A couple of cracking days at Leicester and Towcester for me this week have provided a perfect illustration of why British jump racing is such incomparably brilliant entertainment; the gala days on the flat are great too, but the grass roots stuff at the gaff tracks is what it’s all about, even if Leicester do still provide prehistoric facilities in the racecourse stables such as an ice cold hosepipe to try and wash off half a tonne of heaving sweating thoroughbred at the end of a three mile war of attrition.
Still, as the great Racing Post journo David Ashforth would surely testify, they do knock out a mighty fine beef roll for £3.50 near the winners’ enclosure. Delicious, but maybe even that’s scant consolation if there’s a stable lad insisting on squirting you with an icy blast of cold water in the stable block as you attempt to consume it.
The aforementioned D Ashforth was nowhere to be seen, but another well known racing face was on duty at Towcester on Thursday in the shape of ATR and the Racing Post Weekender’s Matt Chapman, a man who has the ‘Marmite effect’ amongst racing fans, with his supporters always firmly entrenched in the for and against Chapman skirmishes that always seem to crop up when racing presenters come up in conversation.
Personally, having watched him up close, I think the bloke is a class act.
You might not agree but I’d never met him in person before Thursday afternoon, but Towcester employ him as a compere of sorts in the parade ring between races, harassing/interviewing owners, trainers, jockeys and anyone carrying a long term injury who finds themself within range and unable to escape.
He did a five minute piece with chief handicapper Phil Smith (incidentally one of the best ever Morning Line guests back in September 2009) which was frankly hilarious.
On the subject of the release of the forthcoming Grand National weights he said: “Now Phil, tell us, most people get excited by an episode of America’s Next Top Model, you get turned on by framing the weights for a 40 runner handicap. Now come on, which one has got 10 pounds up its sleeve?”
Great stuff, and really popular with a decent sized midweek crowd.
Anyway, the week rumbles on with three exciting National Hunt cards at Bangor, Catterick and Chepstow on Friday, and with a trip to Bangor on the cards alongside column regular Lord Culcheth and his new best friend Irish Paul the horse I’m really looking to seeing is Donald McCain’s Wymott, as he meets some stiff oppositon in their two and a half mile Novices’ Chase at 3.30pm.
Only three go to post, but both Bouggler and Rackham Lerouge have begun in style over fences, and to add further spice both receive weight (4lbs) from Wymott.
What it does mean though is Wymott will be a backable price despite the small field, and after the disappointment of seeing Peddlers Cross ruled out his weekend assignment I reckon Donald McCain will have a smile back on his chops here.
It’ll be fascinating to see what makes it with Rackham Lerouge likely to want to kick on in front, especially given that Wymott made all when winning over course and distance on his chasing debut in November.
This will be a credible test of Wymott’s Cheltenham prospects, although his ultimate target remains unclear with the new Centenary Novice a possibility as well as the RSA.
I love the way Wymott went about his job when he began his chasing education before Christmas, attacking the Bangor fences with gusto.
Further encouragement comes from the way that race has worked out: second horse Pearlysteps went on to win at Hereford, third horse Tarablaze went on to win at Exeter, fourth horse Alfie Sherrin also went on to win at Exeter, and fifth horse Silver Kate went in at Chepstow.
Furthermore Wymott followed up at Exeter, another race in which he beat a subsequent winner (Shalimar Fromentro).
So he’s two from two over fences and the sky could be the limit for this horse.
I’ll be backing him to make it three from three, despite the small concern about the wellbeing the McCain team following the Peddlers Cough (concerns are allayed by wins for Ballabriggs, Railway Dillon and Jimmy The Saint already this week).
Down at Chepstow I’ll definitely be having an interest on champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ promising youngster Join Together in the three mile Novices’ Hurdle at 2.05pm.
It’s good to see Nick Scholfield being thrust into a prominent role for team Ditcheat (rides Pride of Dulcote in the Irish Hennessy on Sunday), and he can add to his win on Qozak at Taunton on Tuesday with victory here.
A useful pointer in Ireland his two runs over hurdles have been highly promising – third to the outstanding Court In Motion at Exeter, and then second to Mossley in a Cheltenham Grade 2, his turn is coming make no mistake. Win bet.
Friday’s best bets:
2.05 Chepstow – Lindley Catering Novices’ Hurdle – 4 Join Together (win) @ 11/10 with Bet365 & Victor Chandler
3.30 Bangor – £20 Punters Package 11th February Novices Chase – 1 Wymott (win) @ 5/6 with Boylesports, Bet365 & Victor Chandler
Posted 6 years, 9 months ago