Wetherby Race Preview, 16/11/2019

Saturday November 16th

* indicates Horses on Shortlist
** indicates Selection

Wetherby 1.40
Dransfields CIU Charity Raceday Handicap Hurdle
Class 3 0-135
2m3f154y – Going: Soft (Heavy in places) – 9 runners

Mount Mews
Refused to race in Martin Pipe Hurdle at Cheltenham; started okay in 2m4f handicap hurdle at Aintree but not much else happened,  mistakes 4th and 5th, niggled along 6th, more firmly pushed along 7th, mistake 8th, already well beaten when blundered badly 3 out, left alone going to 2 out, tailed off approaching last. Down to a favourable mark but no knowing if he’ll want to exploit it or not
Sakhee’s City*
Ran to his best but, not for the first time, didn’t go through with his effort when runner-up to Mr Sccrumpy at Wetherby on Charlie Hall day, had 3 lengths to find approaching 3 out going well, nudged along approaching 2 out but still moved better than most, shaken up after 2 out, carried head high, stayed on approaching last, a length and a half down jumping, driven and didn’t stay on run-in, driven out, kept on to hold 2nd, no impression on winner. Could well run close but not one to take short odds about
Cool Mix
Disappointing reappearance over fences at Wetherby last month, tended to jump flat-backed, kept on a little bit home turn, struggling some 6 or 7 lengths down when mistake 4 out, weakened 3 out, dropped further away, tailed off. Has won over 2m4f and won on heavy going, but not both together
One For Harry*
 A while without a win: best form last season on second run, at Ayr in January, disputed lead turning out of back straight, hard ridden going to 3 out, pair clear, mistake 3 out, hard ridden, stayed on, still a chance 2 out, hard driven, faded between last 2, 3 lengths down last, driven and no more run-in, weakened last 150 yards, lost 4th close home and losing ground at the post, 5th to Aye Right. No other form in three subsequent runs. Unbeaten in two runs at this track
Well held behind Ryedale Racer over 2m7f at Hexham last time, but has no form at that trip. Better claims on reappearance effort, also at Hexham, which was over 2m4f on October 4th, held up, headway and prominent 7th, at most nudged along approaching 2 out, pushed along after it, chased leader and looked the most likely winner approaching home turn, hard ridden approaching last, the better jump and left in front, hard driven, idled, headed by Taxmeifyoucan last 100 yards, no extra. Chance now he’s back over this trip
Ryedale Racer
Up 6 lbs for LTO-win at Hexham last time with Eviscerating well back, with this odd performance; held up, crowded 4th, suddenly started to race keenly and pulled his way through field to lead and go clear approaching 5th where stood off, came back to them approaching 7th and not so far ahead, stood off 8th, moved comfortably 10th, was joined up front when ridden into 2 out, moved best home turn, led a length last, ridden, stayed on well under pressure last 175 yards, pulled clear. Odd because he started to race keenly halfway, and had enough left to pull clear over 2m7f at Hexham on soft ground. Career-high mark now: all wins at stiff tracks, Hexham (three) at Carlisle, so no stand-out over this easier course
Newberry New
Infrequent winner and signed off last season with an unchallenged win from negligible opposition in 2m7f handicap chase at Newcastle on March 16th, pushed along approaching 13th, headway and challenged leader home turn, pushed along going to 4 out, led there, stayed on under a ride from 3 out, well clear last, pushed out, unchallenged by 18 lengths from Ueueteotl. That was off 107, his highest winning mark is 111 and this looks a most unlikely winner here
Blue Hussar
Stayer on the Flat. A couple of bits of reasonable form including at Wetherby last November, although didn’t impress with how he went about it; niggled along 7th, in close to 8th, pushed along home turn, outpaced approaching 3 out and looked held, carried head high and to one side and a lot to do approaching 2 out, ridden, about 15 lengths back last, driven, absolutely flew from last and took 3rd close home, nearest finish and 3rd to Always Resolute. Not sure about this one on the going; well treated on old form but his trainer Micky Hammond doesn’t have a good recent record with horses like this one reappearing after 300 or more days off
One of the least impressive performances by a horse beaten a short-head by this one at Southwell last time out, in first-time blinkers,  in close to 7th, niggled along after it and carried head awkwardly, msitake 8th, was looking to the right rather than straight ahead approaching 9th, strong reminder after it, made ground and tracked leaders under a ride turning out of back straight, kept on and a length and a bit down 2 out, hard driven, again wasn’t looking straight ahead but stayed on approaching last, every chance jumping, hung left, stayed on last 100 yards, virtually dead-heated with Trapper Peak but just held post. With cheekpieces back on, not sure what to expect

