Royal Vacation – 1 point win – 11/1 (gen)
The Two Amigos – 1 point win – 14/1 (betfS/PP) 12/1 (gen)
that’s all for this race, 07.54, write up…
There are some decent trends in this… 10/10 had 14 or fewer chase runs, 4-14 handicap chase runs, 1-3 handicap chase wins… that leaves 10/56, 17p +57 in the last decade. That leaves 8 of them, Ramses / Robinsfirth/ Royal V/ Red I/ Pobbles bay/The Two Amigos/Ballyarthur/Chef D. If they hold up this year then clearly the winner is in that list somewhere. There are some further pointers.. 2-4 chase wins, Top 10 in weights (those are two 10/10 stats also), won 26f+, won 1 of last 3, 2+ places (inc wins) in handicap chases, not dropping in class LTO (from G1/G2)… (those that ran at Haydock LTO also 0/24,5p in that time, most from the Peter Marsh I suspect, but those stats are small enough)
Anyway, 4 horses tick all of those boxes… the two selections, Robinsfirth and Red Infantry. So, maybe the winner is in those 4.
Royal Vacation… he looked back to his best LTO and somewhat bolted up off level weights – well he’d have been getting 8lb from the second if it was a handicap. He relished every yard of that marathon trip and has some very good form to his name, while still having some upside potential in handicap chases and certainly over this distance. Not many in here would have ran as he did on his seasonal return in that Cheltenham G3, staying on to the line over a bit shorter. I don’t think this mark will be an excuse, and he’d have won off it when winning one of his handicaps at Chelt off 143, when he destroyed an ok field. He lost his way last season but a wind op seems to have worked. Paddy Brennan returns and knows him very well, he will enjoy the ground and can hopefully just sit behind the pace. At his best he’s a decent jumper and IF he runs his race I don’t think he will be far away here. He looked a shade too big.
Two Amigos… maybe has a few more questions and there’s a chance that he is outclassed here, and taken off his feet. IF he’s holding a position early, or maybe even leading (he won’t be far away on front end) I think he will be in there pitching at the death. He comes here on the back of a career best, is progressive, could well be the best jumper of a fence in this race (i’ve cursed him now!) and there could still be more to come from him. We will see if he’s up to this level but at 12s+ I thought he was worth a go.
Robinsfirth is a danger but I didn’t think he was overpriced. He does have to prove he stays- albeit runs as if he could be ok, does have to prove he’s up to this level I think, and he can clout a fence/look a bit guessy at times. On this ground they may trap along and he could get out of his comfort zone- he did lose his place a couple of times LTO, albeit over shorter, but I can’t think they will go a slower pace than in that race, and it may have taken plenty out of him. I won’t be shocked if he wins but at 15/2 or so I was happy to leave him.
Red Infantry – he does stay, but whether he can stay at this classier level I have my doubts – I’m just not convinced that he’s as good as a few in here, or has the potential, and i’m never that keen on 1st blinkers in a marathon chase- they could light him up and it’s restricted vision when there will be plenty of pressure on his jumping. I may have him wrong.
Impulsive Star could still be open to progress but something just niggled at me with him- i’m not sure how good the Classic Chase was LTO and he had a hard enough race there. But he clearly stays, his jumping is fine, and he’s progressive. So again, I won’t fall off my seat if he wins. The yard have been quiet enough since he last ran also.
I think Ramses want’s it much softer than this. Vieux Lion Rouge has won this race before and did far too much in blinkers LTO – albeit his jockey didn’t seem to want to restrain him- I don’t like backing chasers that PU LTO, certainly in races like this, and he does have a few questions. But, at his best, he wouldn’t be far away.
Yala Enki – he’s solid but i’d like to think something in here would be better treated and he had a hard enough race LTo also. The 7lb will help but he’s more exposed than some in here in handicap chases.
I couldn’t have the rest for one reason or another, but the likes of Ballyoptic clearly stay – I thought his season may be all about the Scottish National again, he can be held up,and hit a fence also. But you get the idea, this is competitive, and god forbid I may not have even mentioned the winner. I can’t help but attack these races and we shall see how they go.
Best of luck with your fancies,