It’s fair to say we endured a frustrating week with Valley Of Flowers, Dead Right and Call My Bluff just edged out in photographs towards the end of the week with the latter desperately unlucky not to win Chester’s valuable two-mile handicap on Saturday.
Had one of the photos gone our way we would have ended the week in profit, but we concluded the w/e 24/9 -£3.27 for the week to a £1 stake. September’s profit remains a healthy +£28.41 to a £1 stake but hard not to feel slightly vexed that our long winning run came to a halt.
The Met Office – given up with the BBC forecast – predict early morning showers – heavy at times – for Monday afternoon’s jumps card at Newton Abbot where the ground was described as good on Sunday morning.
5.13 Newton Abbot - Cadeau D’Or (Each Way)
The grey Caspers Court threatened to win a race for much of last season and finally got his head back in front when scoring on his final start at Fontwell in June. I think he could win a couple this term over fences, but he may need this run returning from a three-month break.
We know Gaulois is fit and could easily smoke out any chinks in the armour of today’s opposition. The Paul Nicholls’ trained 6-y-old is unbeaten in three starts – all on good ground – at Newton Abbot, this summer and he gets on well with talented 3lbs conditional Tom Buckley.
Note all his course wins have come on good ground and he would not want conditions to deteriorate. One for the weather watch – but not the BBC. He is the most likely winner but has been put in short enough at 5/4 given he has his quirks.
Top-weight Getalead remains 5lbs above his last winning mark and a bigger danger might come from David Pipe’s CADEAU D’OR (EW) who remains a maiden over timber but hinted that a small race was well within his compass when a staying on third over 2m 4f+ at Plumpton last time. He was a useful middle-distance handicapper on the flat for Andrew Balding and I loved the way he jumped and travelled last time when he wasn’t stopping at the finish and gave every indication today’s additional furlong would suit.
4.10 Roscommon - Midnight Run
The Grade 3 2m Novice Chase is the feature race on the card and it sees a rerun of the Novice Chase at the Galway Festival at the end of July which saw Enniskerry outjump and outpoint MIDNIGHT RUN over 2m 2f. The pair meet on the same terms this afternoon, but I believe that Joseph O’Brien’s 8-y-old can reverse the form back in trip and with Rachel Blackmore back in the plate.
The selection was in the process of running a cracker when unseating Blackmore three out in the G1 Drinmore Novice Chase over 2m 4f last autumn and this strong traveller jumped better as the race developed at Galway. Note he had won a 12f maiden on the level on his penultimate start.
Sole Pretender has won two of his three starts over fences but carries a 4lbs penalty and burst a blood vessel last time. I hope he and Enniskerry cut each other’s throats at the head of the field and Midnight Run picks up the pieces.
5.08 Hamilton - Baez (Nap)
Lochnaver beat Simple Star a head over C&D – Clan Jock and Ralphy Boy Two well held – last Sunday and there is likely to be little between them again although Simple Star is 5lbs better off this afternoon with the winner carrying a penalty for that narrow success.
There is a strong Newmarket challenge for the feature races while BAEZ (Nap) comes all the way up from Sussex for David Menuisier. The 3-year-old is a maiden after seven career starts but has finished in the three in four of those runs and deserves to win a race. Kevin Stott was in the plate when they combined to finish runner up at Southwell at the end of August and connections will be desperate to get a win next to her name for the breeding sheds.
The filly has a good draw in stall three, should have the race run to suit with Lochnaver and/or Samurai Senedd likely to ensure a good gallop and the forecast good to soft ground is ideal.
3.10 Ffos Las - Royal Thunder
Miss Down Under made all at Sandown on soft ground earlier in the month but has been raised 6lbs and looks vulnerable off her new mark. The hope is that she can ensure a decent test for ROYAL THUNDER who has his first turf start since handicapping and steps down in trip having looked a non-stayer over 11 and 12 furlongs on polytrack in recent starts.
A decent gallop over 10f, back on turf should suit William Knight’s 3-y-old. The stable must be wondering what if with regard to their Dual Identity who finished third in the Cambridgeshire on Saturday but was clear in the small group of eight who raced far side.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.