Wincanton Race Preview, 07/11/2020

Wincanton
Saturday November 7th

Wincanton 3.35
Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap Chase Class 1 Listed 0-155
3m1f30y – Going: Good – 15 runners

Present Man*
The two-time Badger winner got his first win since the 2018 running when taking a veterans’ chase at Chepstow on his reappearance last month, chased clear leader, himself 2 to 3 lengths clear of the rest, relegated to 3rd 11th but remained close up, lost a couple of lengths 12th and niggled along, again niggled home turn, ridden after 5 out, had 3 lengths to find 3 out, stayed on under a firm hand ride from 2 out, hard driven after last, found extra, closed on leader under pressure, virtually dead-heated with 2 rivals post. Had the going in his favour and got the verdict, but for all intents and purposes there were three winners; himself, Crosspark and Dancing Shadow – those two are best at extreme trips, hence my regarding that form with a big dollop of cynicism. That doesn’t mean he can’t go close to winning a third Badger Beers – the going’s in his favour
Danny Whizzbang
Won first of his three chases, a three-runner Grade 2 at Newbury last November, raced 3rd, jumped right 1st 2, in close to 7th and 8th, nudged along going to 10th, ridden into 13th, niggled along and arguably not going as well as the other 2 approaching turn out of back straight, ridden along home turn, stayed on approaching 3 out, drew upsides there, sustained effort and led approaching 2 out, hard driven between last 2, steadied into and hit last, driven out to beat Reserve Tank 4 lengths; more strength in depth on next start in Kauto Star Novices’ at Kempton and was found wanting, hit 6th and 12th, closer order 14th, hampered by faller (Master Tommytucker) 15th, pushed along home turn and closed on 1st 2, hard driven and outpaced going to 2 out where mistake, lost further ground, well back last behind Slate House. Seemed to fail to stay under a positive ride when last seen out in Reynoldstown at Ascot in February, driven and weakened approaching last behind Copperhead. High in the weights for what he’s achieved and worried about his jumping
Potterman*
Good win at Market Rasen in August, tracked leaders 14th, niggled along home turn, nearly upsides leader 3 out, hard ridden and hung right going to 2 out, led there, continued to hang, led a length when jumped right last, ridden out, found extra, stayed on well last 150 yards to pull clear of Topofthecotswolds – skilfully handled by Tom Cannon that time. Not disgraced when 2nd at Chepstow last time, challenged for 2nd approaching 4 out, pushed along approaching 3 out and chased winner, stayed on going to 2 out, outpaced approaching last as Secret Investor asserted, no more run-in. With Cannon in the saddle again and back on a right-handed track, chances are realistic
Some Chaos
Was 3rd to Secret Investor (and Potterman) at Chepstow on October 10th, no more than 2 lengths down when mistake 5 out, still moved largely comfortably when blundered 4 out, hard ridden, still half a chance 3 out, put under pressure and outpaced going to 2 out, looked held approaching last, hard driven run-in, stayed on, closed on 2nd last 100 yards but never getting the place. Went two better at Kelso (second course win) on October 24th, midfield, blundered badly 1st then hampered, mistake 2nd, not fluent 7th, mistake 8th, headway and chased leader from 13th, led passing omitted 3 out, niggled along, headed narrowly 2 out, hard ridden, stayed on well to lead approaching last, ridden out run-in, sustained effort till all out last 150 yards and was closed on by Claud And Goldie final 100 yards. Comes with risks, and hasn’t won a chase with more than nine runners – he’s won at Wincanton in the past too, but worried his jumping will fail here in this big field
El Presente*
Second-season novice who’s won three chases this season, the third (and best form to date) coming at Hereford on October 21st, made all, ridden into several fences, hard ridden as Aye Aye Charlie came to challenge from 3 out, pecked on landing 2 out and unbalanced, headed, hard driven and found extra to lead again home turn, drew clear approaching last, ridden out, workmanlike and decisive. Keeps a bit for himself, and had something in reserve for when he was headed at the second last. Well worth trying in something this good, he’s likely to run well; expect him to get a positive ride
Champagne Court
