GG tipster Andrew Mount reveals his top 10 eyecatchers from the past week’s action, including one he expects to follow up at Kempton on Boxing Day.
ARDERA CROSS, fifth, 2m4.5f handicap chase, Ayr, Monday, December 11th
William Young’s Ayr expert ARDERA CROSS attracted some market interest prior to his run in the Coral Committed To Safer Gambling Handicap at Ayr on Monday but the 6-1 shot could only finish a 41-length last of the five finishers. However, he usually struggles at this time of year, and he’s best judged on his course chase figures from January to March of 31114113P5112 (7-13) for a profit of £31.38 to a £1 level stake at SP. Keep him in mind for the New Year.
BALLYCAMUS, won, 2m3.5f handicap chase, Chepstow, Saturday, December 9th
Point-to-point winner BALLYCAMUS made a winning start over regulation fences in the New Bet-In-Race With Coral Handicap Chase at Chepstow last Saturday. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ six-year-old came from further back than ideal on this pace-favouring track and though only scoring by three-quarters of a length from Ballybeen, he was always holding the runner-up. He can follow up.
KNIGHT OF ALLEN, second, 2m1f Listed juvenile hurdle, Aintree, Saturday, December 9th
KNIGHT OF ALLEN’s intended runs at Bangor and Doncaster fell victim to the weather and, in between, he had zero luck at Cheltenham when debuting at Grade 2 level, getting carried out by a faller at the first flight. Jane Williams’ highly regarded three-year-old was backed from 14-1 into 9-2 when lining up in the Boylesports Daily Money Back 2nd Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree last Saturday where he kept on well into second place to land the each-way money. The Fred Winter is a possibility, though connections might be keen to retain his novice status before stepping him up in trip next season.
PURPLE GOWN, fifth, 1m4f handicap, Newcastle, Friday, December 8th
It’s very difficult to win from the front on the round course at Newcastle and the first four home in the BetUK. Home Of The Acca-Fenwa Handicap came from midfield or further back. PURPLE GOWN, the 7-2 favourite, fared best of the prominent racers in fifth and can be supported next time despite her poor wins-to-runs ratio.
QUEEN REGENT, second, 1m2f fillies’ handicap, Lingfield, Wednesday, December 6th
QUEEN REGENT’s stall 2 draw turned out to be a disadvantage in the 1m2f BetMGM Winter Oaks Trial EBF Fillies’ Handicap as she took the inside route on the ‘dead’ rail. John & Thady Gosden’s three-year-old was worn down close home by Oh So Grand but this was a fine effort in the circumstances and she can go one better next time.
RISING FORCE, fifth, 1m nursery, Chelmsford, Monday, December 11th
RISING FORCE qualified as a bet for me on three different systems when he lined up in the 1m Support The Injured Jockeys Fund Nursery Handicap at Chelmsford but I reduced my bet by 80% because of his draw in stall 12 of 12 (once adjusted for the non-runner). I’d expected him to drift from the early 3-1 and 11-4 but he went off as the 9-4 favourite before his six-length fifth. Most pundits and publications will refer to this as a disappointing effort but the four that beat him were drawn in stalls 3, 2, 1 and 5 and he had little chance under a patient ride. Robert Eddery’s juvenile was short-headed over track and trip from stall 1 on his penultimate start and will be backable from a kinder draw next time.
SONIGINO, won, 2m4f handicap hurdle, Aintree, Saturday, December 9th
Paul Nicholls’ SONIGINO built on his 11-1 fourth of 15 in the Greatwood when taking the 2m4f Boylesports Extra Place Races Handicap Hurdle by six lengths from Prince Zaltor. The 100-30 favourite travelled strongly on the deep ground and scored with plenty in hand. He’ll reportedly head to the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton next.
STAY AWAY FAY, won, Grade 2 novices’ chase, Sandown, Friday, December 8th
Paul Nicholls’ STAY AWAY FAY, a rare British-trained winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at last season’s Cheltenham festival, made it two from two over fences when justifying 8-11 favouritism in the Grade 2 Betfair Esher Novices’ Chase. The six-year-old jumped well, overcame being hampered by the loose horse on more than one occasion and scored with more in hand than the winning margin of one and a half lengths suggested. He’s going to be very difficult to beat if he lines up in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
VONDELPARK, second, 7f handicap, Southwell, Thursday, December 7th
They went hard up front in the 7f BetMGM: It’s Showtime Handicap at Southwell last Thursday and the race was set up for the closers – the winner, third, fourth and fifth all came from midfield or further back with runner-up VONDELPARK the exception. Sara Ender’s 20-1 shot raced in touch with the leaders before taking it up a furlong out, trading at odds of 1.7 in-running before being overhauled by David O’Meara’s Just Janet. He finished almost four lengths clear of the next prominent racer and can go one better next time. Both his wins came on turf, but this all-weather debut suggests that the son of Mayson can score on synthetics.
WAYFINDER, second, 2m7.5f handicap chase, Chepstow, Saturday, December
WAYFINDER, placed at 33-1 at Cheltenham in October on his first run following a wind operation, bounced back from his fall at the same venue in November to run second in the Coral Welsh Grand National Trial Handicap Chase. The 11-1 shot raced up with the pace in the early stages before getting outpaced at a crucial stage over a trip (2m7.5f) that is on the sharp side for him. He kept on well in the closing stages to finish just over five lengths behind the winner and, though pulled up when 25-1 for last year’s Welsh National, looks to have improved for the wind surgery and can have a say in the big one when he returns here on December 27th.
The 2023/24 Jumps Season is underway and we’ve got all our team to give their ’10 to follow’ for the NH season. GG’s chief tipster Andrew Mount is the next to give his selections, which include two runners from champion trainer Paul Nicholls yard, as well as last season’s Irish Grand National winner. BYKER (Charles…
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