Berkshire Novices’ Chase Grade 2
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this race could be the fight for the lead between Black Op and Dashel Drasher. The presence of the former has taken away my interest in trading the Jeremy Scott horse. He probably has a similar chance of chasing home the impressive looking favourite as any and is a much bigger price due to less fashionable connections. A really fascinating race to watch with the return to fences of the enigmatic Vision Des Flos adding to the interest.
31st October – Stratford – He was super impressive all the way round and his connections will be hoping that he has finally got the hang of this chasing game. This display was not that obvious after the way he appeared not to fancy this job in his two chases last year. On the down side he jumped round in his own time never seeing another rival. He was competing against four horses rated below him including an odds on favourite that will be better over further. The runner up had to make up a lot of ground to get within a length or so and then paid for that extra effort by tiring badly thus accentuating his winning margin. He was brilliant here and, at the same time, he enjoyed a very easy trip round whilst jumping fences not as foreboding as some he will no doubt face soon enough. He could take high rank if all goes well for him; that said I would still like to see him jump big fences under pressure before getting too carried away.
7th November 2019 – Newbury – He was slow over an early fence and then more so over the fifth last. He was not spectacular in any way but never looked like falling. He is a very classy horse and the body language of his jockey suggested he oozed confidence from a long way out despite having several lengths to make up on the front two. He did it very stylishly in the end and is in a different league to those that finished behind him. At this very early stage he looked more RSA than JLT. This view is supported by his trainer saying that the Ballymore was the wrong race for him last season as he would have won the Albert Bartlett.
7th November 2019 – Newbury – Another good performance from this consistent front runner. He was simply beaten by a very high class horse.
Deyrann De Carjac
3rd November 2019 – Huntingdon – He was very impressive on his chasing debut at Cartmel in May and possibly benefitted from that experience here. He was more positively ridden than some of his rivals and I would prefer to remain open minded as to who would come out on top on another day.
Vision Des Flos
9th November 2019 – Aintree – He is a bit quirky as can be seen by his record of one win from his latest 13 races. He appeared set to come home in front before idling a little on the run in. This was more than enough to get him beaten in what was a very tight finish. I suspect that the runner up would have beaten him more comfortably but for hitting the last hurdle. Moreover the winner just wanted it more which is par for the course when it comes to this horse. If I am being a little unfair it may be also a case that he has been placed in races a little out of his depth on more than one occasion.
Long Distance Hurdle
If Beer Goggles takes up the running from the off we will need to see a different side to The Worlds End compared with Wetherby where he never saw another rival. Unowhatimeanharry has excellent course form to his name which makes him the most interesting contender to challenge or more likely follow the favourite home.
27th January 2018 – Cheltenham – He did not offer much help to his jockey by hanging very badly right. He has still run well all things considered and will be more forgotten about than most given he was a 40/1 winner last time out.
1st December 2017 – Newbury – He led all the way and was left alone for most of the race. He enjoyed a massively untroubled lead and took full advantage. I suspect there was an element of Barry Geraghty taking more notice of how Thistlecrack was going rather than this chap. He kicked for home against a favourite in need of a run and the runner up who is not blessed with instant acceleration. The time of this race from the third last hurdle to the line was around three seconds quicker than the opening novice hurdle which was run over two miles. This comparison adds to the notion that Beer Goggles had a good time of things out in front before kicking on up the home straight.
14th March 2019 – Cheltenham – Once again he appeared to be going nowhere on the approach to the second last hurdle. From there he was switched wide and took a while to get into his stride as his his want. It was fairly obvious from 100 yards before the final hurdle that he was going to have little trouble picking the leaders up. He was actually in front before the last and consequently made a right hash of it. He is far and away the best staying hurdler around and he is probably right up there with some of the better ones we have seen in recent years.
The Worlds End
2nd November 2019 – Wetherby – He made all the running and jumped well in the process. He stayed on strongly from the last hurdle and drew clear of the closers. Post-race talk of the Stayers Hurdle was rather premature as he has beaten an 11 year old whilst receiving 6lbs. The third horse had been off for 735 days, was beaten by less than six lengths and is rated 138. The favourite did not stay and finished in fourth place. The deep ground was also a vital variable which will not always be the case. The only doubt with him in what looked a weak renewal was his ability to handle the ground. He has always needed a sounder surface in the past; however, his connections (post-race) offered the view that now he is an older horse etc etc…..
This may well be an accurate opinion of course; nonetheless, it still leaves him with an awful lot to find to even be considered for a Stayers Hurdle. If he does something similar the next time we see him then maybe it will be time to take another look. The percentage call is usually for horses with his profile to regress to mean the next time we see them.
He managed to win impressively here for three main reasons 1) the extreme conditions (not something I would have guessed prior to the race) – 2) he raced on the outside away from the gluepot near the inside rail and 3) due to being gifted an untroubled lead. This last point is supported by his stand out performance over fences when he also led all the way without seeing another rival. I suspect this variable is very important to him. In addition the stable is in very good form and has sent out four good winners from just ten runners in the last three days which will not always be the case.
15th March 2019 – Cheltenham – He was out the back and never really travelling as well as he can. He was pulled up before the 17th fence.
26th December 2018 – Kempton – I doubt he was suited to be in the lead from such a long way out. He was a sitting target all the way up the home straight and appeared quite one paced as a result. That said maybe he jumped better as a consequence of this more positive ride.
1st December 2017 – Newbury – He raced keenly towards the front and was still going okay until tiring badly from two hurdles out. He was ridden positively and this will have increased the chances of him finishing tired. His trainer has the best part of a month to get him ready for Kempton. On balance I would suggest that this was not a positive prep for Boxing Day. One of the RUK pundits was suggesting that he dropped out far too quickly for this to be encouraging; personally I would tend to concur with that view.
12th November 2016 – Cheltenham- There remains little upside to keeping him on our side this season. He was 1/7 favourite today, he is likely to trade incredibly short for all his early season races and is currently the 7/2 favourite for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. As Colin Tizzard said post-race he certainly has the engine for the top races; he just needs to gain experience jumping fences. From a betting point of view and given his current place in the King George and Gold Cup markets plus the fact that he got a couple of fences very badly wrong today; I would prefer to keep a quiet eye on his World Hurdle price (currently 8/1) rather than support him for one of the top class chases at this moment in time. My view may change after his next couple of outings; however, the World Hurdle market is certainly where my mind is drawn for the time being. The final circuit time for this race was slower than that for the staying handicappers.
25th October 2016 – Chepstow – His chasing debut could not have gone any better. He looked like a natural over his fences and I especially loved the way he sorted himself out
2nd November 2019 – Wetherby – His trainer said he had him further forward than usual prior to the race which is a point to bear in mind for future reference. He is an 11 year old and the chances are he is well below his best despite that Punchestown success. Maybe he has been a tad unfortunate here to come up against a particularly unreliable and inconsistent horses that happened to enjoy a near perfect trip round.
2nd May 2019 – Punchestown – As wonderful as it was to see him win another grade one hurdle one would have to say that his success strongly suggests that this was far from a vintage renewal of this race. I think we