Shortlist: Sakhee’s City, One For Harry, Eviscerating

Wetherby 2.15
William Hill Supporting Responsible Gambling H’cap Chase
Class 3 0-140
2m3f85y – Going: Soft (Heavy in places) – 7 runners

Mr Antolini*
Faced a tall order on chasing debut and did well against Black Op at Stratford late last month, mistake 7th, headway 9th, niggled along and improved further to go 2nd 3 out (normally 4 out), chased Black Op going to 2 out (normally 3 out), pushed along, no impression on winner but kept on to go well clear of the rest, was 3 lengths down at most on winner turning out of back straight, hard driven home turn, outpaced approaching last, pushed out run-in, kept on. Put in a mainly sound round of jumping and chance in this handicap if his jumping holds
Lachlan Bridge
On first start for three years, made little impact in Durham National at Sedgefield won by The Caller on October 20th, mistake 12th, mistake 17th and niggled along away from it, weakening and in rear when mistake 18th, tailed off 19th, mistake 21st, pulled up eventually. Sometimes refused to race in his native France. Probably best watched
Catamaran Du Seuil 
Won this race last year,  shaken up 2 out, stayed on, drew 5 or 6 lengths up by last, pushed out from Cracking Find. Useful on his day but one of his worse efforts at Wetherby on reappearance in Listed handicap chase won by Guitar Pete on November 1st, a bit reluctant to race and started last and detached, made up lost ground by 6th, blundered 9th, mistake 10th and detached last again, looked held 12th, trailed in though finished with running in him. He also needed riding along to make a start in the Ultima Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival and appears to be picking up bad habits
Storm Control
Made all to win at Huntingdon last May, pushed along home turn, drew clear turning in, had gone 12 lengths clear when jumped left 2 out, about 15 lengths up last, pushed out run-in, idled when in the clear but never in danger. Probably a better run than his position indicates at Ludlow on his reappearance this season, definite lead 5th, ridden into 6th, 7th and 8th, rider pressed on in front going to 9th, hard ridden home turn, mistake and pecked on landing 4 out, was joined 3 out, ridden, a length down 2 out, driven and faded approaching last, well held jumping, wandered all over as tired run-in, only just held 4th behind What’s Occurring. A better run than his position on reappearance after mistakes, every chance at the second last before perhaps lack of a run told. Sure to get this trip on pedigree
Ardera Cross*
Largely progressive as a chaser and on second run this season, continued that progression at Ayr on November 2nd,  led after 4th, ridden into 7th and 8th, was joined 9th, niggled along turning out of back straight and found more to pull clear, pushed along approaching 4 out, half a length up 3 out, driven, about the same up 2 out, hard driven approaching last, driven out run-in and stayed on well last 175 yards to pull clear of Monsieur Co. On that showing it’s hard to get to the bottom of this one, as he was under a ride from the turn and kept finding: could well bring more to the table here
On first run for Claire Dyson, not much happened in Listed handicap chase at Ascot behind Diego Du Charmil on November 2nd, led to 3rd, gradually dropped through field, tailed off 7th of eight finishers beaten just over 40 lengths. Was better than that for previous stable – on some back-form he’d be competitive in this – but probably best watched for the moment
The Dubai Way
Unexposed as a chaser and signed off last season with a win at Plumpton in March, that his first run for the Charlie Mann stable: niggled along approaching 9th, ridden into it, came to join leaders 10th, left in front approaching 3 out, travelled best in a 2-length lead home turn, jumped right and legs going sideways 2 out, pushed along, stayed on, a better jump last, ridden out, asserted run-in, workmanlike and unchallenged from Vicenzo Mio. Needs more on this reappearance but he’s unexposed

Shortlist: Mr Antolini, Ardera Cross

Wetherby 3.20
William Hill Betting TV Handicap Hurdle
(Challenger Two Mile Qualifier)
Class 3 0-140
2m – Going: Soft (Heavy in places) – 10 runners

