Rory Delargy is in the Punting Pointers chair on Friday and he has selections at both Newbury and Doncaster.
Recommended Bets: November 27
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Well Bred For Stamina Test - 12.55 Doncaster
Ah Well caught the eye when third on his debut here at Doncaster last year, staying on nicely to be third to De Forgotten One (a chase winner in France for Richard Hobson earlier in the week) with the useful 80-rated Flat performer Chocolate Box in second. He spent the rest of the year getting himself handicapped and shaped well on his latest start at Southwell, again staying on well to hit the frame despite a couple of small mistakes.
It’s the step up to 3m that makes him of most interest here, as his pedigree says he’s crying out for it; he’s by Montjeu’s full-brother Gold Well (sire of classy staying chasers Holywell and Sausalito Sunrise) while his dam is by St Leger winner Snurge, and is a half-sister to 3m1f chase winner Full Cry, from the family of high-class stayers Kingsmark, Black Humour and Gaye Chance. Good ground seems to suit, and he can go close in a race that’s more quantity than quality.
Leading Knight is worth a mention as one that caught the eye a couple of times last year, but has been disappointing so far this term, looking hard work. It’s not impossible that cheekpieces, on today, might help him travel better and being ridden by David Bass is no bad thing at present either. Trainer Ben Pauling is going better too.
Take A Shot At Classy Knoll - 1.25 Doncaster
David spoke to trainer John Mackie after Lunar Jet won at Nottingham last month, the first of three wins he was to rack up in short time. John was bemoaning his luck, saying that one or two he thought would run well hadn’t had the best of luck in running, and David (always keen to please) wondered aloud if it was perhaps jockey error.
“I think it’s the trainer”, replied John, drolly, before walking on. We like John.
We’ve long been keen on John’s Barton Knoll, and were with him for his reappearance run at Newbury last month. On the face of it, finishing 7th of 12 to Morning Vicar doesn’t look that great, but it really doesn’t tell the story at all. He jumped and travelled better than anything for much of the contest, and still held a chance of a place at the last but got very tired on the run-in, and weakened out of it (trading under 6/4 in the run).
With that under his belt, you’d hope he’d strip considerably fitter, and he once again has the good ground he seems to need to show his best. Given how well he travelled last time, it’s clear he’s on a workable mark, and the initial prices for this race undervalue his chance.
Elusive Winner? 12.45
There are some interesting betting heats at Newbury on Friday, starting with the (deep breath) Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boosts Chase (Novices' Limited Handicap) (For the Fulke Walwyn Trophy).
The great thing about race titles like that is that they save the commentator from having to mention any of the runners until they’ve already sorted themselves out into some discernible order. My idea of the one to be with at the prices here is Elusive Belle who is only 1lb higher than when placed behind Epatante at this meeting last year, and who has since run two really solid races over hurdles.
Elusive Belle was well held on her chase debut at Bangor last time, but she was not fit, and nor was she suited by the heavy ground. In the circumstances, she didn’t shape too badly until tiring, and she is likely to improve markedly for that first outing over the larger obstacles.
Better ground will suit now, and she is very fairly treated on her solid handicap form over hurdles, which saw her end the season finishing best of the British runners in the County Hurdle won by handicap blot Saint Roi, with subsequent Galway Hurdle winner Aramon second, and Buildmeupbuttercup – who has won three Black-type contests since - fourth, a place ahead of Elusive Belle.
That form is red hot, and Nicky Henderson’s mare can exploit her mark either over hurdles or fences.
Venetia Blind – 2.25 Newbury
Cepage (2:25 Newbury) is worth an investment on his return having failed to stay 3m1f in the Ultima at Cheltenham in March.
Having backed him to win the Festival Plate at a big price, that run brought tears to my eyes, and the idea that he needed a longer trip was blown out of the water after he’d jumped and travelled best until the home turn.
This gelding is one of the best jumpers of a Cheltenham fence that I’ve ever seen, and he has run up to his best after a break before, so he looks to have a great chance of winning off a mark just 1lb higher than when scoring at Cheltenham in January.
Venetia Williams has form figures with her chasers in the last week of 13162331312, and her King’s Caple yard is now firmly in top gear.
Posted at 1800 GMT on 26/11/20
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