Race Time: 3.10pm Meeting: Chepstow Day: Sunday 27th December 2015 Full Race Name: coral.co.uk Best Price Guaranteed On Horse Racing Handicap Chase Class Two
As usual the Channel 4 racing ends with an unfathomable handicap but we feel we can narrow it down first before defining our final selection nearer to race time. Paul Nicholls may well allow Mr Mole to carry top weight here and if he does, the drop in class could be just what he needs to add to his previous victories. After running up four wins on the bounce at Newton Abbot, Exeter, Sandown, and Newbury he has been mixing it with the very best without success with defeats behind Dodging Bullets, Special Tiara, Sprinter Sacre, and Sire De Grugy, three of them Champion Chase winners, but he will not be meeting anything of that standard here even if he does have to give weight away all around. He has won over further even if he does concentrate on two miles these days so the trip is not an issue, though this will be his first visit to the track, which makes life interesting.
Alan Jones may not be a household name, but he has won this race twice in the last four years, both with Quincy Des Pictons, and he is back again this year looking to make it three at the veteran age of eleven. He is forced to carry six pounds more this year which may well be asking a bit too much at his age, and as he hasn’t run since June we just cannot have him here despite his excellent record in this race.
Carrickboy took this race in 2012 and Renard won in 2013 so trainer Venetia Williams knows exactly what is needed and she will hopefully rely on Otago Trail who looks to have the best chance of her early entries. Only a youngster at the age of seven, if we ignore his first ever race in a Stradbally point to point where he slipped up on the flat before the third fence, he has won or placed in all ten races, bumpers hurdles and twice over fences, which takes some doing and confirms his ability, though whether a lack of fencing experience will be his undoing is a bit of a worry. On the other hand, we ought to expect he has more to offer race on race, and after a running on success last time out today could yet be his day.
Although unlikely, Paul Nicholls currently intends to run Mon Successeur as well as the top weight, and if that happens he will get in with a featherweight. Only a four year old, and in some minds too young to be going over fences, he was half a length behind Otago Trail at Exeter and is much worse off at the weights today, leaving him with no chance according to the form book, but he has hacked up since from the useful Mountain King and could well be improving hand over fist, though he will need to be if he wants to turn that form around at these weights.
To end with, David Pipe is still a trainer to be feared and will be for many years yet, and we hope he allows Poole Master to take his chances and feel he has small each way chances. Slowly slipping back down the handicap having not won since last December at Aintree, he is back on the same mark of 142 which must give connections encouragement, while the fact that he is a course winner and a distance winner can only be a good thing, as are his victories on the predicted heavy going. He hasn’t been in the best of form lately over further but could appreciate the drop back in trip and at a big price (which he ought to be), may be worth a little each way consideration.