Steven Dowler provides us with an extensive preview of Saturday’s Boosted £10,000 Place 6 at Warwick. He thinks that Kimberlite Candy has an outstanding chance in the Classic Handicap Chase. If you agree with his views then join his Syndicate.
12.40 – Handicap Hurdle
We start the day at one of my favourite tracks with a very tough handicap hurdle race and we go into the race with plenty of ammunition.
Evan Williams recruited the promising MOTASHAKEL following a good spell in Ireland where he achieved a flat racing of 84 and ran a respectable race on his hurdles/UK debut at Kempton, finishing fourth of eight runners in a class 3 race. He was last seen running reasonably well over C&D where he finished a distance third but he was sent off second favourite behind Allmankind and was the only horse able to make some kind of race with the winner briefly.
The winner has since won a grade two and grade one, which is very strong form. Allmankind is now rated 140+ and Motashakel makes his handicap debut here off a mark 109 with Isabel Williams claiming 7LB that leaves Motashakel thrown in here off this mark with more improvement to come and I think he has outstanding claims of taking this race or reaching the frame at the very least.
Alan King has a solid record with his runners at this track and MANOR PARK is not without hope at big enough odds. He’s run well three times on soft conditions so is proven on the going and showed promise on his first two runs over hurdles. Manor Park disappointed next time out but has since bounced back to finish fourth on his last couple of runs over longer distances off higher marks 106, 104. Manor Park is down to a mark 101 today back over 2 miles with a claimer taking off 7LB and that could well be enough to see him make an impact this afternoon.
Olly Murphy runs MADE FOR YOU, who has steadily improved with each start and was last seen finishing third off this mark on his handicap debut. He returns from an absence here following wind surgery and Richard Johnson has been booked to ride so if the surgery has the desired effort, Made For You could well get involved.
Selections: MOTASHAKEL, MANOR PARK, MADE FOR YOU
13.15 – Handicap Chase
An interesting handicap chase up next and there are a few I like here.
Philip Hobbs continues to have his team in rich vein of form and Richard Johnson comes here to ride MASTER WORK. He showed a decent level of form over hurdles and has translated that to fences with an easy win on chasing debut and two close-up second placed finishes at Ludlow recently behind two horses who are rated higher than today’s opponents which gives him a chance here and he handled soft ground two runs ago to suggest the ground won’t be an issue. His best form has come on a better form but Master Work might get away with it here in a winnable race.
It was a little concerning he jumped to the right last time out but JOKE DANCER won extremely well at Haydock on heavy ground by 11 lengths on just his second chase start. He is up 7LB here but won with so much in hand and he’s a dual winner in higher class races over hurdles leaving the impression he could achieve that over fences in due course. Joke Dancer loves sloppy ground and will get that here along with his record on soft/heavy ground in single figure fields reads 1113F1 and he beat a Haydock specialist convincingly last time out. I think this progressive seven-year-old has a massive chance of following up under the in-form Danny Cook.
Selections: MASTER WORK, JOKE DANCER
13.50 – Hampton Novices’ Chase
This isn’t a vintage renewal of this grade two event and there are two horses who stand out for me.
I have always been a fan of six-year-old HIGHEST SUN, who was a smart hurdler with only bad run coming at the Cheltenham festival last year. Otherwise, Highest Sun’s form has been rock solid and he’s clearly coming of age now he’s tackling fences. He ran a lovely race on his chasing debut at Newbury, where he was given a tentative ride before coming home strongly to be on the tail of both Dashel Drasher and Champ. Highest Sun was then second at Ascot behind 150+ rated Pym before jumping really to get off the mark at Plumpton last time out albeit in a two runner event. Robbie Power is back on board him for this race and this six-year-old already brings high-class chasing form to the table which makes him the one they all have to beat.
Dan and Harry Skelton are no strangers to success at Warwick and I think the promising seven-year-old ARDLETHEN has a massive chance against this field. He’s a lightly raced individual who won two of his four starts over hurdles (form reads well) and was far from disgraced when stepped up to grade one company from class 3 company to finish eighth of 12 at Aintree. Ardlethen ran better than the result suggested because he was bang there with every chance three out before fading late on.
