Ffos Las Race Preview, 19-10-19

Ffos Las
Saturday 19th October

Some rain forecast overnight

Ffos Las 4.15
Low Cost Vans Welsh Champion Hurdle Limited Handicap Class 2
1m7f182y – Going: Soft (Heavy in places) – 11 runners

In this race last year ran 4th to Silver Streak, every chance 2 out then faded close home. First-time cheekpieces when winning Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Ascot last December and they’re now a regular fixture; however they were left off when 5th, never in contention, in Prelude at Market Rasen on September 27th, pushed along approaching 5th, in close to it and struggling, ridden and detached from main group turning out of back straight, started to pick up once in line for home, passed a couple before 2 out, well held but still keeping on when mistake last, passed more run-in and nearest finish, beaten 13 lengths behind Scarlet Dragon. Not dropped in the weights, but the cheekpieces are back
Le Prezien*
The 2018 Grand Annual winner made his reappearance in this race last year and was a good 2nd to Silver Streak, switched off inner and 4 horses wide to take the outer approaching 2 out, outpaced, ridden, began to stay on approaching last, mistake, hard driven, ran on last 175 yards, nothing finished stronger, sustained strong effort to take 2nd close home. Nothing much after that in three handicap chases, in the latest Grand Annual stayed on approaching home turn and not totally done with, headway on inner going to 2 out, hard driven, weakened approaching last, was passed by several rivals just after it, weakened further last 150 yards and lost 10th place last couple of strides behind Croco Bay. Often finds little but tempting here off 2 lbs lower than in last year’s renewal
Campaigned over longer trips last season, usually 3m, and best run on reappearance when 2nd to Unowhatimeanharry in Grade 2 at Newbury in November, moved comfortably turning out of back straight, mistake 3 out and ridden along, kept on and still a chance going to 2 out, not fluent, hard driven between last 2 and going worst of leading 4, left behind from last, still kept on under strong pressure, beaten just over 2 lengths. Nothing else close last season, in Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree losing place when mistake 9th, also mistake 10th, dropped away turning out of back straight behind If The Cap Fits. Won’t be inconvenienced by dropping back to 2m
Sharply on the downgrade in August, tailed off on last completed start for Gordon Elliott in Grade B handicap hurdle at Killarney in August. Bought for £26,000 at the Doncaster Sales in September, new trainer Bernard Llewellyn has had 9 winners from 144 runners makings their debut for the yard since February 2006, with his last such winner in August 2016 – hard to fancy
Monsieur Lecoq
Followed up wins at Ffos Las and Sandown (Class 2 handicap) with good 2nd – which arguably should have been a win – in Imperial Cup at Sandown in March, pushed along and outpaced approaching turn out of back straight, stayed on under a ride home turn, stayed on well to pass them all and led a couple of strides off 2 out, opened up a 3-length lead between last 2, hard ridden and started to come back to them approaching last, hard driven, was joined 150 yards out, headed close home, no more, lost ground last 50 yards, beaten just over a length by Malaya after arguably going for home too soon. Turned out quickly in County at Cheltenham, well back 2 out, kept on approaching last, hard ridden and stayed on past beaten ones up the hill, closing last 100 yards, nearest finish behind Ch’tibello. Not out since. Conditions will suit
Coole Cody
Front runner who needs to dominate, and was able to do that when 2nd to Lord Napier in Grade 3 handicap over 2m7f at Sandown in February, leading to between the last 2 and no more approaching last. Didn’t match that when tailed off in Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival (weakened quickly under a ride approaching the top of the hill, tailed off 2 out, trailed in) and at Aintree. Expect him to have plenty of use made of him in the shortest race he’s ever been in – he’s the only confirmed front runner in the field, and won first up in 2017 
Colonel Custard
Won twice in his novice hurdle season, the second of which came at Ffos Las in January, chased leader 3rd, moved comfortably and disputed lead turning out of back straight, led going best home turn, soon 3 lengths clear, niggled along approaching 2 out, was joined nearing it, hung left but stayed on and opened up a 4-length lead approaching last, ran down it to left and mistake, ridden out, stayed on well to maintain clear lead. A bit concerning that the horse he beat, Nordic Combined, cut no ice in handicaps – suggesting that this one’s too high in the weights on this, his first handicap – but proven on the track and ground
Chti Balko*
Nearly two years without a win; a couple of good runs last season, at Ayr on reappearance last November  led 3 out, hard ridden in a length lead from 2 out, 1st 2 clear, about the same up last, driven, stayed on, headed 150 yards out, no extra, lost ground on Le Patriote last 100 yards, beaten 2 lengths. Ran well at Haydock behind Black Mischief after that, but finished that race the same way as the Ayr one, and on last start was tailed off behind Malaya in Imperial Cup at Sandown, dropped back through field turning out of back straight, hard ridden in midfield and continued to weaken approaching 2 out. Finishes weakly, but ground’s fine and well treated
Coeur Blimey
Habitually makes mistakes over hurdles, but put in a largely decent round when winning Class 2 handicap at Hereford in December, niggled along before 7th, within a length 8th, led bend before 2 out, soon clear, pushed along after 2 out and stayed on approaching home turn, was 7 lengths or so up turning in, in no danger when mistake last, ridden out, idled in front but always holding on from Subcontinent. Tailed off in the Cesarewitch on the Flat when last seen. Only in May 2018 he won on the Flat over just 1m2f and is not expected to be inconvenienced by the drop to 2m; high enough in the weights though and with three hurdles in the straight, a mistake could be costly
Won twice last season including when last seen out at Newton Abbot in May when first time visored, effort after 3 out, challenged 1st 2 approaching home turn, led turning in, ridden along, drew clear, well ahead and safe last, unchallenged – it should be said though that it rather fell in to place for him, with the long-time leader and runner-up Storm Rising racing lazily and the eventual 3rd Capitaine jacking it in. This is a lot stronger, but he’s worth his place
Man Of Plenty
Exposed hurdler, but last season took a Class 2 handicap hurdle at Sandown in December, pushed along approaching 2 out, effort between last 2, stayed on under a ride to lead, hit last, driven clear run-in, went right under pressure, drew clear, workmanlike and decisive,  beating Nelson’s Touch 7 lengths. Quick turnaround after running in Silver Trophy at Chepstow a week ago, making no contribution: dropped rear and niggled along 4th, niggled again after next, last 6th, pushed along and struggling home turn, started to keep on approaching 3 out, passed some from 2 out, hung left but kept on, passed more from last, going on a bit at the post and nearest finish, beaten 18 lengths. Having never won when visored (as last week) or blinkered (as here), swerved in this corner – now watch him gag up

Shortlist: Le Prezien, Clyne, Chti Balko

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