Wetherby Preview, 16-10-19

Wednesday October 16th

Wetherby 4.00
Bobby Renton Handicap Chase Class 3 0-140
2m3f85y – Going: Good to Soft – 9 runners

Best effort last season when runner-up to Javert at Uttoxeter on reappearance; ran an okay 4th to Any Second Now in Kim Muir at Cheltenham Festival on last start, ridden along to take the early lead,  headed approaching 17th, chased leader and moved comfortably enough going down the hill to 3 out, hard ridden after it, still in contention home turn, pushed along approaching 2 out, faded under a ride between last 2, held when driven after last, kept on, hung left, stayed on into 4th last 150 yards, not reach 1st 3, beaten 12 lengths. Not untypically his trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has hit the ground running this season and he looks a lb or 2 well-in, back at his best trip
Cracking Find*
Consistent 2m chaser posted best effort last season when running 3rd to Movie Legend at Doncaster in March, sent on, disputed lead from 4th, 1st 2 went 2 to 3 lengths clear, steadied into 7th, niggled along in front, bumped rival 8th, firmly pushed along home turn, headed 4 out, put under pressure, steadied into 3 out, hard driven again approaching 2 out, upsides Movie Legend, hard driven and stayed on at one pace approaching last, stuck to task under pressure and was closing on the winner last 100 yards, always just held; fell 1st in Red Rum at Aintree when last seen. Has three wins over 2m3f/2m4f to his name
Ascot De Bruyere
Made all to win twice at Newcastle last season and, although not landing the hattrick, ran just as well in defeat when last seen in March, went on, mistake 9th,  ridden into and reached for 14th, led half a length home turn, hard ridden and going worst of the field from 4 out, headed 3 out, dropped to last, kept on after last to take well-held 2nd post, no chance with Special Prep, beaten 14 lengths. Higher mark for his wins forces him into this better race and he’s not won before the turn of the year before
Chef D’Equipe
Best run last season on reappearance, at Newbury in November, a little keen, headway and closer order 7th, further ground to track leaders 10th, 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, beaten just shy of 2 lengths behind Siruh Du Lac. Inconsistent after but did land a novices’ hurdle at Taunton in January. Hard to rule out
Much best effort last season when winning at Kelso, in so doing completing a hattrick, last January, went on, ridden into 7th (normally 9th), steadied into 8th (normally 10th), going best of the field 2 out (normally 4 out), was 5 lengths up last (normally 3 out), stretched further clear without being asked a question home turn, pushed along passing omitted 2 out, stayed on to pull further clear by the time he passed omitted last, readily by 20 lengths from Mount Mews. Lost his way after, pulled up in Hillhouse Quarry at Ayr in April when last seen. Might need to dominate in a small field and his trainer Sandy Thomson hasn’t had a winner since February 27th
Sky Pirate
Maiden chaser, twice runner-up; ran quite well in Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival when last seen in March, prominent, in close to 13th, made a little ground 4 out, moved comfortably as tracked leaders approaching 3 out, pushed along home turn, effort and no more than half a length down approaching 2 out, ridden and kept on one pace approaching last, driven and weakened up the hill, lost 3rd, jockey going faster than the horse as weakened further last 150 yards, no more, 7th beaten 17 lengths behind Any Second Now. Having not run over around 2m4f since December 2017, the way he finished at Cheltenham it could be a good shout
Kayf Blanco
Exposed handicap chaser; got a win off 123 at Fakenham on February 15th, relegated to 3rd 10th, mistake 11th, in close to 4 out, chased leader 3 out, arguably moved best approaching 2 out, shaken up after it, effort and led on inner home turn, ridden clear, safe last, pushed out, stayed on in clear lead, unchallenged by 8 lengths from Valadom. Probably matched that when a fortunate winner at Ludlow next time, last of the 3 runners and ridden along after 5 out, took 2nd 4 out, not getting to Kupatana who was yet to be shaken up when left well clear 2 out. Well held at Kempton in March when last seen. Not out of the 1st 3 in five runs at Wetherby but not won first up
Won at Hexham last December and best run over fences to date when 3rd to Dell Oro at Huntingdon over 2m4f in January, held up,  went left 9th, made ground to track 1st 2 3 out, firmly pushed along approaching home turn, outpaced and unable to go with 1st 2 approaching 2 out, hard driven, went 2nd last, kept on under pressure, not reaching Dell Oro last 150 yards, lost 2nd post. Unlucky to get caught for 2nd but stuck to his task well. Runner-up over 2m last two runs. Could have a say in this
Some promise in competitive novices’ handicap at Carlisle in December, last to make a start and niggled along, headway 11th, ridden into 13th, with leaders home turn, niggled along approaching 4 out, shaken up after it, stayed on going to 3 out, steadied into and brushed it, put under pressure, kept on going to 2 out, stayed on under pressure between last 2, within half a length jumping last, driven and no extra after it, lost ground last 175 yards, lost 4th close home, beaten just over 5 lengths behind Didero Vallis. Unseated then fell at Haydock last 2 starts, was in contention for 2nd when unseating 2 out in December then had a chance when falling at the last in race won by The Paddy Pie in February. Ground’s not a problem and mark is competitive

