After the excitement of the Cheltenham Festival, the recent National Hunt action has certainly had a quieter feel to it.
However, there were two performances that caught my eye over the weekend. The Dan Skelton-trained Heltenham bolted up in what I thought was a competitve handicap chase at Newbury where he travelled strongly up the home straight to win in a canter.
There is room for improvement in the jumping department, but he’s a six-year-old I’ll firmly be keeping onside at either Aintree or Ayr next month.
The Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper also provided an impressive winner in the form of Crest Of Glory. The Anthony Honeyball-trained son of Black Sam Bellamy helped force the pace from the off and galloped clear of the field in the manner of a potentially smart performer.
The ground at Newbury looked hard work on Saturday, so for a four year-old to deliver such a performance means he must go into your Racing TV Tracker.
The performance was clearly no surprise to the winning trainer, as after the race winning jockey, Aidan Coleman, shared via a message, on social media, he received from Anthony Honeyball back in November highlighting that he had the horse to win this race!
Onto Monday’s action and we have a nice card at Wincanton to look forward to on Racing TV, and I have managed to find three selections. Best of luck.
Robert Walford has his small team in fine order, and while he’s recorded just one winner in the past fortnight, his runners have largely out-run their market expectation.
Hititi was a facile winner of his latest start when travelling powerfully and jumping efficiently over 2m5f at Exeter. The handicapper raised him 9lb for that win, and while that does give him more to do here, the burden is lessened by the 3lb claim of Harry Kimber who I believe is the most improved conditional jockey this season.
This race doesn’t look to have anywhere near the depth of that Exeter contest, either, with second favourite Forever William unlikely to be suited by this drop back in trip.
The ground – officially described as soft at the time of writing – has every chance of drying out given the breezy conditions with no rain forecast, and I expect Hititi to have too many gears for his rivals.
The Tom George-trained Casa Tall arrives here fresh having not raced since December when he unseated Jonathan Burke at Newbury while still in contention two fences from home.
Despite unseating, that run can be viewed as a step back in the right direction having shown moderate form in the previous 12 months.
The upside of a downturn in form is a reduction of your handicap mark, and Casa Tall now races off a chase mark of just 109 having been rated as a high as 121.
The favourite for this race, Calgary Tiger, has been raised 14lb for his two chase wins, and that might now anchor him.
Of the others, I’d be certain that Galop De Chasse needs softer ground, and Thelasthighking will need further, while Rose Sea Has is a consistent type, but the selection is 11lb better off with him for a four-length defeat when they last met at Sandown in December.
Off a sliding mark, Casa Tall can get back to winning way here.
3.00 Wincanton: Duc De Beauchene
As a viewing spectacle, I love these veteran races and I think they’ve been a great addition to the race programme. They aren’t, however, always an attractive betting proposition, but I think one runner has standout credentials here.
Duc De Beauchene has been largely disappointing this season, although it could be argued that he’s been campaigned largely over trips short of his best.
His chase mark has now dropped from 128 to just 111 and, given that he showed winning form off a rating of 124 just 11 months ago, he has to be considered well handicapped.
The market certainly thought so last time at Hereford when he was sent off the even-money favourite over this trip, and he ran with real credit but possibly bumped into an even better handicapped rival in Innisfree Lad, who has run well off higher marks on two subsequent starts.
All of the opposition he faces here look firmly on the downgrade, bar Flying Verse, but he’s now on a rating of 110 and it has been over two years since he showed a level of form capable of defying such a mark.
Under the excellent Fergus Gillard, Duc De Beauchene is taken to hit the target.
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