In his latest column, Chris nominates some of the jumpers who have taken his eye of late - plus three horses already at the top of his shortlist for next year's Lincoln Handicap! Click here to view all of the Racing TV presenter's Notes & Angles columns
With QIPCO British Champions Day behind us and the November Handicap meeting at Doncaster only a couple of weeks away, the shortened Flat season is in its closing stages and as such I’m not going to put forward many horses from the Flat to put into the racingtv.com tracker this week but it hasn’t stopped me having half an eye on next season.
The performance of the beautifully-bred Noon Star at Nottingham last Wednesday was one that will leave her connections with an awful lot to look forward to for next term and she’ll look well worth her place in Classic trials come the spring.
A daughter of the great mare Midday, Noon Star shows a good attitude to win
Before that there’ll be the Lincoln and there were three horses we saw over the past week that will warrant a second look in the first major Flat handicap of 2021.
There was a big advantage towards the low drawn horses in the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Saturday and both King Ottokar and Alternative Fact shaped well on the ‘wrong’ part of the track.
They’re likely to start next term as a well handicapped duo and you’d imagine are likely types to be aimed at the early part of the season when their favoured soft ground will be prevalent. Another horse who I’d expect might be aimed at the Lincoln is Brentford Hope, and I’m not just mentioning him as an excuse for the video of his laughably easy win at Haydock to get another airing.
He’s clearly a horse that has always shown his trainer a huge amount of ability and we’ve now seen more than glimpse of it on the track as well. He was raised 9lb in the handicap on Tuesday morning so now sits on a perch of 100 and looks the sort who’ll thrive in top-end big-field handicaps.
In the shorter term there have been a few horses who have caught my eye over the past week that I expect can pay their way in the short term so here’s a summary of the horses I’d recommend adding to your tracker.
COPPERLESS - OLLY MURPHY
Value for more than the narrow margin he won by at Market Rasen on Friday, Copperless has been handed an opening mark of 117 following his victory. In pulling well clear of the remainder with another promising type who had won a bumper last month, he ran to a fair level of form and impressed with the way he went through the race and outpointed his rival despite still showing a few signs of greenness. He has more to offer and should leave his rating behind.
OUTCROP - JENNIE CANDLISH
Two and a half miles on a stiff track seemed too much of a test for Outcrop on his seasonal return at Carlisle last week but he shaped like a horse who’s retuned in form and should be capable of landing a handicap off his current mark (only 1lb higher than for his last win) when dropping back in trip on similar ground to this. Eligible for lesser races than this, he’s one to keep an eye on in a lower class.
STORM CONTROL – KERRY LEE
It looked as though the 2020 edition of the Bobby Renton Chase at Wetherby would be run at an overly strong gallop before the race, hence I backed runner up Sky Pirate who looked sure to have the race run to suit, and that’s how things transpired. A few of those that raced up with the pace are worth making up but the one who appeals most in the short term is Storm Control. He fared best of those that raced close to the gallop after impressing with the way he travelled through the race and looked in top form. Dropped 2lb since, he’s now 4lb lower than his last winning mark and will be an interesting runner when he’s next seen which I’d expect might be back at Wetherby in early November for a race he finished second in last year.
PROSCHEMA - DAN SKELTON
I expected Proschema to hit greater heights than he did as a novice hurdler last season but there was enough encouragement in his seasonal return at Wetherby last week to suggest he can progress significantly this term. Ridden patiently in a race that wasn’t run at a strong pace, he wasn’t ideally positioned as this race went and did well to finish as close as he did. The stronger gallop often witnessed in top-end handicaps would likely see him to better effect and given his stable often target those races I can see that being the target. The Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham next month is a race he could make an impact in, especially if the ground was testing.
COMBINE - HUGO PALMER
Much of my time over the past week has been taken up by working through the Horses-In-Training catalogue and Combine was a filly I had very high on a potential shopping list. It was to my frustration that she then went and won well at Wolverhampton on Monday and was subsequently withdrawn from the sale. I suspect that’s the right move for her current connection though as she should continue to progress for them, especially as her stamina is drawn out.
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