Market Rasen Race Preview, 19-10-19

Market Rasen
Saturday October 19th

Market Rasen 4.20
Virgin Bet Prelude Handicap Chase Class 2
2m5f89y – Going: Good to Soft (Soft in places) – 9 runners

San Benedeto
Best effort last season when winning Grade 3 handicap chase at Newbury in March, a bit to do some 10 lengths off leader turning out of back straight, stayed on from home turn and passed a few to be in leading group 4 out, switched travelling comfortably 3 out, pushed along going to 2 out, switched inner, hard ridden, put under strong pressure approaching last, closed on leaders, the better jump, drew upsides run-in and soon led, driven out, stayed on well, workmanlike by just over 2 lengths from Gala Ball with Valdez back in 3rd. Below that form on both subsequent runs, behind Black Corton in Oaksey Chase at Sandown on last. Has carried big weights to victory in smaller-field 2m handicap chases before, so a good ride for Katie O’Farrell on a rare (up to now) British visit, but this one hasn’t won after more than 85 days off the track. Accurately treated off 153
Mellow Ben
Progressing novice chaser, won two out of four and comes here on a hattrick after taking a Class 2 handicap at Fontwell on October 4th, ground to chase leader 12th, shuffled back next, headway going comfortably to track leaders and looked to be going best home turn, led 3 out, niggled along, a length up 2 out, pushed along, stayed on to draw clear, ridden out from last, found plenty under pressure last 175 yards, workmanlike and decisive by 3 1/2 lengths from Soupy Soups. I make that weak form for the grade, the runner-up in my opinion not a Class 2 handicap-horse, and he’s gone up 10 lbs to 145 – the highest mark he raced off over hurdles was 127. Not an impossible task (he’s six and entitled to improve), but a very tough one – ground potentially an issue too with all his wins on good
Valdez*
Four runs last season for this 12 year-old and best efforts in handicap chases at Newbury, particularly 2nd to Gala Ball on March 23rd, jumped right a few times,  closed up going comfortably after 5 out, only 2 lengths down 4 out, produced to challenge wide, drew within half a length of Gala Ball and travelled the better between 3 out and 2 out, a length down when pushed along approaching last, in close and ended up a little further behind, hard driven, stayed on at one pace last 150 yards, stuck to task and reduced gap to a length but no closer. It flies in the face of logic to support a horse this old in a race this good but there is absolutely nothing wrong with those Newbury runs
Royal Village*
Won this race last year, hard driven from 2 out, 4 lengths up last, absolutely empty close home but always holding on from Play The Ace. Largely consistent chaser, been in action over the Summer, and was a good 2nd to Casablanca Mix in the Summer Plate over this c/d in July, stayed on with around 6 to 8 lengths to find turning out of back straight, steady headway under a push home turn, tracked leaders going to 3 out, ridden into 3 out, outpaced 2 out as winner went for home, sustained effort, took clear 2nd approaching last, ridden, kept on, no impression, beaten 8 lengths. Went one better in Class 2 handicap at Southwell next time in August – anything but straightforward though: allowed 1st 4 to break clear from 3rd, mistakes 5th, 6th, 10th and 12th, pushed along and stayed on into 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. More to do here and you could query his attitude after last time, but he’s twice a c/d winner
Vivas
Useful chaser who comes here in good nick after a win at Warwick in September, niggled along 12th with some 8 lengths to find on leader, headway when jumped low 13th, headway 3 out, niggled along and tracked leaders, closed up 2 out arguably going best, had 2 lengths to find jumping, shaken up, effort and moved upsides Potterman jumping last, 1st 2 clear, hard ridden, ran on, led and asserted 150 yards out, going away at the post. In a well-run race which dropped nicely for him he had the best speed, and won by 1 3/4 lengths. Tougher task off 137 but a contender
Whoshotwho*
Found form towards the end of last season, but found little from the second last behind The Dellercheckout at Taunton in February, then looked the winner and didn’t win at Haydock in March, not shaken up approaching 2 out, led there, pushed along, didn’t stay on, pricked ears approaching last in a diminishing lead, blundered last, all out, headed 150 yards out, no more under pressure, beaten a length by Scorpion Sid. Twice a c/d winner in the past and, despite concerns about his resolution, hard to leave out
Luckofthedraw
Inconsistent, his last three runs last season were pulled-ups, but capable on his day. Successful reappearance in 0-130 handicap over this c/d on September 28th, led chasing group as 1st 2 broke well clear by 4th, in close and brushed 7th, closing on 1st 2 when reached for 8th, in close to 10th, moved comfortably, brushed 4 out, headway to chase leader and going best home turn, drew upsides approaching 3 out, sent on jumping, niggled along, a length up 2 out, pushed along, stayed on to draw a length and a half up by last, steadied into it, was soon challenged, put under pressure, stayed on well last 150 yards to pull clear close home, workmanlike by 1 3/4 lengths from As You Like. Many of his worse runs have come after ‘regular’ intervals, and many of his best – including all of his wins – have been when fresh (unbeaten after breaks of 155 days or more), so not sure he’ll be up for this, 21 days after his win
Theligny
Won four times over hurdles. Maiden chaser, best run over fences to date on his third and what turned out to be final start last season, at Newcastle in January over 2m7f, disputed lead 8th, headed 10th, nudged along 11th, hit 13th, niggled along before not fluent 14th, niggled along home turn, soon more firmly pushed along, hard ridden and faded 4 out, looked held in 4 lengths 4th 3 out, hard ridden 2 out, stayed on approaching last, driven, took 3rd run-in, closing on 1st 2 last 100 yards but never a chance of getting to them, 3rd to Rock On Fruity beaten 2 3/4 lengths. Likely to be up with the pace, good mark and could get competitive if his jumping holds
Copper West
Maiden hurdler. Two chase wins last season, best performance in ‘Challenger’ Middle Distance Final at Haydock in April, chased leader 10th, niggled along approaching 4 out, 1st 2 pulled clear, ridden and led approaching 3 out, put under pressure, stayed on, in close to 2 out, idled/wandered and headed approaching last, led again jumping, hard driven, found more and asserted last 175 yards, drew clear, decisive in the end by 4 1/2 lengths from Princeton Royale. Bettered that a little when 3rd to Brave Eagle in intermediate handicap at Haydock in May, rather skewed in the air at some fences and keeping on though held last, before running poorly at Perth in June when last seen. The ground looks an issue here, his wins and runner-up finishes coming on good and good to firm, whilst on officially good to soft and softer his closest finish is 9 lengths

Shortlist: Valdez, Royal Village, Whoshotwho

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