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Have a proper bet when Simon meets Peter

Review of the week

Cheltenham (Friday 14 December)

Simon, who has needed his first run of the season since joining John Spearing, bounced back from a comprehensive reappearance defeat to run Over The Creek close in the valuable 3m1.5f handicap chase. Aside from seasonal debuts his chase record at 3m or further now reads: 112611F2 (4-8), improving to: 1111 (4-4) on flat tracks. He reportedly heads for the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock next month.

8yo b g (J L Spearing)

Race type
Hdl: 1224273 (1-7)
Ch: 434121152611F52 (5-15)
Conclusion: he’s best over fences.

2m-2m2f110y: 142 (1-3)
2m3f-2m6f110y: 27343412 (1-8)
3m+: 21152611F52 (4-11)
Conclusion: he’s best at 3m or further. His 2m5f Wincanton win (21 January 2006) was a most fortunate one as he was held in third place when left clear by two fallers.

Good or faster: 4F52 (0-4)
Good to soft: 715 (1-3)
Soft: 122234312611 (4-12)
Heavy: 421 (1-3)
Conclusion: he’s best on good to soft or softer going.

Seasonal debuts: 1455 (1-4)
Conclusion: he won on his racecourse debut in Ireland when trained by Philip Fenton but has finished well beaten in both reappearance efforts for current trainer John Spearing.

Track (chase starts only)
Flat: 4341211511F (5-11)
Significant undulations: 2652 (0-4)
Conclusion: he seems best on flat tracks.

Summary of ideal conditions
Combine chase starts with racing at 3m or further, outside of his seasonal debuts, and his record becomes: 112611F2 (4-8), improving to: 1111F (4-5) on flat tracks, with the fall coming in the 2007 Grand National.

In the 2m5f conditional jockeys’ handicap chase, mud-lover Coach Lane shaped well over a trip beyond his best and will be interesting when dropped to 2m. When racing over fences at 2m-2m1f his record is: U2111 (3-5), improving to: 111 (3-3) on soft or heavy going. He’s still inclined to make the occasional blunder and it’s probably no coincidence that the three wins came in very small fields.

6yo b g (Miss Venetia Williams)

Race type
Hdl: 5382314638 (1-10)
Chs: U211418956 (3-10)
Conclusion: he improved for the switch to fences last season.

2m-2m1f: 53821438U2111 (4-13)
2m2f+: 3648956 (0-7)
Conclusion: all his wins have come at about 2m.

Good or faster: 856 (0-3)
Good to soft: 568U28 (0-6)
Soft: 324319 (1-6)
Heavy: 31141 (3-5)
Conclusion: he runs especially well on heavy going.

Field size (chase runs only)
12 or more runners: 96 (0-2)
8-11 runners: U485 (0-4)
6-7 runners: 2 (0-1)
5 or fewer runners: 111 (3-3)
Conclusion: all his chase wins have come in very small fields.

Summary of ideal conditions
When racing over fences at 2m-2m1f his record is: U2111 (3-5), with the three wins coming on soft or heavy going and in small fields.

Cheltenham (Saturday 15 December)

Cheltenham’s ground was more good to soft than the official ‘good’ but it was still too quick for Kalca Mome, beaten by a little over two lengths when a 22-1 third in the 2m handicap chase. When racing below Class 1 level his chase record on soft or heavy going becomes: 124214121 (4-9).

9yo b g (P J Hobbs)

Race type
Hdl: 218151100 (4-9)
Chs: 12141319552718427F623106412820613 (8-33)
Conclusion: he is effective over hurdles and fences.

Good or faster: 211439571F30663 (3-15)
Good to soft: 211580706228 (2-12)
Soft: 81512424101 (4-11)
Heavy: 1112 (3-4)
Conclusion: his best recent efforts have come on soft or heavy going.

1: 950300 (0-6)
2: 45841F1641282613 (4-16)
3: 2185113127127062 (5-16)
4: 1121 (3-4)
Conclusion: he has yet to win in Class 1 company.

Summary of ideal conditions
Combine chase starts with racing on soft or heavy going, below Class 1 company, and his record becomes: 124214121 (4-9), improving to: 112 (2-3) on heavy going only. All his wins have come over trips short of 2m4f.

