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CHAMPION NOVICE CHASE GRADE 1 – REVIEW

Delta Work

30th April 2019 – Punchestown – He is another winner today to benefit from the rain softened ground. The rain continued to fall throughout the afternoon so it was much softer by the time this race began. His jumping was excellent here unlike when he finished third in the RSA Chase. His trainer and jockey stated post-race how he felt he got into a much better rhythm today compared with Cheltenham. The majority will almost assume that this will be how it is for him from now on; this is one possibility; However, at this stage of his development it is just as likely that he will revert to his ‘less rhythmical’ RSA performance on another day; perhaps this scenario will be more likely should he compete on a quicker surface next season. He certainly did not appear to be as comfortable on the faster surface when winning at Leopardstown in late December.

That said he was very pleasing to the eye today and, as impressive as he appeared, I want to remember that before the race I felt that the second and third favourites were both slightly vulnerable over this trip, at least in comparison with their relative odds. This did not leave a lot of competition relative to many other grade one chases. I thought Chris’s Dream would be the most suited to the rain softened ground and could outrun his price; however his race ended with a serious blunder seven out. The fact that only four horses completed the race adds to the possibility that this form does not add up to that much; as impressive as he looked in the finish. Of course it is not Delta Work’s fault that the others did not run a race; in addition I could see him winning one or two big staying chases next season when the ground is in his favour. The Gold Cup is the obvious target and at this stage he would hold as much chance as most of ending up close to the head of the market in March.

Discorama

30th April 2019 – Punchestown – He was badly outpaced and going nowhere before the turn for home. I suspect there is more than a little ‘by default’ attached to his second place finish. He stays a lot further than this and the rain probably played a big part in him staying on past tiring rivals.

A Plus Tard

30th April 2019 – Punchestown – He was primed for his ‘handicap coup’ victory at Cheltenham and travelled beautifully throughout on that occasion. Not so today as he never really looked happy. Perhaps he was out of his depth and/or failed to last home on the going. Personally (on this rain softened ground) I do not think that today is the day to conclude that he does not stay this three miles. I have the same doubts about his stamina now as I held before the race; but not many more after this tired finish.

Drovers Lane

30th April 2019 – Punchestown – For the second big festival in a row the ground has gone against him. I was really pleased to see him drop out of the frame and finish last of four as I think this could leave the door open for a real go on this horse in a decent race when he gets his ideal conditions. He has only just failed to last home here which is a similar story to how his RSA Chase run unfolded. I suspect he is better than a 148 horse and maybe he will have a chance in a big handicap chase before he has to go down the graded route. I would be very hopeful of him staying three miles on decent ground; whether the Hennessy trip will be beyond him – I am not sure…..Either way he is a horse to keep a close eye on next season because we are likely to have a good opportunity with him at a decent price in a big race at some stage.

Articulum

30th April 2019 – Punchestown – He was headed at the third last and was pulled up very soon after landing awkwardly. Hopefully he will be okay for another day.

Winter Escape

30th April 2019 – Punchestown – He is another to have his stamina to prove for this distance. He was held up out the back and made one major blunder and was also less than fluent over a few others. Along with the third horse to finish, perhaps today is not the day to judge him on his stamina ceiling.

Getabird

30th April 2019 – Punchestown – He raced in quite a keen manner for much of this contest which did not help his chances of staying the trip. He was still on the premises when making mistakes four out and three out. He was soon well behind and was pulled up before the last fence. He still has his stamina to prove for this trip and is also a horse often likely to throw a bad run in. I am not suggesting this was a particularly poor effort; however, I would not want to have to trust him when trading very short next season. This scenario is quite likely given that when he is on a going day he can look mighty impressive and thus likely to trade shorter than his overall profile merits on his next outing.

Chris’s Dream

30th April 2019 – Punchestown – The slow pace on the drying ground at Aintree showed him in a very poor light last time out. The rain was massively in his favour here as was the quicker pace. He was out the back but I felt pretty confident that he was going to finish in the places for much of this race. Unfortunately he hit the seventh last fence hard and his race was over immediately as he soon found himself many lengths in arrears. I feel fairly confident that his latest two runs will result in him being under estimated on another day. Consequently, along with Drovers Lane he is a horse I want to remember from this grade one contest. I could see a soft ground Hennessy playing to his strengths off 147.

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