Betfred Summer Plate Handicap Chase 2m5 1/2f Market Rasen Saturday – Welsh trainer Peter Bowen has an outstanding record in the Summer Plate, winning it four times between 2003 and 2008. Over the last five years he has drawn a blank, but continues to target the contest, so his runners are always worth a second look. Of his two possibles at the time of writing, the 8yo Wadswick Court looks the more likely candidate, but does need five above him in the handicap to come out to get a run. Despite quotes of 33/1 he has shown some promise in his two most recent outings and his price underestimates his chance. He finished second in a Class3 Handicap Chase at Newton Abbot following a five month break on June 21st, and was then sent off the 7/2J Fav to go one better nineteen days later in a similar contest at Perth. Unfortunately he suffered interference from a faller at the 6th but was still in contention when unseating four fences later. Well suited by a flat right handed course, he won’t be inconvenienced by any rain so if getting a run is worth considering.
Nicky Henderson’s 6yo Theinval had been placed in all four of his previous runs over the larger obstacles before “bringing home the bacon” in very taking style last time over 2 1/2m at Uttoxeter seven weeks ago. A winner at Class 1 and 2 level over hurdles, he gets into his first handicap chase off his hurdles mark of 144 giving him a nice racing weight of 10st13lbs. Always going to be a chaser, he has won twice at right handed Kempton and looks one for the short list.
David Pipe and his father Martin before him, have enjoyed considerable success in the contest, and this year the Pond House operation relies on top weight Ballynagour who, has had an unusual, to say the least, preparation for this. Having failed to complete in the Grand National he was sent to Auteuil for a Grade2 hurdle where he was a well beaten 7th, but last time put up a much better show. He kept on well to finish second over 26f at Uttoxeter off a mark of 152 three weeks ago. However he races off a mark 5lbs higher at the weekend, and I have my doubts that going right handed over Saturday’s trip on decent ground is going to suit.
Jonjo O’Neills 6yo Easy Street is another who will need a few above him in the handicap to drop out to get a run, but he does look progressive. He hacked up on his first attempt over fences off a mark of 105 (3m1 1/2f Fontwell June 1st) and then, dropped back in distance to 2m4f, and racing off a mark of 112 at Uttoxeter eight days later, won cleverly from subsequent winner, Casino Markets. Twenty four days later, over Saturday’s course and distance, racing off a mark 13lbs higher, he was sent off the 7/4fav but, racing too freely, he stumbled at the 7th and unseated. If settling better at the week end, off the same mark, he is going to be a danger to all.
Jonjo also fields the 2014 winner It’s A Gimme who won off a mark of 132 and now races off a mark of 138. Winnerless since, he made his first racecourse appearance for over twelve months three weeks ago, over an inadequate two miles at Uttoxeter and showed little. However he has been found in the market and with these connections is hard to dismiss.
Philip Hobbs (pictured) runs the 5yo novice, Golden Doyen, and this winner of a Cheltenham Grade2 over hurdles looks well treated off a mark of 135 on his handicap debut, giving him a nice racing weight of 10st4lbs. He finished 3L behind Harry Fry’s Henryville on his first run for over four months, despite losing a shoe at Exeter in March, and now meets the winner on 5lbs better terms. He ran another fine race three months later here at Market Rasen (2m3f June 17th) finishing second, and indeed would have gone very close but for hitting the last.
The Paul Nicholls trained Valco de Touzaine ran well in this last year, finishing third off a mark of 142 despite a mistake at the 12th. He ran again over course and distance in September but was far too free, and finished 6th. He has only had the two runs since and ran pretty well in the second of them, over three miles at Perth seven weeks ago. In a tactical race he finished a well beaten third but was in contention until two out. If tidying up his jumping it would come as no surprise to see him involved at the business end.
This is certainly the right way around for the Tom George trained 6yo Cernunnos who has run some of his best races at tricky right handed Kempton, and off a mark of 135 isn’t badly treated. He hasn’t been seen since being pulled up at Aintree over 25f but reverting to what is probably his optimum trip and coming from a stable in form is worth considering.
Selection: Golden Doyen
E.W. : Valco de Touzaine