Ckalco Des Loges and Blakerigg have had one career start each and could be anything over hurdles, but both have their downsides and are short in the market. MR MONOCRHOME is yet to finish outside the top 3 following four National Hunt Flat race starts and looks a good value bet at the odds to make a successful hurdling debut by putting his extra experience to good use.
1 BAKO DA LA SAULAIE – A €28,000 purchase in May 2014, that money initially looked well spent when chasing the Gigginstown’ horse Road To Respect home in a 3m Point to Point on Heavy. However, three runs since under rules have seen this 5 year old beaten by at least 28 lengths. Will get a mark after this run and may be seen to better effective over longer trips.
2 BLAKERIGG – Sent off favourite on debut, he managed 2nd behind a horse who hasn’t raced since but form from further back in the field has worked out well. This is his first race hurdling and his full brother Just Acting hasn’t amounted to much for J P McManus/Paul Nicholls under rules so looks short enough in the market.
3 CKALCO DES LOGES – The Skelton team are always to be respected through the winter and they have a promising type here who was pulled out of a Maiden Hurdle at Cheltenham two days ago. He won his debut Point to Point in an impressive performance, turning on the speed two fences out and lengthening away nicely. He was getting a hefty weight for age allowance that day though, and he is another who looks short in the market.
4 MOSCOW CALLING – An €8,500 purchase, he was well backed on debut from 6/4 into Evens but he was the first beaten and finished a tailed off last of four. Since then, he’s been sent off at increasingly large prices and beaten increasingly large distances. Hasn’t been granted a handicap mark yet but would need to show far more to feature here.
5 MR MONOCHROME – Our tip for the race, he’s been frustrating to follow – sent off favourite for every race in his career, he’s managed to win only once. However, he has been giving horses a significant amount of weight in his last two races and has more experience than most of the other horses here. The way he won at Hexham in June by 15 lengths was taking and he’s a half brother to Attaglance (rated 145 at his best) so there’s plenty more to come.
6 RISING TIDE – Ran well enough on debut in a tough race at Ayr over this distance, but that was over a year and a half ago and race fitness has to be taken very much on trust. Worth watching in the market but not backable given the absence.
7 VERONA OPERA – The most exposed in the field, but also the only mare so receives a 7lb allowance over the rest of the field. Has had 11 starts and won once, back in January 2015, and is yet to win over hurdles in 7 starts. Her jumping has been questionable and even with her allowance it would be a disappointing reflection on others if she could win here.