Newcastle Race Preview, 22/02/2020

Newcastle
Saturday February 22nd

Precautionary Inspection 8:00am

Newcastle 2.45
Vertem Eider Handicap Chase Class 2
4m1f56y – Going: Heavy (Soft in places) – 12 runners

Prime Venture
Still a maiden over fences but ran well in Welsh Grand National, had a chance 5 out, pushed along, put under pressure after 3 out, couldn’t go with leaders when mistake 2 out, kept on. A faller in Peter Marsh at Haydock next time then failed to land the odds in 3-runner novice at Exeter last month, mistake 7th and pecked on landing, closer order passing the omitted fences on the back straight, further ground to dispute lead turning out of back straight, pushed along and outpaced home turn, reminders going to 4 out, not fluent as jumped it in 3 lengths 3rd, no impression under pressure from 3 out, some 6 or 7 lengths down 2 out, kept on under a ride, took well-held 2nd last, hard driven, stayed on run-in and closed on Aaron Lad but never getting there. Seems to find ways of not winning and often makes mistakes, but conditions and the trip unlikely to pose problems
Fortified Bay
Lines up on a hattrick after wins at Market Rasen on Boxing Day and over 2m7f at Newcastle last month, in the latter tracked leaders 11th, pulled wide, ridden into 12th and 13th, steadied into 14th and ridden away from it, rallied and back on terms 5 out, pushed along approaching home turn, hard driven and reminders turning in, stayed on to chase leader 4 out, driven after 3 out, disputed lead 2 out, hard driven, led last, ridden out, stayed on well to maintain 2-length lead over Hill Sixteen last 150 yards. His pedigree suggests he won’t stay (Flat-bred, dam won over 1m3f) and his worst finish to date was over 3m2f, so not for me in the Eider
Shanroe Santos*
Inconsistent but best so far this season when 2nd at Carlisle in December, chased leader 13th, ridden into 14th, niggled along approaching home turn, drew upsides approaching 4 out, pushed along, half a length down 3 out, hard ridden, stayed on, a neck down 2 out, hard driven, upsides last, came away from it a length down, rallied under pressure and drew upsides Teddy Tee again, sustained effort but no extra last 50 yards. Made no contribution in the Veterans’ Final at Sandown last month, mistake 11th, blundered 12th, hard ridden and struggling 13th, mistake 16th, picked off a couple but well back and struggling 3 out, no more. Difficult ride, but likely to stay  and is off a fair mark
Calipso Collonges
Best effort last season when runner-up to Tommy Silver at Ludlow nearly a year ago, went 2nd approaching 2 out, jumped slightly left there, put under pressure, some 3 lengths down last, hard driven run-in, kept on but no impression on winner. Hasn’t got to that level this season but signs of getting there in Tommy Whittle at Haydock last time, headway 13th, in close to 14th, ridden into 15th, travelled comfortably turning out of back straight, niggled along approaching 4 out, ridden into it, closed up and chased winner approaching 3 out, pushed along, hard driven approaching 2 out, no impression on Lord Du Mesnil, ridden and just kept on approaching last, pulled clear of 3rd. Stamina for the extreme trip is the thing to consider and it seems unlikely that this one will stay – he’s a half-brother to a 2m4f winner and his dam was a 1m5f Flat-winner, so not sure this one will be in there at the end
Petite Power*
It’s reached a point with this one that he’s not much use over shorter than 3m4f, and best effort this season at Exeter over 3m6f on December 6th, but a flat spot from the 11th to the 15th was costly as although he made back considerable ground, the distance Belle Empress beat him by was only a neck. Was in the Classic at Warwick last time and again his best work was at the end, niggled along bend before 16th, lost positions, pushed along approaching 17th, mistake and badly hampered 4 out, passed beaten ones under a ride and stayed on after 3 out under a ride, took well-held 5th 2 out, soon went 4th, no impression on 1st 2 but stayed on well to take 3rd run-in, nothing finished faster and nearest finish, 3rd to Kimberlite Candy.  Strong chance here over this even longer trip
Very First Time
Won three of his last five, however was in 4th a long way behind the reopposing Hugo ‘N Taz in Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen on Boxing Day. Returned to winning ways at Doncaster on January 25th though looked hard work, ridden into 5th and niggled along after it, niggled again after 10th, last and struggling 11th, firmly pushed along 12th and 13th, going worst of the field approaching 14th, a bit to do home turn, began to stay on from 4 out, in contention with 5 lengths to find 3 out, stayed on to chase leader approaching 2 out, sustained effort to lead last, ridden clear, stayed on well last 175 yards, workmanlike and decisive. The further he went the better he got, putting 6 lengths between himself and runner-up Tanarpino from the last to the line, but rather oddly considering his run style, he’s not won over further than 3m1f – perhaps because of his breeding, as his dam was a miler. Don’t think this one will be staying
