Plenty of top class action this weekend past on both sides of the Irish Sea with a number of potential Cheltenham Festival contenders strutting their stuff.
Star performer of the weekend has to go to BOBS WORTH who captured the Hennessy in splendid fashion from his lofty mark of 160. That win puts him comfortably in the Gold Cup picture and right in with the top group of staying chasers; big things surely await this son of Bob Back in his 2nd season chasing.
I stay at Newbury for this weeks NTF ‘1 to follow from the weekend’ runner with the honours going to an ‘eye-catching staying on 3rd’ novice chaser…
NTF 1 to follow from the weekend
HANDY ANDY (C Tizzard) – Saturday 1.25 Newbury– 3rd in the 2m6f Novices’ Handicap Chase
Colin Tizzard’s 6yo didn’t really get going until the race was over on Saturday but there was enough in this performance to suggest he has wins in him over the larger obstacles. He doesn’t do anything fast and it wasn’t until they jumped the last fence that he started to make any real inroads, if anything the field just seemed to be going half a step too fast for him for the majority of the contest. He did make eye-catching progress between the 6th from home and 5th from home (the cross fence) but he then took a bit longer than was ideal to properly pick up in the homestraight. This was, however, a step forward from his run at Ascot in November and wasn’t that far behind his career best on the figures.
He was obviously thought of as an above average type from an early stage as his 2nd career start was at Aintree in a Grade 1 Novice Hurdle (Pulled-Up injured) and his next start, which was his first Chase start, was in a Grade 2 at Wincanton (Pulled-Up after pulling stomach muscles). He has had his sights considerably lowered since then and Saturday’s run gave me real glimmers that he has plenty more to offer.
He currently sits on a Chase mark of 115 (5 lbs lower than his Hurdle mark) and there is every reason to believe that gives him plenty of room for manoeuvre, especially if he is stepped up to 3 miles, a trip that he is currently unexposed at and if Saturday is anything to go by it is a trip he is crying out for.
His best form by some way has come at Newbury – 1-1-2 – compared to his form elsewhere – P-P-0-0-6-8-0-8 – with his 3 RPR figures at Newbury reading 127 – 123 – 120. The best he has recorded elsewhere is 109 & 105. He clearly enjoys the Newbury lay-out and a return to the venue would clearly be advantageous.
There is ability within this Beneficial gelding and the signs are that he is starting to get his act together and given the correct conditions he can strike soon.
HANDY ANDY ideal conditions – Left-Handed Galloping tracks (Newb, Doc, Hayd, Weth, Ayr…) | 3 miles+
Who were the runners that caught your attention and went in your own notebook as ones to follow from the weekend?
Did you see any future champions amongst the weekends runners?
Drop me a comment below and share your runners to follow from the weekend with the NTF readers.
Matt Chapman Q&A Session…
If you missed my Q&A session with the ever opinionated and outspoken Matt Chapman of AtTheRaces then make sure you take a read today –
Ben – (NTF)