The switch between jumps and flat is almost complete now as Thursday’s cards bring 3 domestic jumps cards from Carlisle, Ludlow and Southwell. There’s also a jumps card from Thurles to mull over for some potential value too.
The opening race of the day is a 3 mile handicap chase. It’s immediately eye-catching to see only 1 distance winner in the field in the favourite NOTACHANCE.
Last seen back in March in a 3 mile hurdle race, he beat decent benchmark Three Star General. He was really game over the last and held on well to assert his victory on the run in. Being able to cope with the staying race is a big bonus, a horse having the grit to keep trying when in the depths of their stamina makes a good staying chaser. He can take a fence as he’s already won a point to point before he took to rules racing so his jumping shouldn’t be of concern. The ground is currently forecasted as good but with rain falling we’ll slowly start edging closer to there being some cut in the ground by the time we get to post time. This’ll suit Notachance as his 3 most recent rules runs came on good to soft and his point win came on yielding to soft.
Main competition here will mostly be Stop The World for Tom George and Adrian Heskin. The 6 year old has yet to shed his maiden tag however and has found himself struggling to get his nose in front. Contesting class 2’s last season over hurdles, he proved he can stay but I don’t think he wants much cut in the ground. With rain forecasted he’s looking less likely to be as competitive. He’s also off a mark 2lbs above the bracket for the ratings for this race so will be lugging around 12st.
All the runners here are coming off their summer breaks apart from Ratoute Yutty who fell in a hurdle race 15 days ago and has left a lot to be desired from her form last season. Consistently favourite she’s consistently disappointing.
It’s a cagey affair but if Notachance can carry his hurdle form forward to fences he’ll be difficult to beat over this testing trip.
Over to Ireland for the next selection and today’s nap in PEREGRINE RUN. This 2 mile 6.5 furlong hurdle looks to be dominated by one of the most inform horses from Ireland this summer. He knocked up a sequence of 5 wins over his summer campaign and has looked thoroughly difficult to beat over both fences and hurdles.
He was last seen running in the Gowran Park Champion Chase where he ran an admirable second to Snow Falcon. He showed his grit late on and nabbed second in the run in to beat Us And Them to the line by a head. He’s shown he’s versatile for trips as he’s won between 2.5 miles and just shy of 3 miles. There’s a small amount of cut in the ground here which is no trouble for the serial winner. As a chaser Peregrine Run is now rated 159 and held his own in grade 2 company. Over hurdles he’s still rated 139 which is 9lbs higher than Elkwood and Westland Row who oppose here. Going off level weights the Gigginstown runner Elkwood’s best effort to date came in a handicap so he might find himself out of his depth here. Westland Row is Gordon Elliott’s other entrant but he’s 11 days removed from a tough race on heavy going behind Dinons.
The race breaks down to the 3 runners mentioned and it all revolves around Peregrine’s Run trying to add a sixth win to his season. He’s a good chaser who’s not always fluent over his fences but as a hurdler he can take lumps out of this field at every flight.
It always pricks my ears to see a course and distance winner off a fair mark going off at 20/1. Back in February KNOCKNAMONA won here off a mark of 103 by a massive 8 lengths. He joined the leader over the last and asserted during the run in to pull clear easily and notch up an impressive win. He followed that up with a return to hurdles where he struggled and finished a weak 5th of 9. Following that up with a return to fences he fell off a mark of 109. He tried a longer trip in his last race of the season and found himself tailed off 115 lengths behind the winner. His seasonal reappearance this year saw him put in another below par effort 42 lengths detached from a winner. But I’m willing to put a line through his last 2 runs. An incorrect trip at the end of last season stretched him too far and his seasonal comeback was needed to sharpen him back up.
Back with a bit of juice in the ground, a run under him and the correct trip he looks great value at high odds to hit the frame. He’s already finished ahead of Pookie Pekan and Ryalex who both still have to give him weight. Current favourite Sebastian Beach won last time out and got lumped with a hefty 9lb rise which looks hard to defy.
There’s a decent pace on here for the held up Knocknamona to aim at, he’ll come late but if he runs anywhere near to how well he did off his last course and distance run he’ll go close.
Rounding out the day with a 2.5 mile handicap chase Lerichi Belle is a current favourite I’m keen to take on. The free going front runner is effective over 2 miles but this extended trip seems to test her stamina to the limit and she gets caught late on when her gas tank empties. She’s already beaten SHOW’S OVER but over 2 miles at Worcester. Show’s Over was the best of the rest that day and finished strongly to nab 2nd on the run in. Stamina is the main key here and Lerichi Belle will set a tough tempo. She likes to front run and sets a fierce pace. Sitting just off her speed and waiting for her to fold looks the best option. Show’s Over will be prominent but not too close to be burnt by a strong pace.
The 2 time course winner had a few spins over hurdles since his last chase run. He’s been running very creditably over timber and won his last race over 2.5 miles at Worcester. A return to chasing looks interesting and he comes in off a mark of 83. 7lb claimer Liam Harrison in the saddle takes off even more weight, the selection is receiving almost 2 stone from the favourite. Trainer Fergal O’Brien has an 18% strike rate with his runners over the last 2 weeks so the yard are clearly going well. Liam Harrison is one of only 2 of the amateur riders in this race to have notched a win in the last 2 weeks too.
The lowest carry weight, proven over the course and a distance winner its hard to ignore Show’s Over. Damut I’m Out is an interesting rival but carrying top weight might curb his effort. Shininstar is also a course and distance winner but a recent win has seen him given an extra 5lbs to carry here. The pace will collapse late so good jumping and a tactical burst of pace will clinch this when Lerichi Belle folds at the front. I’m taking Show’s Over to overturn the last result over a returning free going favourite.