Market Rasen Race Preview, 10th July 2020

Market Rasen
Friday July 10th

Light rain forecast Friday morning

Market Rasen 2.40
Betway Summer Plate Handicap Chase Class 1 Grade 3
2m5f89y – Going: Good (Good to Soft in places) – 17 runners

San Benedeto
Down the field in Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, moved comfortably but a lot to do 6f out, hard ridden 3f out, driven and no impression 2 1/2 f out, weakened 375 yards out, tailed off. Having won the Grade 3 handicap at Newbury in March 2019, he had a blank season last term, behind Copper West in Prelude at Market Rasen in October (allowed to go on after 4th, headed after 11th, stayed with leaders from home turn till ridden approaching 3 out, couldn’t go with 1st 2, got tired, well held 2 out, no more), and when 4th to Oldgrangewood at Newbury in November. Not much expected
Bags Groove*
Prolific novice chaser in 2018/19, best performance when winning Pendil at Kempton in February 2019, moved comfortably and drew upsides Castafiore home turn, niggled along, the better jump and led 3 out, pushed along, stayed on, hard ridden from 2 out, maintained a length and a half-lead, ridden out from last, stayed on well, was closed on a bit late but never in danger; off his game when last seen, behind Kalashnikov at Aintree that April, detached last and niggled along 8th, no headway final circuit, tailed off 3 out, ridden after 2 out, kept on past a beaten rival before last, blundered there, no more. Has a 463-day absence to overcome but well treated
Imperial Presence*
No wins since July 2018; stand-out run last season when 5th to Warthog in Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December, led, ridden into 12th and 4 out, joined there and disputed it approaching 3 out, niggled along approaching home turn, ridden and weakened approaching 2 out, put under pressure, no extra between last 2, kept on under pressure run-in before flattening out a little last 100 yards. Was a faller behind Simply The Betts in Stable Plate at the Cheltenham Festival last start,  in 1st 4 when vigorously pushed along after 3 out, hard ridden and starting to fade when fell 2 out. Probably would have finished somewhere in the ruck, about 20 lengths off the winner. Usually front-runs, and that’s just the run-style for the Summer Plate – likely to be there with a chance with 3 to jump
Adrrastos
Tried in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot last time and exceeded expectations, led half a length home turn, soon hard ridden, stayed on 2 1/2 f out, hard driven and sustained effort 350 yards out, was joined up front, headed entering final furlong, weakened last 150 yards and lost places behind Who Dares Wins. A litlte inconsistent but, last time he was over fences, won at Kempton in October 2019, sent on, jumped soundly, pushed along from 3 out, stayed on well, clear 2 out, drew further clear between last 2, safe last, eased last 50 yards, decisive from the fully-exposed Solar Impulse. No wins in fields bigger than 9 and worried about that
Royal Village
Won at Southwell last Summer but didn’t impress in so doing, 5 lengths 2nd home turn, hard ridden and stayed on to hold every chance, hung left approaching 3 out but held every chance, hard diven from 2 out, effort under pressure and drew upsides when rider had to take sudden corrective action to prevent horse from bypassing last on inner, bumped runner-up, the better jump (after all that), soon led, driven out, idled, was closed on but just held on from Overtoujay. Backed that up, but weak at the finish, behind Copper West in Prelude at Market Rasen last October, led 4 out, pulled clear from home turn pursued by eventual winner, 1st 2 clear when the better jump 3 out, hard driven, looked all out and didn’t go away from challenger, a length up 2 out, hard driven, was joined last, headed 150 yards out, weakened and lost 2nd final strides. Midfield when fell 8th in Stable Plate at Cheltenham when last seen. Not for me on account of his resolution issues
Drumcliff
It’s gone a bit wrong for this one since winning well in Clarke Chase at Uttoxeter in May 2018,  led on bit nearing 2 out, shaken up, hung left but stayed on well enough, led a neck last, driven out, continued to hang left, rider switched whip from right to left and kept a straighter course last 50 yards, sustained effort to the line; next time was disputing the lead when falling early on the last circuit in that year’s Galway Plate. Modest form at best in three runs for Aidan Howard subsequently. Has been off since October, and has now rejoined Harry Fry; fitness has to be taken on trust (they’re all in the same boat), but he’s off his winning mark and could do something