Ardlethen made a successful chasing debut, beating Lisnagar Oscar who is a very good horse and was then beaten just four lengths behind the 160 rated Sam Spinner two runs ago. Although he was last of three runners at Newbury last time, it turned out to be a messy event and he had both Reserve Tank and Danny Whizzbang in trouble at one stage before keeping on at the same pace. I think the softer ground will suit better today and I am sure we haven’t seen the best of Ardlethen yet because he is very lightly raced and has shown more than enough to suggest he’s capable of winning at this level.
Selections: HIGHEST SUN, ARDLETHEN
14.25 – Leamington Novices’ Hurdle
We move on to a race that is one my favourites as there have been some very good horses that have won this race in the past.
I have been very impressed with the six-year-old KEEN ON, who runs in the Queen colours representing Nicky Henderson. He was second on his sole bumper start and is unbeaten in both runs over hurdles. Keen On beat the smart Protektorat on hurdles debut who has subsequently won a listed event at Cheltenham, giving Keen On’s form a major boost and then duly obliged when stepped up to 2m4f last time out. Keen On goes up in trip here and I think it will bring out much more improvement because he is a horse with loads of potential and his profile looks perfect for this event with James Bowen booked to ride.
Ben Pauling and David Bass teamed up to win this race a couple of years ago with the high-class Willoughby Court before going onto Cheltenham festival glory in one of the best finishes you will see. They team up with WHATSUPWITHYOU here who was sent off 33/1 on his hurdles debut at Ascot on heavy ground but absolutely slaughtered the field, jumping and travelling well before kicking clear inside the final furlong. He is clearly well regarded to be pitched into this company on just his second start over hurdles and will definitely come forward from that impressive hurdles debut success. I can see David Bass changing tactics and forcing him forward here in a similar way he did on Willoughby Court a few years ago and if he is as good as the yard think he is then there’s a chance he could have this field strung out on ground to suit and be hard to peg back.
Colin Tizzard has another strong chance on today’s card with HARRY SENIOR who showed loads of promise on his first four starts before comfortably getting off the mark last time out under Robbie Power. The step up in distance on ground to suit will likely bring more improvement and the way he won last time suggests he’s well worth a go at this level. I think he is the more solid choice over Shan Blue as Harry Senior looks more of the type to appreciate a stamina test.
Selections: KEEN ON, WHATSUPWITHYOU, HARRY SENIOR
15.00 – Classic Handicap Chase
The feature race of the day is the classic chase and I am a huge fan of this event with it being a good guide to the grand national.
We were on One For Arthur in this race two years ago before he went on to win the Grand National and there are two horses who come into this race with a similar profile having contested the Becher Chase which One For Arthur contested before coming here. Tom Lacey has had KIMBERLITE CANDY completely laid out for this event. This 8-year-old handles all types of ground (mainly contested 3 miles) and he ran a lovely race to finish 5th of 16 in the Eider Chase earlier this year over 4 miles. That was his first run beyond an extra mile and he did extremely well, jumping nicely and making steady headway to be never-nearer fifth at the finish on ground quick enough off 139. He never went a yard in the Irish national but he was badly impeded multiple times.
However, I was impressed with Kimberlite Candy on his first visit over the national fences in the becher chase last time where he jumped the fences for fun, travelled well into the race and kept on strongly to chase home course specialist Walk In The Mill and it’s also worth noting he had One For Arthur in behind him. That was a spot on return to action and preparation for today’s event and Kimberlite Candy’s profile is absolutely perfect for this 3m5f event on the basis of that latest effort and on his form with One For Arthur. I am expecting a huge performance from this talented 8-year-old who is unexposed over marathon events and will definitely have a huge chance in the Grand National if he goes close or wins here which I think he can do.
