Matty Sutcliffe tipped up the 14/1 winner (My Silver Lining) of the Classic Chase at Warwick last weekend and he’s back with his look at the weekend racing. Not only does he have Saturday picks, but he also has some selections for Lingfield on Sunday. He also picks out a plethora of horses that have caught his eye over the last week, as he looks to provide pointers for future winners.
Updated: 2.50pm 20th January (Odds correct at time of publication)
Last Week’s Pointers
Friday 12th January
1:30 Wincanton – Idefix De Ciergues (2/15) – Buck’s Boum x Caline De Şerbet (Network) – Trainer: Rebecca Curtis.
From the family of multiple Graded winner (150r at peak) Val De Ferbet, there was always a chance that Idefix De Ciergues would prove to be an above average type and was a short head away from gaining a career success under Ben Jones in first time cheekpieces last Friday. While he’ll undoubtedly improve for a fence in time, he confirmed suspicions that he’ll be able to make his mark in handicap hurdles and we can upgrade the performance given the race favoured those in rear/midfield. The son of Buck’s Boom led/raced in second throughout, whereas the winner came from rear and the 3rd,4th,5th all came from midfield, with the other prominent races finishing a 25L 6th, 32L 9th, 32L 10th, and a 34L 12th. Provided the cheekpieces continue to sharpen him up, he should go close next time out and a step back up in trip would be no harm.
1:50 Huntingdon – Rialannah (3/11) – Mount Nelson x Brixen (Heron Island) – Trainer: Sue Smith.
I assure you that my affinity for the Sue Smith yard hasn’t clouded my judgement with this mare who ran a race full of promise on hurdles debut at Huntingdon on Friday. Harry Cobden was having his first ride for the northern yard which in itself suggests she’s a potentially smart type, and she defied her market expectations with a staying on 3rd behind an always prominent pair, two lengths behind one already rated 121. Cobden set the mare a stiff task having been held right up in the rear throughout, but she made swift headway up the straight under tender handling and was deemed an ‘eye-catcher’ by the Racing Post. The yard know the family of the mare well given Smith trains O’Connell and Tara’s Hall, who have both featured as pointers in this column, but I think Rialannah has the potential to have the bragging rights at the Brixen’s Christmas Dinner in time and will be a very useful mare for the yard.
2:07 Sedgefield – Cailin Dearg (7/12) – Getaway x Lepidina (Oscar) – Trainer: Rose Dobbin.
Caitlin Dearg racked up a double in December 2021 off marks of 88 and 94 and shaped liked a return to the winner’s enclosure was imminent last weekend, before weakening up the wrong part of the track to be on. The Getaway mare was returning from a 566 day layoff in November when beaten 68L and didn’t improve much on that when beaten 56L at Catterick in December, but perhaps she’s starting to feel the benefit of those runs and will be of interest next time out off a similar mark to when beginning that double in 2021.
2:30 Wincanton – Tribesmans Glory (3/14) – Jeremy x Benecash (Beneficial) – Trainer: Chris Down.
Tribesman’s Glory top four RPR’s (118, 115, 113, 102) have all come over fences on left handed, sharp(ish) tracks (Plumpton, Bangor, Southwell) so it was no surprise to see him take his losing tally to 0-10 around the galloping, right handed Wincanton over hurdles. That said, he was only beaten eight lengths behind two in-form horses, signalling a return to winning form maybe imminent off a low mark. He’s well handicapped given he was rated 113 for Tom George in 2021 (won a novice chase off 100) and would be of strong interest whenever he gets his prime conditions (Left handed, sharp, fences). The Devonshire based yard don’t have too many options around them, but Stratford ticks the bill and they’re 8-2-4 with their chasers there in the last five seasons (£21.25+), so we may have to wait until March when Stratford next race to see him back in the winners enclosure, which would appeal all the more given his peak RPR came in March 2021 at Plumpton for Tom George.
2:37 Sedgefield – Living’s Boy An Co (3/9) – Diamond Boy x Living Start (Laveron) – Trainer: John Wainwright.
Living’s Boy An Co is just 1/28 under rules and paid the price for a facile 20L win in October 2022 as the handicapper struck him with a 10lbs rise, and he’s struggled to trouble the judge since. However, he’s not been beaten far in his last three runs and made a promising return to fences at Sedgefield off a 10lbs lower mark when last seen over the larger obstacles. The winner made all and didn’t seen another rival, but Wainwright’s kept on well for 3rd on the softest ground he’s encountered since December 2021 and will be of strong interest in these lower grade handicaps when encountering better ground now he’s well handicapped on that Market Rasen route.
