Taunton Race Preview, 12/12/19

Taunton
Thursday December 12th
Rain forecast
on the day

Taunton 3.10
Bluqube Handicap Chase Class 3 0-135
2m2f – Going: Good to Soft (Good in places) – 12 runners

Ashoka
Progressing back in May/June and second win in a row when going in at Aintree in June in a small field,  jumped right 3rd, nudged along 7th, around 6 or 7 lengths to find 4 out, niggled along, effort approaching 3 out and stayed on into 2nd, pushed along, led 2 out, ran on to draw clear, safe last, just pushed out, decisive with a little in hand over Theflyingportrait. In a deeper race on reappearance, showed nothing behind Magic Saint at Newbury on November 30th, niggled along from 5th, mistake 8th, detached last and tailing off 5 out, mistake 4 out, trailed in. Quick turnaround and a maximum mark; tends to do his winning in the warmer months
Dr Sanderson*
Although winning a couple of novice hurdles pulled too hard, and that was his undoing at Cheltenham in April when well behind Dashel Drasher, as well as several mistakes. Cut little ice on chasing debut at Ffos Las in October, pulled up behind Poker Play, but this run wasn’t all bad; held up, mistake 5th, a little ground and midfield approaching 8th, lost ground and niggled along 10th, left alone in rear after 11th, pushed along and made no ground turning out of back straight, weakened and tailed off, rider accepted situation before barely clambered over 3 out and pulled up. The big positive was that he settled better than last season; the going was pretty desperate and he was largely looked after, so this could well end up better
Ballotin
Two hunter chase wins last season including at Southwell in May, definite lead 10th, drew 2 lengths clear 11th, niggled along and went further clear by 13th, some 15 lengths clear 3 out, safe with the race when in close to last, untroubled in beating Dark Mahler. Returning to handicap company on reappearance, ran well for a long way at Kempton last month, disputed lead from 6th, ridden 4 out, stayed on and held place to home turn, faded approaching 3 out, dropped away and soon well held, was being eased off when unseated rider 2 out, the race won by Generous Day. Probably better for that run, might do okay here although Mr Maxwell might be better off not going for the lead with other front runners in attendance
Locker Room Talk
Won twice in novice hurdles last season. Not the best start over fences so far, doing too much when a well-held 3rd at Wincanton last time behind Baddesley Knight, keen and led approaching 2nd, clear approaching 3rd, briefly joined up front 5th, disputed lead 6th till led again turning out of back straight after 9th, ridden after 4 out, headed approaching 3 out, hard ridden, weakened approaching 2 out, well held last. Not seeing out his races at the moment and I make his hurdles form, as well as his chase runs, around 10 lbs to a stone shy of his mark
Pointed And Sharp
Completed a hattrick of chase wins when going in at Taunton on October 30th, mistakes 1st and 5th, closer order and chased leader 8th, moved comfortably home turn, 1st 2 pulled clear, 2 lengths to find passing omiitted 3 out, drew upsides 2 out, ridden, effort and challenged leader last, the better jump, led, ridden clear, went right, ridden out, stayed on well to beat Way Out West. It wasn’t perfect at Taunton and another error put him on the floor at the 3rd at Kempton last time in race won by Darebin, taking a keen hold at the time. More needed here in this better race
At Its Own Expense
Jumped left at a few hurdles on his way to finishing a good 2nd to Duke Street over the brush obstacles at Worcester in September. Chasing debut, ran well for a long way at Sandown in November, encouragingly jumping straighter round the right-handed track; led, pecked on landing 1st, ridden into 10th, was joined up front 11th, not fluent 4 out, pushed along approaching 3 out, mistake there and headed, hard ridden, faded home turn, well held 2 out, 5th to Champagne Court. Much of his jumping at Sandown was sound; worried that he’ll get involved in a battle for the lead with others, but has claims
Katpoli*
Katpoli first, the rest nowhere at Southwell nine days ago as he went in on only his second chase start, led, mistake 2nd, clear 5th, mistake 8th, travelled much the best as drew further clear turning out of back straight, niggled along from 3 out, went further clear, pushed along from 2 out, steadied into last, not hard ridden to go further clear, had something in hand from Massini Man. Jumping a worry but, judged on the style marks of last week’s win (not including the two mistakes), has the improvement he’ll need in him
Admiral’s Secret
A season of two halves last term for this one; promising reappearance at Exeter, though looked the winner then found diddly squat, then bettered that at Wincanton last Boxing Day, looked the winner and found the necessary… then refused to race twice, between those RTRs running 3rd to Lillington at Newbury, not getting into the race and hanging left when ridden at the top of the straight, passing only beaten ones and never able to challenge, not really putting anything into it. Off a maximum mark here, no knowing what we’ll get, or if he’ll even start
Bandsman*
Trying this one over longer distances hasn’t worked, although at Carlisle when 3rd to Pop Rockstar over 3m he was arguably given a bit much to do, travelling and jumping soundly and keeping on late though the first two were away. Heavy going probably his undoing at Bangor last time, a couple of mistakes, weakened and became tailed off from 12th and soon pulled up behind Mr Caffrey. Drop in trip could work
Bramble Brook
Best recent run from this exposed one was over 3m1f at Wincanton on October 17th, prominent 10th, chased leader 14th, moved comfortably, disputed lead 16th, led 4 out, pushed along approaching 3 out, went 3 lengths clear after it, hard ridden, in close to 2 out and was closed on, put under strong pressure, headed last, no extra run-in, kept on in Terry The Fish’s wake. Below that form when 5th to Keep Moving over 2m5f at Wincanton last time. Maximum 121-mark but has Robbie Power booked
Spring Wolf
Lightly raced for his age – he’s 11 and this is only his ninth race. Second of two chase wins was at Taunton last February, definite lead 7th, mistake 9th, shaken up home turn, stayed on, mistake and pecked on landing 3 out, was being challenged when the better jump 2 out, hard driven, stayed on, mistake last, ridden out, stayed on well run-in, workmanlike and decisive from Midnight Chill. Was pulled up when last seen at Exeter in March. Probably won’t be up to going close in this competitive race on his reappearance and first start for 282 days
Railroad Junkie
Maiden hurdler. Second chase win at Taunton in December, but better form in defeat when close 2nd to Boagrius, also at Taunton, in January, held up in touch, keen, in close to 8th, chased leader from there, loomed upsides and looked the winner approaching 3 out, mistake, pushed along, 1st 2 clear, ridden and one pace approaching last, mistake there as well, driven, stayed on, no extra last 100 yards, if anything losing a little ground late on. Nothing much in three runs this season, at Kempton last time over 2m2f was 7th to Darebin, not fluent 4th, not much ground when not fluent 8th, looked held passing omitted 3 out, no more after passing omitted 2 out, eased a bit nearing last, kept on a bit run-in. Seems best at a bare two miles and even this 2m2f might be too far. Well treated, but that was the case at Kempton also

Shortlist: Dr Sanderson, Katpoli, Bandsman

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