Lunatic front-runner Crozan needs long breaks between his races, a fact seemingly lost on trainer Nicky Henderson, who ran him just 28 days after his reappearance effort when a respectable eighth of 20 in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. He was rested from late December to mid-March last year when falling in the Ryanair Chase (in front and still going well at the time) and, If he were mine, I’d give him at least eight weeks off before his next outing.

Maljimar had gone off as the 5-4 favourite for a £30,000 2m4f race at Newbury earlier this month where Tony McCoy, still drowsy after his Hennessy fall on Snowy Morning, was slow to react to the fall of Patricksnineteenth and duly unseated. His entry in the 2m handicap smacked of afterthought but at least the 100-30 favourite completed the course this time, finishing a close fourth. Best fresh, he’ll be interesting after a break of six weeks next time.

7yo b g (Nick Williams)

Race type
NHF: 2 (0-1)
Hdl: 6P14 (1-4)
Chs: F23132U4 (1-8)
Conclusion: he has yet to finish out of the first three when completing the course over fences.

2m-2m1f: 264 (0-3)
2m2f-2m5f: P1423132U (2-9)
3m+: F (0-1)
Conclusion: his latest win came at 2m3f but he does stay further.

Good to firm or faster: 14 (1-2)
Good: 6P24 (0-4)
Good to soft: 2F23 (0-4)
Soft: 31U (1-3)
Heavy: no runs
Conclusion: he is versatile with regard to underfoot conditions.

Flat: 2P141U (2-6)
Significant undulations: 6F23324 (0-7)
Conclusion: both his wins came on flat tracks (Fontwell and Newbury) but he does handle undulating courses.

Fresh (absence since last race)
42 days or longer: 26P1F1U (2-7)
28-41 days: 3 (0-1)
27 days or less: 4234 (0-4)
Conclusion: he runs especially well when fresh.

Summary of ideal conditions
When running fresh (after a break of six weeks or longer) his record becomes: 26P1F12U (2-8), improving to: F12U (1-4) for current trainer Nick Williams. From left to right: F – tipped up four out at Chepstow when still travelling well (3m, good to soft), 1st – landed a soft-ground 2m3f handicap chase at Newbury, 2nd – beaten by a neck in a valuable 19-runner handicap chase at Cheltenham, and U – unseated rider at first fence.

It might have been an afterthought to run Hennessy flop New Alco in the Boylesports.com Gold Cup but his tenth place was still bitterly disappointing. His impressive reappearance Carlisle win came against just six rivals and it now looks as though he needs a small field. When racing over fences in fields of 11 or fewer runners his record stands at: 2212221 (2-7), as opposed to: 4263267P0 (0-9) in larger line-ups.

Tamarinbleu took his seasonal debut record to: 11261 (3-5) when successful in the big race, with the first defeat by a short head and the other when only about ten lengths behind Exotic Dancer in last season’s Paddy Power Gold Cup. His second time out record reads: 285P (0-4), suggesting we should take him on if he makes a relatively quick return to action.

Bangor (Wednesday 19 December)

Keenan’s Future got back to winning ways when landing the 3m6f handicap chase by just a short head. His trainer felt the ground was too soft for him when he was only sixth at Hexham the time before but I’d put that reverse down to the big field (his three chase wins have come in single-digit line-ups) or the stiff track (he seems best on sharp tracks).

6yo ch g (Ian Williams)

Race type
NHF: 3 (0-1)
Hdl: 11U (2-3)
Chs: B3R1514661 (3-10)
Conclusion: he won both his completed starts over hurdles and is a multiple chase winner.

Good to firm or faster: no runs
Good: 31546 (1-5)
Good to soft: 1R11 (3-4)
Soft: 3B6 (0-3)
Heavy: 1U (1-2)
Conclusion: he is likely to prove best on good to soft or softer going.

Left-handed: 31U1514661 (4-10)
Right-handed: 1B3R (1-4)
Conclusion: one of his hurdle wins came on a right-handed track but he has been campaigned exclusively on left-handed courses since hanging left and running out in a novice chase at Exeter in March 2007. His latest win came over 3m2f110y.

Field size
12 or more runners: 31546 (1-5)
11 or fewer runners: 1UB3R1161 (4-9)
Conclusion: he seems best in smallish fields, his chase wins coming in fields of eight, nine and eight runners.

Summary of ideal conditions
When racing over hurdles or on left-handed chase tracks his record becomes: 11U1514661 (5-10), improving to: 11U1161 (5-7) on ground slower than good.

