This weekend past probably signified the last real chance we will get to see potential Cheltenham Festival contenders strut their stuff on the racetrack. The big guns had a dusting of their stars on show at Kempton, both in the high class races themselves and afterwards in racecourse gallops.
My ‘1 to follow’ runner from the weekend could well turn up somewhere at one of the spring festivals…
NTF 1 to follow from the weekend: What happens on D’Tour stays on D’Tour..
TOUR D’ARGENT (N Henderson) – Saturday 2.40 Kempton – 3rd in the 2m4f Grade 2 Pendil Chase
The Pendil Novices’ Chase was an odd contest from the start as the field stood still for around 15 secs before Molotof eventually agreed to set off and lead them along. His stable-mate TOUR D’ARGENT clearly was not enjoying the average pace and scant cover that was on offer and spent a vast majority of the race trying to pull jockey David Bass’s arms out of their sockets. Bass did his best to restrain him but the horse pulled so hard it was probably a miracle he was ‘only’ beaten by 13 lengths in the end. To be fair to the horse he only really gave way with a blunder 2 out and it was his proximity to that point that fully suggested to me the horse still holds plenty of ability. In truth his 2 chase starts to date, where he has fallen both times, have not been poor efforts, they have simply been marred by stupid falls (granted that’s not great when the name of the game is jumping!!). Last time out he was turned over in a ‘jumpers bumper’ but he possibly needed that run (first for around 90 days) and flat racing really isn’t his bag anyway. The horse is built for the chasing game and this run was much more pleasing and gives connections plenty of options going forward.
Two things firmly spring to my mind after Saturday’s run; 1) He needs cover in his races to help him settle and 2) He looks on a pretty attractive chase handicap mark (135 compared to his hurdle mark of 140, which in fairness is also pretty tasty).
So where to now for TOUR D’ARGENT?
The obvious choice is the handicap route. For starters he is on that handy looking chase mark (I expect him to make a better chaser than hurdler so he could, in theory, be around 10lbs well in) and secondly he will get the required cover to help him settle, especially if aimed at a Cheltenham, Aintree, Ayr or Punchestown type handicap contest. We just need to look back at his run at the Aintree Festival last season (2m4f Listed Hcp) where he got the solid pace and required cover that he needs. He traveled like a dream that day before only getting out-battled in the final 50yds by the tough Attaglance. The big fields help him settle and would also, hopefully, concentrate his mind better for jumping his fences.
His sire MARTALINE has produced recent National Hunt talent such as DYNASTE, TOUBAB, UP AND GO and DOMTALINE and given the right conditions I see no reason why TOUR D’ARGENT can’t at least put himself on the coattails of that lot.
This run at Kempton was a decent one to put in the bank although I have a feeling he could still be skipping under a few punters radars; given the correct conditions I personally would be happy to side with him and hopefully at a decent price.
TOUR D’ARGENT ideal conditions – At least a double figure field | Handicap Chase (potentially even hurdle from current mark) | Plenty of pace to help him settle
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 Cheltenham or Aintree champions among the weekends runners?
What were your thoughts on the racing from Kempton, Chepstow and Fairyhouse on Saturday or Naas on Sunday?
Drop me a comment below and share your runners to follow from the weekend with the NTF readers.
JP Festival Cheltenham Preview Evening – 7th March
Yes its that time of the year again where preview evenings for the Cheltenham Festival pop up all over the place! For the first time I’ll be on the panel of one! My friends at JPFestival.com have organised a fantastic preview night at The Midland Hotel in Cheltenham. The panel consists of, amongst others, Lawney Hill (Trainer), Nick Watts (Racing & Football Outlook), Rory Delargy (Timeform Radio), Steve Jones (Templegate from the Sun) and Cathryn Fry (JP Festival.com)…oh yeah and ME (did I mention that!)! There will also be entertainment provided in the shape of the young Irishman Marc Boylan (Singer of such hits as ‘The Festival’, ‘Kauto Star’ and ‘Song for Campbell’).
It promises to be a great night! Tickets can be purchased for £12 from the following link >>> https://bookwhen.com/qmqu5/201303071900/2ha
I’m led to believe you will also get fed for the night! Can’t say fairer than that.
NTF Free List…
If you are yet to sign-up to the NTF Free service then make sure you do it today! There is a selection of FREE guides for you all to download upon sign-up, including an in-depth stat-attack guide for the Cheltenham Festival.
Sign-up by using the form at the top of this page or drop in on this page >>> https://www.narrowing-the-field.co.uk/free-ntf-guides-and-e-books/
Ben – (NTF)