Racing Tips BetBright Grimthorpe Handicap Chase

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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.

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Vivaldi Collonges could go well if he gets a run says the Oddsguru.

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)

Betfred Classic Handicap Chase Tips

betfred-classic-handicap-chase-3m5f-warwick-saturdayBetfred Classic Handicap Chase 3m5f Warwick Saturday – When run as The Warwick National up to 2004, plenty of lightweights made it into the winners enclosure, and indeed two runners actually won from out of the handicap in the 1990s. However since it’s relaunch in 2004 as The Classic, with it’s increased prize money, higher rated animals have been to the fore, like the Tizzard trained Hey Big Spender who won with 11st12lbs on his back in2012 and Emma Lavelle’s Shotgun Paddy who carried 11st7lbs three years ago.  Run over 29f, usually on pretty attritional ground, and with those tricky fences down the back straight at Warwick to negotiate, it isn’t a race for the faint hearted. Unsurprisingly, experience counts, with eight of the last nine winners having competed in at least nine chases. The exception was Shotgun Paddy, (running again on Saturday) who also finished third two years ago. A recent run has been important, and all of the last ten winners had been on a racecourse in the previous six weeks. Significantly, at a tight course like Warwick, previous success going left handed has been very important, as has winning form at 3m or further. Alan King with two wins under his belt knows what is required, but out in front of him with three wins, is the master of Ditcheat, Paul Nicholls, and his joint top weight on Saturday, Vivaldi Collonges merits a close look.

An 8yo, Vivaldi Collonges was a dismal failure in last years renewal, trailing in 75L behind  the winner Russe Blanc, but went on to win his next two races in grand style, one of them over the course. He was a poor third on his reappearance ten weeks ago but can be expected to have benefited from the outing. He is very stoutly bred, and indeed is closely related to Paul’s Grand National winner Neptune Collonges, so Saturday’s trip should be right up his street. A year older and more experienced than last year, a much more prominent display is anticipated, and it won’t come as a great surprise if he equals Hey Big Spenders weight carrying performance of five years ago, and brings home the bacon.

Having his first race since June, The Tom Symonds trained 10yo, Kaki De La Pree ran a promising race at Bangor 36 days ago, finishing second to the upwardly mobile Ballyboker Breeze off a mark of 135. As the latter has gone up 10lbs, Kaki De La Pree’s mark of 137 on Saturday looks fairly generous and as this runner from the in form Symonds yard enjoys testing conditions, he can make his presence felt.

The last time we saw a winner of the race from Pond House was over a quarter of a century ago when father, Martin, saddled the 11yo Aquilifer to win in 1991. However, son David may improve the Pipe record on Saturday with his 9yo, Doctor Harper. Sent off the 4/1 fav for the 26f Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival he was never in contention, and unseated at the 2nd last. His next two runs were little better, but showed he had turned the corner 13 days ago at Cheltenham. Racing on his favoured soft ground, over an extended 26f, and staying on strongly, he failed by the minimum distance to reel in the winner Tour de Champs, and had the favourite Arpege D’Alene, 1 3/4L back in third. This was only his 7th race over fences so there could be plenty more to come at staying distances and his new mark of 143 looks well within his compass.

The stoutly bred 9yo, Viva Steve displayed his stamina credentials when staying on strongly over 24f in the Ayrshire mud off a mark of 132 in November and can be competitive off his new mark of 139.

Alan King’s 9yo Sego Success hit the deck at the second fence in last year’s renewal, when racing off a mark of 146, he started the 7/1 fav. He ran quite a promising race last time when keeping on for fourth over an inadequate 24f at Doncaster, and as he is 6lbs lower than last year, has to be of interest. A course winner on his only other Warwick appearance, it would be nice to see his owner, Timmy Leadbetter, a great supporter of the winter game, in the winners enclosure.

Lucinda Russell’s 8yo, One for Arthur looked an out and out stayer when winning easily over 26f at Kelso in October racing off a mark of 127. He confirmed the impression when staying on well over the Grand National fences, (26f Gd-Sft) six weeks ago to get within 3L of the winner off 137. Racing off the same mark on Saturday he’s well worth a second look.

Selection: Vivaldi Collonges

E.W. Doctor Harper (if abs) One For Arthur