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"2002 Unexposed Three-Year-Olds To Follow"
"2001" Unexposed Three-Year-Olds To Follow
Previews-Doncaster & Goodwood
Previews - York & Ascot Festival

Thomas Pink Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase

(Class E) (5yo+, 0-135)

3 miles furlong

Samuel Wilderspin won this event last season having been second the previous year. Second in a much higher grade off a mark of 136 at Doncaster he looks well weighted on 135 and can stage a repeat performance. Ceanannas Mor holds an entry here; he is also entered in the cross-country race. Should he be switched he would become the selection. Pessimistic Dick is improving and Twisted Logic is game if currently in the handicappers grip. Be My Manger is well weighted and if he can put his injury problems behind him he well run a big race; this fellow is taken as the main danger.

Gerrard Wealth Management Novices' Hurdle

(Class A) (Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle)

Grade 2 (4yo+)

2 miles furlongMartin Pipe has Puntal and Dream With Me entered; both are progressive horses, however official ratings show Puntal to have 13lbs in hand. Puntal has been supported at long odds to win the Champion Hurdle if that is make any sense he has to win this. Jaboune is in good form he was pulled up behind Puntal in July and realistically hold little chance of reversing the form. The Irish have several entries and Mutakarrim is the choice though it is hard to see any of them being a threat to Puntal. Sud Bleu started the season with an effortless win at Exeter. Campaigned at the highest level last season he can improve again to make the frame here. Robber Baron also reappeared at Exeter and came hope a cosy winner; he may appreciate another half-a-mile in this sort of company. Puntal is taken to continue his climb up the hurdling ladder; in his absence Sud Bleu can improve enough to take the race. Sporting Index Chase (Cross Country Chase)

(Class B) (5yo+)

3 miles 7 furlongs

Lucky Clover had half a length to spare over Galapiat Du Mesnil when victorious last season; 6lbs worse off with the latter he will do well to repeat his success. Galapiat Du Mesnil second the previous year will be hard to keep out of the frame. Centax, Red Dancer and Kedon represent the Czech Republic and on form are very closely matched, last years fourth place Decent Fellow had them well behind recently in the Velka Pardubicka Ceske Pojistovny. Red Dancer may turn out to be the best on running behind useful Czech horse Napoli, this fellow ran well in the Gran Premio Merano a Grade 1 chase worth over 200,000.00. Norwegian challenger Trinitro looks outclassed. Supreme Charm won this race in 2000 by six lengths from Galapiat Du Mesnil the weights are identical and Supreme Charm who should come on for his latest effort has a serious chance of making the frame. Celibate should enjoy this tight course; he does however seem past his best these days. Smarty returns to the fray; a watching brief is advised. Ceanannas Mor is a horse I have always liked. Never likely to reach the heights predicted of him he nonetheless is an improving type who goes well fresh. He has run well here and won at Kempton, which indicates his versatility and his jumping has improved. With something to find on official ratings he needs to improve, something I believe he can do.

 

 

Countryside Raceday Chase Showcase Handicap

(Class B) (5yo+)

2 miles

Difficult to know which of the Pipe, Williams and Nicholls entries are going to run. Armaturk’s run at Exeter is best forgotten, as he was never able to dominate. A natural front-runner with decent course form to his name he will be hard to pass. Golden Alpha has run up a sequence in lowly company, Cenkos is better in the spring, Seebald may enjoy further this season, while Lady Cricket may need some more time to reach her peak. Davoski, Fondmort, Ross Moff and Batswing are entered in the Thomas Pink; of these Davoski who won easily at Ascot recently would be the pick. Turgeonev and Jungli will have their supporters but both will have their work cut out to topple Armaturk.Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase

(Class B) (5yo+)
3 miles furlong Jonjo O’Neill has Joss Naylor and the immensely promising Keen Leader entered. The former made a winning debut over fences in atrocious ground at Uttoxeter. A decent hurdle he should do well at this game. Keen Leader to my mind would have won the Sun Alliance Hurdle at Cheltenham; travelling too fast approaching the second last the was unable to get his lading gear down. Sensibly put away after what was a heavy fall he is reported to be schooling well. A confirmed mudlark he will be fine on the predicted good to soft going and if he jumps round will be very hard to beat. It Takes Time is another switching to fences and Martin Pipe predicts a big future for this high class staying hurdler. Iverain and Lucky Bay fought out a finish at Wincanton, form that should not be good enough while Le Coudray has not developed the way connections had hoped. Keen Leader for me, in his absence Joss Naylor to get the better of It Takes Time.Beards The Jewellers of Cheltenham Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle

