Warwick Race Preview, 11/01/20

Saturday January 11th

Warwick 3.00
McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering
Classic Handicap Chase Class 1 Grade 3
3m5f54y – Going: Soft – 13 runners

Le Breuil
The hard race he had when winning the National Hunt Chase seems to have taken something of a toll as he’s been a long way off that in West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby and Becher Chase at Aintree, in the latter midfield approaching 15th, niggled along approaching 4 out, further good ground and prominent 3 out, ridden along home turn, lost ground approaching 2 out, ridden and no impression before steadied into last, driven and looked heavy-legged approaching the Elbow, no more. Made a lot of ground and ended up in contention plenty early enough, at the third last, and he was used up with nothing more to give after the second last as a result. Unlikely to be making an impact
Was 3rd to Impulsive Star in this race last year (within half a length 2 out, hard ridden, faded approaching last, put under pressure, stayed on, no more last 100 yards) prior to winning the Eider and runner-up in Scottish Grand National. Nowhere near that this year, in Tommy Whittle at Haydock last time pushed along after 15th, onyl 3 lengths down off home turn, put under pressure, weakened markedly approaching 3 out where blundered, heavy-legged and tired, in close to 2 out, looked laboured as continued to drop back approaching last, well tailed off behind Lord du Mesnil. This time last year he’d won races and was rated 135 – now he’s blowing out and 144
Rocky’s Treasure
The Conditional
Dramatically improved handicap chaser followed up Cheltenham win in October with another belter to chase home De Rasher Counter in Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury last time, although there’s a ‘but’ at the end; prominent, mistake 9th, changed legs before 13th, hit 15th, ridden into 16th and 5 out, travelled comfortably home turn, moved best approaching 3 out, at most a length down jumping, shaken up and rather hung fire nearing 2 out, hard driven approaching last, a length and a half down when mistake, driven and hung left again, picked up under pressure last 100 yards but always held. Yes, great run, but he looked the winner and didn’t win; so might not go through with it if he gets there, but strong form chance
Kimberlite Candy*
A bit hit and miss last season, but there were a couple of decent efforts. Good reappearance over the National fences in Becher Chase at Aintree, prominent 14th, niggled along approaching omitted 17th, reminders and outpaced after 3 out, stayed on bend before 2 out, unbalanced momentarily after jumping, aroudn 8 lengths to find last, put under pressure, stayed on approaching the Elbow, soon went 2nd, closed on Walk In The Mill under pressure last 200 yards, never getting there but stuck to task. Good run although tapped for pace and looks like no trip will be too far for this one
Impulsive Star
Followed up a horrible performance to chase home Ok Corral at Plumpton by winning this race last year, looking a different animal as he jumped, travelled and found the necessary to beat Calett Mad and Crosspark. Has completed a hattrick since – of pulled-ups, unfortunately, completing the unwanted statistic at Cheltenham on December 13th, mistake 10th, ridden into 15th, mistake 16th, pushed along, ridden when jumped slow 18th, lost place quickly, tailed off 3 out, pulled up before next. Now blinkered first time and trainer Neil Mulholland’s record in the last five years with runners first start in the headgear (Flat and jumps) is none from 13
On his second run in blinkers, ran away with handicap chase at Kelso in October, gradually closed on leaders from 2 out (normally 4 out), mistake last, pushed along home turn, effort and took 2nd approaching omitted 2 out, pushed along, put under pressure approaching omitted last, driven clear to beat Dandy Dan. Didn’t turn up in Becher Chase at Aintree last time, niggled along 9th, lost place and tailed off 15th, pulled up after 16th. Not sure what we’ll get from him now
Bobo Mac*
Fairly useful hurdler has won one of his six chases, but best effort in defeat at Ludlow last time, headway and midfield 15th, moved comfortably, further ground on the bit and tracked leaders home turn, ridden into 4 out, still moved well but had 4 lengths to find 3 out, pushed along, disputed 2nd 2 out but no impression on Roll Again, stayed on, clear in 2nd last, ridden out, sustained effort, went further clear of 3rd and closed on eased winner last 150 yards. Ran into one there and good run, not stopping at the end (that winner is in the Grade 2 novices’ chase earlier on this card). Unexposed as a chaser, has a chance here
