We’ve got daily tips from our resident horse racing expert, Charlie McCann.
Charlie McCann Horse Racing Tips for Sunday, 3rd December 2023
Letsbeclearaboutit: Cromwell novice to maintain unbeaten chase debut
At the time of writing on Saturday morning Fairyhouse has passed its inspection for Saturday’s card, and it may be prudent to concentrate on their meeting on Sunday which features three Grade 1 contests.
In Britain Carlisle and Leicester must pass inspections on Saturday morning and their Sunday cards must be in the balance.
2.00pm Fairyhouse - Letsbeclearaboutit
The multiple Grade 1 winning hurdler Sharjah is unbeaten in his two starts over fences easily landing the odds in two uncompetitive affairs. He is ten rising eleven and not bred for chasing, but he doesn’t know that and has looked smart and economical at his fences.
All his hurdle wins have come over the minimum trip, but he was only beaten 3L by Constitution Hill in the 2m 4f Aintree Hurdle back in the spring and has relished the extra yardage over the larger obstacles.
I had been expecting LETSBECLEARABOUTIT, fourth in last season’s Albert Bartlett, to step up to three miles but Gavin Cromwell perseveres over the intermediate 2m 4f trip in the Grade 1 Drinmore as he, too, looks to make it three out of three over the larger obstacles.
To my mind Gaelic Warrior and Inthepocket are the best two novice chasers at this trip in Ireland, so you could argue it is not a vintage renewal, but it is a race invariably won by a top-class novice.
The Cromwell novice, who turns nine himself at the end of the year, gets a narrow vote in a fascinating contest.
3.10pm Fairyhouse - Foxy Girl (Each Way)
I was considering having a few quid on Coeur Sublime who I have followed over a cliff over the last couple of seasons, but the handicapper has given him a chance back over hurdles, ran well in two starts on the level, and Mike O’Connor takes off another 3lbs.
The each way vote, however, goes to the other Henry de Bromhead inmate FOXY GIRL (e.w.) who was beaten 12L in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and ran an encouraging race on her handicap debut when third to Magic Tricks beaten 2L. She is 5lbs better off with the top-weight this afternoon.
One would imagine Rachel Blackmore had the choice of mounts on the stable’s representatives and I, too, favour the chance of the mare.
*Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.
Charlie McCann’s Horses to Follow
Last Updated - 21st November
Burdett Road, 3-year-old trained by James Owen
I am not a big follower of juvenile hurdles until the end of January, but I was blown away by the performance of Burdett Road at Cheltenham at the weekend and feel the 7/1 for the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival in March is fair. I am convinced the double-figure prices available in the immediate aftermath were more than fair.
I would not be surprised if we did not see a great deal of the gelding over deep winter ground, and something like the Adonis at Kempton might be an option ahead of the Cheltenham/Aintree Festivals in the spring. I would be surprised if he went to Chepstow over Christmas.
He will need to settle better than he did at Cheltenham last time, but he was in a completely different class to the rest of his field and will be a better horse on good ground. I am a huge fan of the trainer and think he would be about 5/1 if he were with a higher-profile yard.
A Royal Ascot winner back in June for Michael Bell, he is rated 101 on the level, and while the big yards have yet to flex their juvenile muscles, I would be very surprised if they had anything to go to war with a three-figure flat rating. Looking at the lists, Burdett Roads’s market rivals are French imports who have joined big yards following soft ground wins.
Pimlico Point, 6-year-old trained by Kerry Lee
The novices’ limited handicap chase (20/11/23) at Exeter, won by Wiseguy, was a most informative contest, and I will be following three in the short term from the race.
Great Name That travelled extremely well but failed to get home on his first start since the spring. He will be dropped a couple of pounds and will be a different proposition next time.
Paul Nicholls reported prerace that his Makein’yourmindup had missed some work ahead of his chase debut, and he ran as well as the trainer predicted. He is high enough in the weights off a mark of 133, but his jumping was exemplary, and he will strip fitter next time.
Pimlico Point had been off the track for over 10 months, and Kerry Lee’s six-year-old is entitled to come on for his own chase debut. He was only beaten a length at Exeter and will be nudged up a couple of pounds for the run.