(Class E) (4yo+, 0-115)

2 miles 5 furlongsFifty-three entries and a minefield of a race. Jurancon II, Hip Pocket and Lord Edwards Army in that order against the field are my selections.IFTE plc Novices' Chase

(Class B) (5yo+)

2 miles 4 furlongs

Iverain, Keep Smiling and Itsonlyme should dispute favouritism. The former looks an improving animal, having seen him run several times I am just unsure about his resolution in a tight finish. Keep Smiling still needs time to show his best and is thought to need good ground. Itsonlyme jumped sketchily when upped in grade last week and may have had enough for the time being. Jardin de Beaulieu is a tall, strong horse and enters this season as a novice to follow. Form lines based on his French form, using Nicky Richard’s Gallic import, Rising Generation, rate him around the 116-118 handicap mark. He will be suited this two-mile and a half miles and the likely soft ground; an improving sort he can pop up at rewarding odds.

Tote Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle

(Class A) (Listed Race) (4yo+)
3 miles 1 furlongs

Twenty-three runners entered and just seven in the handicap proper. Magnus, It Takes Time and Guard Duty represent the Pipe camp and should Magnus run the weights will not go up. This should give a reasonable chance to Spendid and Surprising. The former has gone up in the handicap; he does, however, remain a consistent performer and will be hard to keep out of the frame. Surprising has not stopped improving either and more improvement should be forthcoming. Native Emperor is another improving type, while Yeoman’s Point cannot be left out of calculations if making a quick reappearance, following his comfortable success at Chepstow last week. Springfield Scally will ensure a good pace and this game sort will make sure the winner has been in a fight. In a tight race Yeoman’s Point will be a danger if he stays, while Surprising will be hard to keep out of the first three. The selection is Spendid who can add another win to his already “Splendid c.v.”

Intervet Trophy Handicap Chase (Class A) (Listed Race) (5yo+)
3 miles 3 furlongs

Another race dominated by Pipe entries and only nine of the twenty entries are in the handicap proper. Shooting Lights, Take Control, Stormez and Iris Bleu are the stable representatives. The jury is still out on Shooting Light’s stamina; while Stormez, a promising staying prospect, who is still on the right side of the handicapper, is returning from a break. Iris Bleu who lacks a turn of foot can step on last seasons form and may reach the frame. Take Control who finally came good in the Scottish Grand National may need this and is 7lbs higher for that win, his jumping is also still a worry. Southern Star is fairly handicapped, goes well fresh and has won round here. If avoiding the odd mistake, he is prone to make, he should be in the shake up. Murt’s Man’s jumping is dodgy while Village King is inconsistent. I consider Behrajan well handicapped over fences. After his gallant second in the Hennessy Gold Cup Behrajan went to Wetherby the day after Boxing Day and off a mark of 153 won by thirteen lengths in a canter. A run in Ireland where he had an unnecessarily hard race was followed by his flop in the Gold Cup. Behrajan suffered from an active splint during his Gold Cup run which explains his poor performance. Back to tip top form, he can, if reappearing here, land the spoils. In his absence stick with Stormez to defy his lay off.

