Another tour through last week’s jumps racing, with eyes fixated on the chasers. I’ll work in reverse order…
Sunday 27th Oct
Last year’s renewal of this novice handicap chase proved to be worth following and I suspect this could be another. I’d be surprised if all 9 who lined up don’t have a few chase wins in them given their profiles, but clearly some showed more than others on the day…
Plan of Attack – the race winners are always obvious but it’s worth noting how he was happy travelling up there, and indeed took it up some way out. He jumped well and proved he could handle softer ground- albeit I’m not sure how testing this was and whether he’d want a bog. He’s still open to progress and his form has a strong enough feel, with a few of his races working out well. I’ve noted the second, The Hollow Ginge, previously, and the way these two drew clear would indicate that it could be decent form. THG has a muddy staying handicap chase in him this season. I’ll keep an eye on Plan of Attack as he could have a nice handicap pot in him, either here or back home. And he could appear in a chase at one of the Spring Festivals.
Shannon Bridge – ran well here for the Skeltons on first run back. He’s another with some ok form to his name and he shaped here like he’d be worth a go over further – he could be a 3m4f chaser, at his level. I had a look at some of the ‘staying chases’ the Skelton’s have won, and the likes of the Cambridgeshire National, West Wales National, Lincolnshire National ‘could’ be the type of races for him, and maybe a Summer Cup type down the line. His win and all his places have been on soft and there’s a chance he wants even more cut – that could be the reason for the one paced effort late on. However those efforts were in novice hurdles and he floundered in heavy two starts back. So, the jury is out as to his preferred going. Still, he has 3m+ chases in him for sure.
Deise Aba – he would eventually be pulled up which is concerning as it may suggest it wasn’t fitness that stopped him – he jumped and travelled well and Dicky still hadn’t got after him fully approaching three-out. He stopped quickly enough after that and would be pulled up before the last. It could be he badly needed it, but you’d still have expected him to get home. The form of his Chepstow maiden in November 2018 has worked out very well, with 10 subsequent winners, the 2nd-6th behind him winning 8 between them since. It could be he’s unsound but he’s another who should be winning chases, all being well.
White Moon – is the obvious one and he won’t be missed NTO – he ‘looked’ to have the race in control (albeit jury is out on that) when jumping the last well enough but landing a bit steep/his front legs crumpling on landing. It didn’t look a hard fall and hopefully it doesn’t knock his confidence. He’d generally travelled and jumped well through the race – and it was decent enough on paper going into this, with a few in-form, and a few unexposed ones. He’s progressive and will win chases.
Wandrin Star – yes yes, he won, but it was how he did it and with an eye for the long term that I wanted to mention him. He powered home late here, having been outpaced at times, but travelled and jumped very well – he finished this race off like a dour staying chaser in the making (not for the first time) and if he does rock up in a race such a The Eider, for example, I want to remember runs such as this. Connections think he needs time between his races. This was his second win on seasonal return, so one to watch at the start of next season – but while he won’t need that long in between, he’s not the sort to return within 3/4 weeks of last start. He’s a staying chaser to watch . He is 8 and has now had 13 chases but 3m4f+ could bring out even more, to my eye anyway. He could have a decent year.
Captain Cattistock – I think this race may throw up a few future winners, including Nicholls’ other chaser in this. However, as a horse for ‘next time out’ this could be the one to watch – I never know what to think when watching a ride like this – his jockey didn’t seem to be trying before/after the 3rd last and at times it looked like he could get closer – the fact the more fancied stablemate was ahead of him ‘could’ have affected the effort in the saddle! The other alternative is that on his first run back his jockey felt him ‘blow up’ underneath him, having initially got a second wind and wanted to get him home safe – that’s likely. But by all means watch this race back, watch him, and make up your own mind. I don’t think he could have won but maybe got closer, however Nicholls’ has said most of his are needing the run this season. He may also prefer softer ground to be seen to his best, but I liked how he jumped/travelled through this, and he’s open to progress this year. I’d be interested in him on his next two starts.
