weekend reflections plus three bets for Monday
What an incredibly enjoyable race weekend we had with good action from Warwick and Kempton on Saturday and Punchestown in Ireland on Sunday.
The practice award for the weekend certainly has to go to Sam Thomas as it’s his I will do it galloped determinedly to the line to win the Wigley Group Classic Chase at Warwick. To have him in such good shape after 383 days away from the track has been a tremendous workout and validates him as an exceptionally capable driver.
At the Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle, which was also held in Warwick, there was a three-way battle at the finish, in which the Dan Skelton-trained runner was eliminated Gray twilight. I think time will prove that this was a really good race and in my eyes neither the runner-up, Ginny’s destinystill the third placed Knowsley StreetIn defeat he lost little. All three look like they’ll do even better when facing a fence.
In Kempton the Coral Lanzarote Hurdle was won by West Balboawho prevailed under a determined drive from Bridget Andrews, in a nip-and-tuck finish Red Riskridden by 7lb claimer Freddie Gingell who did no harm at all to his burgeoning reputation.
However, the outstanding performance came from Pic D’Orhy who couldn’t get out of third gear as he sauntered to victory in the second class Silviniaco Conti Chase. He’s looking a lot more pleasing this season and those kamikaze jumps that spoiled his novice hunting season seem well forgotten.
I had a speculative ante post ticket for him at the King George and I must confess that this was a performance that made me wonder what could have been. I am convinced that he is a first class winner.
On Sunday, the Moscow Flyer Hurdle was won in fine style by Impairment Et Passe, it would have been a surprise if he had been beaten given his 1-3 odds, but nonetheless he impressed with a skillful and composed hurdles loop, especially as he narrowly advanced to the last. I’ll follow him wherever he competes next, although of course where that might be is the million dollar question…
I found three selections from Fontwell and Hereford for Monday.
1.40 Hereford: Tee missed
Dan Skelton has his string in good form with a foursome on Saturday including big prizes at Kempton and Warwick.
Missed Tee can help him maintain that momentum this week. Simply put, he looks extremely well handicapped. He shed his first tag on the second time he asked as he won a first hurdle at Uttoxeter, despite showing signs of green in the closing stages. The handicapper then gave him a mark of 109. Crucially, the second, third and fourth have all since run and found themselves on marks of 115, 112 and 115 respectively after showing further solid form.
It is reasonable to say that Missed Tee is on a generous mark. Soft ground shouldn’t be a problem; However, if things did get tough I would have some concerns as such ground has left him missing out on an intended engagement at Kelso.
2.00 Fontwell: Legal Rights
Gary Moore continues to have his team in good order and maintains his good batting average.
I expect Legal Rights would appreciate a return to this track where he has won twice and finished second once from just three starts. He’s shown winning form on soft ground in the UK and previously won on heavy ground while training in France so the Test conditions shouldn’t pose a problem for him.
The likely favourite, Gerolamo Cardano, seemed to be enjoying the tough conditions at Leicester when he won his last start but it was weak competition and he’s had a patchy profile throughout his career so I’m happy to take on him.
Caolin Quinn has come through a quiet period and has been without a winner for 38 days. However, he remains excellent value for his £5 claim and can come off the ‘cold list’ with a win here.
2.40 Hereford: Mayor
City Chief faced a difficult task on his debut in the Chase when he played against the useful Gelino Bello in a match. I felt he did well in the early stages before making a shuddering error on the seventh fence. It’s his testimony that his confidence seemed undiminished as he made up ground in style.
However, this great physical exertion had clearly taken its toll and he was unable to keep up with his only rival as the pace picked up on the home straight. His jockey Nico De Boinville rode him considerately when it was obvious that any chance of victory was gone. Despite the error, it was a promising comeback debut.
His two rivals both arrive with a question to answer after finishing their previous starts. It gets frustrating to follow Coconut Splash and you sense the connections are uncertain as to what his ideal conditions are as he continues with just a single win to his name.
Jet Plane was impressive on his penultimate start at this circuit but couldn’t build on that on his next start, a 126 mark seems high enough for his form balance.
City Chief ran over hurdles at a decent level and should have lost his two opponents.