Newbury Race Preview, 07/11/19

Thursday November 7th

Some rain is
forecast overnight

* = Shortlist or Alternative: ** = Selection

Newbury 3.10
Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Series Qualifier
Class 2 0-145
3m52y – Going: Good (Good to Soft in places) – 9 runners

Canyon City
Four wins from October to May (there should have been a fifth, but he found little at Doncaster in December after better jumps than Golden Jeffrey in the straight). Victories included two at Fakenham, and best performance at Haydock in May,  was 12 to 15 lengths back in 3rd 9th, closed on 1st 2 approaching 3 out and some 6 to 8 lengths back jumping, sustained effort, led 2 out, ridden, drew clear approaching last, beat Ocean Cove 3 3/4 lengths. Was turned out again at Cartmel late in May but didn’t run well behind Cairnshill, probably not suited by the track. Accurately treated on reappearance
Robin The Raven
Off for over 300 days before winning at Warwick in April,  led 7th, going the better and drew a length and a half up home turn, pushed along approaching 2 out, stayed on, put under pressure between last 2, lugged left, 7 lengths up last, driven out, stayed on well till eased down last 100 yards, decisive – looked a bit ahead of his mark when beating Max Forte 7 lengths. Along with Canyon City probably didn’t act on the track when well beaten at Cartmel behind Cairnshill next time, mistake 2 out, lost place under pressure, stuck to task under a ride fairground bend till weakened approaching last and blundered there, no more. Taken out of the recent Cheltenham Qualifier after it rained heavily, provided the ground doesn’t change markedly he has a chance on the Warwick run
Dingo Dollar*
Debuted for last season in this race and did okay, idden along from 3 out, hung left approaching 2 out, little impression on those ahead, kept on past beaten ones run-in when beaten 10 lengths into 4th behind Jersey Bean. Returned to chasing, put in his best effort in Grimthorpe at Doncaster when a fortunate 2nd to Chidswell, fighting a losing battle from the third last and held in 3rd when Looking Well fell at the last leaving him in the runner-up position.  Tempting off 2 lbs lower than in this race last year
Geordie B
Running in his first handicap: form was on a gradual upward curve in novice hurdles, won two, the best at Exeter on his final run last season in March; some ground and midfield when niggled along 3rd, mistake 4th, headway and prominent when ridden into 7th, ridden into 8th and 9th too, made ground to chase leader approaching turn out of back straight, niggled along home turn, 2 lengths down when mistake 3 out, hard ridden, lugged right going to 2 out, closed on leader, effort and led approaching last, soon clear, pushed out run-in, stayed on well to draw further clear, decisive in the end by 7 lengths from Tidal Flow. Looks a four-mile chaser in the making, but not sure he’ll be winning a Pertemps Qualifier, unless more rain than is forecast falls
Running over hurdles for the first time for two and a half years, this on the assumption that he actually runs, as he refused to race in the Eider Chase at Newcastle when last seen. Best last season when winning Tommy Whittle at Haydock in December, under a ride some way out as usual and looking held at the second last, before Ballyarthur curled up in front and Daklondike nailed him a couple of strides out. With no wins after more than 47 days off the course, having got lazier last season and with no headgear on this reappearance not for me, whether he starts or not
Diablo De Rouhet
Joined Nicky Henderson from Jo Hughes prior to the Summer and form is 121, all over fences, last time at Uttoxeter in a 0-135 midfield when slow 7th, niggled along 10th, further ground and close up 5 out, produced to challenge and going best approaching 3 out,  led there and pushed along, clear 2 lengths 2 out, stayed on well and drew further clear by last, pushed out, changed legs run-in, workmanlike and decisive by 7 lengths from Clondaw Anchor. Chance but no stand-out
Encouraging chasing debut last season when 2nd to Just A Sting at  Exeter, but failed to build on that and ended up back over hurdles, cutting little ice behind Aux Ptit Soins in the Grade 3 handicap at Aintree, mistake 9th and lost place, reminders before turning out of back straight, weakened and rear under a ride 3 out, tailed off from 2 out, trailed in. Some encouragement on reappearance at Stratford earlier this month, prominent after 2nd, niggled along turning into back straight, pushed along after 2 out, lost place approaching turn out of back straight, towards rear of main group  home turn, kept on a bit approaching last, no impression on 1st 3 but keeping on a bit at the end and 4th to Boreham Bill. Taken out of the Cheltenham Qualifier on account of the ground, there’s no reason to back him here, but there’s no reason not to either
Any Drama
Promising novice hurdler in 2017 before making no impact in that year’s Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival, lost place after 10th, pushed along at the top of the hill, well held 2 out. Clearly had problems and was having his first start since then when failing to complete – not his fault – in beginners’ chase at Uttoxeter in December 2018, headway after 10th and just about in touch till slow 11th, at most 8 lengths down home turn, niggled along, jumped right 4 out, pushed along, kept on though looked held before jumped right and bumped rival 3 out, no further ground under a push when mistake, collided with rival and effectively knocked over 2 out, race won by Crucial Role. It wasn’t without promise, but he’s had another break since. His trainer Harry Fry’s strike rate with horses after more than 300 days off in the last three years is around 25% though, and if fit enough this one could exploit a favourable hurdles mark on back form
Although he’s only won once this one is still progressing to a small extent, and best-to-date in Silver Trophy at Chepstow on reappearance, headed up main group, very strong pace, jumped left, mistake 2nd, was some 12 to 15 lengths down 3rd, leaders came back approaching 4th, ridden into 5th, only at most 5 lengths down at the back of leading group of 5 after 7th, briefly ridden along turning out of back straight, held place, every chance approaching 3 out, mistake, put under pressure, stayed on, mistake 2 out, ridden and initially faded approaching last then rallied nearing it, driven and kept on, was closing on the 3rd last 100 yards, beaten just over 5 lengths behind Flash The Steel. Some performance that after he was ridden closer to the strong pace than most, shaping as though he’d be effective over today’s longer trip (his half-sister Rene’s Girl has won over 2m7f)