He looked all stamina at Exeter and struck me as the type who would make up into a Welsh National/Eider type in the long term. In the short term, I expect the six-year-old excellent handler to find a suitable 0-120 or 0-125 handicap chase.
Are U Wise To That, 6-year-old trained by Jonjo O’Neill
It is not often you recommend following a horse beaten over 10L last time out, but I think this six-year-old ran a terrific race, under the circumstances, at Ascot in a valuable novices’ handicap chase at the beginning of November.
It would be fair to say that he is unlikely to be seen racing right-handed again this season, given he jumped left at each of his fences and violently so at times. I kept waiting for him to fall out the back of the television, but he showed his grit and ability to keep plugging away.
Those battling qualities can be rewarded back on a left-handed track at the likes of Ayr, Warwick, or Wetherby. He had been raised 7lbs for winning at Warwick on his chase debut over 2m 4f, and he gives the impression he will get three miles in time.
He is likely to be dropped one or two pounds, I hope, for Ascot, but I shall be supporting him in his next couple of starts – granted him returning to a left-handed track.
Cantora, 3-year-old trained by George Boughey
Cantora had a lucrative autumn as a juvenile last season, and I expect her to win again this year, having made an eye-catching return at Chester last weekend when the betting suggested she would need the run on her first start in four months.
With two furlongs to go, you only wanted to be on one horse, but she was kept to the far rail when the action was in the centre of the track and finished fourth, beaten over four lengths.
I expect that kindness to be repaid, granted soft ground, with another visit to Chester more than a possibility. She raced from a mark of 80 last time, which is unlikely to be her ceiling, although the hope is she will be eased back down a pound or two for that effort.
16-year-old amateur jockey, soon to turn professional, with Sir Mark Prescott
It is rare to be as impressed with a jockey, especially one who arguably won by too far, having his first ride under rules, but I was blown away by the quiet style of amateur Daly, who rode Golden Shot to win the amateur riders’ event at Ffos Las on Monday for Sir Mark Prescott. As Ian Bishop might have said: “Frederick Daly - remember the name”.
The 16-year-old was as polished in his postrace interview with Sky Sports Racing as he was in the saddle, and he suggested that he would spend little time as an amateur and would soon be turning professional.
His 7lbs claim is likely to prove very popular when that happens, although you get the impression his father, who I remember as a former assistant trainer in Newmarket, and Sir Mark Prescott will manage his progression diligently as he works through his claim.
It might be daft to draw such conclusions after just the one ride, and he never had to get serious on the 29L winner, but there was just something about his style that suggested he was no ordinary amateur jockey. I, for one, will be monitoring his progress and will take note to see if other trainers book the jockey for similar contests in the short term.
Royal Rhyme, 3-year-old trained by Karl Burke
Goodwood was largely a disappointment, with the rain putting a dampener on proceedings on and off the track. The week was summed up when the last three races were abandoned on the Saturday as the rain returned in spades.
On the track, the highlights were the continued brilliance of Paddington in the Sussex Stakes on Wednesday, but he must play second fiddle to Royal Rhyme, who showed himself to be a Group horse when running away with what is invariably a competitive 3-year-old handicap.
The handicapper has seen fit to raise him 13lbs to a mark of 108 for his six-and-a-half length romp, while his winning time was three seconds quicker than that clocked by Al Husn in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes later in the card. His record on soft ground reads played three won three, with those successes coming by an aggregate of 12 lengths.
He remains one to keep on side granted soft ground this autumn. His stablemate Triple Time, likely to reappear at Deauville on Sunday, did us a huge favour when landing the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot at 33/1. Royal Rhyme is currently the same price for the Champion Stakes with Ladbrokes and Coral at Newmarket in October. Granted soft ground, he certainly won’t be that price if he faces the starter.
Devil’s Point, 2-year-old trained by David Menuisier
Devil’s Point was backed into favourite for the valuable Goodwood maiden that was abandoned last weekend but duly bolted up at Ffos Las on Monday.
You could see the relief etched across the face of his trainer, who has endured a difficult season to date, and it is fair to say he would have been crestfallen had this son of New Bay, who cost 450,000 gns as a yearling, not landed the odds in south Wales.