Cornerstone Lad
Consistent hurdler, genuine and seemingly progressive, good performance to win at Haydock last December for example, led narrowly 3 out on the bit, travelled best 2 out, niggled along approaching last, hard driven after it, found more last 175 yards to draw clear of Fin And Game; also won at Newcastle in April when taking advantage of the runner-up Altruism’s lack of resolution. Fit from a win on the Flat at Catterick in October, very much in the mix
Dear Sire
Off over a year: formerly a useful hurdler and about the same over fences, but fell when last seen at Cheltenham in October 2018 –  took 2nd approaching 6th where jumped right, not fluent 8th, closed up well before and after 3 out, travelled much the best home turn, was being produced to challenge and looking the winner when fell 2 out, Diakali the beneficiary. No certainty to have found the necessary, but stop the race just before the second last and he was winning it on points. Best hurdles probably when winning Scottish County at Musselburgh in February 2018. Unlikely to be fit enough after 386 days off (longest break for three years)
Theatre Legend
Ran well to a point when 2nd to Antunes (who himself probably would have been 2nd to Project Bluebook had that one not been errantly steered round the third last) at Wetherby last month on reappearance, niggled along passing omitted 6th, headway home turn, every chance turning in, pushed along when left in front 3 out, was joined under a ride passing omitted 2 out, headed approaching last, beginning to look held when blundered there, ridden and kept on run-in, was being closed on by the 3rd last 100 yards. Probably needed it and there’s nothing wrong with his win at Ayr last April when he was going away at the line
Two wins over jumps for previous connections, latterly trained by A. Boisbrunet and was in the ownership of former trainer Sue Bramall when winning a chase at Chatillon on March 10th, chased leader, led 4th, went 2 lengths clear 6th and 4 or 5 lengths clear 8th, around 8 lengths clear 2 out, ridden along home turn, runner-up closed a little approaching last, ridden after it and ran on to pull clear of Mona De Baune. A £36,000-purchase at the Doncaster Sales in May and joined Lucinda Russell – the style marks of the win described here suggest that new connections have got something potentially good
Master Of Irony*
Useful hurdler back in 2017 when won at Wetherby but better form in defeat when 4th to High Bridge in Gerry Feilden at Newbury that December, outpaced approaching 3 out, pushed along and little ground approaching 2 out, hung left, niggled along and not hard ridden approaching last, left alone nearing it, slight mistake, shaken up, ran on 150 yards out, put under pressure, passed rivals in the last 75 yards, nothing finished faster and closing hand over fist as the line came. Useful handicapper on the Flat, won over 1m6f at Doncaster in May 2018, but little encouragement on first run for 515 days when tailed off on the Flat at Doncaster in October. Wears blinkers, as he has occasionally on the Flat before – has won when visored; of some interest with a good mark
Yccs Portocervo
Best to date when posting second hurdles win, at Stratford on August 1st, although didn’t have a lot left at the end: clear after 1st, quickened pace from 3 out, travelled best 2 out, 1st 2 clear approaching turn out of back straight, niggled along home turn, hard ridden home turn, was 3 lengths up last, driven out, all out, was closed on last 150 yards but never in danger of being caught by Emerald Rocket and won by 2 lengths. After a break of 83 days, disappointed behind Larkbarrow Lad at Worcester next time over 2m4f. Would probably suit this one to come down to 2m but won’t be able to dominate with Aristo Du Plessis in the field
Aristo Du Plessis
Not the force of old and, off a favourable mark, could only manage 4th to Fransham at Wetherby on November 1st, went on, not fluent 3rd, hard ridden approaching 3 out, stayed on in front approaching 2 out, led a length and a bit, driven, was readily headed approaching last, faded run-in and lost 3rd inside last 125 yards, changed legs and kept on. Most recent win was over this c/d in December last year, was a neck down last, hard ridden, stayed on to lead 150 yards out, asserted, changed legs close home, held on well last 50 yards from reopposing Cornerstone Lad, and at least there was nothing in his run last time to suggest that his usually-genuine attitude has changed with time
Dali Mail*
Won hurdling debut, then runner-up on his two subsequent hurdles runs, however arguably could have done better on last start at Newcastle on March 16th, disputed lead 6th, moved comfortably home turn, moved best upsides leader turning in, blundered 3 out, niggled along and carried head to one side, effort and led narrowly before mistake 2 out, hung left under a ride and all out, jumped left, hard driven, no room against far side rail 100 yards out, driven and no more last 50 yards, was being closed on by the 3rd final strides. May well have been beaten by Minella Charmer anyway given his poor finishing effort on the run-in, but the blunder at the third last and the winner taking his ground on the run-in did him no favours. Good run expected
Zig Zag
Rather deteriorated since winning at Cartmel in May, stretching clear from the fairground bend and well ahead at the last; last time out dropped out plenty early enough behind Fransham at Wetherby on November 1st, lost place and rear 4th, detached last 5th, niggled along 6th, no headway home turn, tailed off 3 out, no more. Impossible to assess but probably won’t be cause for concern in this better race than the Cartmel one
Un Comedien
No form in two runs since joining present stable, hopelessly tailed off on both occasions, mistakes and left alone with three to jump at Wetherby last time (well) behind Mr Scrumpy

Shortlist: Signifiant, Master Of Irony, Dali Mail

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