BetBright Grimthorpe Handicap Chase 3m2f Doncaster Saturday – It was very disappointing that connections chose not to run our selection, Tea For Two in last week’s BetBright Chase. With so much in his favour he looked a very attractive bet at the 6/1 available at the time of writing, and I’m sure attracted plenty of ante post money. While connections have every right to campaign their horse as they see fit, a little consideration for the small punter, who after all keeps the “ship” afloat wouldn’t come amiss. Our E.W. suggestion, Irish Saint ran poorly and one can only conclude that three miles is beyond him. However upwards and onwards, with the sincere hope that we don’t see another well backed animal a late withdrawal from Saturday’s Grimthorpe Chase.
With two wins on the scoreboard, Kim Bailey has been the most successful handler, and he is represented again by last years winner, The Last Samurai. The 9yo was most impressive, taking it up three fences out and going clear from the last for a facile 10L win off a mark of 149. He went on to finish a marvellous second to Rule The World in the Grand National off the same mark, and showed that he was still progressing when finishing a Shd and 1L behind Vieux Lion Rouge and Highland Lodge in the Betfred Beecher Chase off a mark of 159 thirteen weeks ago. He was giving the winner a hefty 17lbs that day, and as David Pipe’s 8yo went on to take the Grade3 Grand National Trial at Haydock from Blaklion off a mark of 146, Kim Baileys horse doesn’t seem too badly treated off a mark of 161. Obviously connections will have one eye on Aintree, but it won’t come as a great surprise to see this super game animal, despite carrying 6lbs more than last year, in contention yet again.
A Doncaster winner in December 2015, the Alan King trained Sego Success, put up another decent performance over the course (3m) when finishing a staying on fourth behind No Duffer in December. Stable companion and course specialist, Ziga Boy in receipt of 4lbs, was 5L ahead of him in third place that day, and as he went on to win his next race, a Class1 handicap by 3 1/2L off a mark of 137, Sego Success looks nicely handicapped on a mark of 138, giving him a nice racing weight of 10st3lbs. He has to be forgiven a poor effort over 29f in the Warwickshire mud last time but, Alan Kings 9yo does seem to like Doncaster, and goes there with sound prospects on Saturday.
The Venetia Williams trained 7yo Yala Enki (pictured above) is trying the trip (26f) for the first time, but did look a stayer in the making, when winning over 23f, by 8L in the Haydock mud in December, from Vieux Lille, off a mark of 139. His pedigree, by the top class jumper, Nickname, out of a Cadoudal mare certainly shouts stamina, so is likely to find Saturday’s trip right up his street, and with plenty of rain about could find conditions ideal on only his third start over fences for Venetia.
Paul Nicholls has drawn a blank since winning this in 2000 but has two solid looking entries at the time of writing, the 7yo Present Man, and 8yo Vivaldi Collonges.
The younger of the pair will have the benefit of Jack Sherwood’s 3lbs claim, and as a comfortable winner of a Grade2 Chase (3m good) over the course, despite jumping right, has to be considered. However he disappointed at Kempton last time, and being by Presenting out of a Strong Gale mare, is always going to be better suited by decent ground. The year older, Vivaldi Collonges won a 24 1/2f Ayr Handicap last April very easily by 5L and 21L from Kilbree Thief and One For Arthur off a mark of 143. His two runs this term have been disappointing but as a result he has been dropped to a mark of 148, and on that run in April, looks well handicapped. Spring is his time of year, so with a nice racing weight of 10st13lbs is definitely worth considering. A caveat would be that he also has an entry in the 4 o’c at Kelso on Saturday, a course he has won over in the past.
Having his first run for eight months, the Nicky Richards trained 8yo, Looking Well, ran a race full of promise, to finish second to Ziga Boy, albeit beaten 3 1/2L, in a Class1 handicap here at Doncaster five weeks ago, (3m). He runs off a mark only 5lbs higher on Saturday, (137) and with the extra 2f very much in his favour is worth a second look.
Selection : Yala Enki
E.W. : Vivaldi Collonges (if abs. Sego Success)