Our resident pundit has FIVE bets today, including a four-point nap!
COPAIN DE CLASSE (NAP) (best price 10-11) looked as though the run would do him the world of good on his seasonal reappearance over today’s C&D and this appears to be a fine opportunity for him to get off the mark over hurdles with that expected improvement. The way Paul Nicholls’ inmate travelled in that strongly-run affair at the Welsh venue he looked sure to win going down to the second last, but as the unrelenting pace continued, he blew up and visibly tired on the run-in. The form of the race, however, has suggested he was up against a fair standard of opponent that day with the likes of Rolling Dylan and Citrus going on to give the race plenty of substance since and even though this gorgeous-looking son of Enrique is almost certainly going to make a better chaser in time, he has enough attributes to do well enough over hurdles until that day arrives – starting right here.
FIRE BRIGADE (best price 2-1) has taken a while to get his act together, but such was the manner of his breakthrough win at Chelmsford last week, the London Bus syndrome looks a distinct possibility. Unlucky on the turf at Yarmouth the time before, Michael Bell’s charge clearly benefitted from a subsequent gelding operation, as the unkindest cut of all seemed to total transform his mind-set and his ability to race in a more streetwise fashion. Always traveling well in the hands of Jamie Spencer, the Irishman did really well to disguise how much he had up his sleeve in the closing stages and on the evidence of that total romp at the Essex venue, a statutory 6lb penalty isn’t going to be enough to prevent the son of Firebreak from going in again if he’s in the same sort of mood.
BOIS D’EBENE (best price 5-1) shaped with plenty of promise over tonight’s C&D two weeks ago and he should have learnt enough from that initial experience to play some sort of role in this similar contest. Slowly away from the stalls, Roger Charlton’s charge found himself in an unpromising position turning into the home straight, but in finishing off his race with plenty of gusto in the closing stages, he made plenty of inroads into the leading pack to be a never-nearer seventh at the finish. Likely to be more streetwise from the gates, hopefully the son of Big Bad Bob will be in a much better track position at hallway this time around, and if so, there’s every chance he can get off the mark at the second time of asking.
Although 10lb higher than when scoring in tidy fashion over today’s C&D back in June, HIGHER POWER (best price 5-2) has the speed figures and necessary improvement to overcome such an impost on his return visit to the Sunbury track. Not only was the time figure he posted that evening when beating subsequent winner Life Less Ordinary very useful, his next two performances in finishing runner-up twice on turf were equally good on the numbers, so it’s clear that James Fanshawe has another smart staying prospect in his yard – one that can be placed to good effect here over the winter.
TIMEKEEPING (NB) (best price 15-8)) looked a proper galloper who seemingly relishes a test of stamina based on his winning performance at Pontefract last time out and using his speed figure he clocked that day as a guide, the handicapper appears to have given him a decent opportunity in this new discipline off a mark of 85. Off the back of punishing fractions at the Yorkshire venue, Saeed Bin Suroor’s inmate stayed on incredibly powerfully in the latter stages to win going away and considering that was only his second ever run, he should, in theory, get better with more racing and experience. The only word of caution that could be offered up as a slight negative is that he comes from a yard that has had plenty of similar types blow out completely after posting big numbers in the past (Team Talk one that springs to mind recently), but providing he doesn’t bounce to the moon of the back of such a big effort, he should have enough quality to beat a field of this relatively exposed nature.