Betway Summer Plate Handicap Chase 2m5 1/2f Market Rasen

peter bowen training

Welsh handler Peter Bowen’s record in the Plate is exceptional

With a relative dearth of top class flat racing on Saturday, we have one of the highlights of the Summer jumping season, Market Rasen’s, eponymous Plate, to get our teeth into. Some of the top yards are represented, but the first port of call has to be the Yet-Y-Rug stables, down Haverfordwest way, of Welsh Maestro, Peter Bowen, as he has won exactly 25% all the runnings of The Plate since it’s inception in 1995, a pretty remarkable achievement for a small yard operating so far from racing’s centre!
Of his 3 entries at the time of writing, last year’s Hero, More Bucks looks the most interesting.

In a heat run at its usual pillar to post gallop, the son of Presenting, jumped fluently throughout, and held on very gamely, to beat the Skelton-trained Too Many Diamonds by 1/2L, and land Peter his 6th Summer Plate. More Bucks has only caught the judges eye once in his subsequent 10 races, ( a Ludlow Class3 Chase in January) but as a result races on Saturday off a mark only 7lbs higher than last year. He showed little in his last two races, (a race on the flat at Bath and a Hurdle race at Market Rasen 13 days ago) but back in a race that suited so well last year, and coming from this yard, the 9yo has to be considered.

7yo’s have won the contest 8 times, and Warwickshire genius, Dan Skelton, will be hoping to improve that record even further with his son of Beneficial, Gortroe Joe.
He is a winner of 2 of his 5 starts over fences for the Alcester handler, including last time out, when he cruised up by 12L over Saturday’s course and distance 90 days ago. It was only a 4 runner affair, and Saturday’s 16 runner field, all racing with the choke out, will present a very different challenge, but the Skelton’s, with a win and a 2nd in the last 3 years, know what is required, and their contender is owned by that great supporter of National Hunt racing, Terry Warner.

Like many a horse before him, the 11yo, Ronava, has improved dramatically for coming under the Tutelage of Worcestershire trainer, Dr Richard Newland. He only arrived at the Claines yard a mere 54 days ago, on a mark of 117, and he is already rated 19lbs higher. The ex Irish son of Blueprint, had plied his trade in the PTP field, over hurdles, and over fences, for the meagre return of a couple of PTP victories, 3 wins over hurdles, and a single chase victory in a 7 year career. Since joining the good doctor, the veteran has won two of his three starts, and was pretty impressive at Hexham last time, winning by an eased down 8L off a mark of 124. He has to cope with a hefty 12lbs rise at the weekend, and would be only the third 11yo to win the contest, but in the hands of Dr Newland, who won with Bobowen 6 years ago, nothing seems impossible.

nicky henderson oddsguruSomewhat surprisingly, Nicky Henderson still awaits a first victory in the Market Rasen feature, but with 3 contenders this year, Theinval, Pacific De Baune, and Casablanca Mix, he looks to be determined to fill the gap in his outstanding CV.  Theinval finished 3rd three years ago as a 6yo, when despite travelling well throughout, he didn’t seem to quite get home, and was beaten 11L. Indeed the rest of his career would suggest that 2m4f is the limit of his stamina so Nicky’s best chance of bringing the prize back to Seven Barrows would seem to lie with one of the other two.

Pacific De Baune is a 6yo son of that good dual purpose French stallion, Al Namix,
(sire of Petit Mouchoir and Saphir Du Rheu amongst many other good horses) and has won 2 of his 4 starts over fences. He showed last time that his recent wind operation had been a success, when comfortably winning a Class2 Newton Abbot Handicap off a mark of 142 from that good yardstick, Wait For Me by 3 1/2L, which makes Saturday’s mark of 149 look fair. A slight concern would be  Pacific De Baune’s lack of experience in a race like The Plate, but he looked a sound jumper in his last 2 races and put in a near flawless round over Warwicks tricky circuit last November.

The 3rd contender from Seven Barrows is the ex French 7yo Casablanca Mix, and he is 2/9 over fences since joining the Lambourn genius in April 2017. He looked well worth his rating of 142 for Saturday when winning an Aintree Class3 Handicap 64 days ago off a mark of 138, and could be well suited by Saturday’s race. All his best efforts have come on flat tracks, and he has looked particularly well suited by a right handed circuit. He has won and been placed twice at Huntingdon, where he gave the now 152 rated
Willoughby Court a fright in 2017, and didn’t quite see out the 3miles trip when failing by only 1/2L to win a Class1 Listed Chase here at Market Rasen last November. Back over a more suitable trip and with Nico De Boinville doing the steering, he could be the one to fill in that gap in the Master of Seven Barrows CV.

