Monday Racing Preview: The Con Man Can6 min read
Delta Work was cut from 25s to 10/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March after his success in the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown on Saturday. It was a brilliant race but the first five home were covered by four lengths and the slow early pace would not have suited a number of the field – including the winner.
Willie Mullins Kemboy – who was an early casualty in the Gold Cup back in March – won the corresponding race 12 months ago and was a bit keen on his reappearance. He remains 6/1 joint favourite for the Gold Cup with his stablemate Al Boum Photo. Do note a couple of the Mullins’ runners have disappointed over the Festive period and we may see the real Kemboy next time out.
Haydock (13.30): Ebony Jewel
Soft ground is the order of the day at Haydock this afternoon. Ebony Jewel (1.30) finished sixth in the Aintree Bumper back in the spring but must learn to settle if he is to fulfil his potential over timber. He finished third over C&D last time and receives 6lbs from David Pipe’s First Lord De Cuet who can also be a bit keen in his races. I hope the selection takes a lead from the Pipe runner on this occasion and the decent gallop may help him settle.
Haydock (14.00): Thomas Patrick
In the feature, Last Fling Chase, Lord Du Mesnil is looking for a quick Haydock double having won the Tommy Whittle Chase here just before Christmas. The 6-year-old is 10lbs higher this afternoon and there must be a concern that the race will come a bit too soon given trainer Richard Hobson immediately nominated the Eider Chase at Newcastle as his next target. He must have come out of the race well, but preference is for Tom Lacey’s Thomas Patrick (2.00).
The selection finished half a length behind subsequent Welsh National winner Elegant Escape first time out last year and he starts this campaign 8lbs lower than last term. The stable of Tom Lacey had a couple of winners at Newbury on Saturday and Thomas Patrick is a horse that has been always held in high regard by connections.
*NAP* Haydock (14.35): The Con Man
A big run from Ebony Jewel earlier in the card would be a boost to the chances of The Con Man (2.35) who will surely appreciate the step back up in trip having ran well when runner up here on his reappearance.
The Con Man is a winning point-to-pointer and scored on his hurdles debut at Carlisle last December. He is entitled to come on for his recent run and the horse he beat at Carlisle – Garrettstown – is now rated 131. With that in mind his opening mark of 123 looks manageable. Flinck did us a favour at Warwick last time and a 4lbs rise is fair but Donald McCain’s lightly-raced six-year-old gets the vote.
Haydock (15.10): Charmix
I have always felt Ravenhill Road – won a 3m point – was worth a chance at a trip and Sue Smith steps him up to 2m 5f this afternoon. The each way vote, however, goes to Charmix (3.10) who has been a disappointing sort in recent years but ran a most encouraging race on his reappearance and first start for Lucinda Russell at Aintree. The 9-y-old was highly regarded as a hurdler for Harry Fry and he regressed when switched to Gordon Elliot! Few horses can be thus described.
Taunton (13.15): Flic Ou Voyou
At Taunton there is a cracking novice hurdle and Flic Ou Voyou (1.15) has run well on both starts over timber at the minimum trip for Paul Nicholls OBE and the he is taken to make it third time lucky. The selection is a dual Bumper winner at Wincanton, and he ought to appreciate the drying ground.
Taunton (14.25): Silver Forever
In the listed mares’ novices’ hurdle, I think Silver Forever (2.25) can give the Nicholls stable another winner. The mare must give Deja Vue 3lbs, but I feel this speed test may find Anthony Honeyball’s mare out given her recent wins have been gained at Ffos Las and this sharper track may suit the selection who represents a yard who have won this corresponding race twice in the last three years.