Wetherby Preview, 23/01/20

Wetherby
Thursday January 23rd

Wetherby 3.20
2m3f85y handicap chase Class 3 0-140
Going: Soft – 10 runners

Kilfilum Cross
Was runner-up to Any Second Now in last year’s Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase, every chance approaching home turn chasing leader, effort and led straightening, pushed along, wandered, led a length 2 out, hard driven, stayed on, ran down last to left, headed soon after it, hard driven, one pace. Looked over a trip too short when running over 2m3f at Stratford on reappearance, the odd mistake, ridden and outpaced 3 out, stayed on from 2 out then outpaced home turn, kept on when 3rd to Rocco, then pulled up in Rehearsal at Newcastle, niggled along when tracking leaders 5 out, within 3 lengths 4 out, weakened, dropping back when mistake 3 out, pulled up before last. Trip too short here
Tree Of Liberty
No wins last season but a couple of good runs with probable best coming at Wetherby over 1m7f in January behind reopposing Beau Bay, outpaced as Beau Bay went furthe clear approaching 4 out, kept on under a ride 3 out, stuck to task when in close to 2 out and lost ground, well held disputing 3rd last, hard driven, faded further run-in and lost 3rd last 175 yards.  On first run for new trainer D. Jeffreys, nothing much on reappearance over 2m at Newbury in November, midfield 6th and niggled along, headway going to 5 out, not fluent there and pushed along, weakening when not fluent 4 out, well held 3 out, tailed off behind Magic Saint. Three of the trainer’s 14 runners since the start December have won (admittedly Zara Hope responsible for two of them) and, in first time cheekpieces and favourably treated on old form, I don’t think this one’s a total write-off
Storm Control*
Progressing handicap chaser, and after a good front-running 2nd to The Dubai Way at Wetherby (looked well, ridden 4 out, pecked on landing 2 out, 1st 2 clear, headed and no extra after last), made all at Doncaster in December, jumped soundly, ridden from 3 out with Sky Pirate travelling the better, stayed on from 2 out, was a length up when the better jump last, ridden out. Another 4-lb rise (had one after the Wetherby race) might not stop him, even if he has to battle Beau Bay for the lead 
Charmant
Three chase wins over two miles last season. Sound enough reappearance at Aintree when left behind by The Last Day, chance of 2nd till no more from the last, then in first-time cheekpieces ran well to a point in Castleford Chase at Wetherby on December 27th, moved well 8th,  chased leader home turn, pushed along 4 out, outpaced 3 out, ridden and was fading when mistake 2 out, ridden and weakened, in close to last, no more behind Marracudja. Cheekpieces removed;  afaller on his only previous try at this trip, he’s not bred to stay and wasn’t exactly strong at the end of the Aintree race, let alone the Castleford
Hollywoodien*
Useful chaser back after a long absence. On first start since March 2017, good 3rd to Ecu De La Noverie at Wetherby in November, up with the pace as usual, turned for home upsides, niggled along and ouitpaced going to 4 out, keeping on when went through 3 out, pushed along and keeping on when not fluent 2 out, left behind going to last, distant 2nd jumping, kept on under a hand ride, lost 2nd post; then up to his best trip, looked like going close to winning at Wetherby over 2m3f on Boxing Day, tracked leaders 5 out, niggled along, closed on 1st 2 home turn, ridden with more restraint (midfield to rear at the 6th), fimly pushed along turning in, led, was a length and a half up and staying on when unseated rider 4 out. He’d have fought out the finish, the reopposing Beau Bay the beneficiary, and has a strong chance here
Beau Bay
Best form for some time when winning at Wetherby on Boxing Day, led 6th to 7th, disputed it 8th to 12th, moved best turning out of back straight, pushed along home turn, hard driven, relegated to 3rd under strong pressure approaching 4 out, keeping on and took 2nd when left in lead 4 out, ridden 3 out, stayed on when in close to 2 out, put under pressure, in a bit of a heap last, driven out, all out, was closed on 100 yards but never in danger, holding off Niven. Having to battle two of his rivals for the lead (Niven was one, Pain Au Chocolat the other) to the 12th took its toll; Hollywoodien was off the bit and struggling on the back straight, but it was him picking up the pieces when unseating, Beau Bay clearly all out from the last to hold on. No stand-out off his higher mark, and will have Storm Control for company up front this time
Protek Des Flos
Useful handicap hurdler for Nicky Henderson, last win on Boxing Day 2017 (a Pertemps Qualifier at Wincanton). On first run for Ben Haslam, best chase run to date (a flop over fences previously) at Newcastle over 2m on December 12th, chased leader, moved well enough home turn, disputed lead 4 out, niggled along, the better jump 3 out, hard ridden with a length and a bit to find, stayed on from 2 out but always a length and a bit down, put under pressure approaching last, ridden and faded run-in, was being closed on by the 4th last 150 yards, race won by Dali Mail. Better over this sort of trip and well treated on old form, might run well
Monsieur Co
Three chase wins over two miles last season and sound effort over that trip when chasing home Ardera Cross at Ayr on November 2nd, chased winner final circuit, put under pressure approaching 4 out, a length down 3 out, about the same down 2 out, ridden, driven and no extra last 150 yards. Stepped up to 2m4f, ridden prominently and failed to stay at Aintree later that month behind Sammy Bill when last seen out, midfield going to 4 out, ridden into it, weakened under a ride home turn, hard driven and no impression going to 3 out where mistake, well held going to 2 out, tailing off when pulled up before last. That took his record over 2m3f or more since coming to Britain to 45F45P, beaten 14 lengths or more when completing
Bernardelli
Formerly a useful chaser who beat Lake View Lad back in the day, but shown little since returning from a long absence, at Kelso on November 9th hard ridden a circuit out and fighting a losing battle under driving with five to jump behind Well Above Par, making several mistakes along the way, and hopelessly tailed off behind Claud And Goldie at Kelso on December 8th.  Little hope for this 12 year-old
The Paddy Pie*
Best effort last season to win at Haydock in February, niggled along with some 5 lengths to find 5 out, niggled along and closed on 1st 2 4 out, pushed along, chased leader going to 3 out, drew upsides jumping, hard ridden, still upsides 2 out, put under pressure, effort led when hit last and left clear, driven out to beat Wilde Blue Yonder. Little so far this season but signs of getting there at Sedgefield last time when 3rd to Instant Replay, tracked leaders much of the way, ridden into 11th, effort and disputed 2nd approaching omitted 3 out, pushed along home turn, couldn’t go with 1st 2, put under pressure and faded between last 2, well held last, eased off run-in – the winner and this one more or less duplicated their runs in the corresponding Sedgefield race in 2019; they were 1st and 3rd that time also. The Paddy Pie probably needed the outing and could go well now (he won on his next run this time last year)

Shortlist: Storm Control, Hollywoodien, The Paddy Pie

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