He showed promise in bumpers last season, so it was unfortunate that he stumbled and unseated me at the first on his hurdling debut at Worcester earlier this week. But he is none the worse for that mishap, so it will be interesting to see what he can do here. It does look a hot race, though.
The Romford Pele
He makes his debut for us here, and there is little doubt that he is on a fair mark if we can get him back to somewhere approaching his best. He lost his way a bit but he has been schooling nicely for me at home. He was a smart chaser a few years back but he didn’t run over fences at all last season, and at least he won first time up and then went on to run well in defeat in a good hurdle at Wetherby. This veterans’ chase will tell us a lot more about him.
Stamp Your Feet
I rode him when he won at Haydock last April and then he went to Punchestown and ran well in a very competitive race off a 4lb higher mark. He then went up another 4lb for that and he looks to have shaped nicely on his return over 2m5f at Newton Abbot last month. He is entitled to come on for that run and hopefully he has each-way claims in a competitive race.
This is a lot better and more competitive race than last year, and God’s Own has no easy task giving weight away all round off a mark of 166. But he has fully earned that rating down the years with three Grade 1 wins and he ran a series of great races last season, culminating in his third in the Champion Chase over 2m at Punchestown. But as he gets older then this 2m4f trip could prove to be his optimum and he loves this track, as he showed when second in this race last year. As I said, this is a better race this year but he was probably an unlucky loser there, as we got badly hampered 3 out. He goes well when fresh and is in good order at home, so here is hoping for another big run on a track he loves.
Some Are Lucky
He was a largely consistent sort last season at and around this trip, without quite getting his head in front. But hopefully he shaped as if his turn was near when a good second on his return at Stratford for me earlier this month, and I think he will see out this longer trip okay. I think he can be competitive off his current mark, and I think this track will suit him, as well.
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