Limited Handicap Hurdle Class 2 4-y-o
2m11y – 11 runners
Ex-French gelding won first two runs for Nigel Twiston-Davies, the second at Sandown in January, went on, a little keen, in close to 1st, ridden into 4th, moved best in a length lead home turn, quickened and went clear approaching 2 out, niggled along between last 2, hit last, ridden out, maintained clear lead last 200 yards to beat Fukuto 22 lengths; down the field in Victor Ludorum at Haydock next time and perhaps ran better than final position in Fred Winter at Cheltenham, looked comfortable in a half-length lead at the top of the hill, briefly niggled along 3 out, shaken up after 2 out, hard ridden and weakened home turn, well back last behind Band Of Outlaws. Dropped 4 lbs to 137, chances – particularly if forecast rain happens
Won two juvenile hurdles but arguably best effort when pitched in against elders at Ayr in April, tracked leaders, ridden into 4th, dived at 5th, in close to 6th, ridden along off home turn, chance when mistake 3 out, hard ridden, outpaced going to 2 out, looked held there, ridden and kept on, steradied into last, no extra run-in, just kept on, was closing a little on the 3rd at the finish, 4th to Getaway Trump (won valuable novices’ handicap at Sandown the following week) beaten just over 11 lengths. Also didn’t run too badly in the Fred Winter the time before (run blocked approaching home turn and kept on to finish 9th, ahead of Torpillo), so chances against his own age group
Won one from four over hurdles but best effort in defeat, at Ascot on March 31st, steadied into and mistake 3 out, bumped both sides and run blocked home turn, behind a wall of horses straightening, in close to 2 out, pushed along, ran on and closed on leaders well, chased winner last, 2 lengths down, hard driven, ran on last 175 yards, came clear of 3rd but no chance with Legal History, beaten just over 2 lengths: would have been beaten anyway, but the distance would have been less. When last seen out ran well on the Flat at Salisbury on April 28th, making up nearly 2 lengths on Gumball in the last 100 yards but never getting to him and beaten just over a length. Chance in an open race though unproven on soft
Beat The Judge
Didn’t win again over hurdles since a successful hurdling debut at Kempton over Christmas and best form to date jumping when 2nd to Fusil Raffles in Adonis at Kempton in February, closed up a little after 3 out though niggled along to do so, rear of leading group home turn, pushed along going to 2 out, carried head high, held a chance 2 out, ridden, hung right, couldn’t go with Fusil Raffles approaching last, hard driven, stayed on into 2nd and pulled clear of 3rd last 150 yards, beaten 9 lengths. Didn’t run badly in Sussex Champion Hurdle at Plumpton behind Fiesole subsequently. Fit from an outing on the Flat at Goodwood in September, has a chance though is another unproven on soft
Lucky Lover Boy
Ordinary juvenile whose form improved when going into handicaps, racing a little lazily when winning at Huntingdon in April, staying on well from the last after he was hard ridden on the home turn, then made heavy weather of winning a novice at Bangor later that month, niggled along from an early stage, got a split and challenged leader approaching 2 out, ridden and led approaching last, headed jumping, ridden and led 175 yards out, asserted close home to beat Constancio just shy of a length. Having run poorly on the Flat in September, shapes as though could do with a step up in trip and/or headgear – this looks a tough task
Successful hurdling debut, then ran well when 3rd to Cracker Factory in Wensleydale at Wetherby, went clear from 2nd and upped the pace, ridden along from 3 out, was joined approaching 2 out and disputed lead, mistake there and headed, hard ridden, keeping on when mistake last, lost 2nd run-in, beaten 8 lengths. Was the first British runner home in Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival, the tactics changed: held up rear, mistake 4th, headway and midfield going down the hill to 3 out, further ground to be just about prominent and yet to be shaken up approaching 2 out, pushed along starting home turn, steered to middle/inner, put under pressure and stayed on, half a chance last, one pace under pressure up the hill, stuck to task to get 4th close home, no impression on first three, beaten just over 6 lengths behind Band Of Outlaws. No stand-out but chances
