There is rain forecast at Wetherby on Friday morning for the opening day of their two-day Charlie Hall Chase meeting. Conditions were described as good to soft on Thursday morning, and do note there is more significant rain due on Saturday morning.
Dublin Four has a good record fresh and represents the yard of Fergal O’Brien. He is much respected in the fascinating two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase in which I am loathed to desert Flic Ou Voyou, who did us a big favour at Chepstow earlier in the month. I’m not convinced the forecast rain will suit.
It was good to see Evan Williams back amongst the winners at Chepstow earlier in the week, and I have always thought there was a big race in COCONUT SPLASH. The hope is that today is the day.
The selection has finished second or third in all six starts over fences, and I remember him running all over Chantry House here last February before his stamina gave way over an additional quarter of a mile. This track and trip is ideal, and this looks like an excellent opportunity with regular pilot Adam Wedge in the plate.
Legendary Rhythm spent much of last season chasing – she holds an entry back over fences on Monday and was too keen here on her reappearance when she led but folded tamely from three out. The handicapper has seen fit to drop her 4lbs for that run, and she is now 4lbs below the mark she won off here last March. She looks sure to make it a decent test, and the hope is that she helps set the race up for stablemate LUNA DORA.
The grey mare looked a desperately unlucky loser over C&D at the beginning of the month – constantly denied a run from two out – and can race from the same mark today. Stable jockey Ben Poste would have had the choice of mounts, and he sides with the lightly-raced five-year-old. I agree.
A cracking 2m novices’ handicap chase over the minimum trip named in honour of the Grade 1 winning chaser Kalahari King who, surprisingly, never raced at the Staffordshire track. He who the late Ferdy Murphy trained.
THUNDER ROCK won four of six starts over timber last season all around two-and-a-half miles, and I am slightly surprised to see him begin his chasing career over the minimum distance. Regular jockey Adrian Heskin quoted in Paul Ferguson’s excellent “Jumpers To Follow”, suggested the drop back in trip would not be an inconvenience. He is a horse who I always thought could go to somewhere near the very top over fences. He carries top weight this afternoon but do note, there is only 6lbs between all eight who are due to face the starter.
Deeper Blue is another who I believe will make up into a better chaser than hurdler, and it would be nice for Lorcan Murtagh to ride a winner. He has not had the best of luck with injuries recently and has gone 300 days, but just 18 rides since a winner.
Conditions were described as soft at Newmarket on Thursday, but there is a dry forecast, and I would expect conditions to be just on the soft side of good come post-time.
The classic generation have not won the 2m handicap on the card since 2015, but I hope to see MISTER CAMACHO – visored for the first time – buck that trend for Mick & David Easterby.
The selection ought to have beaten Flint Hill at Pontefract last time, and he is taken to reverse the form on 1lb WORSE terms as a result of the revised weight-for-age terms. The each-way recommendation remains a maiden after 11 starts but has only had two chances at two miles or beyond and is a thorough stayer.
Grade 1 winning hurdler/chaser Allmankind has his first start on the level for over 1200 days, and there will be many who think he is thrown in off a mark of eighty-six. I hope he goes hard from the front and makes it a true test of stamina.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.