Won first two chases last season, but found wanting in better company subsequently, in the novices’ handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival prominent, jumped a bit sideways 13th and niggled along away from it, niggled again approaching 3 out where mistake, pushed along approaching home turn, faded approaching 2 out where bumped rival, well held last, kept on up the hill but lost 7th place post behind Imperial Aura. Over hurdles on reappearance, and tried a longer trip too in Pertemps Qualifier at Cheltenham on October 24th, chased leader 8th, within a length at the top of the hill going comfortably, ridden into 3 out, niggled along and at most a neck down approaching 2 out, mistake there, hard ridden and couldn’t go with leaders home turn, faded under pressure, well held when in close to last, weakened under pressure final 200 yards, tailed off behind Honest Vic. Having speculated that he’d stay before that race, as he’s related to Royal Athlete, on the day it was the polar opposite; but it now makes four double digit defeats from his last four visits to Cheltenham; so perhaps worth another chance over the trip as he goes back over fences
Erick Le Rouge
Has won twice over fences, but often makes mistakes; best form to date when taking a 0-135 handicap chase at Kempton on January 11th, chased leader, himself clear of the rest, mistake 9th, 1st 2 pulled clear from 4 out, led 3 out, ridden clear, was closed on after 2 out, hard ridden, 4 lengths up last, driven out, stayed on, was closed on considerably run-in but always holding on from Gowiththeflow. Largely double-digit defeats over fences otherwise, including on reappearance at Fontwell on October 2nd, prominent, a little slow 10th and niggled away from it, pushed along starting final circuit, lost place and in close to 11th, dropped to last pair 12th under a ride, weakened approaching 3 out, tailed off 2 out, trailed in behind Imperial Presence. Also tailed off on his only start to date over 3m, given his disappointing reappearance little should be expected
Coo Star Sivola
Most recent win was in the 2018 Ultima at that year’s Cheltenham Festival,  led 3 out, moved best when niggled along approaching home turn, more vigorously pushed along turning in, wandered under pressure after 2 out, led 2 lengths and the better jump last, all out from Shantou Flyer. On all five starts since he’s either been pulled up or well held – when last seen out was pulled up in the 2019 Ultima, niggled along after 10th, ridden into 15th, pushed along and lost place after 17th, midfield and well held 3 out, well back 2 out, tiring and tailing off when hampered by a faller last and ground to a halt behind Beware The Bear. Surely best watched on his first run for 606 days
Cobra De Mai
Inadequate trip and usual cheekpieces missing when only 7th to Imperial Presence over 2m5f at Fontwell on October 2nd on reappearance, vigorously pushed along starting final circuit, brushed 11th and pushed along away from it, lost place after 12th, mistake 3 out when held, lost further ground before 2 out, tailed off last; cheekpieces back but fared no better behind Frodon at Cheltenham a fortnight ago, chased leader, in close to 10th, pushed along from 13th, lost place 16th, losing considerable ground on leading group when lost footing on landing 4 out and nearly fell, pulled up straight away. Now blinkered first time, has finished 4th or worse on all starts when there’s been 11 runners or more and is probably best passed over this time
Supremely Lucky
In the 130s over hurdles,best effort when winning at Uttoxeter in March 2019. Runner-up on all three chase starts, jumping soundly at Worcester in October 2019 on chase debut bar a blunder at the 12th and good ground home turn, but hung left from 3 out and gave the impression he wouldn’t go past Know The Score; officially beaten 99 lengths against Just Your Type at Hexham on heavy ground next time, then ran okay but again lacked resolve when it came down to it at Hereford in December 2019, getting involved in a scrap with Encounter A Giant in the last mile but beaten off and clearly going the worst of the pair from the third last. Reappearance over hurdles at Uttoxeter last month and 4th to Captain Drake, midfield 9th, pushed along off home turn, blundered 3 out, put under pressure, lost ground approaching 2 out, in 5th and driven along approaching last, kept on under pressure run-in, stayed on last 100 yards and took a share of 4th post. Might get a 1st 6-finish but, besides lacking experience over fences, not one to have on your side in a battle
Just A Sting
In this race last year, on his reappearance, was 4th to Give Me A Copper,  closer order 14th, ridden into 15th and 17th, tracked leaders when mistake 4 out, pushed along, effort and every chance when mistake 3 out, ridden and faded approaching 2 out, no extra when mistake last; subsequently won a Class 2 handicap chase at Kempton over Christmas, some 6 lengths down when in close to 4 out, niggled along home turn, some 3 lengths down 3 out, hard driven, stayed on, a length down 2 out, hard driven approaching last, effort and led jumping, put under strong pressure and stayed on well last 175 yards, just held off the fast-finishing Quarenta. Unseated at Kempton next time then made little contribution in Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival behind Milan Native, mistakes 3rd and 15th, hard ridden away from 18th, making little ground when not fluent 19th, pushed along, kept on approaching 3 out, hard driven, no extra approaching home turn and pulled up before 2 out. He also disappointed on his last start of 2018/19 prior to running well here, so should be a player again