Knockgraffon*
Best form to date when winning at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day 2019, relegated to last 7th, disputed 4th when ridden into 9th, ridden into 11th, moved comfortably 12th, pushed along home turn, had 4 lengths to find on 1st 2 4 out, ridden, about the same behind 3 out, stayed on into 2nd 2 out, hard driven, closed on Forth Bridge approaching last, changed legs nearing it, effort and led jumping, driven clear, stayed on well to draw clear last 150 yards – took a good while to get there but got there when beating Forth Bridge; not out since disappointing behind Casablanca Mix at Aintree in May 2019. Has shaped as though wanting a step up in trip; off his winning mark he’s not out of it – he’ll be stronger than some at the end
Potterman
Productive spell in the Summer months last season, four wins, but best effort when chasing home Vivas at Warwick in September, a little ground and midfield 8th, ridden into 12th, headway 14th, chased leader when ridden into 3 out, pushed along home turn, effort and led 2 out, ridden and stayed on, was challenged last, hard ridden, stayed on, 1st 2 clear, one pace last 150 yards, stuck to task – ran into one on the day, but it still looks a career-best. In a stronger race, not up to troubling Vinndication and Regal Encore in Grade 3 handicap at Ascot in November when last seen. We know what good form his trainer Alan King’s been in since racing resumed and this one’s worth another chance
Fidux
At his best, a good-class handicap hurdler. Won two modest Summer novice chases in Summer 2019, but given a chance in stronger company, wasn’t up to it at Haydock in December, edged closer passing the omitted fences on the back straight, niggled along towards end of back straight, pushed along and outpaced home turn, looked well held going to 4 out where mistake, pushed along, kept on a little 3 out, no impression 2 out, ridden, kept on, no more last, driven run-in, made no ground, took 3rd from weakening rival close home, well beaten behind Dashel Drasher. Similarly well held at Kempton on Boxing Day and on the Flat at Wolverhampton in June on reappearance. Jumping over fences is not yet good enough
Field Exhibition
Normally races over 2m4f or shorter, but did win a 3m handicap hurdle at Musselburgh in February 2019, albeit only three ran. Stepped up in grade to Listed mares’ level, was acquitting herself well despite her 25/1 SP against Magic Of Light at Newbury on December 18th in a Listed Mares’ chase, the winner beginning to assert when Field Exhibition unseated at the last; not sighted in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow when last seen out, eventually pulling up. No pretensions to being this level despite her effort against a Grand National runner-up
Lough Derg Spirit
Best run for Nicky Henderson probably his small-field win at Ludlow on January 28th 2019, led, ridden into and jumped left 2nd, tended to jump left throughout, headed approaching 9th, chased leader till ridden into and led 10th, in close to 12th, was closed on approaching home turn, ridden into 4 out, pushed along, high head carriage, steadied into 3 out, went clear, left further clear 2 out, hard ridden, continued to carry head high and wander but well clear last, kept on to beat Lillington; an outing in the novices’ handicap chase at that year’s Cheltenham Festival came to nothing, last when awkward jump 11th, detached 12th, tailed off when pulled up after 13th; well held final start. First run for Paul Nicholls, but I’m ducking him – tends to jump left, throw the odd mistake, and has only won in small fields over fences
Copper West
On seasonal debut last October took the Prelude over this c/d, held up, headway final circuit, moved through field after 11th to chase leader coming off home turn, 1st 2 pulled clear, pushed along when mistake 3 out and pecked on landing, ridden, a length down 2 out, hard ridden and stayed on, upsides last, hard driven, led 150 yards out, drawing clear of Theligny at the line. No other form till returning to his best at Ludlow over 3m on his final start,  passed a couple to chase winner 4 out, ridden and stayed on 3 out, drew upsides 2 out and looked the likeliest winner, upsides last, hard driven, no extra last 175 yards, just kept on same pace against One Style. Only 9 ran in the Prelude, and in fields of 10 or more he’s been beaten 8 or more lengths – stiff mark too
Art Of Payroll
