Friday, 26 February 2016

What A Good Day!!

Paul Nicholls

3.20 Firsty joined the stable over a year ago and has been given plenty of time to mature following his two runs in France for Guilame McCaire. In the second of those runs he was a two and a half length second to Box Office in receipt of 4lbs who went on to finish a 7 length 6th behind Nicholls Qualando in the Fred Winter at last seasons Cheltenham festival off a mark of 135h.
There was a mention of a run in November but that didn't happen.
He's a big scopey sort and chasing will probably be his "A" game but he can probably pick up a hurdle or two on the way as he is an unexposed 5yo in the hands of the top trainer.

3.45 Howlongisafoot ran seven times last season winning twice at Taunton and Plumpton off marks of 125 and 130 in small fields. He is aid to be suited by an easy three miles or stiff two and a half as well as decent ground and he should be capable of progressing further.
He finished 5th on his first start back at Cheptow on 11/10 and like quite a lot of his stablemates this season he improved a fair bit from his first run by winning handily at Taunton on 12/11 in a Class 3 handicap chase over 2m 5f 150y on good going off a mark of 134c having switched from cheek pieces back to blinkers.
Post race Newbury was mentioned as his next target and on 27/11 he ran in a Class 2 handicap chase over 2m 3f 187y on soft going and fell at the 10th of 16 fences when in mid division.
After his Taunton win Nicholls had suggested that 3m could be in his compass and so on 27/12 he went to Kempton for another Class 2 handicap chase over that distance on good to soft going but after jumping mistakes at the 9th and 14th fences(18 in total) he was pulled up.
He is another Class 2 here albeit it doesn't look as competitive as the last two ahd he has been dropped 1lb in the handicap to 140c and Harry Cobden takes off 7lb with his claim - although as a jockey I think he needs to strengthen up a bit in order to improve.
Howlongisafoot is not the most straight-forward horse to ride as he has a habit of pulling himself up once he hits the front so expect him to be played late.
He might have a tough race with Venetia Williams Renard who has dropped like a heavy brick in the handicap ratings from 141 in Jan 2015 to just 124 now and he wears cheek pieces for the first time since 2010.

Dan Skelton

2.20 Girly Girl won an Irish point to point in February and had her first start for this stable on 1st April at Towcester in a Class 6 Bumper in which she was second to Nicky Henderson's Coole Charmer. She won on her return under Bridget Andrews in a bumper at Worcester over 2m on Good going and then ran in a Class 4 mares novices hurdle at Plumpton over 2m 4f 114y on good to soft which she won with Harry Skelton riding. She jumps well and she can at times be a tough nut to crack as she has been ridden from the front for both her wins this season.
She was stepped up in class to a listed mares event at Taunton over 2m following her second win and that proved a step too far as she faded out of contention with a couple of hurdles still to jump.
She then dropped back in class for a Class 4 novices hurdle at Fakenham but stepped up markedly in distance to 2m 7f 95y. In the race she got herself into contention three hurdles out but was no match for the winner although she was 14 lengths clear of the third horse home.
She's back in a mares event again now and is dropped in distance to 2m 175y with Harry Skelton riding and I would imagine he will try and make all over this shorter distance and make use of her proven jumping ability in this small field.

3.20 Captain Chaos is odds on and is up against Nicholls Firsty featured above who I think has a winning chance.

2.40 Levelling didn´t race on Flat for John Gosden (unruly at the start once last winter) but decent pedigree (one half-brother won a bumper) and with another good yard after 6,000gns sale in October.
She started her season at Doncaster on 29/01 in a Class 4 novices hurdle over 2m 140y on good to soft going. In that race she finished 6th of the 18 runners having tracked the leaders she was out paced three hurdles out and plugged for sixth place behind the very impressive winner despite being in receipt of one and a half stone in weight.
She tackles a Class 4 juvenile hurdle today at Warwick over 2m on soft and 5lb claimer Bridget Andrews takes the ride. I'm not sure soft ground will suit as being flat bred she may need better going.

4.15 What A Good Night would have won three on the trot last season but for falling when well clear at Southwell. His dam was an unraced half sister to 2003 Hennessy winner Strong Flow(OR140). He sounds a bit of a character that needs strong handling but he is an improving sort. That said he's been let down by his jumping on occasions not least at Stratford first time out this season when he fell at the last with the race at his mercy.
He then went to Bangor on 11/11 for a Class 2 handicap chase over 3m onn soft and got the better of Algernon Pazham after a ding dong battle up the home straight after which Dan Skelton suggested that the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby would be his next port of call.
Unfortunately, although declared, he didn't run there as it was abandoned but the stable thought he had a very big chance nevertheless. They had been very happy with his progress since his Bangor win and they were very positive about his chances even though he was a couple of pounds out of the handicap.
He reappeared on 16/01 at this course to contest the Grade 3 Betfred Classic Chase over 3m 5f where after being held up he was hampered at the 15th of 22 fences and was pulled up.
In relation to that race Skelton thought that if he stayed the distance then he had a good chance as they hadn't yet got to the bottom of him and soft ground wasn't a problem - but they were unable to test his staying ability for that trip.
The bonus now is that he has been dropped 2lb in the handicap ratings for that run which puts him on 129c and he is down to Class 3 handicap and back to his Bangor winning distance of 3m on soft so he has a great chance of getting back on the winning trail.

What A Good Night - 1 point win @ 7/1 with several bookmakers

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