Midweek brings us domestic action from Newmarket, Worcester and Fontwell. A nice mixture of flat and jumps to digest and the usual few selections to try and nab a nice priced winner from the cards.
The third race at Worcester starts our day with a 2 mile and 7 furlong handicap chase. There’s already been a steamer in this market and the each way price I fancied last night has start to evaporate. DENTLEY DE MEE has seen some overnight support and has been cut overnight. Something that should prick your ears considering the 6 year old is 0-8 over fences in his career.
He posted some good form last season, he was bouncing between class 2 and class 3 races, coming 4th in the TimeForm Novices Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in January looked a solid highlight of his last campaign. His Autumn reappearance has suggested a change of plan for this year and he returned in a 3 mile handicap chase behind double winner For Good Measure. 11.5 lengths between the selection and the winner wasn’t a disgrace and the run will have blown away some of the summer cobwebs. The handicapper trimmed another 3lbs off his already low mark so it looks a good time for him to exploit a low mark and get off the mark over fences.
Concerns to note in the field are headed by second favourite Supremely Lucky. The Skelton charge finished last season cantering home in a class 4 novice hurdle. He makes his return from 207 days off to debut over fences. The other major concern is the Twiston-Davies trained Chinensis. The Twiston-Davies clan are another well run family operation and more to the point they have a great strike rate at Worcester. He can go close but I think he needs more juice in the ground to be really effective.
Being the most recently ran horse and already gaining some strong market support it’s looking like Dentley De Mee could enjoy a good season as a long distance chaser.
Over to Newmarket for some flat action in a 1 mile 2 furlong class 3 maiden stakes. The crop of 2 year olds are headed at the market by Grain Of Sense who went close in a 1 mile race over this course 18 days ago. The fast finisher made up places in the final furlong coming from the back of the field. He ran incredibly green in the rear but when he got going he started to find a rhythm. The class 4 race that day doesn’t read as the best form with a 100/1 nicking 2nd.
I’m keen to take this favourite on with Andrew Balding’s DAMAGE CONTROL. His last run was really eye catching. He came 2nd to improved King Carney, who’s won in listed company since. That was over 8.5 furlongs. The selection was keeping on well in the final furlong but not enough to trouble the winner. The ground was riding soft that day and Damage Control seemed to have no problems with the testing underfoot conditions. He’ll face similar going today so a 2 week break will have been welcome. A kick up in trip looks likely to suit as he was still plugging on in the class 2 maiden last time out.
Main rivals to shed the maiden tag will be Arthurian Fable, who finished ahead of the market leader in their last race, but he finds himself lower in the market for this change in trip. Also potentially Herman Hesse who’s put in 2 solid efforts in maidens on soft at Bath and Goodwood. He’s slowly getting closer but has a wide draw to try and overcome.
Coming from trap 1 Damage Control will try and take up a handy position and start grinding through the gears in the last few furlongs to wear down the pace setters.
Visiting Fontwell for their 5th race on the card. There’s been a reverse in the market and new favourite EDEN DU HOUX gets the nod got this 2 mile 3 furlong maiden hurdle.
I K Brunel was originally market leader after competing in a grade 2 novice hurdle last season. He was very well beaten behind Southfield Stone and the market has already seen him drift from odds on to around 6/4. He’s been replaced as favourite by Eden Du Houx who looked a really exciting prospect last season, going unbeaten in 2 bumper runs. Both of those efforts came on soft going which he gets here today. Travelling over 2 miles last time out in a class 1 bumper he set the pace and decided to up the ante 7f out. 2 furlongs out he was asked to put the race to bed and although he showed some greenness by wandering around he kept on well to stay in command.
Jumping won’t be a concern for this 5 year old as he’s already won a point to point over 3 miles in testing ground. The extra distance today compared to his bumpers will suit and he’ll likely sit quite handy and use his stamina to assert in the last 2 furlongs. It’s hard to ignore a listed bumper winner when he makes his debut over timber. Behind him that day was The Glancing Queen, who won the Aintree Mares bumper. Also further back in the field was Thor De Cerisy who finished 2nd in a hurdler race at Uttoxeter Friday. If he can handle the long lay off between runs he can be a very exciting prospect over hurdles going forward.
Rounding out the day in the next race at Fontwell for their 3 mile 2 furlong. Sticking with recent winner LOVE THE LEADER looks to be the safest bet here.
Recently winning a 3 mile 1 furlong handicap chase at Wincanton he sneaks in off the same exploitable mark here. It was a fantastic run that day, the 11 year old tracked the leaders and made his move 4 out to take the lead. This veteran was not for catching. His jump 2 out was mind blowing as he took off outside the wings of the fence and produced a massive leap to keep The Boola Bee held in 2nd. Both the first 2 home that day are running again today to try and exploit their marks while they can. The Boola Bee is running in the first at Worcester in a class 4 and Love The Leader takes this much easier option.
Only 4 runners to oppose him it looks like he’ll have an easier time of it than his last run if he’s able to back up after 6 days. The 2 at the bottom of the market both pulled up in their last runs. It’s quite easy to cut this to the top 3 in the market. Our Reward is coming to the end of a summer campaign and he’s been struggling in class 4 handicap chases. He’s still yet to win a race over fences so he’s easy to oppose, despite his ever falling handicap mark. Big Time Frank was last seen last season taking on Coopers Square. Also yet to win over fences he’s strung up a decent string of silver medals. The most recent was off a mark of 94 and he finds himself still 3lbs heavier than that effort.
It’s not ideal for a horse to try and back up after such a short lay off, the concern is always that they’ll bounce and produce a weak effort. But if he’s still match fit and keen, he’s already shown he can exploit this mark of 90 and jump like a stag to a quick fire double.