Shortlist: Dingo Dollar, Alrightjack

Newbury 3.40
Micky Rawlings Memorial Handicap Chase
(Challenger Middle Distance Chase Series Qualifier)
Class 3 0-135
2m3f187y – Going: Good (Good to Soft in places) – 11 runners

Got Away
Best effort last season when 2nd to Mister Whitaker in Silver Trophy at Cheltenham in April, jumped big a few times, briefly niggled along and raced with head to one side after 9th and 10th, niggled along approaching 3 out, headway and in touch 2 out, hard driven, pulled wide, within 4 lengths last, hard ridden and strong run starting up the hill, drew upsides Mister Whitaker, driven, carried head slightly high 175 yards out, not go past, closing a little final strides but not by enough. A good run, but didn’t find what it looked as though she would, her head carriage higher than the winner’s in the last 100 yards. Form tailed off last two runs, pulled up in Perth Gold Cup in June when last seen. Has a chance on the Cheltenham run but no certainty to find the necessary
Forth Bridge
Doesn’t win often and defeat of Onefortheroadtom at Kempton in March was his first victory over fences. A few mistakes when upped in grade next time in Hillhouse Quarry Chase at Ayr in April, rear of main group travelling comfortably before mistake 5 out and pushed along, ridden along with 10 lengths to find home turn, kept on before 4 out, pushed along, looked held 3 out, kept on from 2 out, closed on 3rd approaching last, no more run-in, 4th beaten 15 lengths behind Born Survivor. Well tailed off behind Soupy Soups at Perth on reappearance. Hard to fancy, in addition to the usual cheekpieces wearing a tongue-strap for only the second time (flopped the first time he wore one)
Shaped as though he’d be effective at 2m4f when winning over 2m at Ascot in December, getting there eventually and idling on the run-in when beating Dustin Des Mottes, that his season’s best. Kept on late though wasn’t in contention behind Siruh Du Lac in Brown & Merriebelle Stable Plate at the Cheltenham Festival, just about attached himself to rear of leading group home turn, hard ridden from 2 out, driven from last, little impression but kept on. Should be okay in this less competitive race
Dustin Des Mottes
As noted above was beaten by Azzerti over 2m at Ascot in December, like that one running his best of last season; jumped left throughout, moved comfortably home turn, was challenged 2 out, went markedly left there, ridden, stayed on, disputed lead till headed going to last, jumped markedly left again, hard driven, rallied run-in, closed on Azzerti last 100 yards but always held. Ran okay in 6th behind San Benedeto in Grade 3 handicap at Newbury final start. If Azzerti has a good chance here, then so does this one
Barton Knoll
Until running poorly at Uttoxeter in late May when last seen, was largely unexposed and got a win at Haydock earlier that month, jumped left throughout, prominent before 7th, chased leader when brushed 10th, moved best 5 out where brushed inside wing, drew clear without being hard ridden before 4 out, 8 lengths up 3 out, went left and mistake 2 out, ridden, stayed on, 10 lengths up last, ridden out, swished tail when given reminders, stayed on well to maintain clear lead and beat the 13 year-old Zaliapour. One to be against on this reappearance as his trainer John Mackie hasn’t had a jumps winner after a break of 150 days or more in the last three years (165 days since this one last ran)
On first start for Jonjo O’Neill, didn’t make much impact at Chepstow on October 12th behind The Bay Birch, blundered 2nd, steadied into and mistake 3rd, lost place and midfield 6th, nudged along 7th, mistakes 9th and 10th, pushed along home turn, kept on a bit 5 out, pushed along, looked held under a ride 4 out, no more from 3 out, mistake next. well held but going on a bit at the finish. Despite a favourable mark little expected here either on account of his often slipshod jumping (very much on show at Chepstow) and poor record in chases with nine runners or more (especially away from his favourite venues, Warwick and, more particularly, Fakenham)
