Bellewstown Race Preview, July 4th 2020

Saturday July 4th

Bellewstown 5.30
Fast Shipping Bellewstown Handicap Hurdle
2m160y – Going: Good – 14 runners, 3 reserves

Due Reward
In 2019 was 9th to Ch’tibello in County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival,  kept on approaching last, no impression on leaders, faded last 175 yards, stuck to task late; later on under a change of tactics, 2nd to Tudor City in Galway Hurdle on August 1st, led at a medium pace at best, quickened in front and went 3 lengths clear after 3 out, stayed on under pressure, led narrowly last, hard driven, stayed on, headed close home – able to set his own fractions and didn’t flinch. Jumped soundly in making winning chasing debut at Killarney, always first three, but was beaten a long way out and got tired, pulling up before 3 out, behind Tornado Flyer in Grade 3 novice chase at Navan in December, presumably the ground an issue that time. Using the good opportunity rider Hugh Morgan to claim 7 lbs offsets a stiff but deserved handicap mark, and hopefully the rain will be as forecast (or less)
Play The Game
In this race in 2018 ran 4th to Monarch. Career-best when winning at Listowel on 3rd June 2019, held up last, not asked for effort turning out of back straight, smooth quick headway round the field home turn, travelled best approaching 2 out, led there, pushed clear, wandered a little approaching last, in close to it, pushed out, readily and unchallenged from Ingleby Mackenzie. Ran in the Galway Hurdle and headway after 4th/just about midfield, lost ground and rear of main group again before 3 out, niggled along approaching 2 out behind a wall of horses, hard ridden, under pressure home turn, a bit to do, kept on but looked held when in close to last, going on well final 150 yards and made a place late but made no contribution behind Tudor City and Due Reward. Not at best since, a change of tactics to front-running not coming off at Punchestown in October when last seen, weakening from the second last behind Coko Beach, over a longer trip too (2m3f). Chance at best
Second win over hurdles, and best to date, at Sligo last August, led after 1st, wandered approaching 2nd and 4th, quickened before 6th, steadied into 3 out, niggled along after, opened up a 2-length lead before wandered approaching 2 out, drew clear going best after, some 6 lengths up last, pushed out to beat Jon Ess. Ran well on the Flat subsequently – at this track too, having the run of the race in front and sticking on when headed when 2nd to Royal Aide – but below form last hurdles start, in Scottish Supreme Novices’ at Musselburgh in February, not in his usual hood: first two till shaken up home turn, ridden and weakened from approaching 3 out, tailed off from next behind the above-average Fred.  On better going and with the hood reapplied, has something to find but is entitled to improve, this only his fourth hurdle race
Ming Dynasty
Won this race last year, good ground after 4 out though had 9 in front bend before 3 out, continued headway round rivals and only 4 lengths down 3 out, niggled along, furher ground to track leaders approaching 2 out, chased leader jumping, shaken up, stayed on, 1st 2 pulled clear, led last, driven out, stayed on well to pull clear of Ejayteekay; subsequently close 4th to Lucky Icon at Killarney though had to force a gap going to the second last after being kept in, then hung right when ridden – also hung right when beaten from the second last at Listowel in September behind Davids Charm when last seen, having worked hard to get in contention then having little left going to the last. Absence to overcome and higher mark, but can’t be ruled out
After winning Lartigue Hurdle at Listowel last September, best subsequent effort last season when presented with a chance of winning Grade 3 novice hurdle at Tipperary last October by Turnpike Trip’s mistake at the last, closing on winner till outpaced in the last 100 yards. In an unusually-competitive renewal of the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary last week, went off 66/1 but made a smashing start to the season, midfield, a little keen, mistake 2nd, moved comfortably and good ground from 6th, prominent in chasing group when was given a slight bump approaching 3 out, disputed 3rd and niggled along home turn, some 4 lengths off 1st 2 at the second last, hard driven, outpaced, kept on till faded nearing last, lost 5th then 6th run-in, losing ground at the line behind Aramon and Petit Mouchoir. Wasn’t expected to make an impact, but taking into account where he was at the second last, he may have exceeded expectations
Best effort last season when winning a maiden hurdle at Limerick in November. Winning reappearance at Limerick on resumption day, June 22nd; prominent to midfield in main group, headway and took 3rd jumping 2nd, moved comfortably home turn but lost 3rd, tracked 1st 2 within 2 lengths straightening, a little outpaced and jumped 2 out 3 lengths adrift, shaken up on landing, hard ridden, stayed on well and closed strongly on Rewrite The Rules approaching last, landed running, led 150 yards out, ridden out, ran on to draw clear of Rewritetherules (ran well in the face of a stiff task at Tipperary earlier this week). More to come from this second-season hurdler on that evidence, very strong at the end
Two wins last August and better effort at Tramore on August 15th, prominent 4th, tracked 2nd as leader broke clear a circuit out, closed up 4 out, tracked leaders closely 3 out, moved comfortably and chased leader home turn, travelled best approaching 2 out, led there, hard ridden, stayed on to draw clear approaching last, not fluent, driven out, stayed on well to beat Lady In Lavender. No form since, down the field on the Flat at Navan last month on his comeback run. HIgh in the weights for what he’s achieved (top weight in the Tramore race was only 123)
Effernock Fizz
Late last August, won a mares’ hurdle over this c/d. On both her hurdles starts since she’s been given impossible tasks, tailed off behind Quel Destin at Cheltenham in October 2019, and last time appeared to run way above herself when, going off at 250/1, made a lot of the running before finishing 4th to Aramon in Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary last week, led, clear from 4th, mistake 6th and pursuer reeled him in, held on to at most a length lead turning out of back straight, ridden and headed 2 out, put under pressure, outpaced as 1st 2 went away approaching last, not fluent, hard ridden and stuck to task, lost 3rd close home. It goes without saying that she ran well above her odds, produccing a piece of form seemingly 13 lbs in advance of her Turf Club rating – age is on her side, so we’ll see here if she was flattered
Saint D’oroux*
After improvement to win easily at Gowran Park in February, improved again to get a place in the Boodles (Fred Winter) Juvenile at the Cheltenham Festival, chased leader 3 out, disputed lead going comfortably from there to 2 out, not hard ridden immediately after it, shaken up and led home turn, hard ridden approaching last, put under pressure and faded nearing it, was half a length down jumping, hard driven, stuck to task, no impression on 1st 2 who pulled clear but held on to 3rd well behind Aramax. In a race where six of the first seven came from midfield or further back, this one did much the best of those who raced up with the speed – he might do a smidgen better, and the good run at Tipperary earlier this week by Recent Revelations, who was 4th in the Boodles, is an early suggestion that it was a good renewal this year and some of the runners in it could be worth looking out for in 2020/21
Only the one career win, in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve, niggled along 3 out, stayed on before and after 2 out, chased leader approaching last, led, ridden clear. Wasn’t suited by a steadily-run race at Fairyhouse next time when 4th to Wolf Prince, and despite getting a more strongly-run contest in the Boodles at the Cheltenham Festival next time still shaped as though it wasn’t enough of a test, mistake 3rd and pushed along away from it, had lost a little ground when niggled along away from 5th, very good ground into midfield going down the hill, mistake 3 out,  pushed along, no impression approaching 2 out, hard driven approaching home turn and had 13 in front/7 lengths to find straightening, looked held last, kept on under pressure, good late work and nearly took 7th. To be of any interest here round this sharper 2m, he’ll need a lot of rain to fall – barely 2mm is forecast, and for me one to take on
Silver Star
No wins since October 2018. Best last season when 4th to Sole Pretender at Ballinrobe last May, closer order 8th, niggled along and outpaced after, closer order 2 out, pushed along amd tracked leaders bend before last, every chance under a ride, a length and a bit down when mistake last, hard driven, no exrta home turn, faded run-in, was losing ground on the 3rd final 100 yards. Finished weakly there – was much stronger at the end on his belated Flat debut at Fairyhouse on June 15th in a 1m4f maiden, always prominent and sticking to his task well under a ride. Still lacks a change of pace and despite being well treated on back-form, looks unlikely to be up to winning
Zambezi Fix*
Improved in novice hurdles as the season went on, culminating in a win at Wexford on March 17th, tracked leaders, mistakes 2nd and 3rd, hit 4th, mistake 5th, shuffled back but remained in close touch, headway going comfortably 7th, blundered 8th, headway approaching home turn and travelled best of the field as drew upsides leader turning in, shaken up and led off the bend, was 2 lengths up 2 out, stayed on, about the same in front last, pushed out, decisive from Chalky White. It’s a good thing he saved his two best jumps of the race for the last two hurdles, because the rest of that was decidedly poor – apart from his (lack of) hurdling technique, there’s nothing not to like about this one going forward; possibly a chance worth taking
Fairly useful dual-purpose type for Laura Mongan, joined Gordon Elliott and best of two runs for the yard so far at Naas in February in a 80-116 handicap hurdle, prominent before 4th, moved comfortably 3 out, pushed along home turn, half a chance 2 out, hard driven, outpaced betwen last 2, 2 lengths down last, hard ridden, picked up a bit last 150 yards, took 2nd close home, no impression on Aarons Day, beaten a length and a half. Was well beaten in an opportunity handicap at Navan in March only subsequent start. On balance looks outclassed, on his form before and after joining present stable
Successful hurdling debut at Clairefontaine in June 2019, staying on under pressure run-in to beat Ludella, but the race completely failed to work out with no subsequent winners. Best of two runs in juvenile hurdles since joining Henry De Bromhead at Punchestown in November, keen hold, tracked leaders 3 out, not fluent 2 out, pushed along, couldn’t go with 1st 2 home turn under a ride, faded approaching last, left alone when held nearing it, no more run-in, lost 5th last few strides behind Sacchoandvanzetti. Ran even worse behind Aspire Tower at Leopardstown when last seen out, beaten 125 lengths. Nothing doing here

