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Friday 28 October 2022

Saturday 29th October - Charlie Hall Chase

We're right in the thick of it now, this weekend is a feast of decent jump racing. There are top-class meetings at Wetherby and Ascot, and a solid supporting meeting at Ayr; and these follow a great couple of days of jump racing. The Charlie Hall Chase (Grade 2) at Wetherby at 3:35pm is the feature race of the day, but has a disappointing low turnout of just 5 runners. The Paul Nicholls' trained Bravemansgame is the likely fav, and so he should be as he appears to have much the best form to-date and gets a valuable 3lb from his highest rated rival Eldorado Allen.  I reckon Ahoy Senor is a horse who could probably do better over a longer trip, and I also think he was flattered LTO at Aintree.  Do not underestimate the 10yo Sam Brown who ran a career-best LTO at Aintree, and he may give the fav the most to think about.  This is a stamina-test for Paint The Dream, and there's potential that he may stay 3-miles - but will he find improvement? I cannot recommend a wager in this race, but will likely try a reverse forecast with Bravemansgame coupled-with Sam Brown to small money.

Earlier on the card at Wetherby is the West Yorkshire Hurdle over 3-miles at 3:00pm, and while Sporting John looked every inch a Grade 1 hurdler over this trip LTO, he won't have things all his own way in this as he does seem to run best when on soft/heavy ground.  The race was won last year by Indefatigable, but she races this year on worse terms and even if she can match that effort, she'd be unlikely to win. The horse in 2nd though, Proschema, looks interesting as he's repeated his "pipe-opener" at Chepstow. He gets a valuable 4lb from Sporting John and a repeat of last years' run could be enough. Thomas Derby was well beaten in this race last year, and it's not easy to see him running better this time; Threeunderthrufive would need to improve 20lb on his last hurdle run and so would Oscar Elite.  With Skelton's horses running much better than those of Hobbs, I'm thinking the value in the race could be Proschema.

The Ascot card is a real favourite of mine and one that I've had some good wins at over the years.  The opening novice chase at 1:30pm is intriguing as we see the top-class, yet enigmatic, Goshen run his chase debut.  Jumping fences could really be the making of him, and it should be applauded that trainer Gary Moore has switched him from hurdles as a 6yo.  That said, I'm not willing to risk a wager on the horse as all his 3 rivals look to have the potential to cause an upset. 

The Ascot 2:40pm race is a 2-mile handicap (Class 1) chase, and brings together a very competitive field of runners. On 1st-glance, the only one's that I can discount are Daly Tiger and Joke Dancer, but that still leaves 7-runners all closely matched. The 5yo Nassalam was "put-away" after winning LTO in February at Fontwell, and could be a lot better than his OR145 rating. Amoola Gold loves Ascot, and has slipped to a rating of OR143 which puts him 10lb better with Before Midnight when they met here over C&D last November. Thyme White was considered to be well-handicapped but he was beaten here off this OR142 rating last March. If Gumball ran to his potential off OR137, then he'd win this race by 20-lengths but he's just unreliable - however, he is fit from a campaign on the flat. Monsieur Lecoq won this race in the Stewards' Room last year, but he's not repeated that sort of form since (was behind Amoola Gold and Before Midnight over C&D a month later), and he's plenty to prove. One that looks interesting is Frero Banbou who is sent by Venetia Williams:  he was a well-beaten 3rd in this race last year, but clearly improved as the season wore on.  I cannot imagine he's here on a "pipe-opener" and he looks fairly handicapped. This is a tricky race to fathom: NASSALAM @ 7/1 could be the answer, as he's won here and is probably the only one in the race with potential to improve on what we've seen of him so far. 

Finally, the London Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot at 3:15pm.  This Class 1 races brings together a top-class field of 13 runners.  The ground isn't soft enough for Good Boy Bobby, or Mister Malarky, and probably Full Back. The 7yo Tea Clipper ran a cracker just 21-days ago at Chepstow and could improve for the run, but this 3-mile trip may extend him. No such issue's with Kitty's Light, and the ground will suit too; and he ran in the Chepstow race but was well behind that day.  He can get tailed-off, but on a going day he is well-handicapped. The lightly-raced 7yo Annsam won over C&D in December, and the runner-up won NTO, so that form is strong; so even though he's rated 5lb higher now on OR139, he's fairly handicapped. The downside is he's not run since April and will probably need the run. The 14yo Regal Encore loves Ascot, but must surely be feeling his age now. The 7yo Our Power hasn't shaped well in races over this sort of trip, and this is a stiff 3-mile likely to be run at a good pace. The same applies to Danny Kirwan who while being a course winner over 2m5f isn't guaranteed to stay the trip.  It's no surprise to see Major Dundee heading the betting: he's only had 4 chase races, and he's won twice, run a good 2nd and been 3rd in the Scottish National - what's not to like? Up The Straight steps up in trip as he's not improved as a chaser, but he's going to have to improve a lot to win this race.  Poppa Poutine is a horse that appears to want marathon trips. And that leaves Rapper: he's only had 5 chase races, and appeared unsuited by Cheltenham at the Festival, but he probably deserves another chance as his couple of wins before that suggest he has potential as a staying chaser - certainly at 40/1 he's worth a small ew wager.

Ascot 2:40pm - NASSALAM - £5 win @ 8/1 (William Hill)
Ascot 3:15pm - RAPPER - £2.40 eachway @ 40/1 (Paddy Power quarter-odds a place 1,2,3,4)
Ascot 3:15pm - MAJOR DUNDEE - £10 win @ 5/1 (Paddy Power)

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