The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase last weekend was a more eagerly anticipated watch than the usual run around the banks. Two stars of recent years in Easysland and Tiger Roll did battle with each other – but it was to turn out that neither would scoop the prize. Kingswell Theatre benefitted from a superb front running ride by Tom Scudamore under a low weight to score nicely at the line.
However, the race was slightly marred by Tiger Roll being pulled up by Robbie Power at around the halfway mark. This has called into question the idea of retirement – which connections closest to the horse has come out to rebuff. However, I would be of the opinion that Tiger Roll has more than paid his dues and should be monitored very closely with how much further racing he takes part in. If he was mine, I would more than likely be pulling stumps at this stage. But those closest to him will know best, and it will be interesting to see the long term plans made.
Horse of The Week
This was a tricky pick this week with several horses advertising themselves as well above average performers. I was quite taken with the Chase debut of Asterion Forlonge, who jumped well in the main to rewards odds on backers. The Big Breakaway and Protektorat were also impressive winners of their respective chases at Cheltenham.
However, my performance of the week comes from Letsbeclearaboutit, who sauntered clear in taking style to land the winners bumper at Punchestown on Saturday. In doing so, he confirmed form with the well regarded Enniskerry, and also dismissed Dark Spark in the progress. Gavin Cromwell may well have landed himself another above average type and I look forward to seeing where he goes next.
Into The Tracker
I’m really keen on this horse that you should all put in your tracker. On Sunday, a competitive handicap Chase was made more exciting by the fine ride on the winner by Jack Foley. However, the horse to take out of the race was Bois Des Clamart for Liz Doyle, who unseated rider at the fourth last when looming large.
Up until that point he had travelled like a dream through the race and jumped well for a horse of such inexperience. His unseat was a little unlucky as he crowded for room approaching the fence and made a clumsy mistake as a result. Providing all is well, this horse will win a lot of handicaps throughout the year.
Just a thought !
Put the Kettle On advertised her Champion Chase credentials by landing the Shloer Chase on the weekend. However, the Champion Chase still looks in the firm grip of trainer Willie Mullins. Somehow, Willie is yet to win this race at the festival but looks to have a stacked hand to go to war with this year.
If Chacun Pour Soi doesn’t turn up, who would be his major number one shout, don’t be surprised if you saw the evergreen Min rock up in this race. With Allaho rating a potentially top chance for the Ryanair – they have heaps of options to spread their horses around, including at this race. Don’t be surprised if Cash Back was to even put his Arkle run behind him with a big run in the Poplar Chase at Naas this weekend.
Thursday Pick from Thurles
Thurles 2.55 – Fou Diligence (16/1) – 0.5 Pt EW
Thurles 3.25 – Ballycloven Beat (8/1) – 0.5 Pt EW
There is plenty of good racing at Ascot, Haydock, Naas and Navan this weekend to get stuck into. However, my eyes will be drawn to the hopeful return of Goshen over at Ascot in the Ascot Hurdle. Having been such an exciting juvenile last year, he was putting in a performance of some notice when unseating at the last in the Triumph.
Fit from a few spins on the flat in the summer, this horse should be plenty straight enough to do himself justice tomorrow and I’m really hoping that he can go and get the job done and advertise his Champion Hurdle claims.
The Big Clash !
The clash that everyone was getting excited about this time last year is back and better than ever at Haydock. Bristol De Mai, on his home turf, will slug it out against LostinTranslation with Clan Des Obeaux in the mix this year for good measure. Bristol De Mai loves Haydock and one would assume he will be bang on to run a huge race once again in this. LostinTranslation brings the class side to things, with his third in the Gold Cup a superb effort given the form of Tizzard’s horses at the time.
This will be a ding-dong match between the two – with Clan Des Obeaux good enough to play a big hand if things fall his way. However, I will be sticking by the tried and tested Haydock form, and will hope that the likeable Bristol De Mai can roll back the years and take this prize.
The Long Range Effort
I have never hidden the regard I hold Botox Has in for the Gary Moore stable, who I’m convinced will be destined for big things over the coming seasons. It seems like the Moore team may have found a similar type of stablemate in the form of Nassalam. This french recruit won at the weekend in an ordinary Fontwell maiden hurdle and was installed into the Triumph hurdle market at 25/1.
One would have to be impressed with how he travelled throughout the race and hopefully there is a lot more to come from this horse in his coming starts. It is a speculative punt as the juvenile division can be very volatile at times – but I’m happy to chance it on this horse at the prices.
Nassalam (25/1) Triumph Hurdle 2021 (1pt win)
By Andrew Blair White 19/11/2020