We head to Chester after the Channel Four cameras have left for today for a six furlong handicap, thirteen go to post and as always you need to be on the pace at Chester and preferably with a lower draw.
The favourite is Northgate Lad and he has a low draw plus an unexposed profile. He went close at Thirsk last time out and is sure to go close. However he is likely to be a shortish price under Chester Cup winning jockey Graham Lee.
Most of these are unexposed and open to any amount of improvement. The selection is Martyn Meades Navigate who must have a good each way chance. The Newmarket based trainer has his select string in great order and he should be sharper for his return three weeks ago.
Johnny B Goode is the big danger. Richard Fahey has an excellent record at Chester, Paul Hanagan rides with a low draw he looks likely to fight out the finish.
We need wait until the evening meeting at the Tipperary course where we have an eight runner handicap. These low rate handicaps for three year olds really excite me. If you find a good one you can run up a sequence and get some real enjoyment.
Qatea looks like one of those types winning well at Sligo over the weekend. He gets in here under a four pound penalty and likely to be his last run in this grade. John Oxx yard are starting to find there feet this season. On this basis there are no real negatives apart from a price basis.
The one that interests me and would be disappointed if not better than his current mark is Lucie Rie for David Wachman. The yard will be on a high after their classic win over the weekend. This horse is bred to be better over this trip and showed some promise in his three starts to date. Clearly needs to step up but will be sharper for his most recent run.
The remainder are pretty exposed and don’t look like improving. The market leaders should fight this out.
Lucie Rie (WIN)
The feature at Clonmel is the Quirke uPVC Windows Tipperary Perpetual Cup over what will be a slog in soft ground. A classy field of current and former top class horses come to try and take this prize. Captainofthefleet has returned to form with two wins over hurdles before running in the World Series hurdle at the Punchestown Festival. He won this in 2013 and is on a lower mark than when he won this.
Prince Kup is also of interest over this trip and conditions at Longchamp last July. He has since finished second to the ultra progressive Katie T. There is plenty of untapped potential in him and should progress into a good handicapper. The jockey booking suggests he is expected to go well.
Taglietelle is another who could progress into a useful sort on the level off this current mark. It is interesting that Gordon Elliot has used a ten pound claimer Jack Kennedy (also booked to ride Eshitaal at Chester on Friday). This horse finished fourth at the Cheltenham festival and won at Aintree in a Grade Three handicap. He gets in off a featherweight and has a good profile to progress. I can see he maturing into a good stayer for big handicaps on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Hisaabaat and Hazariban are previous top class with the former a Grade one winner over hurdles as a juvenile, however that seemed to be his peak while Haraziban hasn’t progressed over timber as expected.