Captain Chaos*
As hit-and-miss as ever: for the second year running ran a good one in Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle (picking up the pieces as Jonniesofa and Top Ville Ben faded and unable to match the winner Takingrisks in the last 100 yards), but then blew it behind Potters Corner in Welsh Grand National at Chepstow, lost place and towards rear 7th, kept on a bit after 12th, midfield and niggled along when mistake 17th, driven and lost ground 18th, reminders and struggling home turn, weakened under a ride approaching 4 out, soon pulled up. Most runners who come here after the Welsh Grand National flop, but connections have refitted him with blinkers, in which headgear he’s won three times and been runner-up twice
Hasn’t done a lot of winning but has shaped well a couple of times over fences, placed twice from four chases with best effort coming at Exeter in December when 3rd to Earlofthecotswolds, went on, ridden into  and in close to 4th, ridden into 11th, was closed on approaching turn out of back straight, pushed along home turn, headed 4 out, still a chance 3 out, outpaced when mistake 2 out, chased leader and hung a little approaching last, went through it, one reminder, kept on run-in, going on well last 100 yards and was closing on the 2nd final strides. In terms of stamina he’s a half-brother to Alcala, who won over 3m but isn’t bred to get that far, let alone this 3m5f, and Darlac himself flopped on both runs to date over 3m, so not for me
Petite Power
Fully exposed staying chaser who hits flat spots and for whom no trip is too far; he’s ended up on 131 after winning at Cheltenham and Uttoxeter on his first two starts this season then running 2nd  in near-3m7f handicap chase at Exeter last time, lost place and dropped rear under a push 11th, moving more comfortably going down the hill to 14th, niggled along away from it, last of main group 15th, firmly pushed along and stayed on past tired rivals turning out of back straight, sustained effort and within 5 lengths of leader home turn under a ride, challenged for 2nd 4 out, went 2nd 3 out, put under pressure, had 4 lengths to find 2 out, hard driven, stayed on and closed on winner approaching last, pair clear, slowly reeled in Belle Empress under driving till held last stride. Goes well for his amateur rider and might pick up some pieces
Head To The Stars
Hasn’t won often and, although looking a bit on the slow side, ran his best to date over fences at Bangor last time, prominent 12th, mistake 13th, outpaced going to 3 out and had 5 lengths to find on leader under a ride, stayed on approaching home turn, put under pressure and held a chance 2 out, moved upsides approachintg last, at most half a length down jumping, unbalanced on landing, put under pressure, no extra, picked up last 125 yards and was closing on Mr Caffrey final strides. Going on well at the end; looked short of pace at various points of the race – needed a ride to get him from where he was with six to jump, to where he was on the home turn – and no trip likely to be too far for this one; might pick up some pieces
Joueur Bresilien
Largely exposed: sound jumping performance to win at Ffos Las on October 19th, made ground to track leaders after 11th, produced to challenge 3 out and travelled best, pushed along passing omitted 3 out, led 2 out, ridden, quickly asserted and drew clear, safe last, pushed out, stayed on well to go further clear, decisive from Twasn’t The Plan, but hasn’t built on that, well held in Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial at Newbury on November 30th, in last pair when mistakes 11th and 12th, tailed off 4 out, left alone approaching 3 out, kept on a bit after last and was going on well at the end. Perhaps the big field did for him as he was struggling a long way out, but he was doing good late work. That said going up to 3m5f, having never run over 3m so far, looks in hope rather than expectation – he’s not bred to stay (half-brother won over 2m1f) and he hasn’t won in better than Class 4
Goodnight Charlie
Best to date when winning mares’ handicap chase at Cheltenham last April, up with the pace throughout and surviving a blunder 4 out to beat The Wicket Chicken; nothing close to that since, running against geldings, was behind Petite Power at Uttoxeter in November and did nothing in Mandarin at Newbury last time, firmly pushed along 5th, reached for 7th, lost ground 10th, ridden along in midfield 11th, mistake 12th, rear 13th, tailed off 15th, pulled up immediately after that – not hard to dismiss

Shortlist: Kimberlite Candy, Bobo Mac, Captain Chaos

Warwick 3.35
Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle
Series Qualifier Class 2
3m1f – Going: Soft – 14 runners

