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Chris Dixon's Notes And Angles: Ascension can rise to the occasion

By Chris Dixon@cdixon82
Thu 18 Jun 2020

Last week, in my opening Notes and Angles column, I mentioned that the horses mentioned here couldn't necessarily be considered tips for their next races, but are more horses of interest who warrant serious consideration in the future.

That means assessing them in the context of the race they next run in and whether conditions are suitable or not for them to build on the potential highlighted. I believe that some of the best future bets you’ll find here will be those that don’t immediately build on the good effort, but instead 'click' another run or two down the line.

The reason for making that point to open things up in week two is that two of the horses noted last week have run since. One of them I backed, one of them I didn’t, and though both were beaten I feel they remain of interest.

Moll Davis is the one I didn’t back, simply because her price became too short, probably because what I’d seen had also been seen by everyone else. She’s perhaps always going to be the type to find some trouble or a way to be beaten, but I wouldn’t be too harsh on her just yet and still believe she’ll find races soon.

Bodyline is the one I did back, despite the fact he was running in what will likely prove to be one of the hottest handicaps of the season, and the way he shaped from a poor position at the back of the field only enhanced my positive view of him.

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The horses highlighted below ran between Sunday (7th) and last Saturday (14th). All have since been reassessed by the handicapper.

Crack Regiment (Henry Spiller)

This horse wasn’t exactly hard to pick out as being value for finishing much closer at Kempton when making his British debut in a seven-furlong handicap.

Dropped in trip from his latest efforts in France and running in what appealed as a solid piece of form for the grade, Crack Regiment tanked along like a horse who was well ahead of his mark but met a wall of horses early in the straight. Having made ground well once in the clear, he then met more trouble close home and finished the race with loads more to give.

Left on the same mark of 75, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s better than that and he can be placed to advantage soon either at this trip or slightly further.

Watch Crack Regiment's British debut at Kempton last week


Breathalyze (Tom Dascombe)

I expect the race Breathalyze was second in at Newbury will prove a strong piece of form and to my eyes he shaped at least as well as anything in the field.

Ultimately worn down by a stronger stayer in Johan, I was taken by the manner in which Breathalyze moved to the front, travelling best, before being collared late in a race where they clocked a good time.

The handicapper has hit him with a 6lb rise but he still has potential to improve and the way he ran here suggested dropping back to seven furlongs or a mile around a bend could really suit.

Already a dual winner at Chester, a return to that track would make him of interest, while he also strikes me as a horse who would be well suited to Haydock, especially if teaming up with his usual rider who knows that course so well.

Breathalyze runs a big race at Newbury on his return


Ascension (Roger Varian)

Noting horses making a move into a quickening pace is an angle I like and when they make the move as comfortably as Ascension did at Sandown it’s often the sign of a horse who has plenty in hand.

Having missed the break - which is admittedly a slight concern - Ascension soon latched onto the back of the field and travelled kindly.

Having backed him, I was hoping he’d stay in a similar spot a bit longer than he did but having been pulled out for his challenge around two and a half furlongs out, just as other riders were beginning to ask their mounts for more, Ascension cruised past the rest to get his head in front over a furlong from home.

It was an effort that couldn’t be sustained, but it will be another day and I fully expect him to leave a mark of 87 behind.

Ascension's big effort at Sandown caught the eye of Chris Dixon


Hot race

The Yarmouth race I nominated here last week was a fairly obvious one and there’s been no shortage of further three-year-old handicaps that could be noted as strong form since.

However, I decided to go for something a little less obvious this time and put forward the 4yo+ 0-85 handicap won by Christopher Wood at Pontefract on June 10.

The winner, who hadn’t run on the level since October of 2018 but had developed into a 145-rated hurdler for Paul Nicholls, had potential to prove well handicapped going into the race and my suspicion is he had several others in behind that are also on attractive marks.

A few of them, most notably Theatro, Doctor Cross and Well Funded, are eligible to run in slightly lesser races and each shaped with encouragement so it’s a race I expect to throw up winners should connections find them a suitable spot.

Is this a staying handicap to follow over the weeks ahead?


One to take on

It’s perhaps a bit harsh to start knocking a horse with a career record reading 14211 but I didn’t like the way Palavecino was hanging in the straight when winning at Kempton last week.

He also benefited from an easy lead and bar the runner-up, who had been off the track for over two and a half years, few of those in the field appealed as well-treated. I expect he might struggle following a 7lb rise in what are likely to be more competitive races ahead.

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