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Monday 3 November 2014

A look-back at the weekend of 1st-2nd November

After flirting with success on Friday afternoon, I was opeful of a good win on Saturday and put my full weight behind assessing a couple of races. Unfortunately, no winners could be found.
I must admit that I was astounded at the way Silviniaco Conti folded over the final few furlongs of the 3m1f Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
As I wrote in Saturday's blog, the horse is one-paced and needs to either stretch the oppositions stamina by going for home a long way out - as he did when he won this race back in 2012 - or grind them into the ground as he did when hauling back Cue Card in the King George last December. EVen so, I would have expected him to stay on a lot better, and this performance is a worry especially as the overall pace of the race was slow.
I think this form is dodgy. Without doubt, the race winner Menorah is a decent horse on his day and more than capable of running in the mid-160's.. It is no surprise that RPR has rated this win at 169, but I just can't have that. Why? Because if that rating is correct then both Tarquin De Seuil and Double Ross ran personal bests - and I can't have that. Double Ross is a super consistent performer who - in my book - ran his best race last season at 152 when 5th at Aintree in April. I don't think he bettered that effort on Satruday and, at best, he probably matched it. Which puts Menorah on 160 and Tarquin De Seuil on 151, which is the rating I gave him for winning at the Cheltenham Festival last March. My selection for the race Medermit, ran bravely and threatened with taking 2nd place on the run-in, but was never going to get there. He improved 10lb for his run in the Ryanair in March, and if he does that again for this effort then he may just be worth a final throw at a decent handicap chase before the "veterans" races come calling.

My efforts to find the winner of the handicap chase at Ascot ran-aground. Although a talented horse with potential, I was right to oppose Le Bec who was having his first attempt to race right-handed and struggled. My main selection was Roalco De Farges and what a stinker of a performance he gave. He was hating it from the off and hardly jumped a fence. He's won on similar ground so it was either the course he hated or he was just having an off day. I am more positive of Midnight Appeal who also didn't run well for most of the race, but stayed on to be a reasonable 5th when I thought he may be pulled-up at one point. I would expect him to run a lot better next time and he is a consistent battler of a horse. Readers of the blog will know I put up Black Thunder a few weeks ago on his seasonal debut. He needed that run as a confidence booster following his fall at the Festival in the RSA Chase and, as I rated him at 159 for beating Shotgun Paddy at Lingfield in December, so long as the handicapper isn't too hard on him he'll be hard to beat next time out, especially on softer ground. Race winner What A Warrior is finally showing the potential of his novice form and this was a career-best effort. Whether he can improve again is debateable, but not impossible.

In Ireland we had an impressive performance from Don Cossack in winning the Grade 2 Powers Irish Whiskey Chase over 2m4f easily beating Paul Nicholls Wonderful Charm by over 8-lengths. With Wonderful Charm holding an official rating of OR159, this puts Don Cossack into the mid-160's and that puts him into the realms of a Gold Cup chaser.

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