Irish Prophecy
On second chase start, first win over fences in 0-130 handicap at Newton Abbot in July, tracked 1st 2 from 8th, ridden into 13th, nudged along approaching 3 out, pushed along home turn, 2 lengths down 2 out, hard ridden, lugged left but stayed on approaching last, the best jump, put under strong pressure, strong effort and led close home, going away from Templepark at the post. An okay 2nd at Southwell next time before disappointing at Stratford in September, mistakes, detached last 3 out, looked heavy-legged and struggling approaching 2 out, tailed off behind Princeton Royale (recently well beaten in a selling handicap chase), more mistakes and lost ground run-in when 3rd to Soldier Of Love at Newton Abbot over 3m2f later in September, then returned to form when 2nd to El Presente at Exeter on October 8th, tracked leaders from 5th, mistake 10th, for a few strides moved better than the winner approaching 4 out, every chance upsides winner 3 out, steadied into and in close to 2 out, ridden and half a length down approaching last, hard driven, one pace run-in, stuck to task, pair well clear, was coming back at winner last two or three strides. There have been at least two mistakes on all his runs between his two best performances this season and the competitiveness of this is likely to find him out
Sizing At Midnight
Second win since resumption when going in at Ffos Las on October 1st, led 1st, clear approaching 6th, pecked on landing 4 out, moved best 3 out and still in a clear lead, not shaken up in earnest approaching 2 out, led 6 lengths there, at most nudged along approaching last, drew further clear, unchallenged. Near enough a solo there, the winning distance (4 1/2 lengths over Wayfinder) being the minimum amount he was clear of the rest for most of the way. Much improved run when 2nd to reopposing Kitty’s Light at Exeter on October 20th,  led 13th, reached for 4 out, ridden along, clear when steadied into 3 out, pushed along for a few strides after 3 out but travelled best when in close to 2 out, hard ridden, was closed on and headed approaching last, 1st 2 clear, hard driven, no extra run-in. Looked the winner, but the jockey might not have been aware of the impending challenge going to the second last, having been clear a fence earlier. In the mix here
My Way
Maiden over fences, best effort last season when 2nd to Espoir De Guye at Ascot just before Christmas, closer 9th, raced wide,  outpaced from 3 out, made ground going to 2 out, moving into 3rd when pushed along, went 2nd last, ridden, kept on, no chance with winner but stuck to task; was struggling at halfway in Silver Bowl at Kempton behind Delire D’Estruval on last run of 2019/20. Winning reappearance – and first success since joining Paul Nicholls – in novice hurdle at Stratford last month, led, raced a little freely with ears pricked, still on the bit turning out of back straight, pushed along approaching last, led 2 lengths jumping, ridden out, wandered right (into the whip) last 150 yards, always holding on from Filou Des Issards. Very little happened there for most of the way, but he needed to be ridden right out from the last, the runner-up giving the impression he was hanging fire and My Way himself not doing much. How he normally does in races like this was illustrated by the run at Kempton and easy to oppose here
Kitty’s Light
This four year-old, who only raced for the first time just over a year ago and has a best rating from me of 91 over hurdles (maiden in three runs, all of them double digit-defeats), has won three out of four over fences and posted his best to date when beating Sizing At Midnight at Exeter last month, held up last, mistake 12th, niggled along approaching home turn, keeping on when in close to 4 out, effort and passed most of his rivals to go 2nd 3 out, hard ridden, closed on leader approaching 2 out, hard ridden and ran on to lead approaching last, driven out and continued to run on last 150 yards, decisive. For one who looks barely pony-sized on TV pictures, he really relished the uphill finish there; he’ll hit the odd fence because of his lack of size (particularly at tracks that take more jumping than Exeter – this course is one such) – unexposed and progressing, but I can’t see it in this much tougher race – usually held up (which isn’t the right thing here), bigger fences, downhill finish, grizzly handicappers taking no prisoners – Sizing At Midnight is likely to reverse the Exeter form in the rematch 

Shortlist: Present Man, Potterman, El Presente

Copyright Roy Waterhouse 2020. All rights reserved.