The form is unlikely to be anything special, winning time certainly wasn’t, but I was impressed with the manner of victory, and his Group 2 Champagne Stakes entry at Doncaster next month does not look fanciful. I don’t believe he will need soft ground to progress, but we know he handles such conditions.
Land Legend, 3-year-old trained by James Ferguson
Many bookmakers were offering six places on the King George V handicap for the classic generation, and somehow Land Legend managed to finish seventh, having missed the break completely – gave the field five lengths and more – before meeting interference from his stablemate Wonder Legend which crucially halted his momentum two furlongs out.
The gelding had his head over the stalls just before the gates opened, and consequently, it was no surprise to see him miss the kick. In the circumstances, he ran an extraordinary race, and he would surely have gone very close had he broken on terms. He looks the type to stay further than a mile-and-a-half in time, and the handicapper can certainly not take a dim view of the run, given he was beaten over six lengths.
The gelding holds an entry in the Irish St Leger later in the season, and while that G1 entry appears fanciful, I would expect there to be plenty more races to be won with this son of Galileo on good or faster ground – note he is unproven on soft.
Wonder Legend, 3-year-old trained by James Ferguson
For much of the King George V Handicap, the eye was drawn to Wonder Legend, who travelled like a dream near the front of a suicidal early gallop. Indeed, he took up the running at the top of the home run before his effort petered out tamely, and he hung to the far rail, where he interfered with his stablemate.
In the post-race analysis, it was suggested that the horse did not let himself down on the fast ground, but I just thought he raced too prominently in a race run in ridiculous early fractions – sub-11-second furlongs - and didn’t stay the twelve-furlong trip. That was his first start at a mile-and-a-half, and he is the half-brother to a 10f winner in France. We know he enjoys soft ground, winning at Doncaster on his penultimate start.
The son of Sea The Stars is currently rated 94 and is unlikely to be moved from that mark when the ratings are published on Tuesday morning. I am convinced that he is a 100+ horse in the making but would prefer connections to drop him back in distance, at least in the short term.
If connections persevere with a mile-and-a-half, I expect him to be ridden with more restraint. There is a big race to be won with him somewhere along the line.
Modaara, 4-year-old trained by Roger Varian
Modaara is out of Roger Varian’s dual Group 1 winner Nahrain and is a sister of the wonderful Benbatl. She has won her last couple of starts on the all-weather, including a 13L romp at Kempton last week under the steadier of 10st 9lbs, and I am looking forward to her switch to turf and step up in grade.
By Dubawi, the filly holds an entry in the Hardwicke Stakes over a mile-and-a-half at the Royal meeting, but I hope to see her run over 10f back on turf first despite her recent success coming over 12f at Kempton.
Her mother’s optimum conditions were ten furlongs on fast ground while her illustrious brother ran the mighty Aussie mare Winx to 2L in the 10f Cox Plate of 2018, although he did most of his racing at eight and nine furlongs.
There was a glint in the eye of jockey Jack Mitchell when he was interviewed on Racing TV after her latest success, and he is unbeaten on the mare. Her sole turf run was nothing special – 2L fourth of ten at Yarmouth back in September – but I would be surprised if she didn’t leave that form well behind in time. An exciting prospect.
Going forward, as well as our daily racing previews, I will recommend a couple of horses that have caught my eye in the last seven days. The hope is that they may be worth putting into your own trackers.
Diamond Ri, 4-year-old trained by Joe Tizzard
Diamond Ri tanked through a Warwick Bumper on his racecourse debut to score by a long-looking thirteen lengths. The winning time was five-and-a-half seconds than the first division half an hour later.
The Tizzard yard does not have too many Bumper winners, but the yard can dare to dream over the summer that they have something to go to war with as a novice hurdler next term. His win came on soft ground, and his action and breeding suggest plenty of cut will suit going forward. Not one for the short term, but one for next season.
Harper’s Brook, 7-year-old trained by Ben Pauling
Of more short-term interest is Harper’s Brook, who is entered at the five-day stage in the 2m 4f handicap chase at Sandown on Saturday, and the hope is that there is enough juice in the ground to allow him to take his chance.
