Ben Linfoot points one out at a big price at Chepstow, ponders the form in a veterans' handicap at Warwick and looks forward to a classy offering from Kempton.
1. Can Jully earn chasing Graduation at Chepstow?
This time last year David Pipe’s Ramses De Teillee won the Viasat Chase, a novices’ handicap, by 17 lengths at Chepstow on his first go over the bigger obstacles.
He was bred for it, was well backed and he’s a good example of the gold that can be found by sifting through the pedigrees in these novice handicaps.
It’s not always that simple, but now and again you find one that might just be well-handicapped and underestimated in the market, too, and I thought I might have found one in the same race this year.
JULLY LES BUXY is the horse in question, a mare trained by Keiran Burke and one that’s available at 20/1 in several places as I type this at 6.30pm on Tuesday evening.
She’s only had two starts for Burke, but he put a pair of cheekpieces on her on stable debut over hurdles at Exeter in April and she bolted up by five lengths.
Up 8lb next time, she was a pulled up favourite on faster ground in May, but she’s had 197 days off since then, she’s won off a three-times longer break in the past and conditions are at least a bit softer on Wednesday.
But the main thing that attracts me to her at 20s is the fact she’s a three-parts sister to Graduation Night, a Kayf Tara gelding that took off when he switched to novice handicap chases.
He won by 44 lengths on his chasing debut off a mark of 100 and he landed his next two off ratings of 107 and 119 as well, so he certainly enjoyed the switch to the bigger obstacles.
That doesn’t mean Jully Les Buxy will, but she also enjoyed her only previous visit to Chepstow, finishing second in a handicap hurdle off 104, and if seeing a fence does spark even a modicum of improvement, she could well make a mockery of her Tuesday night odds.
2. Can Beat That reverse form with Exitas at Warwick?
Over at Warwick there’s a fascinating little three-runner veterans’ handicap chase at 3.10 featuring Exitas, Beat That and Le Reve.
It will be interesting to see how Le Reve gets on after 571 days off the track as he is a horse that has gone well fresh before, but there’s no doubt his other two rivals will be expected to fight out the finish with fitness on their side.
This is also is their third battle in the last five weeks.
On October 14 Exitas was second to Kings Lad in a veterans’ handicap Chase at Chepstow, where he received 8lb from Beat That who finished over 11 lengths behind him in fourth.
Then last time, at Aintree on October 28, Exitas beat Beat That again, this time in receipt of 2lb, again by a similar distance of 11 lengths.
However, this time Beat That gets the weight, as he’s in receipt of 8lb, and the big swing could well turn things in his favour.
There was a strong gallop on at Aintree and that got Beat That out of his comfort zone, but he should be happier in a less frantic race like this with only three going to post.
With a 16lb pull on their Chesptow run and a 10lb pull from Aintree (not including any jockey claims), these two should be much closer this time and, in what looks a match, Beat That could well beat old rival Exitas for the first time in three goes.
3. Guineas hope Headmean headlines Kempton card
It’s a belting evening card at Kempton and all eyes will be on Kingman colt Headman in division one of the 32Red Casino / EBFstallions.com Novice Stakes at 5.10.
Given 2000 Guineas quotes of up to 33/1 following his ultra-impressive debut at Newcastle three weeks ago, he drops in trip from a mile to seven furlongs on Wednesday and carries a 7lb penalty as well for that debut success.
Considering the impression he made at Newcastle anything other than another impressive victory will be a surprise, but he’s not the only good horse on show on a stellar card.
At 6.40 it’s the Listed Hyde Stakes over a mile with Dean Ivory’s Flaming Spear and Andrew Balding’s Straight Right two of the main attractions in a cracking 11-runner field.
They’re the two top-rated in the line-up but they might not get things all their own way with serious all-weather horse Victory Bond in opposition as well as Silver Quartz making his debut for Archie Watson.
Half an hour later it’s the 32Red Handicap over two miles and this is another one not to miss with Alqamar bidding to improve on a succession of placed efforts.
The likes of Watersmeet and Baydar stand in his way as well as the James Fanshawe-trained pair of Lord George and Higher Power.
Sometimes the all-weather action with the floodlights on is there just to serve as betting shop filler, but Wednesday’s card certainly isn’t one of those occasions and will be well worth tuning in for.