Laura Bullion
Best hurdles run last season when runner-up to Instant Return at Naas in February, midfield, keen, slightly closer order 4th, niggled along after 3 out, good ground home turn going better than some and clhased leader approaching 2 out, in close, shaken up, outpaced initially, picked up and closed on 1st 2 approaching last, mistake, hard driven, stayed on, 1st 2 clear, no extra last 100 yards. Fit from a recent spin on the Flat at Roscommon, she has a bit to find if she gets a run 
The Mouse Doctor
Not hard pressed to justify favouritism in a 0-130 handicap at Musselburgh last January, taking over from long-time leader Seaborough at the last and readily going clear on the run-in: was 10th in the Ladbroke at Leopardstown in February on most recent jumps start. Fit from a recent outing at the Curragh, has been dropped a bit in the weights and will be interesting if he gets a run
Share The Honour
Best of only two jumps runs last season when winning at Tipperary in October, held up, in close to 4th, closer order and midfield approaching 6th, further headway after 3 out on inner and prominent going comfortably home turn, shaken up home turn, disputed lead 2 out, moved best approaching last, 1st 2 pulled clear, dived at last but led on landing, ridden out, ran on well to draw clear, decisive from Jake Peter. Down the field behind The Moyglass Flyer (and Poseidon) at Leopardstown over Christmas subsequently. Fit from an outing on the Flat, with this race better than the Tipperary one, likely to struggle if he gets a run

Shortlist: Poseidon, Saint D’oroux, Zambezi Fix

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