If Tuesday’s weather forecast is correct, the ground will likely be a mix of soft and good to soft at Warwick for today’s feature card. The band of rain is much needed, with little further rain expected ahead of the big weekend fixtures at Haydock and Ascot.
Only three to post for the valuable novices chase at Warwick, but it is an absolute cracker with Jonbon, Monmiral and West Cork all due to face the starter. I favour Jonbon, but it doesn’t appeal as a betting medium.
The Veterans’ Chase on the card could have been the Ladbrokes Trophy/Coral Cup of 2020. It is that good a race, and the dozen who go to post all hold a realistic chance. Looking at those at the top of the market, I wonder if the ground will be too soft for Lostintranslation, who has been given a great chance by the handicapper, and whether Celebre D’Allen appreciate the step up in distance to three miles for the first time. If he does, he will be very tough to beat, given he arguably, looks unexposed. Not a statement you normally associate with Veterans’ Chases!
The each-way vote, however, goes to RAMSES DE TEILLEE, who will enjoy the ground, has had his wind operated on since his last start and is 10lbs lower in the weights than when a 10L fourth over an extended 3m 1f trip at Haydock 12 months ago in a valuable and competitive handicap.
The selection was taken out of a race at Cheltenham last weekend on account of the fast ground, but there should be no excuses with the underfoot conditions. Much will be said and written about the Novice Chase on the card, and rightly so, but this is a wonderful race and again highlights the tremendous success of the Veterans’ Chase programme.
There is a terrific card at Hexham, too, and Mossy Fen has his first start for Laura Morgan, having failed to build on a promising chase debut when trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, albeit over two years ago.
The 7-y-old could still make up into a decent handicap chaser, but he once looked to have the world at his feet when landing a Grade 2 over hurdles at Warwick in January 2020. A winning pointer Mossy Fen is on his third trainer in two years, but Morgan is gaining a reputation for bringing life back to what appeared like lost careers.
The vote, however, goes to CRYSTAL GLORY, who won both points in his native Ireland and ended his novice hurdle season finishing fourth in the G1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree in the spring. I appreciate that form has taken a couple of knocks with the third Haute Estime disappointing in two starts over fences, but she has been poorly placed to date and will be a different proposition when getting soft ground.
The selection goes well fresh, has the size to improve again over fences and enjoys soft ground. He can take high rank amongst northern novice staying chasers this term.
Crystal Glory beat DIEGOS WAY 3L in an Irish point, and the latter has been quietly progressive in Ireland prior to his fluent win at Bangor-on-Dee last month. He is taken to follow up under the outstanding Sam Ewing stepped up to this afternoon’s marathon four-mile trip.
He has been raised 8lbs for that win in north Wales, which was his first win under rules, but he was well on top at the line, and he has looked a different proposition since being fitted with cheekpieces. He will again be ridden by Ewing, who comes across for just one ride.
Last season’s second and third in the corresponding race, Prince Dundee and Dee Star, are back for more this year, but they are six and eleven pounds, respectively higher in the weights, and a bigger danger may be Storm Lorenzo, who is well-treated on his hurdles and some of his chase form.
There are two good all-weather flat cards in Britain today, and the two-mile qualifier at Kempton this evening is a cracker. Withhold should ensure a decent gallop, and I am sweet on the chance of BANDINELLI, who has a course record of 2-1-1 and is unbeaten in two starts here over this evening’s trip.
The selection is only 2lbs higher than when scoring here in March and has not been seen since finishing sixth in the Northumberland Plate in June. That was a good effort, but he looks like a better horse on Polytrack, and the hope is that he can sit close to the pace and strike late under William Buick, who has had a frustrating time since returning to Britain after the Breeders’ Cup.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.