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Saturday 13 October 2018

Chepstow - Jump racing is back!

We've had the Arc de Triomphe, and while most of the "glitterati" of the horseracing world will be focused on Newmarket and the running of the Dewhurst Stakes for 2yo’s run over 7-furlongs, the attention for jump racing fans will be on Chepstow and a meeting seen as the “opening night” of the new jump racing season.
Despite there being a major rainstorm over South Wales, Chepstow seems to have escaped the worst of the weather and the course has said the ground is "good, good-to-soft in places" even though they had 21mm of rain yesterday! 
There is a top-class novices chase at 3:35pm and long term followers of the blog will remember I tipped-up a winning double on this day in 2015, including the winner of this race. As it happens, that winner – Cocktails At Dawn trained by Nicky Henderson – was the oldest winner of this race in the past 10 years at 7yo; all the other winners were either 5yo or 6yo. Henderson sends the 8yo Monbeg Legend for this and (like Cocktails At Dawn) he’s already run in an won novice chases this season. He looked particularly impressive LTO when winning over 2m6½f at Stratford in September when making-all to beat some seasoned handicappers, and the worry is that this trip could be too short for him. However, he is the only one of this small field of 5 runners that has jumped a fence on-course, and we know he can jump at speed, so MONBEG LEGEND really is the one they have to beat as he’s likely to set a good pace from the front and he will not be stopping. The one in the race that most will be watching is Master Tommytucker sent by Paul Nicholls, of whom great things are expected - let's see if he can jump a fence. A winner on this card over hurdles last season, Poetic Rhythm could well upset the apple cart but, for me, my money is on Monbeg Legend, and there is plenty of 9/4 available as I write.
Later on the card at 5:20pm, there is an attractive Class 2 handicap Chase over just under 3-mile. The top-weight is Coo Star Sivola but he will have to have improved a bit from where he left off last season if he’s to take this race from OR150.
The lightly-raced Step Back absolutely ran away with the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last April, and this horse really could be a serious contender for top honours if his improvement is continued this season, however it is likely this trip is a touch too short for him.
Another lightly-raced young chaser is Thomas Patrick who made-all to take a Grade 3 handicap chase at Aintree in April, leaving some decent chasers in his wake. He is the 5/1 2nd-fav for this and the 6yo could be very well-in running off a rating of OR148. 
Traffic Fluide has never looked a 3-mile chaser in my opinion, and he may have been flattered when winning LTO over 2m5f.
Rock The Kasbah won this race last season, so we know he goes well fresh and he’s now won twice at this meeting. He’s also weighted to be able to reverse form with Step Back on Bet365 Gold Cup form, and this trip will suit him better than the 3m5f of that race. However, he is very short in the betting being the 9/4 fav, and personally I would not make him the fav for this (I think it should be Thomas Patrick).
Brave Eagle is another young 6yo novice chaser who has won both his chase starts this summer, but this race is throwing him in the deep end.  
Captain Chaos usually needs a run to get to peak fitness, and Cobra De Mai is another who may find this trip stretching his stamina, as is Silverhow.  This race will likely be run at a strong pace and you need one to be "in the van" and staying the trip. 
Bigbadjohn, Our Kaempher and The Young Master have all had plenty of chances however, at 9yo, they are going to find the young guns hard to control.
Lovely Job is an interesting contender, has he only ran 3 times between 1st-Oct and 30thApril last season, and he’s improved with every run; he likes to front-run and stays this trip, he could be a dark-horse at 18/1.
As it stands, the ones I’m interested in are Rock The Kasbah, Lovely Job, and Thomas Patrick; and, for me the best value in the race is THOMAS PATRICK @ 5/1.
For a bit of fun in the race, I would not put you off having an eachway wager on LOVELY JOB at 18/1 (with Bet365 and Paddy Power) and - if you are quick - there's 20/1 at William Hill, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3.
Good Luck!

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