Sat 26th Oct
Onefortheroadtom – whether the form of this race, or anything else run on the day, is worth much time will tell – the ground was hard work, races generally run at moderate gallops and falling apart somewhat, with many horses not handling the ground at all/or not fit enough as yet to handle it. This Harry Fry inmate ran a hell of a lot better than I expected in conditions. Soft/heavy was a question but he seemed to handle it, albeit would go better on decent ground I think. He is now 0/8 over fences but is only 6 and i’d be surprised if he doesn’t put up a bold show in a decent handicap at some point this season. He generally jumped well and is unexposed over 3m+. I think he’s better than this mark and at the back end of last season was running a promising race at Ayr (he was swinging away) before coming down. He showed some speed that day so back there, or even the likes of Newbury or Aintree, on good ground, may be more suitable than Cheltenham.
Friday 25th Oct
Minella Warrior – another from the Kim Bailey yard and another who shapes as though he’s got a staying handicap chase in him at some point. This is usually a decent novice chase and it was a promising effort – it was his first run of the season and his first chase. The fact he was pitched into a race like this, at Cheltenham, would suggest they like him imo. He was novicey early on but his jumping warmed up as the race developed. He was visibly outpaced at times but stayed on well enough under hands and heels – he lacked the pace, and possible class or the two in front as they pulled away. He was a decent enough hurdler, a winner, a trier and looks like he could be a better chaser than hurdler on this evidence.
Thursday 24th Oct
Agent Westy – this Evan Williams trained chaser (and owned) is only rated 93 but i’ve no doubt he’s well handicapped, at his level. He slipped on the bend here before they headed for home and while it was some way out, he was moving in a way which suggested he’d have gone close- especially given how the race worked out/who won. He is only 5 and his jumping can be scratchy at times but it warmed up here as the race developed. He bolted up two starts back recording an RPR of 102, making me think his mark of 93 is within range. And he’s only had 4 chase starts. He’s clearly no world beater but if staying on his feet should be winning on his next 1-3 starts I think, if well placed. 3miles is a question but they clearly think he will get it and that it could bring out more improvement – and the pace of such races may help his jumping.
Wednesday 23rd Oct
Know The Score – there’s every chance that this race is worth following and without doubt the first two have a bright future over fences. Again i’m mentioning the winner but I wanted to highlight how impressed I was by his attitude – he did not want to lose this. He responded to pressure, ears back, head down and wanted to win. That attitude alone will win him many more races. He’s a chaser to follow and should keep improving. He was also chased home by the right horse…
Supremely Lucky – maybe he was supremely unlucky but i’m not so sure- he walked through the last fence down the back, but the fences here are not the stiffest and it didn’t seem to stop him – he was back on the bridle a few strides after. Maybe it did make a difference come the end of the race but I think he bumped into a fighter. There’s a chance he may come on for the run also, like my other Skelton horse noted at Aintree. In any case this one amassed some decent form before this race.
I doubt either of these two will be missed in the market anytime soon but…
Chinensis – he may go under the radar a tad – he stopped in a way which suggested he may have needed it, having towed the field along until 2 from home. It was only on the run in that he fell into a hole – given he’s trained by Twister it could be he was fit enough but there’s another problem – he has had a wind op, and maybe those breathing issues reared their head. In any case this point winner should prove himself to be well handicapped over fences at some point. In one of his novice hurdles he finished a solid 3rd, with the two horses in front now solid 133+ horses. He may get dropped here, making a mark of <120 look workable. I liked how he jumped, galloped and initially responded to pressure. He may want softer ground and a more galloping track.
Monday 21st Oct
Full Bore – this unexposed if moderate chaser looked like he could be worth a go over further than the 19f he raced over here. This was 19f in soft and he looked outpaced at times, and was held together coming down the hill as those in front got away. For the course it was a decent enough chase with some interesting types competing, and with plenty of drama. He was winning novice hurdles over 20f, making me think he could get further as he matures. He wore 1st CP here and it was an improved effort. I’d want to see him at speedy tracks but is one for the notebook I think- Nicky Henderson should get a chase win or two from him. Maybe 2m5f would be worth a go, and then 3m if that’s still too quick.
That’s all for this week’s Tracker Tuesday post – with any luck there’s a few future chase winners above, and that I land on them for tipping purposes when the time is right! There’s much to improve on that front 🙂