Chef D’Equipe*
In this race last year ran a fine 2nd to Siruh Du Lac, held up initially, chased leader home turn, every chance 4 out, pushed along from 3 out, stayed on from 2 out, 1st 2 pulled clear, every chance last, ridden, couldn’t get to winner last 150 yards, was being closed on by 3rd and 4th final strides; won a novice hurdle later in the season. Went off at 8/1 in Bobby Renton at Wetherby on reappearance but still a bit more was expected than he produced that day, keen, mistake 3rd, headway and prominent 4th, lost place and niggled along in midfield before 7th, dropped rear and niggled along from 8th, was one from last 5 out, weakened further home turn, tailed off 4 out, kept on past beaten ones from 3 out, took a poor 4th 2 out, no more and beaten 27 lengths behind Crievehill. Possibly needed that and worth another chance, off 2 lbs lower than last year
A couple of good efforts last season including when winning, albeit fortunately, at Wincanton in January, closed on the 4 ahead of him approaching 4 out where in close, pushed along, closed on 1st 2 approaching 3 out, in close to it, hard ridden, closed on them approaching 2 out where left in front by Kupatana’s fall, led a length last, was challenged run-in, driven out, stayed on well to hold on – he struggled for pace throughout final circuit  and the faller would have won by a length at the most. He seemingly proved that at Exeter in February behind Captain Cattistock, at least going by what could be seen of it as that was in dense fog, up with the pace at all points of the race at which they could be seen, including at the line, a length behind the winner. Not on a bad mark and, although the trip might now be on the short side, hard to leave out
Air Navigator*
Successful on chasing debut at Ffos Las last November, no subsequent wins; best form 3rd to Bob Mahler over 2m7f at Newbury in March, held up, a little keen, mistakes 4th, 7th and 9th, headway into midfield 12th moving comfortably, mistake 13th and shuffled back, rear of the main group turning out of back straight, headway wide into midfield approaching 5 out, eased closer approaching 4 out, effort delayed approaching 3 out, shaken up after it, one pace approaching 2 out, hard ridden and stayed on approaching last, 2 lengths down jumping, put uinder pressure, couldn’t find more some 150 yards out, kept on last 75 yards. Stable in good form and can be competitive, unlikely to be inconvenienced by this shorter trip
Amoola Gold
Only had the two chases and much his best effort when winning at Hereford in November, ridden into and led 8th, clear 9th, niggled along bend before 3 out, more firmly pushed along approaching 2 out, stayed on in clear lead, put under pressure home turn, was closed on, upsides last, hard driven, found more under pressure than Brelan D’As last 150 yards; ran 3rd behind Ballywood and Capeland (both of whom were in the Listed handicap chase at Ascot last Saturday) at Taunton on only other start. Shaped as though wanting further at Hereford, the jockey at him with three to jump there, and here he’s got it
Domaine De L’Isle
Ordinary form when 3rd to No Hidden Charges in 3m-novice hurdle at Kempton in May on only hurdles start. Has had experience of chasing in France, best effort 4th at Pau in February for previous connections in a race that appeared to be run on waterlogged ground, mistake 7th (small open ditch), niggled along 8th, blundered 10th, appeared to be struggling final mile before good headway before 4 out, leading group and every chance home turn, mistake 2 out, outpaced under a ride, kept on from last and baeten 12 lengths behind Violon De Brejoux. Even on testing going gave the impression that it was happening too quickly for him and it’s perhaps no surprise that his first British race was a three-miler – nothing doing here for me

Shortlist: Azzerti, Chef D’Equipe, Air Navigator

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