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Darran

Stratford Hunter Chase night

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We finally get to the end of the Hunter Chase season with the big evening at Stratford. 6 Hunter Chases including the John Corbet Cup, the Stratford Foxhunter and the only handicap Hunter Chase of the season. There is also a point-to-point bumper to end the card. Now the ground they are giving as good with it set to be 22 and breezy tomorrow, but they have been well known to over water for this meeting and last year was a new low in that regards. Horses were finishing as if it was heavy winter ground which was crazy and I don't think the trainers were happy about the fact it had been so well watered for the pro card on the Saturday. Hopefully they have got it right this year and it is good ground likely to go on the quick side.

8.50

Bullsempire - Has two squiggle's next to his name in the pointing formbook and an unlikely winner.

Classic Ruler - Won his bumper by 15L but the time was 12 seconds slower than the other division. Didn't look the strongest heat either, but the fact he is proven in a bumper counts for something in this race.

Daranova - Has been really well backed the last twice and does seem like 2m might suit him. I suspect he won't be good enough, but he has a shrewd trainer so a bold showing wouldn't be a massive surprise.

Neil The Legend - Well beaten in 2 bumpers before winning over 2m4f. Jumped poorly next time and probably didn't stay over 3m.

Rivercourt Guy - Clearly wasn't staying the trip and then suddenly bolted up over 3m at Garthorpe earlier in the month. Could also be the case that the penny has finally dropped and could well go close for Caryto Des Brosses connections.

The Garrison - Was stuffed by Earth Leader 2 starts back which was his first completion and then was beaten 5L last time. Would be a surprise if he was good enough.

Eqqus Gold - Well backed at Barbury but winning time was 8 seconds slower than race Mount Nelly was a close 3rd in. Form doesn't look at special, but again has at least proven himself in a bumper.

Courtly Love - I wonder if connections tried asking to see if they could use her real name. Anyway she looks to have plenty to find on her form so far although maybe she has a hole in her given she has the first time tongue-tie.

Love Around - Is quirky and her maiden win came when she was left alone. Had 12 starts and looks exposed.

Morning Smiles - Finished upsides Courtly Love last time and looks to have plenty to find.

Mount Nelly - Run in both Exeter and Aintree's version of these bumpers finishing 4th and 6th. Ran well enough and connections go for the hood. My initial thinking was to oppose her, but having gone through the form this looks pretty weak and she wouldn't be out of this.

Feodora - The official pointing website doesn't put the whole video up of races so I haven't seen the whole event, but from what I did see you would do well to see a worst round of jumping. She was really bad jumping out to her right and being really slow over her fences. Even then she still nearly won although it was a 3 runner race. She clearly has an engine though and did go off 1/3. Connections know the time of day with their youngsters and with no fences in the way she should be capable of showing much better.

Petit Petard - Was 13th of 14 when miles behind Equus Gold on debut at Barbury and then got herself miles behind a month later before flying home to win cosily in the end. She would have been a huge price in running she was that far behind. The concern is she does that again here and she might not get away with it round this tight track, but a good jockey has been booked and the penny clearly finally dropped last time.

Summary - This looks a pretty weak heat and the first up bumper winners have to be respected even though they didn't do great times and Mount Nelly has to have a chance as well. I am though going to take a chance on 3. Feodora is going to be the main pick as she clearly has an engine, comes from a good yard and will do better with no fences in the way. I know Petit Petard has a lot of ground to make up with Equus Gold on Barbury running, but I was taken with the win the next time and she should continue to improve. I know backing a horse who pulled up on his first 4 starts and then finished a well beaten 2nd means he could be exposed, but based on his win on the 6th start Rivercourt Guy looks like he could just be a slow learner. He also looked like 2m might suit and his trainer wouldn't run him for the sake of it. At a big price I will have a small play.

Feodora 1pt @ 12/1 with Betfair and Paddy Power

Petit Petard 0.75pts @ 9/1 with William Hill and most others

Rivercourt 0.5pts @ 16/1 with Bet365

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Brave Jaq is a non runner in race 2 so I am going to add Net D'Ecosse to the bets and make the following the bets now.

