A shade under 3m3f for the Wincanton Thursday feature, the latest in the long list of regional ‘Nationals’. Twelve runners go to post on soft ground for what will be a solid staying contest. Read on for our expert tips and a runner by runner look at the race.
IN SUMMARY: A scrap for the lead looks likely with a number of them who like to get on with things so this is going to be a true test. Despite his advancing years, Alfie Spinner is still well enough handicapped to go well for Kerry Lee who has an enviable record with staying chasers. Dawson City looks likely to run his usual honest race while Onderun was well supported at Plumpton last time, running well despite making a plethora of mistakes. SARTORIAL ELEGANCE was moving well in behind when coming down in that same Plumpton race and he can recoup the losses and stamp himself as a staying chaser to be reckoned with.
1 ALFIE SPINNER – Rejuvinated by the move to Kerry Lee, victorious in March when last seen, aided that day with the addition of a tongue tie and cheek pieces. Placed twice in three chase starts at this track off marks of 126 and 127 so 128 today may not stop him despite now being a twelve year old. He stays well, loves soft ground and with this likely to be run at a sound pace in conditions, he has an each way chance.
2 MORNEY WING – Finally came good last time when winning the Sussex National having run so well in the Southern and London equivalents earlier in the season. That win takes him to a career high mark so he will need more again but with perfect conditions underfoot and strong form since stepped beyond three miles, he looks likely to run his usual game race again.
3 SARTORIAL ELEGANCE – Was still travelling with menace when unseating at Plumpton in the Sussex National. He had bolted up the time before on his first run beyond three miles, looking likely to play a part in the finish last time before his mishap. Colin Tizzard is inundated with staying chasers at the moment and this unexposed six year old can keep up the stable form.
4 RATHLIN ROSE – Hadn’t been seen for 601 days before running with credit at Newbury on Wednesday. After such a long break it is very unlikely that he will be taking his chance here.
5 DAWSON CITY – Runner up in seven of his last nine completed starts, he has consistency in spades. Runner up in this contest last year off a two pound lower mark, this has likely been the target for connections again. He stays well, enjoys soft ground and ran a strong race when runner up to Morney Wing in the Sussex National but he will always be more of a placepot pick than a win proposition.
6 AS DE FER – From a mark of 140 in his pomp, he slipped far enough to win back to back races at Warwick and here at Wincanton last season. A dour stayer who relishes soft ground he has struggled to hold his form since the handicapper had his say for that pair of victories and now eleven he is likely to find a few of these too spritely.
7 ABRACADABRA SIVOLA – Front runner whose pair of wins have both come on heavy ground. They were over two miles and two miles six furlongs with his stamina looking as if it has ebbed away late on over three miles. Is still only a seven year old so the potential to strengthen up still remains but with others who like to go on here, this will test his resolve to the limit.
8 CYCLOP – Has improved for a proper test of stamina, winning a three mile chase on soft ground at Warwick at the tender age of four! On the small side, he lacks the scope of an improver and has a nasty habit of making numerous mistakes. A solid pace might take him out of his comfort zone off a mark where he has struggled to make much of an impression.
9 BARTON GIFT – As strong a stayer as there is, he made most of the running when scoring over nearly three miles six furlongs at Bangor last time. A winner at Wincanton from out the clouds last year, he will continue to gallop while others have cried enough but with competition for the lead and a career high mark at the age of ten, he isn’t hard to oppose.
10 SAROQUE – Another who tends to go from the front, he has given warning shots this season that he has slipped to a workable mark. All four of his wins have come on soft or heavy ground, now finding himself five pounds below his most recent winning mark. Has the latent ability to play a part but he has downed tools in the past when taken on for the lead and it looks very unlikely he will get his own way in front here.
11 WOOD YER – Was an excellent advert for the training skills of our columnist Nigel Twiston-Davies when winning from a break of seventeen months off the track last March. Shaped well over further than this at Haydock on his seasonal return before behind Onderun at Lingfield where good to soft ground and a sharp track found him outpaced. A two pound drop in the weights will help and it would be no surprise to see him hit the frame.
12 ONDERUN – Was sent off joint favourite for the Sussex National following a win at Lingfield but couldn’t get competitive after numerous mistakes. He wasn’t beaten far and would likely have been in the shake up had he jumped better but the fences come up thick and fast at Wincanton and with plenty of pace on, that may take him out of his comfort zone.