Saturday 13th January
12:35 Wetherby – Leitrim Chief (5/14) – Leading Light x Leitrim Bridge (Earl Of Barking) – Trainer: James Ewart.
Leitrim Chief travelled well around the inner for the large majority of the race, mainly alongside Sao Carlos and just in behind Mirabad, before being outpaced by that pair and weakening into 6th. The Leading Light gelding was tenderly handled to say the least up the straight while the front four were hard at work, but he kept on well under hands and heels on only his second start for the yard. He had some smart form in Ireland, finishing behind My Mate Mozzie in a bumper and the 159r Ash Tree Meadow at Navan with a subsequent 128r rival in 2nd and 134r type in 4th. All of his runs note how he ‘kept on’ which is little surprise given he’s a half brother to an ex Tizzard staying chaser in Masters Hill, and I’d expect him to make his mark in handicaps up in trip.
12:40 Warwick Klitschko (2/8) – Blue Bresil x Arctic Actress (King’s Theatre) – Trainer: Alan King.
We’ve undoubtedly not seen the best of the Blue Bresil gelding, and we probably won’t until he’s upped in trip. He strikes me of one who doesn’t quite yet understand his job as a racehorse, emphasised by his lazy antics at the start on Saturday, and the fact he either walked through his hurdles or barely touched a twig. Klitschko was detached in rear by several lengths though seemingly still travelling well, and was able to gain lengths once the pace slowed down in the middle section. Once he was in amongst horses, mentally it all seemed to click for him and suddenly he jumped the last almost in front on the far side. Those early antics and exertions likely left him with little gas in the tank at the end as Donnacha stayed on too strongly, but he was quickest through the last four furlongs than the rest of the field and I reckon he’ll have a good 15lbs in hand once he gains further experience in handicaps.
1:30 Kempton Chianti Classico (2/7) – Shantou x Ballinderry Lady (Presenting) – Trainer: Kim Bailey.
The poor stable form of Kim Bailey has been well documented in recent weeks, as the yard are without a winner (at the time of writing) in 32 days (0-35), so any of there’s who performs to a credible standard are worth marking up. Chianti Classico fits into that category as the son of Shantou fell short by two lengths in a bid for a hat trick over fences, and to take his trainer off the cold list. Regardless of trainer form, it was still a performance worth noting as he gave 8lbs to the runner-up who took his record at Kempton to 311021, as well as stepping out of novice company for the first time over fences. He recorded a personal best RPR of 147 there, and will be of interest when the yard are in better nick, potentially an Ultima sort.
1:40 Wetherby – Paddy O’Mahler (8/11) – Mahler x Miss Massini (Dr Massini) – Trainer: Sue Smith.
Paddy O’Mahler was a late market drifter after initially being backed in to around 2/1 in the 1:40 at Wetherby, and weakened out of contention quite quickly, with the market clearly getting it right. The yards horses rarely win on handicap debut (It’s Maisy the only anomaly this season), so it might be worth having a second look at this stoutly bred gelding next time out. He’s from the family of Scoop The Pot who’s best form came on good ground over 3 miles, who in turn is from the family of Egypt Mill Prince, whose form also came on better ground. I’d imagine the camp will drop Paddy O’Mahler back to 2m5f in trip on better ground now but in time he’ll stay three miles, and I wouldn’t write him off on the back of that effort on handicap debut, as he’ll be a much bigger price next time out dropped a couple of pounds.
2:42 Kempton Good Luck Charm (4/19) – Cokoriko x Une D’Ex (Brier Creek) – Trainer: Anthony Honeyball.
Anthony Honeyball has been kind to this column in recent weeks with the likes of Blackjack Magic and Forward Plan, and hopefully three times a charm with Good Luck Charm, who I thought ran a race full of promise in the ever competitive Lanzarote Hurdle. The race favoured those held up in midfield with the favourite Impose Toi and Good Luck Charm the only ones of those racing prominently not to be beaten 17L+. Honeyball’s mare was likely always going to find the race too hot, but despite losing her position on the turn after travelling strongly, she managed to rally well and stay on strong for fourth, recording a personal best RPR (118) in the process. The mare evidently didn’t take to chasing last season with her record over the larger obstacles reading 25PU32F, but has bounced back to form over hurdles with win in a 19k C2 Mares Handicap at Wincanton and a 3rd in a 16k C2 Mares Handicap at Cheltenham prior to last time out. That was only her second start out of mares company in her 17 race career and given she recorded a PB, that opens plenty more doors for the team and she’s one to keep an eye on in these middle distance handicaps, particularly going right handed.