Sire Du Berlais
Was never on the bit when staying on strongly to win the Pertemps Final at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, making mistakes. Struggling off higher marks this season and was never seen with a chance in Pertemps Qualifier at Leopardstown over Christmas, mistake 4th, vigorously pushed along after 7th, a lot to do 8th under a ride, going worst of the field 9th, started to pick up approaching 2 out, stayed on past beaten ones approaching last, kept on run-in, nearest finish when 9th to Treacyenniscorthy – hence his running in this as he needs to finish in the first six to qualify for this year’s Final. It’s a smaller field so he might well manage that, but he’s a difficult ride who’s likely to struggle to win it
Stoney Mountain
Needed all of the trip to win Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Haydock on the Betfair Chase undercard, blundered 6th, niggled along 8th, ridden along home turn, a bit to do some 5 to 6 lengths down when mistake 3 out, about the same distance behind 2 out, looked held, ridden, 6 lengths down last, started to stay on run-in, really picked up last 150 yards, put under pressure, continued to run on strongly and led 75 yards out, going away from Acey Milan at the post. Unseated on chasing debut at Cheltenham in race won by Pym last time and goes back over hurdles here; will need the jockey to be at him from a long way out but he might turn up on the scene late
White Moon
Started the season handicap chasing and looked the most likely winner when falling at Wincanton on reappearance in October,  disputed lead 17th, led 4 out travelling comfortably, sent for home 3 out and opened up a lead, mistake 2 out, sustained effort, half a length up when knuckled on landing and fell last, Wandrin Star the beneficiary. Last time in Badger Beers Chase at Wincanton dropped out of things on the final circuit and pulled up eventually behind Give Me A Copper. Capable of doing something here on his best chase form
Lisnagar Oscar
Best performance last season to take Grade 2 novices’ hurdle at Haydock in February 2019, pushed along turning out of back straight, effort approaching 3 out, was 2 lengths down jumping, firmly pushed along and stayed on, got upsides 2 out, sustained effort to lead approaching last under a push, clear jumping, ridden out, stayed on strongly to draw further clear of Ask Ben run-in. Novice chasing career appears to have been put on hold after promising runner-up run behind Ardlethen at Chepstow, was poor 3rd to Black Op at Stratford next time – pushed along and lost place final circuit, tailed off home turn – and didn’t fare much better when well beaten behind Stoney Mountain at Haydock back over hurdles,  mistake 5th, pushed along and lost place after 6th, detached from main group 9th and reminder, looked well held and struggling home turn. Now wearing first time cheekpieces, has a chance if coming back to his best
Largely consistent and, aged nine going on ten, put in a career-best to win at Haydock in December, prominent, lost ground and niggled along in midfield approaching 7th, made up lost ground and prominent again next, niggled along turning out of back straight, effort under a ride from home turn and chased leader approaching 3 out, led there, pushed along, 1st 2 pulled clear, upsides last, driven out, stayed on well run-in, asserted and pulled clear of Big Shark last 125 yards. This will be tougher again but last time suggests he’s in the form of his life
Diomede Des Mottes
Suspect finish when 2nd at Aintree in November, started a move from 8th, moved comfortably, mistake 10th, good ground from 3 out to track leaders approaching 2 out, moved best as pulled wide to challenge approaching last, produced to lead 200 yards out, ridden, didn’t find anything, losing ground on Skandiburg last 50 yards – looked the winner and didn’t win. Ran worse in Grade 3 handicap at Haydock behind Stoney Mountain, badly hampered by faller 5th, good ground on outer and prominent to midfield when mistake 7th, pushed along from 8th, mistake 9th, hard ridden and reminder, lost place approaching turn out of back straight, well held home turn, hung left 3 out, weakened, tailed off 2 out, no more. Not progressing