Two wins over hurdles and several other decent efforts, his form taking a turn for the better when blinkers were applied, particularly when a good 6th in Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival, moved well going down the hill to 3 out, led there, pushed along after 2 out, ridden and stayed on coming off home turn, headed approaching last, still every chance jumping, ridden and faded last 175 yards, lost ground and places up the hill, no more. Had little left for the finish after doing too much through the race, leading going well 3 out and hard ridden from the home turn – as such maybe this could be marked up a little. Didn’t run to that when well behind Legal History (and Scaramanga) at Ascot on March 31st, landed the odds at Plumpton in April when last seen. One of many with a chance
It looked an ordinary juvenile hurdle he won at Ascot in January but he did appear to have a bit in hand, held up and detached, pulled hard, on and off the bridle, made ready ground through field to chase leader going to 2 out, led between last 2, idled under a ride after last but beat Zafar just over a length. Given a tough ask against older horses in Grade B handicap at the Punchestown Festival in April, was found wanting when tailed off behind Pearl Of The West, pushed along, only 4 lengths down 2 out, hard ridden and faded home turn, weakened turning in, tailed off – the only positive about that was that he settled better. Not sure what to make of him – looks a chasing type on TV pictures and has potential, but I’ve got him bottom of my ratings in this, over 20 lbs shy of his official 127-mark
Looked to need some riding when winning at Newton Abbot on September 9th, off the bit a circuit out, but led on the home turn and survived a mistake 2 out to beat Rococo River 10 lengths; tried in a better race, was found wanting in Prelude at Market Rasen last month, any amount of mistakes, ridden and going worst of the field turning out of the back straight, tailing off when blundering at the last behind Scarlet Dragon. Likely to lack the necessary pace, highly tried again
Successful hurdling debut at Ludlow in January, mistake 1st, tracked leaders approaching 5th, mistake 6th, moved upsides leader home turn, travelled the better, pushed along approaching 3 out, narrow lead there, ridden, stayed on, further ahead when mistake 2 out, put under pressure, stayed on, mistake last, driven out to beat Zizaneur just over 4 lengths (with Scaramanga 3rd). Well held in Adonis at Kempton behind Fusil Raffles next time, back to winning ways against older novices at Stratford on March 30th, still a few mistakes, led going best of the field approaching the turn out of the back straight, sent on home turn, not fluent last, driven out, was closed on, idled, just held on. Was disappointing when tailed-off last in novices’ handicap hurdle at Sandown on Finale day, looked well and ridden up with the pace, ridden and weakened home turn, all done when blundered 2 out. Not very big (close-coupled leggy type), a bit to find
Perhaps found improvement to take a maiden at Newton Abbot on August 20th, went on, wandered before 5th, niggled along approaching 3 out as 1st 3 raced clear, the best jump there, travelled much the best 2 lengths ahead turning out of back straight, was closed on approaching home turn, joined up front and pushed along, ridden, stayed on going to 2 out, put under pressure between last 2, found more though wandered approaching last, ridden out, stayed on well to pull clear of Emerald Rocket last 150 yards. Nothing moved better after the third last and perhaps won that with a little in hand. Nothing rated less than 122 has won this in the last ten years – this one has to race off 117 including 2 lbs out of the weights, but shaped as though there’s more to come last time
Shortlist: Torpillo, Scaramanga, King D’Argent
Also on this card
Champion Bumper-third Thyme Hill, who’s in my Fifteen To Follow, has a tough ask on hurdling debut in the Persian War Hurdle over 2m3f100y (2.10) which opens the card, and is live in ITV4, but is over further than 2m straight away and has a chance – he just won’t have it easy against the likes of Champagne Well (sent on too soon when third to Third Wind in the EBF Final at Sandown), the promising Hexham winner Echiquier and chasing type Harambe, who chased home Getaway Trump at Sandown when last seen, but might be better over shorter.
Later on, the 2m7f131y novices’ chase looks between Lisnagar Oscar, the Sefton Novices’ third behind Champ at Aintree, and Truckers Lodge, a 140-rated stayer with plenty of Chepstow experience over hurdles.
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