Exeter (Thursday 20 December)

Mister Quasimodo took his Exeter record to: 11211 (4-5) when landing the four-runner Graduation Chase, his task made easier by the early departure of odds-on favourite Master Minded. This was trainer Colin Tizzard’s sixth winner from his last eight runners.

7yo b g (C L Tizzard)

Race type
NHF: 1410 (2-4)
Hdl: 2141220F (2-8)
Chs: P21FP231 (2-8)
Conclusion: he is effective over hurdles and fences.

2m-2m2f: 141022F31 (3-9)
2m3f-2m6f: 21101FP2 (3-8)
2m7f+: 4P2 (0-3)
Conclusion: he seems best at trips short of 2m7f.

Good or faster: 0023 (0-4)
Good to soft: 1412PF1 (3-7)
Soft: 14122F (2-6)
Heavy: 21P (1-3)
Conclusion: he seems happiest on slow going.

Summary of ideal conditions
Throw out his runs at 2m7f or further and his record on good to soft/softer becomes: 141211221FPF1 (6-13), improving to: 2111FP1 (4-7) at 2m3f-2m6f, with the first defeat by Neptunes Collonges.

Horses-to-Follow: Add to your GG-Alert to receive an e-mail when they are declared to run overnight.

Augustine (handicap hurdles)
Bang And Blame (3m1f+, Catterick or Sedgefield)
Bible Lord (next start, preferably at about 2m4f)
Efistorm (5f-6f)
European Dream (next start)
For Life (7f or shorter)
Gold Again (3m or further)
Gunfighter (Polytrack, preferably at 7f or less)
Inch Lodge (Wolverhampton)
Lady Bling Bling (next start)
Los Suenos (next start on a left-handed track)
Matsunosuke (Polytrack)
Morgan Be (Ayr, preferably on soft or heavy going)
Predicament (handicap chases, ideally at around 2m4f on good/faster)
Simon (next start, preferably on a flat track)
Tamino (next start, preferably in a small field)

Removed from the list this week…

Mith Hill (3rd, 7-1)
Mysaynoway (unplaced, 14-1)
Ring The Boss (unplaced, 7-4)

Race of the week

Robert Leech Quebec Stakes (1m2f, Listed) – Lingfield 3.40, Saturday 21 December

Gentleman’s Deal has a superb strike-rate on artificial surfaces – seven wins from eight starts with the only defeat (last time out) by a short head.

6yo b h (M W Easterby)

7f: 1 (1-1)
1m-1m1f110y: 4111045411100 (6-13)
1m2f: 9712 (1-4)
Conclusion: he is effective from 7f-1m2f.

Good to firm or faster: no runs
Good: 4940 (0-4)
Good to soft: 170 (1-3)
Soft/heavy: 054 (0-3)
Polytrack: 11112 (4-5)
Fibresand: 111 (3-3)
Conclusion: he has an excellent record on All-weather tracks but is effective on slow turf.

Summary of ideal conditions
When racing on Polytrack or fibresand his record is: 11111112 (7-8).

Grand Passion beat Gentleman’s Deal by a short head last time and now has a course and distance record of: 221919125821 (4-12), improving to: 1181 (3-4) in fields of 11 or fewer runners.

Millville wasn’t far behind Grand Passion when third over C&D last time but seems best in larger line-ups.

Field size
12 or more runners: 1118450205508310516500 (5-22)
11 or fewer runners: 95221332253 (1-11)
Conclusion: he is best coming late off a strong pace and all bar one of his wins have come in fields of 12 or more runners.

Troubadour, a Listed winner at the Curragh before a spell in Hong Kong, where he won three handicaps at Sha Tin, didn’t show much on turf this year but has improved for the switch to Polytrack the last twice, finishing first and second here. Both runs came at 1m, as indeed have his last six wins, so the return to this 1m2f trip has to be a concern.

Kahlua Kiss could only finish last of nine behind Grand Passion on her latest outing.

Voliere belied her 66-1 starting price when a close fourth to Grand Passion on her penultimate start but her subsequent Kempton fifth suggests that she may have been flattered. The return to this venue will help but third place is probably the most she can realistically hope for.

Selection: Grand Passion
Danger: Gentleman’s Deal

Last week…

Over The Creek (WON 6-1)