A busy festive period has come to an end with clues for Cheltenham abound in the big races. We however are looking deeper into the underbelly, at races that will not have drawn the same public gaze to pick out this week’s eyecatchers.
Point N Shoot – Travelled into the race well at Chepstow before being left behind off the home turn. Has had 3 runs for a mark now, showing glimmers of promise each time. Won’t be harshly treated on handicap debut and this half brother to the smart Haymount looks an improver in waiting.
The Wallace Line – Has kept warm company over hurdles so far, catching the eye keeping on at one pace from the back at Chepstow. He may well be dropped the 3 pounds needed to get into a 0-120 on the back of that and if given heavy ground we expect a far more prominent showing.
Gladiator King – The only one in the first 8 home at Leopardstown to chase the strong pace in a race that produced a massive bias towards hold up performers. Looks on a winnable mark currently and given connections, a market check next time he runs is highly recommended.
Caracas – A half brother to Group 1 winner Aqlaam, he improved massively on his Kempton debut on his second run at Wolverhampton. He did by far the best of those held up and is likely to go close on his 3rd start before taking in handicaps.
Minella Suite – Big money purchase having finished 2nd to (the now 132 rated) Baden in a point to point. He travelled like a good horse before not getting home over 2m6f at Kelso. He’s now handicapped and should be closely watched down in trip next time out.
Tred Softly – No great shakes but has kept plugging away at the end of recent starts at Newcastle and Southwell. Only had 7 starts so potentially more to come if stepped up in trip in a similar class 6 next time out.
Wishicould – A three mile point to point winner in Ireland on heavy, she made a good impression on her UK debut when staying on for 4th at Warwick. It looked an above average novices hurdle and a step up in trip on winter ground looks sure to suit.
The Sweeney – Half brother to Harry Fry’s smart Presenting Arms made a strong debut in Warwick’s bumper. He encountered a bit of trouble turning for home but showed more than enough to suggest a similar race should come his way next time.
Market’s Field – Far better display now handicapped at Fairyhouse. Dam is a full sister to Nicky Henderson’s Calling Brave and a half sister to Paul Nicholls dour stayer Ottawa. His pedigree screams 3 mile chaser and given connections (JP/Enda Bolger) a banks career in time would be no surprise.
Catchin Time – Needs a few runs to find fitness most seasons, won on his 4th start last year, this was his 3rd this time around. His last two wins came off 97 and 98 on heavy, running well at Plumpton off 103. He made good progress from the back of the field turning for home but flattened out up the hill. He is worth considering next time out if getting bottomless ground and another pound or two off his back.
Englishwoman – Shown much more the last twice, now returned to an artificial surface. Her last win came off 70 so now back down to 69 she looks ready to strike again. Both Fibresand and Tapeta suit but she looks like 6f is more her trip these days rather than 5.