Bletchley Castle 1pt e/w @ 13/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power

Llancillo Lord 0.75pts e/w @ 8/1 with William Hill and Betfair

Net D'Ecosse 1pt @ 5/1 with Bet 365 and most others

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Before I get into the races themselves I have to give massive credit to Stratford who provided perfect ground. They have been known to over water for this meeting before and last year was new low on that front. Fair play to the track though for listening and watering enough to make it just on the fast side of good.

5.45

I tried to get Earth Leader beat, but he was different class to his rivals. He has thrived since the tongue-tie went on and he is improving fast. It wouldn't surprise me if Nicholls takes him back as his current mark of 117 is very attractive and given Buck Dancing is rated a 100 at the moment it is hard to see how the handicapper can stick him up too much for this. As at Fontwell Bryan Carver gave him a cracking ride sitting just off a blistering early gallop and once he took up the running he always looked the winner. I initially was a bit critical of Jessica's ride on Buck Dancing, but I was probably being a it harsh. She might well have just making sure he got his confidence back after what happened at Hexham and he jumped much better. She did leave him with too much to do, but to be fair she was trying to catch a very good horse and she got everything else beat. It was good that he finally showed his pointing form under rules. Tangoed was also held up and he ran well on his first chase start under rules. Only 6 and he can find a Hunter Chase next season based on this. It was a much better performance form Chapelier compared to Cheltenham and it gives him something to build on next season. General Arrow and Pancrace went too hard up front with the latter dropping away first and very tamely. General Arrow was headed at 3 out and finished a distant 5th. He ought to have been capable of better and probably needs an easier lead although I doubt he would have won anyway.

6.20

A surprising winner for me here as I didn't fancy Downbythestrand before the race. I saw him win a 2m4f open at Kimble on Easter Saturday and that as well as his other form didn't strike me as a Hunter Chase winner, but to be fair to him he did it well and was always holding Llancillo Lord in 2nd. I suspect it was probably a sharp enough test for the 2nd, but at least he landed some e/w money for us on the race. I can't work out if Net D'Ecosse was unlucky or not. He was left about 8L at the start and the went a blistering pace early so he would have had to work fairly hard to get himself into contention. He was in about 6th jumping the 3rd last as he got himself into contention, but he was then ridden along and looked like he would be out of the frame only for him to stay on again to just get up 3rd beaten just under 10L. The start obviously didn't help, but I just wonder if he wanted a slightly stiffer test of stamina. It was a good run though. Bletchley Castle didn't make a mistake from what I could tell this time around, but I suspect the Huntingdon effort had left a mark. I'd aim him at this race next yer though as it should suit him perfectly. Witness In Court and Red Inca both ran well enough after their Fontwell efforts. Village Vic has been retired after finishing in 8th and ran respectably on his final start. Interestingly Velvet Maker was very strong in the market and was enjoying himself out in front when he stumbled on landing at the 7th. Who knows how he would have done, but given the support I reckon he might have gone close.

6.50

On paper it looked a very weak renewal of the John Corbet Cup and so it turned out in theory as well. I didn't fancy the winner at all, but Law Of Gold was well backed and he did it well to be fair. I think the key was the fact Dale made his move with around a circuit to go and took up the running with a cracking jump at 4 out. The 2nd and 3rd both made their moves later and they weren't able to get to the winner. It was decent enough efforts from Winged Leader and Pink Eyed Pedro though and the latter does seem an improved horse this year. Kalabaloo was a disappointment and either was feeling the effects of the season or that Cheltenham race just fell into her lap. I've got an opened mind. In Arrears would have found the ground quick enough and the main bet Casey Jem didn't jump well enough. He is only 5 though so is one to keep an eye on.