3:00 Ascot – BetMGM Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4yo+)
Asta La Pasta 10/1 1pt WIN
Second guessing where the Skelton’s are sending one triply entered for the weekend is not the smartest of punts, but given connections won the last renewal of this race with Unexpected Party, I’m hoping they see sense and send ASTA LA PASTA up in trip for a repeat success. Regarding the entries debacle, I’ll likely have a few more selections out on Thursday as there’s a plethora of horses doubly/triply entered for the weekend so I’ll tread carefully and keep the early powder dry. Not to mention the looming threat of racing been abandoned this weekend as a result of frost.
Fingers crossed we are racing this weekend, as I’m quite keen on the chances of Asta La Pasta who was a pointer for the column when a promising 3rd at Sandown last month, where carrying 11-11 on heavy ground likely wouldn’t have suited particularly regarding the first time tongue tie, signaling either a wind issue or an attempt to settle one for his inexperience. I noted there that “Physically, he caught my eye as one who’ll improve for a trip this season (related to a 135+ type from 3m-4m1f) and certainly a fence in time, and he’s one for handicaps on better ground.” Subsequently, he bolted up in a Market Rasen novice under prominent tactics and a 4lbs rise was lenient enough. Now he goes handicapping up in trip on better ground, he can make further mockery of a mark of 120 en-route to what I believe will be the Coral Cup in March.
The market is largely taken up by the Mullins-trained Batman Girac whose likely only been entered for connections to gauge his British Mark for a Boodles, and the handicapper has taken no chances with a harsh mark of 133 so along with that and the fact that Mullins record on our soil outside of Cheltenham is dire, he’s an easily passible favourite and provides value for the rest of the field. In the last five seasons, Dan Skelton’s record in course handicap hurdles reads 32-6-14, and backing them all would see you £21.75 up to a £1 stake.
1:55 Navan – Navan Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race)
Talk In The Park 6/1 generally, 15/2 PaddyPower 1.5pt WIN
With the frost seemingly going to lift from Navan, we’re at least going to see some National Hunt racing on Saturday and it’s a typically competitive card. While I rarely dabble in punting the Irish cards on this column, there’s one bet that stands out and that is TALK IN THE PARK for Margaret Mullins and son Danny. Connections teamed up to take this contest with Agusta Gold in 2019 (was also sent off favourite in 2021, finished 4th), a similar type to Talk In The Park. Agusta Gold was having her second handicap start after four maiden hurdles when winning the race, and Talk In The Park will be having his second start too, after four maiden hurdles. The son of Walk In The Park looks well handicapped on his staying on second to Yeats Star, who is now rated 131 after winning a Punchestown novice handicap off 122, and beaten 3L off 129 last time out, in October over an inadequate two miles at Downpatrick. Talk In The Park has since finished behind the likes of Croke Park and Slade Steel when ridden prominently over 2m wouldn’t have suited, but shaped much better over 2m4f last time out on handicap debut, being beaten 9L by the reopposing Harvard Guy from 1lb out of the weights, whom he now receives an 11lb swing with. He will have come on for that handicap debut experience and this race will likely have been in mind for connections. The gelding comes from a family that connections know well, as Mags Mullins trained the dam and several of her relatives, including Grade 3 winner Down In Neworleans (ridden by Danny Mullins), so hopefully Talk In The Park can prove better than a mark of 113 given he’s also from the family of multiple Grade 2 winning mare Chomba Womba.
1:50 Lingfield – Download The Racing App Now Godstone Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) (5yo+)
Saint Segal 5/2 bet365 2pt WIN
It’ll come as no surprise to many that I’ve put up Saint Segal here, who was undoubtedly going to win for us at 9/2 back in November before tipping up at the last. Regular readers will know my affinity for this horse, and they’ll also know that short prices such as 5/2 are rarely something I entertain, as exemplified by the poor bet on Mel Monroe last week. However, and I assure you this isn’t sentiment, 5/2 for a horse I believe will win the Grand Annual in March is justifiable in my mind. That was evidently the plan for connections last season but he was balloted out off 136, so they’ll ideally want to be taking this comfortably enough to ensure he gets in, as 139 would once more be touch and go.
As he fell last time out he has to prove his welfare of course, however he was quickly up on his feet that day and this has been the plan for some while, as Williams highlighted in the RP Weekender last year where she also noted him to be ‘100%’, so he should be primed here. As mentioned, his mark of 139 likely underestimates and he would’ve gone up a fair bit more if (when) taking that 65K handicap at Ascot lto, where the 3rd (Triple Trade) won next time out and the 4th (Corrigeen Rock) recorded a PB RPR when 2nd in the Auld Reekie Handicap at Musselburgh last time out, so the form stacks up too.