Harper’s Brook set a scorching gallop on his first start at three miles in the Ultima at Cheltenham last month when he wore cheekpieces for the first time. I would be surprised if Ben Pauling maintained the headgear at the weekend, and the return to a right-hand track will suit.
Pauling is due to run two in the race, and his Quinta Do Mar is a big threat, having won at Fontwell last time, beating a subsequent winner in Grandads Horse. Drying ground would suit, although it should be noted that Harper’s Brook has won on good ground over timber. He is 8/1 with the sponsors Bet365 for Saturday’s cracking-looking handicap.
Your Own Story, 7-year-old trained by Lucinda Russell
I backed Your Own Story at Sandown last time, and he ran a terrific race, jumping soundly and travelling well, but he was no match for the Irish raider Stumptown who looked a different class under Gavin Sheehan.
In the post-race interview, it was reported that the target for the winner is the 3m 2f Kim Muir at Cheltenham, and they needed to win to get into that amateur rider’s handicap. I am writing this before Stumptown’s revised British mark has been allocated, but he is into a best price of 5/1 with bet365 for that Festival handicap, and the cat is very much out of the bag.
Do note that he did show more than a tendency to jump right at Esher, which is a slight concern. It would not surprise me if he were an Irish National or Bet365 Gold Cup next season.
Your Own Story could be a Scottish National horse in time, as he is a sound jumper and needs a stiff stamina test. He remains a maiden over fences but is a dual winner between the flags and is one to have on your side between now and the end of the season, although he may not want extremes of going. I would be disappointed if he is still rated 117 in 12 months’ time.
Out Of Office, 5-year-old trained by Evan Williams
Out Of Office cost £160,000 after landing a point in his native Ireland in February and built on a promising British debut – 10L fourth to subsequent Tolworth winner Tahmuras – when bolting up on a return visit to south Wales on Welsh Grand National Day.
His owner described him as “an out-and-out two-miler” after his fluent win, which I’m not convinced is the case, and he has been given an opening handicap mark of 128. He will always appreciate a bit of cut in the ground, and I wonder if something like the Imperial Cup might come under consideration in March.
Note Williams saddled Howdyalikemenow – rated 126 – to finish sixth in the valuable Sandown handicap last season, and it will be interesting to see if Out Of Office gets an entry at the Esher track or whether they remain in novice company.
The form of his Chepstow win was boosted when the runner-up Equinus did us a favour at Ffos las on Monday, benefiting from a step up in distance. He would have come home alone had he jumped with more fluency – let’s hope the handicapper does not overreact and raise Out Of Office as a result!
City Chief, 6-year-old trained by Nicky Henderson
We will all have our personal highlight from the Dublin Racing Festival last weekend, and mine was The Mighty Potter in the G1 Novice Chase over 2m 5f. I think he will take all the beating in the Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next month, although he is now a best price of 6/4, which makes little appeal now.
The Mighty Potter readily disposed of Gaillard Du Mesnil at Leopardstown, and the latter remains the 7/4 market leader for the NH Chase next month, having shown his stamina when runner-up at Fairyhouse in the Irish National last spring.
He is a worthy market leader, but City Chief is about 8/1 for the race with the firms offering NRNB for the Festival. He is, however, 14s with Unibet, given the reports after his Grade 2 Novice Chase win at Wetherby at the weekend suggested he may be more of a Scottish National horse and could bypass Cheltenham for Ayr.
Wherever he runs next, I think he is worth following, with stamina his forte. He could be an Aintree horse one day.
About Charlie McCann
Seven years as talkSPORT racing correspondent/tipster who recently spent over a decade as Director Of PR/Communications for a couple of leading igaming operators.
Failed cricketer - I regularly bore people, myself included, with the story about how I caught Imran Khan when 12th Man for Lancashire v Sussex as a youth - former National League Basketball player - once scored 72 points in a game - and lifelong and long-suffering Everton supporter.
Many of my old friends - and I mean old - would tell you I was a better footballer than a cricketer - but cricket was my first love. Horse racing has long been my passion - ironic as I’ll never pass the vet again as my sports injuries have come back to bite - with my specialism handicap chases over jumps and 1m+ handicaps on the level.
I have met many of the great and good in the game and consider myself to have been very fortunate. Please always bet within your means and never chase your losses.
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