Warwick Race Preview, 08/02/20

Saturday February 8th

Warwick 3.15
Warwick Castle Handicap Chase Class 2
2m4f – Going: Good to Soft (Soft in places) – 8 runners

Gala Ball
Was hard work when a probably-fortunate winner at Wincanton on January 4th, pushed along away from 12th, reminder after 13th, shuffled back to 3 lengths 4th after 4 out, hard ridden approaching 3 out, was 2 lengths behind when left in front by Pingshou’s fall 3 out, hard driven and wandered left approaching last, driven out, just about all out, held on from Le Rocher. This race is probably stronger and he’s now off a maximum mark, but they’ve put cheekpieces on him for the first time and he’s hard to rule out
Belami Des Pictons*
No form on only start last season, which was coming back after a year and three months’ absence. Best of two runs this season when 4th to Happy Diva in Betvictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham, last pair when niggled along approaching 13th, struggling as vigorously pushed along in last trio at the top of the hill, started to pass beaten ones under a ride approaching home turn, well held 2 out, kept on under a ride from approaching last, took 4th close home. Failed to stay and made mistakes in 3m handicap at Kempton next time, disputing 3rd under a push after 4 out, pushed along home turn, faded, well held when mistake 3 out, weakened approaching 2 out, no more behind Just A Sting. Trip is more suitable and he’s also tried in cheekpieces the first time
Two Taffs*
Promising comeback from a two-year absence when 3rd to The Worlds End in West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby in November, but didn’t back it up in Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury later that month, midfield 10th, in close to 14th, closer order next, in about lengths 6th turning out of back straight, niggled along home turn some 5 lengths down, pushed along approaching 4 out, no extra when steadied into 3 out, weakened, well back 2 out, weakened further, tailed off. Simply failed to stay, but was bang there at the Cross Fence, and chances back to his best trip
Clondaw Castle
Promising comeback when 2nd, albeit a gifted one, to Diego Du Charmil at Ascot over 2m1f back in November, but didn’t turn up in Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham, lost place and midfield to rear 7th, niggled along and struggling 10th, pushed along in rear 12th, hard ridden and lost further ground from 3 out, weakened, tailed off behind Warthog. Not his true running there and worth another chance
King Of Realms
Best run last season when, in a first-time visor, making all to win 3m Class 2 handicap chase at Warwick, though all out after blundering 3 out and only just holding on from Coup De Pinceau. Best of two runs this campaign when 4th to Fingerontheswitch at Kempton on January 11th, chased leader when niggled along approaching 12th, pushed along after 13th, held place under a ride going to 4 out, hard driven home turn, stayed on and disputed lead, upsides 3 out, ridden and faded approaching 2 out, dropped back approaching last, lost 3rd close home. Dropped in trip, which will suit as he appears to barely stay 3m, he’s blinkered first time (trainer 10.7% strike rate, Flat/jumps, with first-time blinkered runners since April 2008) and is in the mix
Won two of last three over 2m, had something in hand when beating Massini Man at Southwell in December, and went up in class to win Class 2 at Wetherby on January 11th, led 6th, ridden into 7th, upsides 9th, chased leader turning out of back straight, niggled along home turn, was 3 lengths down as Niven went for home approaching 4 out, pushed along, closing when mistake 3 out, put under pressure, stayed on and the better jump 2 out, led, driven, a neck up last, driven out, stayed on well, workmanlike and decisive from the staying-on Hawk High. With Grand Steeplechase de Paris-winners among his relatives, there’s every chance that he’ll stay this new longer trip
Generous Day
Was 33/1 when winning at Kempton in November, moved best home turn, shaken up, effort and led 3 out, hard ridden, was joined 2 out, 1st 2 pulled clear approaching last, the better jump, ridden out, stayed on well to pull further clear of Doctor Dex. Stepped up in class in Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham but wasn’t up to it, several mistakes, pushed along after 12th, weakened 13th, looked held when mistake 4 out, dropped to last 3 out, weakened and tailed off home turn, pulled up before 2 out. Less to do here
Northern Beau 
Won over 2m at Cheltenham on December 14th but didn’t impress at all in how she did it, hard ridden and reminder after 5th, niggled along before in close to 7th, effort to chase leader 9th, again came under a push 10th, going worst of the leaders at the top of the hill, put under strong pressure home turn, effort and led turning in, went 2 lengths clear under a drive approaching last, driven out up the hill, stayed on well to beat Eamon An Cnoic. Ran well to a point over hurdles at Cheltenham end of January when 4th to Back On The Lash, led till 2 out, headed and no more from the home turn, carrying head head awkwardly when ridden after the last. Has been reluctant to race more than once in the past and not for me, such was the unimpressive manner of her Cheltenham win

Shortlist: Belami Des Pictons, Two Taffs

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