A weekend where the Betfair Chase at Haydock dominated the racing and A Plus Tard dominated his rivals, with a 22-length romp to victory now comfortably slotted into the form book.
It’s very hard to see the Gold Cup in March not staying in the hands of the Irish, they hold all the aces in the staying division and it will take something from left of field on this side of the Irish Sea to stop them landing their fourth Gold Cup in a row, and their sixth in the last seven; they have the division by the proverbials.
Away from the Betfair Chase smash up we had plenty of decent action taking place on Friday and Saturday and here’s three from my members Weekend Notes to stick in your notebooks and trackers…
Three to follow from the weekend: 19th, 20th & 21st November…
CABOT CLIFFS (D Skelton)
4th in a Class 2 Handicap Hurdle – 2.40 Ascot (Friday 19th)
The drying ground almost certainly did for the 4yo here (he’s now 0/6 on Good or quicker ground compared to 3/6 on Good to Soft or softer) and I suspect connections were fully aware the ground change had ruined his chances, hence the reason they decided to park him out the back (usually sits just off the pace or pinging away off the front end).
I have the following Prime Conditions penned for him…
NH | 2m or less | C2 or less | G/S or softer
…where he holds a form line of…
111 (3/3 – all 3 career wins)
…and I’m also of half a mind to think he possibly doesn’t want a track with a steep uphill finish such as Ascot (open on that just now).
He’s yet to win outside of Class 4 company but some of the figures he has posted to date suggest he should be capable of at least winning at Class 2 level, possibly even at G3/Listed level.
MONSIEUR LECOQ (J Williams)
6th in a Class 2 Handicap Chase – 3.15 Ascot (Saturday 20th)
The 7yo simply needs more testing ground than the good he raced on here to perform to his optimum, and he’s now 0/8, 1p on Good to Soft or quicker compared to 4/13, 6p on Soft or Heavy ground.
I have no doubt he’s well-handicapped at present off OR 135 and I’d be looking to back him under the following Prime Conditions…
Soft or Heavy | OR 145 or less | 2m1f or less
…where he has form figures of…
212331211 (4/9, 5p)
He’s another of those to keep in mind for when the heavens finally open and give us some proper winter ground.
AMATEUR (J Flint)
5th in a Class 3 Handicap Chase – 12.40 Haydock (Saturday 20th)
Moved into contention around half-way and looked like he may get involved in the business end of this staying contest, but he started to feel the pinch entering the home-straight, which isn’t surprising as he does generally need his first run off a break (form figures of U42526 (0/6) off breaks of 61+ days).
This was only his 8th chase start and there could well be more to come from him yet, probably under the following Prime Condition…
LH Galloping tracks | DSLR 60 or less
…where he holds a form line of…
11P21 (3/5, 1p – all 3 career wins)
He was dropped 1lb to OR 127 for this effort and although that is still possibly near the ceiling of his abilities, his three final starts last season suggested that there is still a bit of improvement to be squeezed out of him.
Cheers – Ben (NTF)
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