THE WEEK AHEAD: QUALITY FARE TO LOOK FORWARD TO AT MARKET RASEN
Francky Du Berlais runs in the novice handicap chase at Market Rasen on Saturday. He will be competing off a rating of 123. Interestingly enough the horse that beat him last time out at Cartmel, Ennistown, is now rated 143 after winning again subsequently.
These comparative lines of pounds per lengths can be very misleading particularly given that Francky Du Berlais led until half way up the run at Cartmel simply because Ennistown needs to be delivered as late as possible.
Therefore the winning and losing margins in this example are inevitably shorter than they might be given different running styles. I am really looking forward to seeing how Francky Du Berlais gets on off what appears to be a favourable 123 rating.
In the same race, Asylo will be taking his hurdles rating into a first try over the larger obstacles. We obviously have no idea how he will jump; however I will watch his chasing debut with interest. Whatever Asylo achieves on Saturday he is likely to improve when he competes on good to soft ground.
I have no idea what happened to John Constable at Cartmel recently. He was competing in a 40k race and yet drifted ominously in the market pre-race in a contest that appeared likely to play to his strengths.
Staying close to the back is rarely a good idea in a big-field fast-paced two mile race at this venue. Unfortunately this was certainly how the race unfolded for this Evan Williams trained horse on that day.
Moreover, not only did John Constable start out close to the rear, he never threatened to improve upon that position at any stage of the race.
Maybe John Constable was not suited to the course – I am not sure. Whatever the reason for that last performance I will be watching him with real interest in the Listed handicap hurdle at Market Rasen on Saturday.
He is currently trading at a big price despite the fact that he won the same race in 2017 off a rating of 150 and will be competing off a 15lb lower mark this weekend.
Four previously noted horses are set to take each other on in the Listed Betway Summer Plate Handicap Chase at Market Rasen on Saturday. More Bucks, Get Out The Gate, Ronava and Value At Risk are all declared in the 15 strong field.
Of those Ronava and More Bucks would be my preferred pair and are both currently available at each-way prices. I assume we will find more than one firm willing to offer first four places for this competitive chase on Saturday morning.
Get An Oscar has yet another entry in a 0-100 handicap hurdle at Cartmel on Monday. I have given up guessing when she will actually take her chance as she has had plenty of entries in the last couple of weeks. That in itself is probably quite interesting as Peter Bowen appears to be choosing her next race with great care.
Codeshare is another noted horse from the same yard that has had more than one entry in recent days. He is set to take his place in the line-up for the ladies race at Cartmel on Saturday. He should prove hard to beat; however he will be stepping down in trip and his lady jockey will be riding him for the first time - two reasons why I would not be in a hurry to take a chance on him if he happens to trade very short in the market.
Whatever he does on Saturday I will still be interested in him when he is stepped back up to compete over an intermediate distance.
Equus Millar would be rather thrown in at the deep end if taking his place in the handicap chase on Monday at Cartmel. It can be very difficult for novices on the first occasion they come up against a group of more experienced rivals. It will be a big ask for him; especially if he is encouraged to race up with the pace again.
On the plus side, if he did negotiate the first few fences well, his prominent style of racing should be a big advantage at a course that usually suits front-runners. If the pace appears likely to be a very busy one (once we have the final decs) I will prefer to watch rather than bet.
COURSE IN FOCUS: MARKET RASEN
Dan Skelton has had nine winners from 27 runners in July in the last ten years at Market Rasen. If you had placed a pound on each runner you would have made a £15.97 profit to Betfair starting price. Most of those successes came in handicap races; whilst he has also had six winners from just 15 runners over hurdles in this time period.
If we looked at Dan Skelton’s overall course record in the last ten years we would notice a similar pattern where the highest profits would have been made in handicap races rather than non-handicaps and also in hurdle races rather than chases.
His actual strike rate is better in non-handicaps for July and also in his overall record; however there is very little profit to speak of in either time span.
The Dan Skelton stable is in good form at the moment boasting six winners from their latest 20 runners over the last 14 days. At least according to his statistics Skelton is more likely to strike with one of his hurdlers at Market Rasen this weekend.
He has two horses entered in hurdle races at the course on Saturday including Present Ranger who appears to offer his best chance of success. He won at the course in April and the runner up that day, The Butcher Said, is now rated 136 after winning each of his four subsequent starts.
Present Ranger followed up that April success with another victory at Warwick in late May. The third and fourth horses to finish that day have won since. Each of those latest two successes suggest that Present Ranger may be well treated off 127.
He seems quite short in the market given the competitive nature of this Listed contest; nonetheless, he should acquit himself well on this first try in a handicap.
LAST WEEK’S PERFORMANCES OF NOTE
Ennistown enjoyed his perfect scenario when able to follow a lone target horse (Pingshou) at Newton Abbot recently. Previously he had benefited from a similarly advantageous trip round Cartmel when going clear of Francky Du Berlais close to the line.
He is now rated 143 after winning two races where he has been aided by extremely positive trips round. I strongly suspect he is significantly flattered by his elevated mark; moreover he will continue to require plenty to fall in his favour in future.
Ennistown has stopped in front on more than one occasion before and he will need another lone target horse to attack in the latter stages to give him his best chance of completing a hat-trick of successes.
I hope to have the opportunity of taking him on should he compete in a big field handicap chase in the near future. Conversely he may complete the hat-trick if he is found another small field novice chase with an obvious target horse to stalk.
Sumkindofking finished fourth when trading as the 5/2 favourite at Newton Abbot last week. I suspect he will need a big field, fast paced handicap chase on fast ground to be seen in his best light. He remains a horse to take an each-way chance on given his optimum conditions and when trading at a double figure price.
The Olly Murphy-trained Vinnie’s Getaway performed to a good level on his hurdles debut at Stratford recently. He finished miles clear of the third horse to complete, only to be beaten by a Dan Skelton mare that was winning for the second time in a row.
Vinnie’s Getaway should be hard to beat in a similar race the next time we see him.
Midnight Request will rarely benefit from as untroubled a lead as the one he was gifted at Southwell earlier this week. He is a ten-year-old and was on a losing run of 13 races prior to this all the way success.
Consequently, he does not appear to be the most obvious of horses to follow this victory up with another win. Conversely the runner up at Southwell, Solo Saxophone, can be significantly marked up on this narrow defeat.
He simply gave the leader too much rope and was perhaps a tad unfortunate not to reel him in before the winning line. Solo Saxophone should remain competitive off his revised mark.
Half an hour earlier it was another Dan Skelton horse that caught my eye. Illustrissime won with some authority on his hurdles debut despite being severely hampered on the approach to the final hurdle.
This was also his first outing for the Skelton yard and he can be expected to improve significantly on this debut run. He looks like a horse to follow closely over the next few weeks.