Thursday, 20 December 2018

Friday December 21st

There are a couple of NH meetings tomorrow: at Ascot and Uttoxeter.

The Uttoxeter meeting isn’t too bad - certainly better than many of the mid-week meetings - but it doesn’t have the quality of the Ascot card, so that is where I have focused my attention…

There are only 6 races on the Ascot card: and with a bumper, a maiden hurdle , a novice hurdle and a novice chase, it doesn’t sound the most inspiring - but superficial descriptions can be mis-leading !

Every race is of interest - with the bumper looking just about the best one run so far this season.
That said, a fair amount of guesswork is required both for it - and the opening maiden hurdle - so I’ve concentrated on the other 4 races, where there is a bit more form to work with…



There may only be 6 runners in this - but this looks a pretty open contest…
My 2 against the field are Brianstorm and Dustin des Mottes.
Both are having their second runs for new trainers, having shown mild promise on their stable debuts.
Brianstorm debuted for Venetia in a handicap hurdle at Ascot, last month.
He was a bit too free that day and didn’t get home - but he could be a different proposition tomorrow, with the run under his belt.
We’re guessing on his ability to jump a fence, but assuming he can, I think he could be the one to beat.
Dustin des Mottes made his debut for Dr Newland at Newbury last month - and was blown away by Knocknanuss.
That said, he travelled well to a point - and the winner was probably very well handicapped.
Again, I would expect him to perform much better tomorrow - and he is worth saving  stakes on.

Selection: Brianstorm at 5/1


Angels Breath is going to have to be a rare talent, if he’s able to win this race on his hurdling debut - and has to be opposed at around 5/2.
I’m sure he is very talented - and I have the utmost respect for his connections - but this is a particularly strong race…
Thomas Darby sets the standard, on his defeat of Elixir de Nutz and subsequent narrow defeat by Didtheyleaveuoutto.
That’s Supreme novice quality form - and asking Angels Breath to match it on his first attempt, is almost certainly too much…
More than that, the likes of Danny Kirwan and Seddon, have already shown themselves decidedly useful over hurdles - and still have plenty of potential…
It’s almost certainly a watching race (unless you choose to lay Angels Breath !) - but if I did get involved with it, I’d probably take a small chance on Thistle do Nicely…
He’s actually got just about the best form in the race - though doesn’t have the potential of some of his rivals.
There is also a question mark over the ground for him - if it is very soft.
On the flip side, he’s 20/1 this evening - and must have a decent chance of at least being placed…
Certainly he holds appeal, at nearly twice the price to finish in the top 3, that Angels Breath is to win !

Selection: Thistle do Nicely at 20/1


TVB favourite, Lil Rockerfeller, runs in this - but I doubt that we’ll be cheering him home in front…
He ran at Cheltenham last Friday - but a careless mistake saw him unship his jockey at the second fence.
Clearly, he’ll need to jump better tomorrow, if he’s to have any chance - but even if he does, I think he’ll have his work cut out to cope with Vindication…
He’s only run 4 times over obstacles - and just once over fences - but he looks a serious talent to me.
He beat Coolanley, Champ and Western Ryder in his 3 runs over hurdles - and all of those efforts suggest he is at least a 150 rated horse.
Furthermore, he looked just as good - if not better - on his chasing debut at Carlisle…
Tomorrows 2m4f test will suit him much better than it will, Lil Rockerfeller - and I struggle to see him beaten.
In fairness, Count Meribel is a solid rival: and Jerrysback has plenty of potential - but I’ll be surprised if they are able to beat Vindication.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, I’m not in the habit of selecting even money shots - but I think this particular one will win !

Selection: Vindication at Evens 


This is a strong looking race of its type - but I think Le Musee will be hard to beat…
He ran really well last time, when runner up to Champ, at Newbury.
The winner hacked up that day - but that was no refection on Le Musse, who beat 13 other rivals, very comfortably.
It was a strong field as well - with Speedo Boy third and Man of Plenty fourth.
The nice thing from Le Musee’s perspective, is that he only got a 4lb rise for his efforts - as with Champ out of the race, he would probably have gone up double that amount !
That means he is probably still well handicapped - though it’s likely he will need to be, if he is to win this…
Always Resolute looks the main danger, having bolted up on his debut for Ian Williams.
He runs from a mark 9lb higher tomorrow - but it’s guesswork as to whether that will stop him.

Selection: Le Musee at 5/1

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