Friday, 11 December 2020

International Meeting Day Two: Saturday 12th December 2020 - Goshen to Make Big Statement About Champion Credentials

Day two of the International meeting should be a cracker, here’s our take on all seven races.

12.05 (Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle – Class 2) – ELHAM VALLEY

There is so little to choose between the three main entrants here; Adagio, Son Of Red and Elham Valley.

The first two finished within a neck of each other on good ground at Newcastle, and while Adagio now gets a 3lb pull and has progressed further with a second place around here in a Grade 2 since, it could be that Son Of Red just needed more cut in the ground and so turning the placings around can’t be ruled out.

The value shout theough is the third-favourite at the time of writing, Fergal O’Brien’s Elham Valley. A good winner on his National Hunt debut at Sandown only a week ago, his trainer clearly feels he is fresh and well and he could really strike while the iron’s hot under Connor Brace.

12.40 (Novices’ Chase – Class 2) – FUSIL RAFFLES

A small race which in itself makes it a difficult one to assess, given the potential lack of pace and the need for tactics.

Chantry House is the odds-on favourite here after an easy chase debut win, but even giving 3lbs away to him his stablemate Fusil Raffles may be the smart bet.

He himself made an impressive chase debut, and while he’s had more of a chance to strut his stuff than Chantry House, he has not been allowed to stride out over this sort of distance before (2m4f) and so it could be that there is plenty more improvement to come from him.

Quel Destin is best of the rest, but he’ll need to improve markedly on his debut over fences to win.

1.15 (Handicap Chase – Class 2) – CAPELAND

There are number of questions to be answered by a few of the leading contenders here, but assuming he is once again reaching his peak then Paul Nicholls’ Capeland looks best in at the weights.

His top form from just a year ago would potentially have him winning this, and considering he’s been edging back towards that and would have got closer had he not hit the last fence at the Berkshire track last time out it looks like his time is coming.

The likes of Born Survivor for Dan Skelton, the overpriced Forest Bihan for Brian Ellison and likely favourite Ibleo for Venetia Williams also made the shortlist and must be considered.

1.50 (Caspian Caviar Gold Cup – Grade 3) – GOOD BOY BOBBY

This is a fascinating, tight, tough and competitive renewal of a wonderful £105,000 race and in it we feel that at double-figure odds Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Good Boy Bobby could be the one.

Only outside of the first two over fences when taking part in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, Good Boy Bobby has outstanding credentials and at the very least looks to be way better than his official handicap mark of 146.

The trip and ground both look ideal for Daryl Jacob’s mount, he has strong form in the bag and has the sort of weight turnaround needed with Master Tommytucker who beat him at Haydock last time out.

Master Tommytucker indeed is another who could go strongly, albeit off top weight and in a race far different from the ones he has taken part in recently, while Al Dancer is another class act who should reach a place all being well.

Coole Cody comes into the race as the winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November and just needs to defy a 6lb rise to be right up there again, while Annie Mc is clearly underestimated and Windsor Avenue should appreciate the track and can put in a career high performance.

2.25 (Bristol Novices’ Hurdle – Grade 2) – MAKE GOOD

The likes of Wynn House and Danny Kirwan are solid enough contenders here, while Ask A Honey Bee could conceivably improve enough to take a hand in the finish too.

The two horses who stick out though based in their sharp upward trajectory are Dan Skelton’s Ashtown Lad and John McConnell’s Make Good.

The latter, trained in Ireland, won ever so easily last time out and shapes like a horse who will not only get better still, but will also appreciate this race distance as well as the terrain. Make Good is also a great value price which makes him attractive and so he is ultimately given the nod.

3.00 (International Hurdle – Grade 2) – GOSHEN

There are too many horses to mention in this feature race of the meeting who are in with some degree of a winning chance, giving the event a proper look which means in turn the form will be worth noting for the rest of the season.

Ch’tibello was a beaten favourite last time but steps down in trip for this race, and while he could yet get back to his County Hurdle winning best, he is on a long losing run and a top Grade 2 doesn’t seem the place to break that duck at least on first viewing.

Silver Streak is admirably consistent and chased Epatante home last season at the highest level, though his standout performance you could argue was at a flat Kempton Park on good ground and so this will be plenty different.

Song For Someone is a young improver and a Grade 2 winner, but we cannot ignore how good Goshen looked in March’s Triumph Hurdle before famously and spectacularly unseating at the last and he may be the class act still.

Gary Moore has said his horse essentially needs to win this if he’s to go for the Champion Hurdle, and while he is very young, he is the one to beat.

3.35 (Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – Class 2) – MIAH GRACE

Jedd O’Keeffe is not one to send a mare down from Yorkshire just for the day out, and there’s no doubt that his Miah Grace has the best credentials in this race at the weights.

The White Mouse is worth considering for the places too, while popular Festival winner Indefatigable comes back to her favourite track but may need a weight-for-age race now to be shown at her best.

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