CHELTENHAM SHOWCASE MEETING – LOOK BACK
Friday 25th October GOOD TO SOFT (Good in places) changing to GOOD TO SOFT (Soft in places) after Race 5 (4.20)
2.00 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
With less experience than the first and second, L’Air Du Vent ran well enough to suggest he will turn out the best of the runners. While he will find races over hurdles, he has the size and scope to prosper over fences.
2.35 – squareintheair.com Novices’ Chase
Whilst Al Dancer ran out a comfortable winner, I was taken by Getaway Trump’s run in third place. Both jumped well in the main. The latter looked set to win turning for home. However, lack of fitness told from the second last. Sure, to improve, his best form came in the New Year. Not That Fuisse also jumped well for a novice. Held-up, he came with a late run to take second place. He may have been flattered having been ridden with patience; however, he looks a likely sort for handicaps. Stays two and a half-miles acting on good through to soft.
3.10 – Two Farmers Crisps Handicap Hurdle
The Big Galloper finished second to easy winner Duke Street over twenty-five furlongs. He made good late headway having been hampered on the home turn. Looks ready for a step up to three-miles and trained by a shrewd judge in Charles Byrnes. Breaking Waves is a likeable sort that continued his improvement. Held-up at the back of the field, he made headway running down the hill. Turning for home he had plenty to do before running on well into fourth. He looks the type to improve with racing.
3.45 – Matchbook Most Trusted Betting Exchange Novices’ Chase
Minella Warrior ran well to finish third to Mulcahy’s Hill. His first run following a wind-op, he may prove best on flatter tracks. Stays well and considered best on good and good to soft.
4.20 – Foundation Developments Ltd Maiden Hurdle
Master Debonair ran a satisfactory race considering the race was run at a crawl for half a mile. In addition, he looks certain to appreciate better ground underhoof. Not short of speed, two-miles looks the ideal trip at this stage of his development. Fred will improve over two and a half-miles while Cap Du Mathan needed the run and experience. He looks sure to improve and stood out pre-race.
4.55 – Ryman Stationary Cheltenham Business Club Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase
Benny’s Bridge, heavily supported, landed the odds under a cool ride. Despite being raised 10lb, he is just 3lb above than the highest OR (Official Rating) he achieved last season. If none the worst for his final hurdle fall, Storm Rising looks capable of finding a similar event. Oakley ran a promising race; continuing his improvement from last season.
2.00 – “Matchbook Betting Exchange” Handicap Chase
Fourth to The Conditional, Onefortheroadtom is yet to win over fences. He still makes the odd mistake but looks likely to find a handicap or two this season. Both his hurdle wins came right-handed. Effective from two and a half-miles upwards, he handles good through to soft.
2.35 – Masterson Holdings Hurdle
Soviet Pimpernel ran a fine race on ground he clearly disliked. Travelling kindly on the wide outside, he made headway down the hill, going well turning for home. Asked to quicken, the ground caught him out up the hill. Quel Destin’s recent run on the flat clearly put him right. He travelled and jumped well running on strongly up the hill. His FSF suggests he has improved 7lb, the amount the handicapper raised him for the win. Torpillo improved his FSF 2lb from his Chepstow win. He may prove one to catch when fresh.
3.10 – Randox Health Handicap Chase
Saint Calvados landed some decent bets having attracted support all day. Less than fluent early on, his jumping improved as the race progressed. Nursed into the action approaching the second last, he ran on well up the run-in. Whilst he appears back to his best, he was dropped in class and may prove best up to Grade Two class. Vaniteux is running well for his new trainer. He clearly enjoys testing conditions these days. Knocknanuss may prove best conceding weight in a slightly lower grade. Given that scenario, he should win under his favoured cavalier style of racing.
3.45 – Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle
Tobefair yet again showed courage and ability to shrug off top weight. Effective from good through to soft, he enjoys Cheltenham, Chepstow, Warwick, and Newbury. Sunset Showdown continues to improve along with Captain Tommy. Potters Legend showed enough to warrant respect when reverting to fences.
4.20 – Randox Novices’ Hurdle
Ramses De Teillee made all to win with plenty to spare. He will no doubt have the Becher Chase and/or the Welsh National on his “To do” list. Should connections decide to stay over hurdles, his OR is 7lb lower than his Chase OR. The Butcher Said ran a fine race conceding 8lb. Still improving, he looks worth considering on better ground. He looks well handicapped, if sent in that direction.
4.55 – Matchbook Best Value Betting Exchange Novices’ Chase
We must be careful when a horse wins easily in these conditions. However, it was hard not to be impressed with Slate House’s win. He jumped well through the race and came up the hill hardly coming off the bridle. The wind-op proved effective; one hopes this leads to an upturn in this talented horses’ fortunes. The BetVictor Gold Cup was mentioned as a possible target.
5.30 – Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race
Time Flies By was mentioned prior to racing as one having ability. Despite drifting in the market, he came through late to win with something to spare. What caught my eye was the way he quickened on the ground when Mr Geraghty saw the runner-up finding plenty up the hill. Butte Montana travelled well and finished his race off in the manner of a decent horse. The performance can be marked up as connections felt he did not enjoy the ground. NH Guide entry Mustang Alpha showed up for a long way before weakening. He has been schooled over hurdles, though his back-peddling raises a question or two. One hopes it was the ground rather than a problem. Grumpy Charly and The Newest One showed enough to suggest they will progress further with time and experience.