Shortlist: Crievehill, Cracking Find, Niven

Wetherby 5.35
2m handicap hurdle Class 3 0-140
Going: Good to Soft – 10 runners

Project Bluebook
Best effort in last few months when runner-up in Swinton at Haydock in May, put under pressure approaching 2 out with 10 lengths to find and 6 rivals in front, hard driven after 2 out, no impression till picked up strongly after last, passed rivals to go 2nd, sustained strong effort and closing on Le Patriote last 150 yards but never getting there, beaten a length. Runner-up at Cartmel in June to Wells De Lune, midfield at Galway over 2m5f and on the Flat at Ayr over 2m1f since. It now looks as though he needs further
Theatre Legend
Best run last season when winning at Ayr in April off 128, prominent, mistake 1st, niggled along off home turn but moved comfortably enough, tracked leaders 3 out, shaken up, hung left, a length and a bit down 2 out, hard ridden, continued to hang left and a length down last, the better jump, ridden and ran on last 175 yards, asserted close home, going away at the post from Champagne Mystery. Didn’t match that when 3rd of 4 in a novice at Aintree in May when last seen. Comes here not yet exposed; tendency to hang left when ridden is a worry
Lucky Icon
On what turned out to be his last run for Thomas Mullins, won a handicap hurdle at Galway in August,  led 3rd, travelled comfortably in front 7th, travelled best of the field 2 out, shaken up on landing, pushed along home turn, stayed on, led 2 lengths last, hard driven, stayed on strongly to pull further clear run-in. Hard to fault, jumped and travelled well. On first start for Philip Kirby, started 11/10 favourite and was down the field on the Flat in a Carlisle handicap in August, slowly away, keen hold, raced wide, niggled along home turn, pushed along 3f out and arguably going worst of the field, weakened 2f out, dropped rear, well held. Not sure what to expect but does need to improve on the bare form of the Galway race
Captain Moirette*
Ready winner of small-field Haydock novice in March,  travelled comfortably 5th, tracked 1st 2 turning out of back straight, produced to challenge 3 out, travelled much the best upsides leader approaching 2 out, niggled along after it, effort and led/pricked ears nearing last, hard ridden run-in, ran on to draw clear, ridden out by 5 lengths from Skiddaw Valleys. Not a factor behind Verdana Blue in Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr when last seen, firmly pushed along and outpaced 6th, midfield home turn, looked held 3 out, hard driven, no more from 2 out, kept on from last and closed on 7th a little but essentially no impression, beaten 15 lengths. Unexposed, probably a chaser in the making
Lucky Lover Boy
Ordinary juvenile whose form improved when going into handicaps, racing a little lazily when winning at Huntingdon in April, staying on well from the last after he was hard ridden on the home turn, then made heavy weather of winning a novice at Bangor later that month, niggled along from an early stage, got a split and challenged leader approaching 2 out, ridden and led approaching last, headed jumping, ridden and led 175 yards out, asserted close home to beat Constancio just shy of a length. Having run poorly on the Flat in September, shapes as though could do with a step up in trip and/or headgear – this looks a tough task
In action over the Summer and won at Perth in August on heavy, half the hurdles omitted;  chased leader home turn and travelled comfortably till hard driven as Chef De Troupe quickened again around where 2 out normally would be, not going anywhere near as well as leader at that stage, still 2 lengths down 125 yards off last, only half a length down jumping, sustained effort under strong pressure, led close home, just got there. Not by any stretch the best horse in the race on the day, conditions having an effect. Last out at Kelso in September when 3rd to Aye Right, hard ridden and switched wide approaching 2 out, every chance, hard driven, stayed on, began to fade nearing last, ridden and weakened run-in. Had a chance between the last 2 there but didn’t finish the race well. Might now be too high in the weights and question mark over his attitude
Beach Break
Followed up a win in a Bangor novice when good 2nd to Teqany in Class 2 handicap at Stratford in September, ridden into 2 out and led there, moved best in a length lead over the mound and approaching turn out of back straight, shaken up starting that bend, hard driven home turn, stayed on, was joined by Teqany approaching last, hard driven, stayed on and still upsides 150 yards out, was rather leaned on by the winner against far side (inside) rail, no extra last 75 yards, faded a little. Two schools of thought – he arguably checked out late in the day, or he arguably had his finish inhibited by the winner’s leaning on him. Either way, the benefit of the doubt here
Won at Uttoxeter on hurdling debut; best effort in juvenile hurdles when 2nd to Song For Someone at Warwick in February, moved comfortably 4th, mistake 5th, steadied into 3 out, niggled along after it, pushed along in rear of main group home turn when 5 lengths to find, hard ridden turning in, kept on 2 out, ridden, keeping on when blundered last, went 2nd, driven, pulled clear of 2nd, no chance with winner. Didn’t go near it when disappointing in two subsequent starts. Not sure what to expect but jumping a worry
Won at Uttoxeter in December but best run to date in 0-120 handicap at Newbury in March,  in close to 4th, ridden into 5th, closer order approaching 3 out, moved comfortably till pushed along approaching 2 out, effort and every chance jumping, hard ridden, led approaching last, immediately challenged and headed jumping, put under pressure, stayed on and led again, driven out, stayed on till headed 150 yards out, faded late, losing ground on 1st 2 at the line, 3rd to Laughing Luis. Looks (on TV at least) and strides nothing like a 2m hurdler, more like a lobbing-along chaser with no pace – looks competitive at the weights though and I’d like to see some use made of him
Enfin Phil*
Maiden hurdler, much best effort at Sedgefield on March 29th, led,  in close to 5th and hard ridden away from it for a couple of strides, pushed along 8th, led a length approaching turn out of back straight, pressed on and went 3 lengths clear by home turn, 1st 2 pulled clear, hard ridden and not going as well as Whoshotthesheriff approaching 2 out, the better jump there but headed, put under pressure, stayed with winner and still every chance approaching last, upsides jumping, driven, stayed on, could have gone either way till no extra last couple of strides, beaten just over a length (it didn’t look that much on TV). The winner there was officially 130 at the time, so if that can be taken literally, the handicapper’s made a serious error in putting this one on 118

Shortlist: Captain Moirette, Antunes, Enfin Phil

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