Matt Brocklebank's sole Friday selection won at a nice price at Newbury. Our man has four Value Bet fancies for Saturday.
1pt win Kitty’s Light in 1.20 Newbury at 18/1 (Coral, Ladbrokes)
1pt win Washington in 1.55 Newbury at 12/1 (General)
1pt win Lostintranslation in 3.05 Newbury at 25/1 (Ladbrokes, Coral)
0.5pts e.w. Windsor Avenue in 3.25 Newcastle at 33/1 (bet365 1/5 1,2,3)
The water table has been exceptionally low this autumn but decent ground has become a running theme for Coral Gold Cup weekend in recent seasons and, after a drying day on Friday, we could be looking at similar conditions to when Cloth Cap scooted home under a low weight on good going in 2020.
Officials will obviously be keen to deliver a perfectly safe Saturday surface through continued watering, although I can’t get away from the prevailing ground being a significant negative for a few of the market principals - namely Corach Rambler, Le Milos and Remastered, who otherwise have an awful lot going for them.
Ultima Handicap Chase winner Corach Rambler still looks quite dangerous regardless of the fair weather. He was left on a mark of 147 following a moderate enough comeback run in the Colin Parker Memorial at Carlisle but I’d be inclined to agree with the official assessor in believing this horse most likely has more to offer in time.
He was proving easy to back through Friday afternoon (connections walked the course to check suitability), having initially been clear favourite, and if Lucinda Russell’s charge hits a double-figure price he would be getting towards genuine betting material.
Otherwise, I’m obviously happy with the long-term position on Lord Accord at 33s as he looks to be getting on well with Richie McLernon this year and is best on a sound surface, but he can still dive at the odd fence so I’ll aim for some back-up and recommend a small win-only bet on LOSTINTRANSLATION at 25/1 with the sponsors.
Not without his physical issues, he isn’t wildly dissimilar to the Tizzard-trained winner from 2018, Sizing Tennessee, who was another 10-year-old with not many miles on the clock.
Lostintranslation is on another level to that horse in terms of pure class as he was rated 173 when third to Al Boum Photo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup a couple of years ago. He’s been lightly raced ever since but the one standout effort in the intervening period saw him win well first time out in last season’s Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase at Ascot, a Grade Two over two miles and five furlongs.
Other than a fair run in the Ultima – when finishing eighth right alongside subsequent National winner Noble Yeats - he struggled later in the campaign but with Joe Tizzard rekindling a few flames lately, the likes of The Big Breakaway evidently getting back on track, I’m going to take a chance that the trainer might be able to have Lostintranslation cherry-ripe for the comeback run again.
If that’s the case, this horse has a real chance from a mark of just 150 (he’s 12lb better off with Corach Rambler from Cheltenham), plus Freddie Gingell claiming an extra 7lb, and he’s going to love the ground.
Lord Accord was a creditable second to Frodon in the Badger Beer last time and sticking with that line of form briefly, Wincanton third Cap Du Nord seems likely to give another decent account of himself in the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase, a race he won under Jack Tudor two years ago having also been fifth the previous season.
However, I prefer the claims of Christian Williams stablemate KITTY’S LIGHT, with Tudor riding him again here.
He's had a couple of very busy and exacting campaigns so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see he’s taken a while to gear up this time around. I refuse to believe the six-year-old hasn’t got plenty more big days in him yet, however, and seeing his mark dip back to 140 looks the signal to get him on side again.
His chase form on good ground (or quicker) before this season reads 121131223 and, in all fairness, he didn’t shape badly at all in sixth behind Our Power at Ascot last month. This is clearly a race Williams likes to target too and if back to something like his best, Kitty’s Light could outclass this lot.
I was really disappointed with WASHINGTON’s effort in the immediate aftermath at Ascot last month but, having revisited the race a few times since, I’m willing to give him a pass as he got really warm beforehand and wouldn’t have been suited by the way the race was run anyway.
Gavin Sheehan did what he does best on runaway winner Highway One O Two, taking the race by the scruff of the neck and dictating his own terms out in front, while Washington was caught out for speed when the tempo really increased.
I’ll give Olly Murphy’s horse another chance to prove himself the well-handicapped (eased 1lb) hurdler I think he is over this longer trip, with the fitting of a first-time hood, plus with the switch back to a flat, left-handed track, all entitled to eke out a little more improvement.
His half-sister won over the thick end of three miles and there are other stayers on the dam's side of his pedigree too so I'm hopeful the trip won't be an issue, providing he consents to settle.
Newcastle's Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase is a cracking renewal, made all the more interesting with the return of L’Homme Presse who has been rerouted from Ascot last week.
It’s a bold move to run in a handicap and I’m not sure he has to be winning this from a mark of 164 if he’s to become a genuine Gold Cup horse. We’ve seen the likes of Clan Des Obeaux, Protektorat, Frodon and others beaten in handicaps early on in their first season out of novice company, before really kicking on thereafter.
L’Homme Presse is undoubtedly the right favourite, but he looks worth opposing at a skinny price in a race of this nature.
Connections of Happygolucky have been waiting for conditions to come more in his favour and would probably have preferred even deeper ground in the north east (good to soft, soft in places at time of writing). There must be a chance he improves for the run too.
Into Overdrive is still progressing but is in the big-time here and he’s another who looks too short in the market.
The rest may well be playing for places but WINDSOR AVENUE can pop up when least expected and I’m not sure he should be such a huge price.
His Aintree comeback effort was slightly strange – borderline mulish in truth – but he doesn’t like being crowded and things became tricky for Nathan Moscrop after the horse didn’t jump off as well as his rider had hoped.
He proceeded to try and get to the front which was never going to be easy with Wishing And Hoping in opposition, the pair ultimately cutting each other’s throats – though the latter did run a brave race in second.
Windsor Avenue rather downed tools in the end, but he did that a few times last season too, including in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on Boxing Day. A month later he won the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster as a largely unconsidered 40/1 shot and, interestingly, he’s slipped back to exactly the same mark as for that win (144).
Trainer Brian Ellison has ditched the blinkers which seem to have lost whatever effect they were having (wore the headgear for first time at Doncaster in January) and while there are a few other prominent racers in this, it’s not hard to see him getting into a decent jumping rhythm in this slightly smaller field, while he’s another who likes a flat track so Newcastle could really suit.
Published at 1500 GMT on 25/11/22
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