The following thoughts are from my Galway/Goodwood Review 2019… which you can READ HERE>>>
The Galway Plate
I’m going to focus on the big chase of last week week as I’d like to think there will be numerous future winners. Famous last words but I think it will be a race worth tracking. The front four were well ahead of the main field and should all win again.
The winner of any race is always an obvious ‘eye-catcher’ but he’s worth keeping tabs on. He’d raced 24 times in France and yet won like a progressive handicapper to follow. That just shows the skill of Gordon Elliot and what can happen when moving a decent French chaser to a top NH trainer in the UK/Ireland. This looks to be a tactic for these owners as they search for big chase pots. They have a French operation also and clearly know their racing on both sides of the Channel. They did a similar thing with Valtour who they sent to Nicky Henderson. He looked an exposed 10 year old yet bolted up on his first start over here, at Ascot in December 2018. So, that approach is something to keep in mind.
Borice does look like a dour stayer in the making. Elliot thinks he’ll be better over further and on softer. There is talk of a future tilt at The Grand National, possibly taking in the Becher chase first. He won this going away and he beat the right horses. You’d like to think he’s got a few more big pots in him. He looks to have taken a few months to settle into his new home and it was a well-executed plan, with Elliot winning his third Plate in the last four years. I thought 8s may be short enough given the chase questions he had but I won’t be making that mistake again with an Elliot chaser in this race.
The next three in should have more wins in them. I was on Black Corton who ran a cracker. I don’t think the loose horse cost him victory albeit he’d have been closer. He will find handicaps hard from this mark, but Nicholls is an expert at placing his horses and he could have another decent season ahead, especially in a smaller field and when able to dominate. I still can’t believe he’s only 8 as he appears to have been around forever.
Peregrine Run ran a cracker for me also, but alas he did bump into three better horses on the day. There was no excuse and it could be the handicapper has his chase mark about right. His hurdles mark of 139 does look very tempting now and maybe they will switch to timber.
A frustrating horse who connections seem to ask plenty from. I’m not sure he has to be ridden quite so cold and he’s always given so much to do. Sometimes it comes off, but on this ground, they were not stopping in front. He stormed up the hill again. You’d like to think he has a decent pot in him. He’s probably one to back Each-Way given how they ride him, and he’ll always need luck in running. But he jumps well and stays well. He may well prove frustrating to follow but is worth consideration in any future big chase.
This 8 year-old is still unexposed in handicap chases. He was well punted from 25s>8s on his first start for Enda Bolger, which suggests connections were confident they had him spot on, and he had plenty in hand. He was motoring into 3rd with six to jump when crumpling on landing – he appeared to jump the fence fine. The market support and the way he was moving into contention would suggest he’s one to follow.
This was only his 4th chase and was some effort. He was best of the rest here, staying on well having been patiently ridden. He jumped well and will find less competitive races than this. I’d be surprised if Elliot didn’t get more chase wins out of him and he may yet have a decent chase pot in him. Decent ground appears important and 3 miles should be within range.
Finally I should mention Azzuri for team Skelton – he just didn’t stay, having led them until 2 out. He travelled and jumped well overall and a mark of 144 could still be workable, especially if able to dominate. It’s hard to forget his demolition job at Ayr over 17f two starts back. (his first after a wind-op) Again, he seems to want decent ground so is one to watch this Autumn and Spring. No doubt a target will be pencilled in.