• Hands Heels

Turners Novices’ Chase

I think again with this race, we could end up with a fairly small but select field. This division bar the first few in the market is particularly weak. Last year we had a very short priced favourite in Envoi Allen, who as we know fell, leaving Chantry House to pick up the race. This year we have two potential superstars , Bob Olinger, last years' brilliant Ballymore winner; and Galopin Des Champs, last years' Martin Pipe winner, who could also run in the Brown Advisory where he is favourite. Regardless of whether he does run or not, the field looks set to cut up, a lot of those in the market, are likely to go for either the Arkle or Brown Advisory, and a few look like being aimed at one of the handicaps.

Bob Olinger is the general evens favourite for the race and needs no introduction. Unbeaten since his maiden hurdle defeat to Ferny Hollow, it hasn't been quite as flawless over fences, a few untidy jumps on debut left people slating him. It was a little unfair in my opinion and he still won, and for a first time over fences there have been plenty worse chase debuts. He was a lot better in the jumping department last time, though still not as slick as Bravemansgame or his market rival here, Galopin Des Champs, there was definite improvement. That was a Grade Three and he had to be kept up to his work and though briefly looking in a little trouble, he found his customary turn of foot and pulled easily clear of the gallant Capodanno, 25/1 here but just 10/1 for the Brown Advisory which would suit him better. The two had pulled nearly 30 lengths clear of Gaillard Du Mesnil who was second to Bob in last years' Ballymore. If continuing to progress in the jumping department, he will be very hard to beat here. His turn of foot is a weapon that troubles most horses. At evens there isn't too much value to be had backing him now, but he is a very strong and worthy favourite.

The second favourite is Galopin Des Champs for Willie Mullins at 7/4 best price but generally an 11/10 shot. He is an extremely talented horse and made one of the best chasing debuts that I have ever seen, he jumps brilliantly. Most recently he bolted up in the grade one chase over 2 miles and five furlongs at the Dublin Racing Festival. His main rival in the market that day was Capodanno who unfortunately fell early into the race, which is a shame because we could have a strong line of form between himself and Bob Olinger. There was one common rival in that race, Gaillard Du Mesnil who despite making a mistake at the last was beaten 14 lengths behind Galopin, and 30 lengths behind Bob. Now Bob was pushed out to win his race and Galopin won his fairly easily, so we can't take it too literally, but Gaillard did get closer to Galopin than he did to Bob. He had enough pace to win last years Martin Pipe, but there was no Bob Olinger in there, and he was massively well in in the handicap. This would represent a drop of nearly two furlongs from that Leopardstown race. If he was mine I'd send him to the Brown Advisory, but he will give Bob a good race if he were to run here, I think I'm slightly leaning towards Bob, though.

After those two, L'Homme Presse is the British leading chance at 7/2. He has been mightily impressive in his four chase starts and looks a much better horse this year for the move to chasing. His debut was a 6 length win over subsequent winner, Gunsight Ridge, he actually made a pretty bad mistake that day close to home, but was able to still pull clear to win going away. He then pulled 13 lengths clear in a graduation chase but his main rival, Pencilfulloflead fell, but it was still an impressive run. His most recent two runs have been most impressive, though. A 10 length win in the Grade Two Dipper Novices' Chase, beating a decent field. Second placed, The Glancing Queen, is a two time listed chase winner, and a short enough price for the Mares' Chase. The third, Fantastikas, won a valuable novice chase at the Lingfield Winter Millions meeting. L’Homme Presse then stepped it up another level, winning the Grade One Scilly Isles by 21 lengths, his main rival that day was Pic Dorhy who disappointed, but he is trained by Paul Nicholls who was in dreadful form, with lots of his horses not running to form. Still it's hard to find too many faults in what this horse has achieved, he is definitely worth his place in the field, but you do just feel that the Irish horses are another level.

There's then a few Mullins horses, who realistically aren't all going to run, if any. Haut En Couleurs and Saint Sam, both 16/1, I think will run in the Arlke. En Beton, 20/1, was poor last time and will more likely end up in the Brown Advisory and Gaillard Du Mesnil, also 20/1, has been well beaten by both Bob and Galopin looking a little slow, so I think they'll step him up to the Brown Advisory too. The one who will most likely run here, in my opinion, is Jungle Boogie at 12/1. He is unbeaten but has only made three career starts, winning his bumper and then a maiden hurdle by 30 lengths last February, he then wasn't seen until this January winning by 12 lengths on chase debut from Diol Ker. Diol Ker was then a good fourth in the valuable Thyestes chase. The 3rd, Grand Paradis, is single figures for the Ultima, the 80/1 5th, Johngus, has won since and even the 40/1 horse, History of Fashion, that unseated his rider that day has won since. Pretty solid form, he made all that day over 2 miles and 5 furlongs, so he could also step up to the Brown Advisory, but I think he'll run here. The concern with him is that he seems quite fragile or hard to get right and might not make it to Cheltenham, as we have only seen him run 3 times by the age of 8.

The next few in the market are all almost guaranteed not to run, the two at bigger prices that may be worth an each way play NRMB would be Pic Dorhy, 25/1, and Minella Drama, 50/1. With the fields likely to cut up, both are only likely to run in this race if anywhere at the festival. They both contest the Grade Two Pendil Chase tomorrow where they are 2/1 joint favourites. Pic DOrhy would need to improve to get closer to L'Homme Presse but with Nicholls form being poor then, he could show more and had previously won well at the trip. Minella Drama is a listed winner and dual graded placed horse over hurdles, his final start last year was a strong second to My Drogo at Aintree in the grade one hurdle. He made a winning chase start making light of a low handicap mark to win by 8 and a half lengths, the third has won since and franked that form. He was then beaten a short head by War Lord over 2 miles, when staying on well and not quite being able to pass him. Next time he was well beaten in the 2 mile Henry VIII Grade One, but had lost a shoe and again seemed in need to further. That was the first time in his career that he has finished outside of the top two, including on his point to point debut where he was beaten by Sir Gerhard. His last start was a win in the Grade Two Altcar Novices', upped to 2 and a half miles he stayed on and pulled nearly 10 lengths clear of dual winner Hardy Du Seuil. If he wins tomorrow he won't be anywhere near the price he is now and with the field looking to cut up, has a genuine place chance, and if he doesn't win he likely misses Cheltenham.

I've got a couple of decent Ante Post bets, advised on my Antepost blog, and one not so good.

Jungle Boogie- Marsh 25/1 0.5pts each way (31/05/2021)

Dusart - Marsh 25/1 0.5pts each way (06/09/2021)

Honeysuckle/Bob Olinger - Champion Hurdle/Marsh - 5.5/1 double 2pts win (29/11/2021)

Jungle Boogie is one I still like and he has halved in price, if he runs here then I'm happy enough as that bet was placed in May last year, though I would have liked him to get a bit more experience. Dusart however, is slightly bigger than he was, now at 33/1, and looks set for the Brown Advisory. The other bet advised was a double between Honeysuckle and Bob at 5.5/1. I still think this is a really good bet and the best odds you can get now for the double is 2.3/1 so nearly half the price.

The only bet I will add is 0.5pts each way on Minella Drama at 50/1, as already mentioned it is a bet to nothing as if he doesn't win tomorrow he'll not run here and money back. The field looks set to cut up and on the day wouldn't be such a huge price.

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