Ben Linfoot picks out two more My Stable eyecatchers, looks in-depth at the Peter Marsh Chase, discusses Cyrname’s 15lb hike and lists the principal BHA handicap amendments.

A precautionary inspection at Haydock on Saturday was scrapped when no snow fell overnight and only 2mm of rain materialised on ground described as Good to Soft (Soft in places).

An anticipated archetypal Haydock mid-January slog just didn’t happen, and the ground at Ascot was Good to Soft as well, so the form from several of Saturday’s contests could well be more useful than usual as we approach the spring festivals.

The Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock was a devilish puzzle on paper and a tight finish was perhaps the least surprising aspect of it all.

That race comes under the microscope in the big-race analysis section, while a couple of My Stable eye-catchers are added following action at Chepstow last Friday and Ascot on Saturday…

My Stable Eyecatchers

COLONIAL DREAMS >>>> Up 3lb to 132

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The Matchbook Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle at Ascot has thrown up some good horses in recent years like Smad Place, Irish Saint, Rock The Kasbah and Baron Alco from the previous five renewals alone. This year’s edition could well have been the stepping stone for another good horse as well, in the shape of winner Ballymoy, a six-year-old that was winning his sixth race from his last seven goes. Rated 132 at the start of his winning streak, he’s now on a mark 20lb higher and is on the cusp of dipping his toe into deeper waters, so being beaten by him was no disgrace for COLONIAL DREAMS who remains well-handicapped up just 3lb. Nicky Henderson’s charge came on plenty for his seasonal reappearance at Kempton, travelling into things nicely under Nico de Boinville before pulling away with the winner. Beaten just under two lengths, he could benefit from a bigger field and a stronger gallop and something like the Coral Cup could be a reasonable spring target. He’ll have to go up around 7lb to get into that, though, so he’s worth adding to your trackers as we chart his progress to the spring.

Colonial Dreams (right) chases home Ballymoy at Ascot

Colonial Dreams (right) chases home Ballymoy at Ascot

DE RASHER COUNTER >>>> Remains on 139

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It was a good novice chase at Chepstow on Friday won by Now McGinty. In fact, it was a good race last year, when Ramses De Teillee beat Rons Dream and Impulsive Star, perhaps an indicator that this year’s renewal will be worth following as well. I think it will be, as Now McGinty looks a good recruit to the novice chase ranks and could go for the Kim Muir or the four-miler after this victory, but the horse to take out of the race could well be the runner-up, DE RASHER COUNTER. He jumps well and stays well and the winner, getting 6lb from the runner-up, only got away from him late on. Captain Cattistock in third and Steely Addition, rated 150, in fourth, look good yardsticks and the feeling is that De Rasher Counter will be competitive off a mark of 139 when returned to handicaps. This was the furthest he’s been, but he saw it out well and looks a staying handicap chaser to follow.

Cyrname enters Grade One picture

A quick word for CYRNAME who has gone up 15lb to 165 following a superb win in the bet365 Handicap Chase at Ascot on Saturday. He absolutely bolted up by 21 lengths after jumping brilliantly up front and nothing got anywhere near him in behind. His new mark puts him in the mix for every Grade One chase you can think of, but his record suggests he’s much better going right-handed which limits things somewhat. The Ascot Chase next month looks a natural target, while the King George in December, for which he’s already the 12/1 fourth-favourite, looks the obvious long-term goal.

Big-Race Analysis: Peter Marsh Handicap Chase

1. Wakanda >>>> Up 4lb to 150

2. Robinsfirth >>>> Up 2lb to 148

3. Ballydine >>>> Up 5lb to 140

4. Ballyarthur >>>> Up 3lb to 140

5. Red Infantry >>>> Remains on 142

It looked a tough race to make sense of beforehand and so it proved; the gutsy WAKANDA seeing off all challengers to win by just under two lengths with only eight-and-three-quarter lengths covering the first six home. Wakanda’s speciality is winning by just enough and his one-and-three-quarter length win on this occasion means he goes up just 4lb, to 150, still 1lb shy of his best winning mark. Robinsfirth ran a belter on his first start for 400 days and, if you’re not a believer in the bounce factor, he’s reasonably handicapped up just 2lb. Ballydine ran from 5lb out of the weights and rallied well to stay on for third. He’s relatively lightly-raced for a staying chaser and is up 5lb to effectively the mark he ran off here. In first-time tongue-tie and cheekpieces, his trainer Charlie Longsdon has a good record when unleashing that headgear combination (four wins from 21 runners at 19 per cent). Ballyarthur traded a 4/1 in-running on Betfair when leading two out and he looked the likely winner at that point before he was overhauled. He usually does his racing over a bit shorter. Red Infantry and Otago Trail cut out the running and the former ran well, only losing a couple of places towards the end over a trip that looks a bit sharp for him now. He probably needs it softer or to go further or both, while he clearly likes Haydock, so the Grand National trial back at the track next month looks an obvious target. Otago Trail needs it softer, but, even so, he ran in snatches and was well beaten. He was only dropped 1lb.

The Weighed In My Stable

  • Born Survivor (added 6/11/2018)
  • Smaoineamh Alainn (added 13/11/2018)
  • Theatre Territory (added 20/11/2018)
  • Foxtail Hill (added 18/12/2018)
  • Lisnagar Oscar (added 18/12/2018)
  • Catamaran Du Seuil (added 08/01/2018)
  • Call To Order (added 08/01/2018)
  • Grand Sancy (added 08/01/2018)
  • Colonial Dreams (added 22/01/2018)
  • De Rasher Counter (added 22/01/2018)

Weighed In My Stable Winners:

Warriors Tale (15/2), Doitforthevillage (7/1), Larry (7/2), Lisnagar Oscar (15/8).

Doux Pretender is the sole casualty from the ‘Weighed In My Stable’ list after pulling up in the Lanzarote.

Only added in case he went for that race, his disappointing effort means he’s dispensed with and I thought about ditching Theatre Territory as well after she was beaten in a couple of small field chases. Connections seem desperate to get her rating up, but if she’s freshened up for a Topham I think she could go really close so we’ll leave her in just in case.

Smaoineamh Alainn was third behind Annie Mc at Chepstow over 2m3f and has dropped another pound to 128. She’s won off a pound higher at Cheltenham on soft over 2m1f, so we’ll stick with her in case she gets similar conditions somewhere soon.

Lisnagar Oscar won at Chepstow, justifying his addition to the list following his second to Rockpoint at Cheltenham. He won despite dropping in trip and the runner-up, Dickie Diver, could be quite smart. We’ll keep him in as he looks a lively outsider for the Albert Bartlett.

Principal BHA Ratings updates January 22

  • Ballyarthur >>>> Up 3lb to 140
  • Ballydine >>>> Up 5lb to 140
  • Ballymoy >>>> Up 5lb to 152
  • Castafiore >>>> Up 11lb to 139
  • Colonial Dreams >>>> Up 3lb to 132
  • Cyrname >>>> Up 15lb to 165
  • Dicosimo >>>> Up 4lb to 134
  • Global Citizen >>>> Up 9lb to 159
  • Mister Fisher >>>> Up 3lb to 145
  • Red Infantry >>>> Remains on 142
  • Robinsfirth >>>> Up 2lb to 148
  • Wakanda >>>> Up 4lb to 150

Previous ‘Weighed In’ columns

My Stable – Horse Tracking Made Simple

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