Selection  : Casablanca Mix

EW          : Gortroe Joe

John Gray

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Melrose Stakes Handicap Betting Tips

Betfred Melrose Stakes Handicap 1m6f York Saturday – With so many higher rated older animals qualifying for the Ebor, it is almost impossible for a progressive 3yo to get into the contest, and as a result the Melrose Handicap, which is run over the same distance, and is confined to the classic generation, has become the target for the improving 3yo stayer. This indeed has resulted in the “Melrose” becoming the classier of the two contests, surely an undesireable situation for the York executive! John Dunlop won the race three times between 1999 and 2009 and Luca Cumani collected on two occasions, but of Saturday’s contenders only Haggas, Johnston, and Stoute have managed to hit the back of the net.

Yorkshireman William Haggas enjoys nothing more than a victory on the Knavesmire, and has high hopes of emulating his 2012 win with Guarantee. He carried 9st 4lbs to victory, and coincidentally, the Haggas contender at the weekend, Dal Harraild, is set to carry the same weight. A winner of three of his eight starts, he impressed when taking a Class3 handicap at Musselburgh off a mark of 87 at the beginning of June. As the runner up, and third both scored next time out, the form looked solid and he was duly sent off a 5/1 shot for an Ascot Class2 handicap next time out. Racing off a mark of 95 in the 12f contest he looked unlucky when going down by a couple of heads, but made no mistake three weeks later when winning a valuable Class2 Goodwood handicap off a mark of 98. He had five of Saturday’s opponents behind him that day, and some of them must fancy their chances of reversing the form on better terms on Saturday, not least Jaameh and Shaaroh.

The former, a colt by Iffraj and trained by Master Trainer, Mark Johnston, finished 4th at Goodwood where he was beaten less than a length despite getting upset in the stalls, and looking ill at ease on the track. He meets Dal Harraid on 3lbs better terms so has to be considered, but it has to be said that the Haggas horse also had to wait, and wait, for a gap, so it wont come as a great surprise if the placings are confirmed.

The Sir Michael Stoute (pictured above) trained Sea the Stars colt Shraooh might prove a tougher nut to crack. Ridden by Frankie Dettori he was only a short head behind Dal Harriad at Goodwood and as it was only his fifth time on a racecourse plenty of improvement can be anticipated. He finished strongly that day and with plenty of stamina on the distaff, the step up to 14f looks sure to suit. Two pounds  worse off and with Dettori again doing the steering on  Shraooh the Haggas runner is going to have to pull out all the stops.

Irish Maestro, Aidan O’Brien has never won this, but two of his three previous contenders have been placed, so any runner from this yard is worth a second look. At the time of writing the Galileo colt Kellstorm is his most likely representative, and this very lightly raced full brother to staying sensation, Order of St George, you would think is highly likely to improve for the  greater stamina test. Unplaced on his only 2yo appearance, he finished 3rd, only 4L behind stablemate US Army Ranger, on his seasonal debut, and followed up with an easy win in a Tipperary maiden. He can be excused his second in a muddling four runner affair at Naas 101 days ago, and gets in here off a mark of 92, giving him a nice racing weight of 8st8lbs. Up in trip and racing on good ground for the first time in his career we might be forgiven for thinking by 3 .O’Clock on Saturday, what a handicap snip he was.

The Willie Mullins trained Laws Of Spin demonstrated that the trip would hold no fears when comfortably winning over a furlong further at Leopardstown sixteen days ago, and this son of Lawman has quite a progressive profile. He won a 10f Ballinrobe handicap (July 18th), despite stumbling over a furlong out, off a mark of 75 but, stepped up to 15f in the Leopardstown contest seventeen days later, he won going away, off a mark of 82. The step up in trip has clearly been the key to this animal and in the hands of this trainer it will come as no surprise to see further progress at the weekend off his new mark of 89.

Unraced as a 2yo the Michael Bell trained Forth Bridge has only had the three runs and showed very little in the first of them, coming home a well beaten third of four in a 10f soft ground Nottingham maiden in April. However stepped up to 12f a fortnight later, he ran a much more promising race when finishing second in a Sailsbury maiden. He was beaten 2 3/4L by Harbour Law, and had the 3rd, Real Dominion, 4 1/2L behind. As all three won next time out the form looks solid. Forth Bridge duly won his maiden in battling style at Haydock thirty nine days later in a contest which hasn’t really worked out but he remains an animal of some potential.

Selection: Shraaoh

E.W.       : Laws Of Spin