Chase Debut Delight For Keep Wondering?8 min read
Connections of Presenting Percy reported midweek that they were optimistic of reversing Savills Chase form at Leopardstown over Christmas, with winner Delta Work and Kemboy in Sunday’s Irish Gold Cup the feature race of the two-day Dublin Racing Festival.
Kemboy – who was making his seasonal debut in that Grade 1 contest – is 6/4 (from 7/4) with Delta Work 7/4 and Presenting Percy 9/2.
I hope the latter is ridden more prominently than is often the case by Davy Russell, as I don’t think they will be stopping up front on ground described as yielding on Wednesday morning.
Wincanton (13.45): Danse Idol
The ground is given as soft at Wincanton ahead of today’s seven-race card, with the possibility of further showers.
The unbeaten Tea Clipper steps up in trip to two-and-a-half miles, but that should not be a problem given he won between the flags over 3m. He would have been the selection on better ground, but he has been doing his winning on good ground and he is overlooked.
The vote goes to Danse Idol (13.45) who may not have got home over 3m last time but travelled well into the race, and Paul Nicholls’ mare may find this intermediate trip more to her liking.
Wincanton (14.20): Reikers Island Each Way
There is a very competitive handicap chase over 3m 1f+ and my two against the field are Moving In Style and Reikers Island (14.20) with the latter getting the each-way vote.
The Philip Hobbs’ trained seven-year-old has been dropped 5lbs for two moderate efforts so far this season, but he was a most impressive winner of his sole previous run at today’s track and is dropping to what looks an attractive mark.
Moving In Style was no match for Copperhead at Newbury last time, but the latter is a most progressive staying chaser who is one of the leading fancies for the Ultima Chase on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Wincanton (14.55): Glory And Fortune
Calva D’Auge finished in front of Glory And Fortune (14.55) when the pair were behind the promising Thebannerkingrebel in a listed contest at Haydock in December, but that does not tell the whole story. The selection jumped right at a number of flights and was badly interfered with three out before rallying to get within a neck of the Nicholls’ trained runner.
The selection has since been beaten 10L at Cheltenham, but he has been given a seven-week break to freshen up and, as long as the ground is not bottomless, I feel he can return to winning ways.
Wincanton (15.25): Go Steady
A market move for Jaytrack Parkhomes would be worth noting on his chase debut, but he may need further. He may also struggle to give 12lbs to Go Steady (15.25) who got racing from some way out when landing a three-way photo at Leicester last time on his chase debut.
This lightly-raced eight-year-old has scope for more improvement over fences and has been given plenty of time to get over his last run.
Ffos Las (13.35): Baratineur
In the opener at Ffos Las, Main Fact is likely to be all the rage as he chases a quick hat-trick. David Pipe’s 7-y-old escapes a penalty for the last of his recent wins given it was a conditional jockey’s event, but I hope to see Baratineur (13.35) go one better than when runner up at Catterick last time.
The form hasn’t worked out too well, but the selection had previously scored at Bangor-on-Dee and he was rated much higher in the past.
Ffos Las (14.10): Pileon
Pileon (14.10) is taken to follow up his recent Catterick success when he easily landed the odds, although he could hardly be described as impressive. His previous second at Cheltenham marked him down as potentially smart.
Ffos Las (15.15): Keep Wondering
Keep Wondering (15.15) makes his chase debut in the novices’ handicap and I would be disappointed if he didn’t make a better chaser than hurdler. A winning point-to-pointer in his native Ireland, a repeat of his second to Mossy Fen at Aintree on his hurdles debut would make him very tough to beat from a mark of 120.
Meydan (15.05): Barney Roy
I’m looking forward to seeing the six-year-old Barney Roy (15.05) out in Meydan this afternoon. Charlie Appleby’s gelding finished runner up to Churchill in the 2017 2000 Guineas before winning the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot when trained by Richard Hannon.
The selection had fertility issues at stud but showed enough last season to suggest he retained much of his ability. First time out might be the time to catch him.
Meydan (18.00): Simsir
In the finale, Simsir (18.00) is 3lbs better off with Certain Lad for the three-quarters of a length he was behind Mick Channon’s runner over today’s C&D a fortnight ago, but that was only the Irish challenger’s fourth-ever career start and Mick Halford’s four-year-old is open to further improvement.