Ascot De Bruyere
Three of this one’s five wins for present connections have been at Newcastle. Recent form lags his best, last time at Newcastle on December 21st was distant 4th to Fortified Bay, niggled along and going worst of the field bend before 6th, passed a couple by 9th but still niggled, in close to 10th, some ground and midfield 11th, rear of leading group under a push 12th, pushed along and reminders approaching 14th, tracked leaders before niggled along away from 15th, hard ridden and lost ground on leaders home turn, hung left approaching 4 out, kept on approaching 3 out, hard driven, couldn’t find more, well held 2 out, eased off after last. Cheekpieces replace blinkers: the case for is he’s only once finished out of the first four for his present yard when wearing the sheepskin – the case against is he hasn’t worn them for over three years
Glittering Love
Was on a roll last season when winning all four chase starts culminating at Ayr in March,  was joined and headed 4 out, ridden along, upsides 3 out, effort and led 2 out, ridden, ran on to draw clear approaching last, was 5 or 6 lengths up jumping, ridden out, stayed on well, readily beat Capard King. Only completion from two runs this season – and first defeat when completing over fences – when only 3rd to the reopposing Fortified Bay at Newcastle last month, mistakes 8th and 10th, firmly pushed along from 13th, hard ridden 5 out, hard driven and going worst of the leading group home turn, lost ground, jumped 4 out in 4 lengths 4th, stayed on going to 3 out, ridden and every chance going to 2 out, outpaced and left behind between last 2, well held last. Best known relative is Flat/jumps horse Riptide (short-headed on one of five attempts in the Pontefract Marathon), and this one is a blank sheet of paper as regards the extreme trip. Cheekpieces first time here
Donna’s Delight*
Lacks consistency but two of his three wins have been on heavy going, including last time out over 3m3f at Ayr last month, niggled along starting final circuit, more fimly pushed along when in close to 5 out, firmly pushed along home turn, stayed on approaching 4 out, drew further clear and 8 lengths ahead 3 out, stayed on between last 2 with no challenger near, ridden out, all out, stayed on well, hard work but unchallenged from Speak Of The Devil. A full-brother to Knockanrawley, who was runner-up to Mysteree in the 2017 Eider, a good run by this one looks highly possible
Hugo ‘N Taz
His only win for Denis Hogan was on heavy going at Ballinrobe in May 2018. Joined David Pipe and an immediate return when winning Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen on Boxing Day, midfield 3rd, reached for 10th, a little ground after 12th, niggled along turning out of back straight, tracked leaders approaching 3 out, pushed along away from it, effort and challenged leader 2 out, ridden, stayed on to lead last, hard driven, stayed on well, drew clear, sustained effort to the line. Liked that performance, looked genuine and saw it out well as he beat confirmed stayer and previous Lincs National-winner Cyclop; rather oddly he’s only raced left-handed twice in his career, once under Rules (well beaten) and once in a point (2nd, led 4 out to last at Horse & Jockey in March 2017), so he might tick the stamina box, but the track’s an unknown
Alminar
Poor maiden hurdler who’s won two out of six chases, the latest of which last time out at Chepstow on January 17th, headway and front of main group 5th, started to close on 1st 2 12th, niggled along from home turn, more firmly pushed along approaching 3 out, put under pressure approaching 2 out, mistake there but led, stayed on and led 2 lengths last, hard driven passing omitted last, stayed on to pull clear, decisive by 5 lengths from Troed Y Melin, who was off only 94 – the race was a 0-110 handicap. Needs to improve substantially but unexposed
Financial Outcome
Mid-grade maiden hurdler. First win when taking a 0-120 novices’ handicap chase over 3m2f at Doncaster, disputed lead and moved best of the field 14th, led 4 out, readily drew clear approaching 3 out,  carried head to one side in the clear approaching last, not remotely hard ridden to maintain 30-length lead, readily and unchallenged. Beat nothing – apologies to connections of Ballymagroarty Boy, who he beat 28 lengths – but impressed with how he did it. What happened last time out at Uttoxeter on January 25th is sure to be repeated again and again, moved comfortably home turn, blundered 4 out and rider was more-than-as-good-as-unseated,  lost place and jumped 3 out some 10 lengths behind 1st 2, pushed along, looked strong approaching last though making no impression on the winner Fortescue, continued to stay on run-in, eased last few yards. It goes without saying that he’d have gone close to winning that without what happened at the fourth last, Lorcan Williams making arguably the greatest recovery of all time (Adam Wedge rides this time), and that he was going on quite nicely approaching the last suggests that he’ll be good to go here

Shortlist: Shanroe Santos, Petite Power, Donna’s Delight

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