Thomas Pink Gold Cup Chase Showcase Handicap

(Class A) Grade 3 (5yo+)
2 miles 4 furlongs

Chisel is a red-hot favourite to land another Thomas Pinks Chase for Martin Pipe. This horse had a successful career in France before coming to these shores. Seven races over fences at Auteuil against the likes of Sleeping Night, Douze Douze and Bonsoir is form at the highest level. Sleeping Night is rated around the 155 mark in England and in France he was rated just 8lbs superior to Chicuelo. Chicuelo made a disappointing debut in this country in December 2001, after a couple of more runs he was transferred to “Fortress Pipe” and in July 2002 he came back to something like his best. Heavily backed at Market Rasen he won what looked to be a competitive handicap in a canter; admittedly he was one of the few to act in the rain-softened ground but the style of his win could not be faulted. Only six, Chicuelo is off a mark of 132 and all things being equal he should be winning in the 140’s. When the market opened for the race 3/1 looked a fair price, however the 13/8 now, is ridiculous and while I am of the opinion he will win the race perhaps we should look for some each-way and forecast bets. Lady Cricket the 2000 winner will enjoy every drop of rain that falls; unfortunately she is another seemingly in the handicappers grip. Fondmort another ex-French horse runs well fresh and will stay the distance (stayed 2 mile 3 furlongs in the heavy at Auteuil); fairly handicapped and still only six, he does appear to like Kempton, if declared to run he should make the frame. Exit Swinger second in 2000 off 129 and third last season off 133 is now rated on 150 and though only seven surely has a little too much to do. Foly Pleasant second last year off 140 runs off 157; he defied a mark of 148 to beat Lady Cricket here in January. The excellent Robert Biddlecombe takes 7lbs off and he goes well fresh; however connections have three miles in mind for him and he may find himself outspeeded. Second favourite Perfect Fellow has only had ten races in his life and is perhaps better suited, to smaller fields giving weight to inferior rivals. Risk Assessor has a handy weight and ran respectably to be fourth in the Galway Plate. He is a horse who travels well on the bridle without always finding what was promised; on two starts at Cheltenham over fences he has fallen twice. Korakor has been a springer in the last few days; he is not one I have a lot of faith in, a remark that applies to Wave Rock. Poliantas is a horse I like and over three miles he can be followed. Cyfor Malta is not as good as he was, and perhaps 5lbs to high in the handicap. Its Time For A Win third to Blowing Wind at the festival in March is now on an 11lbs higher mark and at ten cannot be expected to improve that much. Red Ark’s stable has yet to hit top form and it may be Mr. Baxter Basics who ran well in the Racing Post Trophy, following an excellent debut here in January, lost his pilot at the festival thanks to the jockey losing the reins; well handicapped now he can run into a place at the age of eleven. It is impossible to get away from Chicuelo so let’s go each-way with Fondmort and Mr Baxter Basics adding the favourite for a combination forecast; Exit Swinger can be added in the event of one of them being a non-runner.

Charles Benson Novices' Handicap Hurdle

(Class D) (3yo+, 0-110)
2 miles furlong

Forty runners at present and my three against the field are Thepointaboutitis, the representative of Mrs. Harrington and Windfall in this modest handicap by Cheltenham standards.

Jet UK Juvenile Novices' Hurdle (Class B) (3yo)
2 miles furlong

Experience counts for a lot at this stage of the season and the two I like are Party Airs and Spectroscope. The former would be better of the two on the flat and if coming over from Ireland would be the selection. He ran just six days ago on the flat and may wait for another day, whenever he runs he should be noted as he is a juvenile of great promise. Spectroscope is improving and two wins on the flat preceded his debut win; the runner-up has gone on to win, and the third horse Star Protector who may reoppose here has also won. Le Duc should reverse placings with Short Change on 4lbs better terms. His previous run came, when runner-up to the extremely useful Nickname at Auteuil. Looking rather ungainly against Short Change he hung behind the winner that day; on softer ground and with that experience under his belt he is rated as the main danger to the two principals.

Mick Seery Memorial Novices' Hurdle

(Class B) (4yo+)
2 miles 5 furlongs

Orangie a one time useful handicapper on the flat came good over two miles at the last meeting. He handles soft and the runner-up has won recently. Kim Bailey’s Chanticlier is entered and he has high hopes for this son of Roselier; sure to stay the distance he is one for the notebook. Taming and Yorkshire hold the call on official ratings and Taming would be the clear choice of these. Moscow Tradition won a point in Ireland and is considered useful. Wouldn’t You Agree has won his last four and he recorded his best form figures on his last run. Montayral better known as a chaser won over hurdles in October, the more rain the better for this fellow. Daniels Hymn has not lived up to early promise; he is taking time to get the knack of hurdling and should his able trainer send him over take the hint. In a race where bets should be kept to a minimum in the absence of Wouldn’t You Agree and Daniels Hymn take Orangie to notch another win.