Regarding the rest, a spanner in the works here is Gavin Cromwell’s The King Of Prs who arrives on a four timer after taking a Listowel handicap hurdle off 104 in September before racking up a double over fences. Cromwell has laughed at the English on our patch this season so it would be folly to write him off, but off a mark of 130 on handicap debut after beating one last time out who’s 1-12 over fences, he hardly makes any logical appeal. Frero Banbou has been the proverbial bridesmaid since his last win, placing on eight of his twelve subsequent runs, however he is just 2lbs above that last winning mark which came over C&D, and recorded a better RPR at Cheltenham last time out than when he did en-route to winning over C&D in 2021, so he’s feared but isn’t obviously chucked in. First Flow will be the pace angle in here and gave a good account of himself in 2nd giving 24lbs to Quel Destin last time out, and although he’s 2lbs better off for a two lengths gap with Saint Segal in November, the latter was far too fresh and clearly needed the run, so I’m confident we have the beating of him. We have the edge on Triple Trade as we’ve both gone up 3lbs since Ascot despite that one winning since, and I’d be amazed if he proved to be much better than this mark of 138, as he was gifted the race by Harpers Brook’s idling shenanigans last time out. Real Stone is 2lbs wrong at the weights and will have to bounce back from a disappointing run lto when beaten 43L at 11/8.
By only niggling concerns regarding Saint Segal, is that obviously he comes off the back of a fall which is always something to bare in mind in terms of how the horse will mentally take to the track and he can be fresh from a layoff so a small field with not an abundance of pace likely mightn’t suit. Those reasons are what’s setting me apart from making this a 3pt win bet, as on the contrary I’d suggest even with those exertions, he should quite easily have the beating of these off a mark of 139 en-route to the Grand Annual, and Jane Williams is 2/3 with her chasers here in the last five seasons (£27.50+).
2:25 Lingfield – Weatherbys Hamilton Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4yo+)
Ramo 10/1 William Hill 1pt EW 4 places
Several in here are entered in a Pertemps Qualifier at Huntingdon next week so they’ll be a few minding their marks presuming the final is their target. One who’s already qualified for the race is Ramo, so we don’t have the overbearing thought of whether he’s ‘trying’ or not. From a stats based perspective, the selection ticks plenty of boxes in here. While Venetia has hit a bit of a cold patch, she is 4/12 at Lingfield in the last 12 months, and 65-20-9 all time when teaming up with Ned Fox (£23.41+), who in turn is 2/4 at Lingfield all time, and 1/1 when riding Ramo. The son of Kapgarde has improved on what was a progressive season last year, with form figures reading 3281, with the outlier coming when keen at the galloping track of Newbury, whereas he’s better suited to sharper tracks such as Plumpton (record there reads 321), Newton Abbot (1/1) and Ludlow (1/1). Although a beaten favourite in this grade last time out, we know the winner (Transmission, flagged in column) was chucked in off 119 (114 with claim) and the second was previously just touched off in a Pertemps Qualifier at Sandown by one on a hat trick, so I don’t think that suggests he’s handicapped to the hills.
Ned Fox’s valuable claim has Ramo effectively running off 117, a pound below his last winning mark which came in November under amateur jockey Lucy Turner off joint top weight. The majority of these prefer to be held up, with only Bold Endeavour and Shantou Express typically used to front running, but we receive 28lbs from the former and the latter has been in rear the last twice (Bailey yard form also?), so Ramo will be favoured by a likely easy enough lead.
Matty Sutcliffe’s Weekend Bets
3:00 Ascot – BetMGM Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4yo+) – Asta La Pasta 10/1 1pt WIN
1:55 Navan – Navan Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) – Talk In The Park 6/1 generally, 15/2 PaddyPower 1.5pt WIN
1:50 Lingfield – Download The Racing App Now Godstone Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) (5yo+) – Saint Segal 5/2 bet365 2pt WIN
2:25 Lingfield – Weatherbys Hamilton Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4yo+) – Ramo 10/1 William Hill 1pt EW 4 places
The 2023/24 Jumps Season is underway and we’ve got all our team to give their ’10 to follow’ for the NH season. Matt Sutcliffe is the next to give his selections, which include an old favourite of his from the Syd Hosie yard, plus a Nicky Henderson horse he’s backing to win the 2024 Triumph…
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