he’d have ridden him but he has booked Coleman here which looks significant. Coleman rides this chase track very well and is 6/23,9p, +19 over CD in the last 5 years. He travelled very well the last day and can hopefully settle off what should be a decent pace. Of course the experience- being surrounded by hardy handicappers- may prove too much for him, but in that scenario you want a price, and I get that here. I thought he should have been a few points shorter and if he holds it all together, should run a big race.
Of the rest…well you can make a case for plenty. I won’t fall off my seat if Alcala takes this. Calett Mad has a touch of class but he hasn’t been chasing for a while, and I thought 2m5f on good ground around here may be sharp enough for him. If he jumps well and I have that wrong, he is a danger to all. But, his price didn’t look overly generous given the niggles. Neither did Too Many Diamonds given he has to take a big jump forward here and I wondered if he would be good enough. He does arrive in form, and Skelton may still have kept plenty up his sleeve, somehow. But I was happy to leave him. More Bucks arrives in form in a race that fell apart somewhat, but got a hefty enough rise LTO and again he looks better over further, but is clearly in good health and a LTO chase winner following up is never a total surprise. I may not have mentioned the winner but won’t rattle through them all. I was generally happy to leave the rest of them, even though a few are in form. Wadswick Court is a rogue but came 2nd in this last year, however he is 10lb higher and doesn’t always put it in at the finish. This race does have a competitive feel – one of those where if you don’t land on the winner you will look back post race and be able to make a case for most of them. With any luck the selections can both run with credit and be in contention jumping the last.
Best of luck if you follow me in, or with whatever you go with. And whatever you do, don’t be put off a horse by anything I may have said, it’s that sort of race, plenty with chances. One of those you should arguably just watch but I can rarely do that in this race.