Ben Pauling has long had the grand national in mind for LE BREUIL, who won the 4 miler at the Cheltenham festival last season in a war of attrition and we were on him that day. He was given a nice preparation run for the grand national with a fine run in the becher chase when seventh where he jumped really well and travelled beautifully under Jamie Codd before getting outpaced and then staying on again. Jamie Codd even mentioned that he’s never ridden a horse who has jumped the national fences so well and that was his first attempt and the stable were out of form at the present time. Le Breuil has to carry top weight here but connections are full of confidence and his useful claimer takes off a handy 7LB. I would have been more happier if Jamie Codd had made it over to ride him here but regardless of the jockey bookings, Le Breuil has a huge chance.
David Bridgewater has expressed he would be disappointed if he didn’t send THE CONDITIONAL for this and he won so he’s been given the green light and holds sound claims. He ran well on seasonal/stable debut at Worcester before landing a competitive prize at Cheltenham in testing conditions over 3m1f where he beat some battle hardened course specialists and would have won even easier but for a bad mistake two out. The Conditional backed up that win with a fine second in the Ladbrokes Trophy on better ground and he looks the type to appreciate this marathon trip with ground to suit.
Selections: KIMBERLITE CANDY, LE BREUIL, THE CONDITIONAL
15.35 – Pertemps Handicap Hurdle
This is one hell of a competitive race with many of this field I could give a chance to running well. The first six home will be qualified for the main event in the pertemps at the Cheltenham festival.
Firstly, LISNAGAR OSCAR is overpriced by a long way here. He developed into a high-class novice hurdler earlier this year, winning a grade two at Haydock by a wide-margin over three miles before finishing fifth of 20 in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham festival and then third in another grade one at Aintree behind Champ. He was turned over at odds-on for both chase starts so the switch back to hurdles last time looked a good move and he ran well enough on handicap debut to finish midfield in a grade three off 141. He’s 1LB lower here with the first-time cheekpieces applied and Sean Bowen is back on board who has a good record on him. This 7-year-old is more than good enough to go very close to winning this if Rebecca Curtis has improved him since his last run.
I find it very interesting that Nicky Henderson has just a sole representative in this qualifier who has a decent chance. IGOR had improved a ton prior to his latest defeat having beat two good horses at Ascot convincingly over a shorter trip. The runner-up has run well in defeat since and the third horse won a good pot at Kempton over Christmas. This unexposed 7-year-old could only manage sixth last time but it was in grade two company and he was looking fairly dangerous until making a mistake two out and was then badly hampered after the last hurdle. Igor wasn’t beaten all that far considering the luckless time of things as he stayed on well up the hill to suggest 3 miles could unlock improvement and he’s on a workable mark.
Gordon Elliott has last years Cheltenham winner of the final of this race Sire Du Berlais who needs to finish in the top sixth to qualify but he has it all to do off top-weight and I just have this feeling they’ve done that to reduce the weight for IT’S ALL GUESSWORK who makes his seasonal debut today. He’s proven himself over three miles and was last seen finishing down the field in the Kim Muir chase at the Cheltenham festival. However, It’s All Guesswork was third in the pertemps at Punchestown two runs ago and before that was in third and looked set to go close to winning the munster national but for falling at the last fence. He is only 2LB higher here with Richard Johnson booked to ride and when he partners up with Gordon Elliott, you know they mean business.
Jonjo O’Neill runs the ultra consistent and solid TEDHAM with Nick Scholfield on board to ride. He is remarkably only a six-year-old having run some creditable races in hot handicaps already for such a young horse. He had a really good 2018/19 campaign and carried that form into his reappearance when a fast finishing sixth at Cheltenham over 2m5f following wind surgery and was then strong at the finish again to be third of 17 in a grade three at Haydock last time out when stepped up to three miles. Tedham is only 2LB higher here and the first-time tongue tie will help. He is open to further improvement this season and a very big run is expected here for connections.
Selections: LISNAGAR OSCAR, IGOR, IT’S ALL GUESSWORK, TEDHAM