Championship Play-Off Final: Michael Owen’s View
The second leg of the autumn double the Cesarewitch is the highlight from Newmarket this weekend with Roger Charlton’s Stratum – who was unlucky not to finish in the frame in the Ebor last time – is 7/1 favourite with Cyprus Creek, Limini and Low Sun 12s.
The Beginners’ Chase is interesting despite the fact that it is a virtual match between Bags Groove (2.50) and Jenkins with preference for the former who finished runner up here on his chase debut over the minimum trip back in May.
Today’s additional distance will suit, and he can edge out Jenkins whose improved form over timber last term came on right-handed tracks. He certainly jumped out to the right at Kempton in first-time blinkers back in January. The Nicky Henderson six-year-old was a better hurdler than the selection but wears no headgear this afternoon and the Harry Fry runner has that valuable chase experience under his belt.
The teenager What A Laugh is a dual C&D winner and must run well in the 2m 6f Handicap Chase as should Powerful Symbol although the Ben Pauling yard could be in better form at present. The Philip Hobbs yard are in very good form, however, and Roll The Dough (3.50) can land his hat-trick despite being 10lbs higher than when scoring at Newton Abbot last month. The nine-year-old remains 8lbs lower over fences than over timber and looks to be getting his act together over the larger obstacles.
I’m looking forward to seeing the hurdle debut of the Ludlow bumper winner Rouge Vif (4.25) who looked a decent prospect when scoring at the Shropshire track. Harry Whittingham’s runners have run well enough in defeat of late and the selection is highly regarded by connections. Lugarno Palace has his first start for Fergal O’Brien but must give the selection 6lbs for winning a maiden hurdle at Huntingdon back in March.
Diamond Rock can go well fresh and a market move would be worth noting in the 2m Handicap Chase, but Cillian’s Well (4.55) carries just a 7lbs penalty for winning at Southwell last week by 17L. He is likely to be “well in” at the weights when the handicapper has reassessed the gelding tomorrow.
Bags Groove 11/10
Roll The Dough 9/4
Rouge Vif 6/4
Cillian’s Well 7/4
MC Muldoon (3.10) should have his favoured soft ground this afternoon for Peter Chapple-Hyam. The grey won on debut at Nottingham back in May and finished runner up in a listed contest at Longchamp over 1m 2f back in June. Things have not gone his way in his last couple of starts but the handicapper has relented and, if the ground remains soft, he must run well.
Beer With The Boys (5.15) drops back in trip having looked a non-stayer over an extended 1m 5f at Ayr last time for Mick Channon. Silvestre De Sousa looks a significant booking for Mick Channon’s three-year-old who is 2lbs lower this afternoon.
MC Muldoon 14/1
Beer With The Boys 9/1
The hope is that Cristal Spirit can break his maiden tag at the seventh time of asking. The selection ran poorly on his only previous start on polytrack here back in November, but that was over an inadequate 7f. The selection didn’t get the best of runs at Chelmsford last time, but James Doyle was in the saddle when the horse finished second at Nottingham earlier in the season. Doyle is back in the plate tonight.
Refrain (8.15) looked one to follow when scoring at Pontefract last time under this evening’s pilot Tristan Price. The selection is 5lbs higher this evening but has a cracking draw in stall three and has most to fear from Moving Forward of Godolphin.
Cristal Spirit 2/1
Moyross (3.45) was a novice hurdler I thought would improve when making the switch to fences and he has his first start over the larger obstacles for Noel Meade today. The Gigginstown pair of Burren Life and Young Turk are two others to consider in what promises to be an informative contest.