Jockeys Employment & Training Scheme Hurdle

(Class C) (Intermediate Handicap Hurdle)

(4yo+, 0-135)

2 miles 5 furlongs

Arabian Moon will be many peoples fancy; an improving type he has the form to win this. A word of caution with thirty-three runners entered it will almost certainly be a large field and this beast does not enjoy too much “aggro” during a race; he has never won in a field of more than twelve runners. In a trappy race, money for The Villager, highly regarded by his stable and not wound up fully last time, and Tony Martin’s pair Xenophon and Dante’s Reef would be significant. Ballyvaddy is game and improving and at the right end of the handicap. The selection is The Villager who is considered better than he has shown so far; keep an eye on the market for the Martin horses.

Independent Newspaper Novices' Chase (Class A)

Grade 2 (4yo+)

2 milesThis race is all about Azertyuiop; approximately 20 lbs clear on hurdles form, if he stands up he will win. This is the first time he has run on an undulating course in his life; we all know what can happen at the top of the hill and running downhill to the straight. Many horses over the years have fallen, unseated or slid to an ignominious exit from their race. At a short price it is, in my opinion, best to look and learn; if he comes through this test an interest in the Arkle is advised.

Rehabilitation of Racehorses Hurdle Showcase Handicap

(Class A) (Listed Race) (4yo+)

2 miles furlong

Trainer Philip Hobbs has Rooster Booster and In Contrast entered. The former won the County Hurdle here in March and began the season with a facile win over Mr.Cool, who to my mind cannot have been right that day. In Contrast also ran well here in March and won at Aintree. A run six weeks ago in Ireland was less than satisfactory due to carnage at one of the hurdles. I rate him the same as Westender even though he best that one by eight lengths receiving 3lbs. Westender had a much harder race at Cheltenham than In Contrast and may have been feeling it. Putting that into prospective Westender won this race last year off 132, having nearly catapulted McCoy into orbit at the last. Off 146 In Contrast has it all to do. Eternal Spring is a good horse that tries his best. His last handicap run came when Polar Red destroyed him by five lengths over course and distance. That run came off a mark of 110 and even allowing for the improvement he has made a 142 is asking a lot. Quazar made a pleasing reappearance the other day but may prefer further this season; Dream With Me is improving at a rate of knots and hacked up at Ascot last time. That race was run at a ridiculous pace and a 14lbs hike is possibly asking too much of him. Benbyas has run well here before and is with a shrewd trainer he is one to make a note of when he drops a few pounds. Dark N’Sharp improved no end after his run here at the Festival; a well-handicapped horse he is worth an interest at a decent price. The selection is however Patriot Games finished behind In Contrast last time; with a 14lbs pull in the weights Charlie Swan can bring home the money for J.P.McManus providing the ground is not riding too soft. Swan reported the horse was unable to act in similar ground when favourite at Market Rasen in July.

Food Brokers 40th Anniversary Handicap Chase

(Class D) (5yo+, 0-125)
2 miles 4 furlongs

A modest race by Cheltenham standards; No Forecast is nominated for those wishing to participate.

Betfair Open Bumper (Class A)

(Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) (Listed Race) (4-6yo,)
2 miles furlong

A real humdinger to end with; Liberman, formerly with Paddy Mullins won at Punchestown and Bellewstown before being transferred to “Fortress Pipe”. A promising long distance novice hurdler, he was thought capable of winning under flat rules in the summer. Inca Trail, a full-brother to Best Mate showed a good turn of foot to win at Naas; slow coming to hand this season, he will be better for the run. Nil Desperandum made an impressive winning debut at Roscommon and is sure to improve. Beyond The Pale looked decidedly useful when hacking up at Sedgefield. Sure to come on for the run he will be a force to be reckoned with here. Brewster won at Sligo and is now with Ian Williams, he has the look of a stayer about him. Sento and Spud One won modest races comfortably and are open to improvement. Bold Bishop is a stoutly bred good-looking animal. Gambled on when hacking up at Wetherby, his trainer Alistair Charlton would nut run him here unless he was convinced of a solid performance and he is suggested as a solid each-way bet. The selection has to be Rhinestone Cowboy. Enough words have been written about the controversial end to his unlucky Cheltenham run. Suffice it to say that it was bumper form of the highest quality and this son of Be My Native is reported to have done well over the summer.

This is an animal that simply oozes class and everything in his pedigree looks and ability suggest he will reach the top over hurdles. A recent report suggested the owner’s son will ride; I am happy to report, following some research, that a summer of intensive tutoring at Ballydoyle has produced a far more polished and confident rider than the one we saw two years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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