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Monday 13 October 2014

Some changes to the Alert List

So far, not so good.
Saturdays blog revolved around the 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase run at Chepstow.  My selection was Gas Line Boy on the basis that he looked a particularly useful novice chase when winning at Exeter last November beating the consistent (but one-paced) Rydalis. He then ran a good 3rd at Haydock behind Sidney Paget and Silver By Nature, with the subsequent Skybet Chase winner The Rainbow Hunter back in 6th. His runs since then were unsatisfactory, but I was prepared to forgive them as at the Cheltenham Festival he ran well enough without disgracing himself (finished 8th in the Kim Muir Chase) and he fell when last seen before the race had really got going. Unfortunately, he was never really travelling on Saturday, running at the rear of the field for most of the race before pulling-up with 3 to jump. I think that's the last chance I can give him.
The race winner VICTORS SERENADE was always up with the leaders and jumped well. He stayed well enough to hold-off the challengers of Monbeg Dude and Handy Andy to win his 3rd chase race from 7 starts. As he didn't complete on 3 of those starts (pulled-up twice, and virtually pulled-up on the other as he refused to jump the final fence when exhausted) he looks to have the potential to win again next-time-out. He loves soft ground, but not heavy and, so long as he's not pushed much beyond 3-mile, his stamina shouldn't fail him. His win at Ffos Las in March 2012 suggests he's capable of a 145+ performance, and so he should go onto your short list.
By my ratings, it was a career-best performance from Monbeg Dude who is holding his form well. Whether he can win off this rating of OR143 is debatable, but he couldn't win off OR146 last season. He is very consistent tho' and his style of running means he's always capable of running into a place.
I was very impressed with Handy Andy. He was already on my alert list (see Saturday's blog) and I had no good reason for overlooking him other than despite the ability to run well, he does have trouble finishing with his head in front. Sure enough, he jumped the final fence on Saturday looking (in my eyes) to be the most likeliest winner, but just couldn't run on and take the race. If he goes onto Cheltenham next month for the amateur riders race which he won last season, he could take a lot of beating.
The race fav Highland Lodge was up with the leaders until the 3rd-last fence whereupon he was unable to go on. This race will have really primed him for another attempt at the Hennessey Gold Cup at Newbury, a race in which he ran 4th last year off OR143, and he's going to go there running off OR134 this year. He has to be on the shortlist for that race.
The only other runner in the race to catch my eye was Benbens. This was only his 5th chase race, and the 9yo had the class to make up lost ground and finish 4th despite making some bad jumping errors. He looks up to winning off OR134 and this 3-mile hurdle winner should improve for the run, and for soft ground, next time out.
Of my other alert horses: Cloudy Bob ran well for a long time before his stamina ran-out and he was pulled-up. He stays on the list and a return over a shorter trip could see him in the winners enclosure. As for Twirling Magnet, he ran a stinker even if he was 50/1. He's off the list.

It's a long season, and there's plenty of water to flow under the bridge.

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