Just managed to lose two hours work!
Looking forward to Punchestown this afternoon and for the next few days as Mullins rolls out the big guns one more time. Today Vautour and Yorkhill and although unbackable at the prices I don’t fancy taking them on either. The Hunter Chase and the two bumpers I’ll pass on which basically leaves two races.
Punchestown 4.55 Love these big field top grade two mile handicaps. Normally I am looking for an improver. Bamako Moriviere could be one for Mullins on this better ground but there is zero interest in the market so far. Seven Nation Army has some solid bumper form but comes here on the back of a fall and could be another Brookhouse/Poorhouse serial bridesmaids! Top of the market are Copy That, for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy, who has already been given a 12lb hike for winning his last race and Automated who was second to Ivan Grozny at Aintree but in a former life with Clive Brittain was beaten around Wolverhampton at C5 level and I can’t have either of them. Modem and Art of Payroll should be competitive but they are more likely to finish fifth and sixth than win! At the prices I like the top weight MACNICHOLSON. He was second in the race last year, finished seventh in the Galway hurdle and is trained by a red hot Jessica Harrington (6 winners from last 12 runners!). 20/1 each way with Coral getting FIVE places seems to be value.
Punchestown 6.40 The G1 3m1f Novice Chase is a fascinating race because of the varied routes the runners have taken to get here! Rule the World won the Grand National! Not for me just seventeen days later. Noble Endeavour, fell when every chance two out, and Southfield Royale, plugged on for fourth, ran in the very strong 4m NH Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Both will get the trip but are they quick enough? Shantou Flyer and Ballychorus have issues with the obstacles. Outlander, Zabana and Sub Lieutenant all look better over 2m6f which leaves me with Harry Fry’s English raider HENRYVILLE. He was good enough to carry 11st 9lbs to fourth in the 2015 Pertemps final, he is two from three over fences and comes here a fresh horse. At 9/2 general that seems a fair bet.
Bath 3.55 SHABBAH Was due to run earlier in the week but taken out because of Soft ground. I wrote for that race “If this was Sir Mark Prescott we would be all over it but surely Stoute is using the same plan? Three runs as a 2yo at 7/8F for a horse who will need 12F and he turns up as a 3yo in a C5 12F handicap at Beverley off OR64 with Ryan Moore on board. Owned by same chap who has Nathra and he paid £200K for this son of Sea the Stars out of a dam who produced Ingleby Symphony who won off OR78 when trained by #FantasticMrFahey .” This race looks a harder option as its 10F not 12F and there are half a dozen in here with form. 9/4 is way too short, it has to be a Watching Brief.
Bath 4.30 MAWAANY This gelded son of Teofilio is a half-brother to 100+ rated Kilimanjaro and runs in the Hamdan Al Maktoum colours. Ran really green in an 8F C4 Salisbury maiden last September but did much better on reappearance when stepped up 4f and equipped with a first time visor on the Tapeta at Wolverhampton when he might just have bumped into one, in the shape of Batts Rock. Clearly second best on that occasion, this is his third run and from which he will get a handicap mark, which is where his future presumably lies. Mind you at 14/1 with Ladbrokes he’s worthy of a one star* each way selection with the stable in such good form.
Lingfield 5.40 PERCYS ROMANCE A homebred daughter of Sir Percy who has had three runs as a 2yo without pulling up any trees. Looks a trier not a winner and starts off her handicap career in a C4 8F event at Leafy Lingfield off just OR73! Hardly a handicap with just 5lbs covering the eight runners and no claimers riding. Again the price tempts me, 8/1 with WH, one star* win selection.
Paul Hanagan rides three for his previous boss at Nottingham before hot footing it to Wolverhampton for two on their night card for his current employer, H-a-M.
Nottingham 2.35 BELLE TRAVERS Put in as big as 6/1 last night she has halved in price to 11/4 tops. She won on debut as a 2yo but hasn’t won since in eight attempts. She has been beaten over this trip, in this grade and off this mark. She looks like another of those dodgy Fahey homebred fillies to me! Led out of the sales ring unsold at £95K so someone thinks she has talent! Pass.
Nottingham 3.05 MISS VAN GOGH Bred by Dom Joly’s wife she was a cheap but successful purchase. She’s won four of her fourteen races and was disqualified from first in another and seems best suited by a straight mile on Soft ground. It would require a career best performance to win off OR82 but not beyond the realms of possibility. Hanagan has ridden her only twice but won both times. Got to be worth one star* each way at a large looking 12/1 general.
Nottingham 3.35 PERCEYVIVACE No idea what to make of this daughter of Sir Percy who was a basement buy at just £5K. Three runs as a 2yo culminating in a fourth in a C4 York maiden behind stablemate Dolphin Vista and William Haggas’s Carenot who have both won this season. WITHDRAWN 8.52am Great!