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Friday 17 February 2017

Military Chase at Sandown

Finally we found a good winner after a run of 2nds.  Crosspark took advantage of a decent opportunity to run-out a solid performance, so let's hope that is a good omen for the next few weeks.

Today at Sandown we have the "military" meeting and there is a good Class 3 chase at 4:15pm over 3-mile there today. The morning fav Twenty Eight Guns looks very capable should the mare stay this 3-mile trip as the form of her win LTO has worked out very well. 
As much as the crowd would love it, I cannot see Pete The Feat repeating his LTO win here over C&D as the 13yo has been raised 8lb by the handicapper.  It would be a real turn-up if the twice raced novice Knight Of Noir took this as he's not looked a natural chaser yet. Private Malone is more interesting as he looked a lot better than his current OR130 rating when racing in 2015-16, but he was absent from the track for 12-months before returning in November and it could be that he strips a lot fitter today in which case he could have a chance - possibly one to look at in the paddock, or wager on in-running.
Will the "real" Cogry turn up today? Running off OR134 he should have a cracking chance in this, if he were guaranteed to finish the race. But he's not completed in 4 chase races this season and didn't even finish a hurdle race LTO.  He looks a tricky character. 
None of the remainder give me the slightest bit of encouragement when you look at their recent form as even LTO winner King Of Glory is up 6lb for winning a Class 4 chase over 2m4f and looks like he will struggle in this.
All-in-all, Twenty Eight Guns could be a winning fav and the early 7/2 offered by Betfred (Ladbrokes are 2/1 and others are 5/2) could be worth taking as the gamble is whether the mare stays the trip. If she does then she almost certainly wins. 

Saturday provides us with 3 quality race-cards at Haydock, Ascot and Wincanton.
Let's take a quick look at the Ascot card, as that has the best quality races of the day.
The opening Class 2 novice hurdle will definitely be a race to watch and note as the previous winners have all proved to be well above average horses not just at hurdles but over fences too. It is a race that Paul Nicholls enjoys targeting and his 5yo Topofthegame is sure to figure amongst the market leaders.
Next up is the Grade 2 (Class 1) Reynoldstown Novices chase over 3-mile and while the winners of this race have usually proven to be decent chasers, it has not been good at providing Cheltenham Festival winners.   Our Kaempher looked revitalised LTO and he could be the key to this race.  However, Nicky Henderson (Laurium) and Paul Nicholls (Arpege D'Alene and Aux Ptits Soins) have won this race 5 times in the last 10 years between them from just 11 runners so anything the send should be noted.
One race on this card that I'm looking forward to is the 3-mile Class 1 (Listed) handicap chase at 2:25pm as this could prove to be very competitive.  I'm particularly interested in where VIRAK runs on Saturday as he's slipped to OR147 (he was rated OR159 this time last year after running 2nd here at Ascot on 19th Dec 15) and I'm hoping that the ground turns good-to-soft here on Saturday as I'm not sure he really enjoys the mud.
It's unlikely that Cue Card will be beaten in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase, a race he won in 2013 before going on to winning the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
At Haydock, the Grand National Trial handicap chase over 3m4f brings together a decent field of staying chasers worthy of the great race itself. It is unusual that a top handicap chase like this has only been won by one horse aged under 8yo in the past 10 years, in fact 4 of the past 5 winners were aged 9yo or older. Top staying chase races seem to take maturity above potential to win. I really cannot see Blaklion reversing LTO form with Wakanda despite being on 2lb better terms, as that was the best run in 12-months for Wakanda and he's likely to improve again as he's not yet run to the level of his efforts in the autumn of 2015.
Of the older horses, Gas Line Boy enjoys running at Haydock and comes into this race in good form, he could run better than his current odds.

No advised wager today.   I would not want to take under 5/2 about Twenty Eight Guns as both Cogry and Private Malone could run better than expected if recovering their form from last season, and both look well handicapped on their best form.  For both, it could be worth waiting to see how they perform over the first mile of the race (and decide if their up to winning it) and wager in-running. 

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