7.20

Meldrum Lad had his form franked by Buck Dancing earlier in the evening and was given a cracking ride by Becky Smith who held her up and didn't panic when Seefood, Brackloon High and Cloudy Joker all kicked for home. She also saved plenty of ground sticking to the inside as the other 3 went very wide into the straight. He was an impressive winner and should be capable of adding to this next season. Virak looked like he would be out of the frame as he got outpaced, but credit to him for getting back up for 2nd. No doubt he will be back next season and he will win more at the right level. Seefood ran well but paid the price for going for home too early in the end. Interestingly he was weaker in the market compared to his stablemate. Cloudy Joker came down at the last and he didn't get high enough and as much as he was in 2nd jumping it, it also seemed a bit of a tired mistake. Still he and Brackloon High ran with credit.

7.50

As much as it was a shame Caid Du Berlais and Top Wood didn't run, we were still treated to a fantastic finish between two very good horses. Sam Waley-Cohen gave the winner a superb ride on a horse who isn't at his best round this track. People seem to want to crab him, but when he has been beaten it is either because he hasn't had his ground or its been here at Stratford where he has actually run with credit the last two years. I think he deserved a win in one of the big ones and on his day he is still one of the leading Hunter Chasers in the country. He will be 12 next year so a drop off in form is surely going to happen at some stage, but hopefully he will be back next season. Caryto Des Brosses is some racehorse. His jumping was a complete joy to watch, but although he looked like he was doing it easily enough I did think he was a little keen. Dale looked behind him leaving the back straight and I wondered if it was a worried look because he knew he didn't have a great deal left in the tank. I have seen some say it was a bad ride and he should have kicked for home sooner, but in my view he would have been beaten further as he was tired. I just wonder if the battle with Hazel Hill had left a mark because he ought to have stayed based on his Cheltenham effort. He will be 8 next season and I at this stage he remains my idea of the Foxhunter winner. He'd be some site at Aintree as well. Asockastar ran with credit again and Chosen Dream never looked like repeating last year's win.

8.20

Speaking of Aintree surely Risk A Fine will be going there next season. He was just superb here and the result was never in doubt. One of my regrets of the season was not backing him when he won over course and distance previously as I really should have done. It is great when you spot a horses potential early in the season as I did with him when I saw him win on his seasonal return and I knew he would be in for a very good season. Back at a flatter track he showed his class and hopefully he is back next season. However I just wonder if connections might consider going to Market Rasen with him for their big race next month as it would really suit him. Road To Riches did briefly threaten coming to 3 out, but as soon as he arrived he was then under pressure again. 

8.50

After having the horse I put up in this last year have its chance ruined by nearly coming down round the bend into the back straight it was pretty frustrating for it to happen for the second year running. Hard to be confident about what Feodora would have have done, but she was going well at the time and given how the race panned out I reckon she might have won. Rivercourt Guy was a massive gamble, but was pulled up as was the other bet Petit Petard. I think the form of this is pretty weak as Love Around was hard to fancy despite the fact she won well. I did give a positive mention to Daranova in the preview and he ran well down in trip at 50s. Equss Gold was sent clearly down the back straight and you have to say it was a poor ride as there was no need to kick that early. The rest were miles back.

So in the end after all that the preview essentially came out level on the night. It was a really enjoyable night's racing though and I think we saw some good performances as well. That brings the UK season to an end and I did think it was going to be the last tip, but there is to be one more.

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Nice write up Darran, It was a cracking meeting even though I was only heavily involved with Risk a Fine.

Appreciate all the previews and analysis all season and I've made a healthy profit on your tips,  as well as enjoying following some racing again. Can't wait until next season! 

I'd still fancy Road to Rome in all the big ones next season if he gets his ground.

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2 minutes ago, yossa6133 said:

Nice write up Darran, It was a cracking meeting even though I was only heavily involved with Risk a Fine.

Appreciate all the previews and analysis all season and I've made a healthy profit on your tips,  as well as enjoying following some racing again. Can't wait until next season! 

I'd still fancy Road to Rome in all the big ones next season if he gets his ground.

Thank glad you like them and you certainly chose the right one to be heavily involved with.

I have some sad news about Road To Rome as he was badly injured when running in a point last month and from what I was told at the time there is a doubt he will race again.

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