Saturday, 23 January 2016

It's just "Heavy" man !!

I spoke to soon yesterday about the word good being in the going report at Market Rasen as another deluge of rain soon got it back to heavy.

I'm afraid there is more of it on Saturday too at Haydock.

Dan Skelton's runners ran reasonably well on Friday so hopefully he will be able to pick up a few wins over the weekend.

Paul Nicholls didn't have any runners on Friday but runs a whole draft on Saturday when it is hoped he can regain winning ways but we have to take a slight leap of faith to hope he does so.

Dan Skelton
Haydock - Heavy
2.05 Its'afreebee won at Haydock last time over further but it will be a real test of stamina here. He’s said to be in very good form at home and he has Le Prezien and Vieux Lille to get the better of which may be beyond him today.

2.40 Fou Et Sage was a top class 4yo horse in France. He is said to have a lot of speed but the stable must be disappointed with what he has done so far in his two races in this country as he's finished last both times. That said the stable think he ran a lot better last time at Haydock. He’s fresh and well but he’s got a bit to find with The New One and Melodic Rendezvouz and his price probably reflects his chance on what we have seen to date..

4.20 Baratineur was a dual bumper winner in France on soft and heavy going. He is said to have a shown a lot of speed and ability at home. Returned at Huntingdon in a Class 5 maiden hurdle over 2m on good going finishing 4th behind Great Hall. He then finished 2nd in the fixed brush hurdle at Haydock over 2m 3f on soft where he was beaten 9 lengths. He then returned to this track last time out and ran well in a handicap to finish a short head second. He’s got a 6lb pull with Vintage Clouds so there’s not much between them on the book and he has a chance of winning.

1.50 Fairytale Theatre seems to be a bit under the radar at Lodge Hill Stables as she is rarely mentioned by anyone even though she made the frame in Grade 2/Listed company last season. She returned in a Listed hurdle over 3m 110y at Kempton and finished 3rd of 5. She then went to Sandown on 02/01 and finished 3rd to Polly Peachum in a Listed mares hurdle over 2m 4f on heavy.
She is almost certainly biting off more than she can chew here.

2.25 Value At Risk was a high class hurdler and won on his first start for the stable at Newbury beating the progressive Foryourinformation by 22 lengths. He then ran on bad ground on Cheltenham trials day in January when he was only just denied before running a respectable 5th in the Albert Bartlett over 3m having led turning for home. Plan "A" though has always been chasing as he is big and strong individual and he is potentially very exciting. The stable have been able to tailor his preparation this season as opposed to last when he arrived with them late on. The planned prep run at Bangor didn't come off because of the going but he returned at Newbury for the Grade 2 Bet365 novices chase over 2m 7f 86y on going given as good to soft. Unfortunately he only got as far as the second fence when falling after jumping the first well. He was reportedly a bit sore afterwards and he then went to Huntingdon were the same thing happened again.
Chasing has now been put on hold for now but he’s said to be in great form at home and hopefully there will be no falls here back over hurdles. His handicap mark of 142 is not a stumbling block and the stable expect to get a good run out of him here.

3.55 Wilton Milan ran eight times for Paul Nicholls last season winning just the once at Newbury in a Class 3 Conditional Jockeys Handicap Chase over 2m 2f 64y on going described as Soft when wearing first time cheek pieces. That was off a mark of 123 and he is currently rated 133c. He ran a reasonable race from 2lb out of the handicap on his return at Chepstow. He then stepped up to 3m 1f for the Listed Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton on Soft where he was pulled up before 3 out after a couple of jumping errors. His former trainer didn't think he properly stayed 3m but he was able to get his neck in front at Lingfield over the distance at the end of November of 127c. He then went to Haydock for the Tommy Whittle off a 6lb higher mark but he was never a threat and finished 6th of the 10 runners. Bridget Andrews rides him for the first time here and takes off a valuable 5lbs on this switch back to hurdles over a shorter distance and with cheek pieces back on for the first time this season they should get his mind on the job.

Paul Nicholls
2.05 Le Prezien ran a promising race at Strasbourg before being acquired by Anthony Bromley for the Million In Mind Partnership. He put up a good performance against one of the best novices we have seen this season in Yanworth at Warwick and that one now has a hurdle rating of 148h. Next time out at Ludlow Le Prezien was a comfortable winner from Hobbs Casper King. He won as expected at Doncaster a fortnight ago and he should go close here as he continues to progress.

