Friday, October 29, 2010

Tricks and treats at Wetherby, Ascot and Newmarket

Eight go to post in tomorrow's Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby where the going is currently described as good. Last year's winner Deep Purple was allowed to go off at 9/2 on that occasion as punters weren't convinced Evan Williams' charge would stay this three miles one furlong but the gelding proved the doubters wrong by leading in the final strides to hold 2/1 favourite Tamarinbleu a head. This year the task looks much stiffer with Deep Purple having to concede four pounds and upwards to the rest of the field; nonetheless connections expect a decent run. Nicky Henderson's Barbers Shop is likely to be popular but in my mind The Queen's gelding is best at around two miles six; he has won once over three miles (at Sandown) but I'm not convinced he really sees out a three mile trip, so over 25 furlongs here I expect something to beat him. The Tother One is another one who can win on his day but he has his quirks - I recall him throwing away The Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival two years ago by hanging right, swerving left and then hanging right after hitting the front two from home. Tom George's Nacarat has won most of his races on right-handed tracks but took the Handicap Chase at Doncaster last year before going on to win the Racing Post Chase at Kempton; in that same race this year he was just pipped by Twiston-Davies' Razor Royale. The handler informs us his charge will appreciate the better ground but in the past the grey has had a tendency to throw in the odd poor leap and the fences take some jumping at Wetherby. Knockara Beau is one I like but he hasn't won over the trip and last season his fencing didn't always stand up to close scrutiny while previous winner Ollie Magern is surely past his best. I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss Calgary Bay (14/1 with Ladbrokes) who makes some appeal as an each-way proposition provided of course the eight start - the Taipan gelding had a decent enough warm-up at Cheltenham a fortnight ago. In an open-looking race, at the prices available, I'll support Nacarat, 5/1 with William Hill this evening.

Fair Along, who has been known to sulk in the past, did this blog a favour when winning the John Smith's Hurdle last year but this time around Duc De Regniere and Tidal Bay look tough opponents. The weights favour the former but I'll watch from the sidelines.

Some quick pointers for the Ascot card... Othermix catches the eye in the 2.25. Second in the Jewson at Cheltenham, this grey has his first run for Ian Williams and on official ratings has ten pounds in hand over likely favourite Pause And Clause. Nicky Henderson's Radium is feared - the trainer has taken four of the last six runnings. Course and distance winner Dunraven Storm (3.00) would be worth a second look if not marked up favourite while Tocca Ferro (4.15) was found to be full of mucus after finishing seventh in the Imperial Cup at Sandown in the spring. Trainer Emma Lavelle thinks the five-year-old gelding can win off his current mark of 126. If nothing else you should get a run for your money (with a price thrown in) from front-running course and distance winner King Edmund in the 4.50 while trainer Philip Hobbs said of Persian Snow (5.25) in a recent stable tour: 'This is one I really like...' The feature on the card, The United House Gold Cup (3.40) looks very difficult - top weight Carruthers will only take his chance if the rain arrives in time.

Finally for those who like to take their racing with a right royal touch thrown in, tomorrow's opening maiden fillies' stakes at Newmarket will fit the bill. Carousel, owned by The Prince Of Wales and The Duchess Of Cornwall, will take on nineteen opponents including Starlight Walk owned by Her Majesty The Queen. Commentators tell us Carousel has a much better chance than Starlight Walk but before the family arguments start it's worth remembering The Queen could still cut it later on in the afternoon when Barbers Shop takes his chance in the Charlie Hall Chase.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

More treats than tricks here - spooky! Nacarat (6/1) took the Charlie Hall in some style.

At Ascot Radium beat Othermix, Dunraven Storm (11/8f) and Tocca Ferro (5/2jf) both obliged, King Edmund (10/1) came home fourth while Persina Snow won at odds of 3/1.

Normal service to be resumed next week...