6.00pm With the Cheltenham novice hurdle entries out today Festival fever has certainly cranked up a notch! Trials continue this weekend with maybe the biggest hints coming at Musselburgh’s two day Scottish trials meeting because it should be GOOD ground and Saturday at Wetherby on Soft whereas Sandown, Fairyhouse and Punchestown could be run in a bog!! Tomorrows entries at noon are eagerly awaited. Two Pertemps Handicap hurdles qualifiers, Musselburgh and Punchestown, and remember only first six qualify!! 2017 winner could easily be running in Ireland.
I may blog a Lucky 15 for Saturday AND Sunday on Friday, you lucky, lucky people. Horses running both days that I’ve been tracking for a while and a few that want a run but don’t want to affect their handicap mark!!
Friday Lucky 15
Not exactly an awe inspiring card from North Yorkshire but we’ll give it a go!
Catterick 2.15 CAPRICE D’ANGLAIS 9/2 general
Catterick 2.45 LOUGH SALT 7/2 general and being supported!
Catterick 3.20 TREATY GIRL 4/1 Lad’s & Coral
Catterick 3.55 BLACK NARCISSUS 7/2 general
and here’s why
Catterick 2.15 CAPRICE D’ANGLAIS A toss-up here between two improving young chaser and I’ve gone for Richard Hobsons 5yo as opposed to Halcyon Days. This course suits front runners and when Caprice D’Anglais won his races he made all both times. Jockey James Bargary, claiming 3lbs, enjoys these attacking front running rides.
Catterick 2.45 LOUGH SALT Just about the only one with recent winning form over 3m+ and this horse just grinds it out. Nearly every race he has been “keeping on” and the 10lbs he receives from the top two should help that cause. The jockey/trainer combination are certainly in form with Jake Greenall winning on 10 of his 36 rides over hurdles for trainer Mark Walford this season.
Catterick 3.20 TREATY GIRL Her second in the 3m Mandarin Chase at Newbury to Potters Legend is the outstanding bit of form on show. The top four in the market are useful staying mares over fences to make this a competitive event. Trainer Ben Pauling will be delighted to have the services once again of Nico de Boiville after his injury and this is his only ride of the day (21% strike rate over the last five seasons)!
Catterick 3.55 BLACK NARCISSUS One of the busiest jobs in racing must be Alexandra Dunn’s horsebox driver! She’s based at West Buckland in Somerset but recently she’s had runners at Wetherby, Bangor and Fontwell and she’s a frequent visitor to Fakenham! So no surprise to see her have a couple at Catterick. The handicapper has eased Black Narcissus 5lbs since the start of the season and as opposed to a few at the top of the market she has form on heavy ground, both facts that make her competitive here.
Thursday Lucky 15
Once again just the one winner. Nice start but none of the handicappers ever got competitive.
Clonmel 2.25 MONALEE 11/8 PP & WH 1st 6/4
Class performance from a class horse. As low as 12/1 for the Alfred Bartlett.
Wincanton 3.10 COPAIN DE CLASSE 9/4 general PU 3/1
Looks a chaser. Effort end of back straight but soon beaten. Stewards report “The representative of Paul Nicholls, the trainer of COPAIN DE CLASSE (FR), which was pulled up, reported that the gelding was unsuited by the heavy ground.”
Wincanton 3.45 FLAMING CHARMER 5/1 general 4th 7/2F
Jumped, travelled but just couldn’t get within ten lengths of front running ex-Tizzard 12/1 winner Dusky Lark!!
Towcester 3.55 CHEAT THE CHEATER 6/1 general Fell 5/1
Pushed throughout, never competitive, fell two out.
My shortlist for the 4m 1f Eider Chase at Newcastle on Saturday 25th February is getting longer!
At The Races Thursday 02 February 2017 News
A step up in trip could be on the cards for Out Sam with the Betfred Eider Chase at Newcastle later this month earmarked as a potential target. The Warren Greatrex-trained eight-year-old showed a marathon test could suit him after finishing a staying-on fourth in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. The Upper Lambourn handler is now considering giving the former Nicky Henderson-trained gelding a shot at the extended four-mile prize on February 25. Greatrex said: “He ran an absolute cracker. Andrew Tinkler was very pleased and very positive. He came back in and said about the Eider for him. He said that softer ground would have helped and a step up in trip. His jumping was the best it has been, whether the cheekpieces helped concentrate his jumping as he got around with less errors. He has come back fine and it is great that we are just starting to see him put a few runs together. The Eider is a nice bit of time between now and then. He is probably starting to prove that he is not a Cheltenham horse.”