Not at his best since good 2nd to Traffic Fluide in Silver Trophy at Cheltenham in April 2018, held up, plenty to do in rear of main group 12th, started a move on outer and midfield 4 out, pecked on landing 3 out racing widest of all, made good ground to track leaders home turn, produced to challenge leader and arguably moved best of the field nearing 2 out, hard ridden, ran on, led approaching last, hard driven once over it, soon all out, went left under pressure, hard driven, stayed on but was closed on by Traffic Fluide, headed 50 yards out and no extra. Only completed the once since in three runs, when 4th to Northern Beau at Cheltenham in December, and on last start pulled up in Silver Bowl (Cheltenham Festival consolation) at Kempton in March, held up, pushed along 12th, no headway under a ride home turn, looked held when badly hampered and as-good-as-brought down 3 out. Not for me even if he could get back to his best – hold-up tactics aren’t usually best in this race
Solomon Grey
This one’s claim to fame is that he was ‘the other one’ in the Cyrname-Altior match at Ascot in November. Nuff said there. Not at his best (including that Ascot race) – apart from in a jumpers’ bumper at Wolverhampton in February – since landing small-field two-milers at Uttoxeter in May 2019, in the second of them led approaching 5th, tended to jump a little flat-backed, clear from 7th, was closed on and niggled along from 8th, pushed along from 4 out, stayed on and drew 7 lengths clear by 3 out, ridden, didn’t go any further clear by 2 out, hard driven after last and appeared to have little left, was closed on but always holding on from Lungarno Palace. When last seen was 8th in Silver Bowl at Kempton in March, bumped start, midfield, pushed along 12th,no more under a hand ride approaching 2 out, lost ground approaching last, made little contribution behind Delire D’Estruval – didn’t get the rub of the green at the start, then nothing else happened. If this was an eight-runner two-mile handicap chase he’d be worth the chance, but it’s a no-quarter-given big-field bash over two miles five
Pink Eyed Pedro
Graduate from points/hunters; this one won the Dunraven Bowl at Chepstow in April 2019 on his third attempt at the race. In non-hunter company, won a 2m4f 0-120 handicap chase at Ffos Las in July 2019, but best to date at Ludlow in October, chased leader 3rd, taken back a little 4th, shuffled back to 4th 8th, headway 12th, chased leader 13th, upsides 4 out, ran down 3 out to left and mistake, outpaced as winner went on, looked held when blundered 2 out and pecked on landing, some 6 lengths down last, ridden, stayed on, closed on idling Byron Flyer, stuck to task but never getting to winner. Likely to be ridden up with the pace, but best form puts him 10 lbs shy of what’ll be required
Really Super
Stand-out run in four chases when given a forcing ride to win six-runner mares’ handicap at Kempton on November 11th, chased leader, jumped left 1st, given a reminder, led 2nd, clear 3rd, in close and a bit slow 4th, in close to 5th, ridden into 7th, in close to 9th, ridden into 10th, clear 12th, stretched 8 lengths clear 4 out, moved best home turn, was 3 lengths up 3 out, ridden, stayed on, only a elngth up 2 out, hard driven, found extra going to last, 3 lengths up last, driven out, stayed on well to pull further clear of Definitelyanoscar. None of her other chase form is near that, but I have given her a mid-120s rating over hurdles. I’m just about erring on the side of ‘interesting lightweight’ here, but we know what sort of ride she needs
More Buck’s
Won this off 127 two years ago, beating Too Many Diamonds. No wins since beating Truckers Highway at Ludlow over 2m4f in January 2019, went on, hit 13th and headed, ridden home turn, rallied and led approaching 4 out, hard ridden, half a length up 3 out, hard ridden, stayed on, had drawn 2 lengths clear of Whoshotwho when left well clear by that one unseating 2 out, hard ridden, ran down last to left and mistake, idled run-in, ridden out. Has gradually deteriorated and was 20 lengths 5th in a 0-130 handicap chase at Market Rasen in September 2019, and when last seen was 3rd to Clondaw Westie in a hunter chase at Ffos Las in March this year, a performance I rated 99. Seemingly not the force of old, between that hunter and the Ludlow win having not finished within 10 lengths of the winner when completing, but is well treated and, in Peter Bowen, represents the trainer with the best record in the race – he has been known to bounce back from a poor spell of form before

Shortlist: Bags Groove, Imperial Presence, Knockgraffon

Copyright Roy Waterhouse 2020. All rights reserved.