Welcome to my first “Review” column for the Fanbase over at The Finishing Line Podcast. Taking a look back and reflecting on the past few days/weekend of racing and giving my thoughts on the performances, and also future targets.
This weekend was a little sparse of action on the racetrack so I made a very easy and nice review column covering the big races on Sunday from Lingfield and Thurles.
Follow my Twitter @RacingGalloway1 for my instant thoughts and reactions and my most up-to-date selections.
Lightning Novices Chase (Grade 2) 2M
A really strong renewal of this contest, containing the best of the British 2m novices.
JPR One is a very good horse who is talented when getting a clear round of jumping. Clearly, the best of the British when turning his best foot forward, he deserves to take his chance in the Arkle, but the Irish remain with the strongest horses, in my opinion, he has every possibility of running well, but for minor honors maybe 4th-5th or a 3rd should the race cut up as it sometimes can.
Matata is an absolute lunatic and while he does remain a talented novice he arguably needs to brush up on his jumping big time. If he can get his own way in front against inferior opposition he can be a threat but he’s not quite up to Graded level and is probably a high-end handicapper.
Fleur De Lys Chase (Listed) 2M6F
The front two horses stamped down their class on this race.
L’Homme Presse was very good after an absence, he does go very well fresh. He took a little while to warm up to his task but when he did he was very classy and beat a solid enough yard stick in Protektorat. He has earned his place in the Gold Cup and is sure to run well and has E/W claims, not sure if he’s quite good enough to win it however. Connections are eyeing up a tilt at Ascot in February but I wouldn’t be too keen on this. If the ground is soft to heavy that might just take a bit out of him if we’re looking long-term at the Gold Cup, he’s taken a while to get right for now so I wouldn’t want to bottom him out before the big one in March.
Protektorat gave 4lb to the winner and ran a very creditable race in defeat. This was his best run of the season and he can continue to run well in these minor Graded staying chases. I’d imagine a tilt at the Denman in Newbury could be next if connections want to turn him out quickly and I can see him running well in that contest
Mares Novice Chase (Grade 2) 2M4F
In an interesting race, these three horses (Harmonya Maker, Hauturiere, and Silent Approach) seem to turn up against each other all the time but cannot confirm the form whenever they do.
Harmonya Maker returned to form here with an accurate display of jumping and a decent attitude. She can be talented on her day and she has to at least be a contender in the Mares Chase at Cheltenham. The jury’s very much out to see if she’ll have enough quality to win that race, but she’ll prefer going that way around, (jumped left a few times when going this way around) and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the first three in that contest, so in that regards she could represent a bit of value at 20/1 ante-post for that contest.
Hauturiere needs a trip in my opinion, this step back didn’t work out for her, she’s not the tidiest either at a fence and got in close to a few, she stayed on fairly well but not enough to catch the winner.
Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase (Grade 2) 2M4F
Allaho was back to his best here, dictated from the front, and showed he retained his ability. He has to have a great chance to seal a third Ryanair Crown now, you cannot deny that but i wouldn’t personally be getting over-excited about the form. He’s beaten Stattler by 13 lengths which is grand, but Stattler is nowhere near his best at this trip. For that reason i wouldn’t be steaming into his Ante Post price right now off 2/1, he’s now a 10 year old and while this is undoubtedly a weak renewal and they have to raise their game to his level he just doesn’t appeal to me. We all know he’s best when bounced out in front, but Stage Star is simply going to employ the same tactics and while that may break Stage Star (as Allaho has done to many others) I think a constant pace battle will help neither’s chances.
Stattler ran his best race for a while but needs a marked step up in trip, potentially targeting something like an Irish or English National.
Appreciate It has gone at the game and looks tripless and doesn’t retain the same ability he once had.