3.15 Virak  is a lover of soft ground with all 8 of his wins coming with the words soft or heavy in the going description. His trainer thinks that he is too high in the handicap at present and he is probably right as he is now 15lb higher than his last win. That said he put in a good run in 2nd behind the improving Wakanda at Newcastle in the Class 1 Rehearsal Chase beaten half a length with 7 lengths back to the third and he was then 2nd again to the same horse at Ascot.
Harry Cobden retains the ride as he gets on well with the horse and takes 7lb off the top weight and as a bonus Virak has won twice here before. The stable have kept him fresh since Ascot when he stayed on well and he looks to have a decent chance.

12.40 Connetable had some quite smart juvenile form in France before a setback in the autumn when he threw a splint. He is expected to improve for the run.

2.25 Monsieur Gibraltar Joined the stable in February 2015 after running several races in France of which he won two. Ran just once for the stable last season when winning at Newton Abbot by 9 lengths in a Class 4 Novice Hurdle for which he carried a double penalty. Looks to be another top recruit to the stable and is one of Paul Nicholls five to follow.
Nicholls was pleased with the way he ran at Kempton over Xmas under top weight when he loomed up looking a big threat between the last two flights before tiring in the closing stages.
He'd had an operation to sort out his wind before that race and he is said to be a lot sharper now and the trip should be fine so a big run is expected if he handles the soft conditions.

3.00 Vibrato Valtat  is one of the stable stars and a top class chaser. He was targeted at the Haldon Gold Cup which he won in fine style from Third Intention despite having to take up the running sooner than ideal and hitting the last. Although he had a breathing op the summer before last he still continues to wear a tongue tie. He kept improving last season and he's still a 7yo but that bit stronger now and more the completed article. He travels well and usually appreciates a lead into the race.
Produced a career best last time at Kempton behind Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy and needs to improve to win here but Nicholls is hopeful he can run well on the stiffer track and softer going and if the top two have a match Vibrato Valtat could benefit.

3.35 Salubrious was a Grade 1 performer over hurdles and won the Martin Pipe at the festival in 2013 off a mark of 141h. That said Nicholls wasn't overly impressed with his initial handicap rating of 153c following his Fontwell win on his sole chase start prior to injury last season and that was reduced. He was said to be in good form prior to his first run for 402 days at Carlisle in a Class 2 Graduation chase over three miles and a half furlong on heavy which he won by a neck after leading on the bit at the last fence.
He then went to Ascot and finished 6th behind Wakanda in the Class 1 Sodexo Silver Cup handicap chase off a mark of  148c. He travelled well there but didn't get home over three miles. This is said to be a much more suitable trip for Salubrious who has been ticking over nicely at home and should run a big race.

1.35 Mr Mix had just the one run in France at Auteuil when third beaten 9 lengths in the 3yo Listed Prix Finot hurdle over 2m 2f on going described as very soft. Should be capable of a bold show and can follow in the footsteps of Irish Saint(1st), Ptit Zig(9th) and Saphir Du Rheu(3rd)who also ran in the Prix Finot. One of Paul Nicholls five to follow for the season he has been given plenty of time to mature and develop as he's had a few temperamental issues. He started this season in a Class 3 NH Novices Hurdle over 2m at Stratford on soft going finishing 3rd of 11 to Charbel. He probably needed the run that day but that said he has run fairly well on both starts in finishing 3rd, with the second of those coming at Exeter behind Vieux Lille who runs in the Supreme trial at Haydock.

2.10 Clic Work is said to have had a little setback after joining the stable from France where he was narrowly beaten on his second start over hurdles at Nancy in May.
Those connected with the stable think he is a nice horse but he is expected to improve for the run and will probably need better ground in time.

3.20 Some Buckle came from the Roger Brookhouse exodus from Tom George. He ran 5 times last season winning just the once at Southwell when beating Mad Jack Mytton. He is on a mark of 135 and he has always been thought of as a potential decent chaser so he should be up to running well here in his first chase having run very well over hurdles at Cheltenham last time on his first start for the stable. He is said to be a lot sharper now and jumps fences well at home.

Some Buckle - 1 point win @ 9/4 with sporting odds - 2/1 elsewhere
Salubrious - 1 point win @ 5/1 with several bookmakers
Vibrato Valtat - 0.50 points ew @ 12/1 with several bookmakers
Baratineur - 1 point win @ 100/30 with several bookmakers

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