With entries from many of the top National Hunt establishments for Newton Abbot’s Class2 Feature event at the weekend, it is a reminder, that the Summer is nearly over, and the Winter game is beginning to get itself into gear. Philip Hobbs won the event last year with Golden Doyen, and must fancy his chances of a repeat with his seven year old, Wait For Me.
The son of Saints Des Saints looked an animal with a bright future when making a winning racecourse debut in an Ascot Bumper in February 2015, but despite winning a couple of Novice hurdles at long odds on, had been a trifle disappointing until coming good on the last day of the season, April 29th. Stepped up to 2m4f for a Sandown Handicap, he looked much more the finished article, winning by six lengths from the Nicky Henderson trained Stowaway Magic off a mark of 135. As the runner up had won four of his seven races, the form looks solid and a seven pounds rise looks fair.
His sire, is a strong influence for stamina, (sire of Djakadam) and his dam is by River Mist, so Saturday’s trip should pose no problems. The only slight concern would be his ability to handle Newton Abbot’s tight circuit as he has done all his racing on tracks more galloping in nature.
Paul Nicholls is represented by the 5yo Trevisani, and this son of Dubawi, is a three times winner on the flat, where he achieved a rating of 88. He has won three of his five races over hurdles, the last twice, Novice events, over Saturday’s course and distance. The assessor hasn’t done him any great favours giving him an opening mark of 130 for this his handicap debut, but it has to be said that this well bred individual has plenty in his favour on Saturday.
The Donald McCain trained 5yo, Dear Sire, has been put up a whopping ten pounds for winning his last race, but to be fair to the Handicapper, it was a Class2 Perth handicap which he won pretty easily by 8L from the useful Caius Marcius. He steps up in trip on Saturday but could be suited, as his sire Al Namix, gets plenty of staying types,
(Saphir Du Rheu for example) and his dam, Polismith is quite stoutly bred.
Dan Skelton’s 5yo, Whatzdjazz, has won four of his six starts and was quite impressive last time when taking a Class2 Market Rasen Handicap, (2m4 1/2f) by 4 1/2L from that good yardstick, Guitar Pete off a mark of 122. As a son of Yeats the extra furlong on Saturday could be ideal and it would not be a huge surprise if the Skelton five year old defied his eight pounds rise at the weekend.
It is 161 days since the Charlie Longsden trained Snow Leopardess beat Copper Kay by 4L in a Class1 Newbury Novices Handicap Hurdle (2m4 1/2f) racing off a mark of 123. The 5yo daughter of Martaline can go well after a break but the 12lbs hike to 135 looks punitive and I would also be concerned about Saturday’s tight track.
The Harry Fry trained Golden Birthday seems to have improved for stepping up from racing around two miles, and really caught the eye when beating Miss Spent over the course (2m2 1/2f) by seventeen lengths off a mark of 126 thirty three days ago. By Poiglote out of a Glint Of Gold mare the extra three furlongs should be right up his street and off a mark of 132 looks well handicapped.
Having won on both visits to the track, last time, eleven days ago, by 2 1/4L from Peruvian Bleu, (2m1f) it’s pretty clear that Anthony Honeyball’s, Coeur Tantre, enjoys the venue. However I’m not convinced that the extra 4 1/2f will be in his favour, particularly racing off an eight pounds higher mark.
Selection : Trevisani (if abs Wait For Me)
E.W. : Golden Birthday