My Weekend Review
Who caught my eye?
Clondaw Castle – I keep underestimating Tom George’s 8 year old who still looks to be on the improve, posting a career best RPR in the rearranged Peterborough Chase. I’m a bit lukewarm now as to the level of this form, when viewed through ‘Festival Grade 1’ eyes, but who cares about that at the moment, it’s not even January. This horse has another win in him this season. He travelled and jumped well through this and was nearly brought to a standstill when Fanion D’Estruval came down three out (he was on the move and I suspect would have been the one to pass over the last, but he can get low and it will be interesting where they send him next. He wins something half decent when it clicks). Having watched it back he did well to get going again, plodding on into 3rd. I’m not 100% convinced he will ever see it out up the Cheltenham hill as well as some and it could be he’s best on flatter tracks, and on better ground. If he were mine I’d probably pick something at Aintree and work backwards. His form is ‘ok’ and good enough to take another handicap pot I suspect. He wasn’t exactly stopping at the end of his Newbury win either.
Storm Control – there’s little doubt about his stamina after winning the 2.25 on Friday. His ability to just lob along on the front end, jumping well, is worth plenty and this was another career best RPR. He idled here and was worth plenty more than the winning distance. The handicapper may not have got him just yet. He could be one for say the Grand National Trial at Haydock or something similar. Maybe they’ll throw him into the Classic Chase in January and see if he’s up to that level, which the team last won with Russe Blanc in 2016 (a fond memory of him in these parts). I’m not sure what Robbie Power was doing on the Irish Mare, especially between 2 out and the last. So odd. He almost stopped riding, but she gives some substance to the form, as she was chased home by the right horses when winning at Fairyhouse.
Defi Des Carres – a superb stable debut for Charlie Mann, his first start in 166 days – thankfully for my pocket/tipping pile that may have just caught up with him late on. In truth he didn’t deserve to lose although if mine had jumped the hedges better, he’d have been upsides at the last I suspect. In any case, this one hasn’t put a foot wrong, using his French X Country experience. I think he’s stayed fine, maybe gone too hard in the first 1/4 and maybe Harry could have got a breather in at some point. Surely connections will just base his UK career around these races, maybe with a trip to Punchestown thrown in. This was solid enough form for this sort of race. I clearly need to pay more attention to this sort of profile in these races – those with similar experience in France. The market can be dismissive of those having their first spin over these fences, as it was with Some Neck, and that creates opportunities for us.
Agrapart – do watch the 3.35 on Friday and make your own conclusions as to this run. So strange. He was visibly outpaced at times, holding a prominent position, dropping back, ridden, holding a prominent position again etc. Chester didn’t seem to move from two out though, keeping a tight grip of him/holding on – i’m not sure if he felt the saddle go or something. No idea. He didn’t once pick up his stick and was only ridden hands and heels after the last, where he stayed on. It could just be Chester’s style which made it look odd or the ground wasn’t soft enough and/or he wants further. But he waited an awful long time to get stuck into him after 2 out, and then never really did. He’s clearly not unexposed but he went through this, and finished his race off, in a way which suggests this mark is workable. I’d be interested in him next time out on the back of this, for all he will always be open to attack from younger legs.
Nick Mitchell –
A couple of strapping chasers of his ran well over the weekend, Lieutenant Rocco at Cheltenham and Milanford up at Doncaster. Both of these are owned by Sherborne Utilities Ltd who appear to have 12 or so all in training with Nick. His stats in the previous 5 years are not too much to shout home about but his horses, especially in these colours, could be worth keeping an eye on. The two mentioned above look like they could keep galloping all day long. They ‘will’ be winning staying handicap chases at some point. At what level, we shall see, but they were both ridden on the front end, jumping well. That style alone will take them to a certain point, both beaten this time by decent sorts. Milanford has loads of Point experience and it won’t be long before he notches his first win under rules. They both look very likeable types.
Stats of Interest…
Phillip Hobbs and 1st Time Cheekpieces… his stats when using CP for the first time in handicap chases lured me in to Steely Addition at 22/1, who very well may still be running. IF they ever get him back to the form of his heavy ground Chepstow win, he’ll do some damage, but he’s in the ‘disappointing’ category for now.
Anyway… since 2008 in handicap chases (standard), horse wearing 1st time Cheekpieces, Hobbs is now 14/54, 26p, +72 BFSP.
Mentioned briefly in passing a few weeks back, when I think the technical gremlins struck the blog and said musings disappeared.
She appears to be back, after a quiet spell I think. She has some decent young stock on her hands again, or horses that have shown a bit and are up to winning races. Since the start of 2019 in non-handicap hurdles, she is…
52 bets / 17 wins / 26p / 33% sr / +114 SP / +208 BFSP / BF AE 1.57
Those stats do include Lisnagar Oscar at 120/1 BFSP but the novices/ maiden hurdlers can fly in at a price also. Pats Fancy ran well in the G2 at Cheltenham on Sat, 2nd at 33s. So, they’re worth keeping an eye on in the coming months. Her operation would generally be geared towards the chasing game and it could be in the years ahead she has plenty of staying chasing types with which to go to war.
A reminder that he does well with his juvenile hurdlers, especially when David Noonan’s in the plate. They had another decent priced placed horse at HQ over the weekend, now… 6/29, 11p, +29 BFSP.
All 6 winners had been in the top 3 at least once on their last three starts… 6/17, 10p, +41 BFSP (those six winners from four different horses). I suspect this micro angle will keep paying for a few years as its a clear MO of the yard, hoping to find the next Tiger Roll they can sell.
A final reminder for this most simple of micros that’s had a good year so far… Gary Moore / Handicap Chase (standard) / Handicap Hurdles (all) / Horse had 2 runs this season only/ 11/1 or shorter starting price…
Since 2008… 254 bets / 63 wins / 119 places (inc wins) / 25% sr / 47% place SR / +102 SP / +157 BFSP / BF AE 1.48
10/24, 14p, +36 BFSP so far in 2020. It’s a decent way in if anything, Moore using a couple of runs to get his horses fit / marks down/ assess ideal conditions etc.
If you ignored those that Jamie rides (tend to be over-bet), since the start of 2017 they’re…
57 bets / 23 wins / 31p / 40% sr / +95 BFSP.
The odd biggie does fly in but they’re not worth following systematically.
That’s all for this post.
Did any horse catch your eye? Or any angle/idea you may want me to research further? Do shout below if so.