Best run last season when winning 0-130 handicap hurdle at Wincanton in January 2019, plenty of cover and had to be switched middle to inner to get a sight of 2 out, hard ridden, effort and drew upsides leaders approaching last, lugged left under a ride, jumped it upsides, found more on the run-in, driven out, stayed  on well to beat Tight Call. Best so far this term last time out, when 3rd to Stoney Mountain in the Grade 3 at Haydock, midfield 2nd, mistake 6th and pushed along away from it, closer order 7th, hard ridden after 9th, badly outpaced home turn and ended up disputing 8th some 7 or 8 lengths down approaching 3 out, looked held and heavy-legged approaching 2 out, began to keep on approaching last, some 10 lengths down entering final furlong, made ground on those ahead, took 3rd final stride, not reach 1st 2 and shaping as though in need of extreme trips. Chance here is a realistic one, but it depends on there being an end-to-end gallop
Its All Guesswork
More often seen over fences last season, but also ran a good one over hurdles when 3rd in a Pertemps Qualifier at Punchestown last February, dropped out last, niggled along going to 4 out, headway into midfield going largely comfortably approaching 3 out, pushed along with a bit to do when mistake 2 out, ridden home turn in 10 lengths 8th, passed a few before last, ridden run-in, stayed on, drew clear of the 4th run-in and nearest finish – stayed well and going on well at the end. Reverted to fences at the Cheltenham Festival, failed to confirm that in Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase,  ridden 4 out in rear of the main group, no further impression 3 out, reminders, no ground and well held home turn behind Any Second Now. Not out since. Has run well fresh and could do something on this belated reappearance
Useful novice; won decisively at Ascot in November, mistake 4 out, nudged along 3 out, moved comfortably approaching home turn, shaken up turning in, stayed on in front, driven between last 2, mistake last, ridden out, stayed on well to maintain clear lead and beat Papa Tango Charly and Fred, the latter having improved since. Was found wanting in Grade 2 at Cheltenham in December but different tactics were employed, rear 8th but in touch and going comfortably, nudged along approaching 10th, ridden into it, niggled along going down the hill to 2 out, mistake there, soon driven along, ridden and outpaced home turn, well held last, kept on last 175 yards, 6th to Redford Road. The Ascot win could be rated higher than I currently have it and this one’s a contender in this first handicap
Silver Sheen*
Suddenly progressing over hurdles and lines up on a hattrick after winning at Wexford in October and Thurles over 2m7f in November, disputed it after 8th, led 9th, ridden into 3 out and pressed on, niggled along home turn, ridden into 2 out, 1st 2 pulled clear, put under pressure between last 2, stayed on well to draw clear, some 5 lengths up jumping, pushed out, decisive by just over 6 lengths from Allez Dance. On pedigree is likely to improve further for this longer trip
Doc Penfro
First win over hurdles and best performance to date when decisively winning in a small field at Bangor on December 13th, mistakes 5th and 6th, moved comfortably and started to close 8th, continued ground going well to dispute lead 3 out, went on home turn, shaken up, driven and went clear approaching 2 out, mistake, sustained effort under pressure approaching last, ridden out run-in, beat Bryden Boy 4 lengths. Needs more but could well find the necessary improvement
One For The Team*
Yet to win over hurdles, but found plenty of improvement when chasing home Champers On Ice at Newbury in November, prominent 6th, mistake 7th and pushed along for a stride, moved fairly comfortably till niggled along home turn, some 3 or 4 lengths to find when switched inner to middle approaching 2 out, took 3rd after it and hard driven approaching last, stayed on under pressure 200 yards out, closed on 1st 2 inside last 100 yards and took 2nd close home, not reach winner. Took a while to pick up but wasn’t stopping at the end. Chance again
Looks a long way removed from the useful hurdler that finished 3rd to Delta Work in the 2018 Pertemps Final, in four runs for new connections has either been beaten 32 lengths or more or been pulled up, when last out tailed off in 3rd behind Sir Jack Yeats in a hunter chase at Fakenham last March. Confidently swerved
Special Acceptance
Maiden hurdler, however he’d have gone close to a first win but for a bit of ill-fortune in Pertemps Qualifier at Sandown last time, niggled along starting final circuit, again niggled as pace increased after 8th, more firmly pushed along after 9th, a bit to do 3 out, headway turning out of back straight and rear of main group home turn, outpaced and mistake 2 out, hard ridden and stayed on approaching last, had taken 3rd when mistake, had taken 2nd and was closing on Go Whatever when rider fell off run-in. It would have been a head either way and it entitles him to claims here

Shortlist: Tedham, Silver Sheen, One For The Team

Copyright Roy Waterhouse 2020. All rights reserved.