Kate Tracey keeps Kalooki by her side in Newbury
Newbury really gave us a treat on Saturday with seven very competitive races. However, it’s clear that coaches across the country need to work harder on their rain dances. The original forecast was for significant precipitation by the end of the week, but as we get closer that has changed to mere showers expected in Newbury from Friday afternoon to Saturday.
Nonetheless, the conditions should provide this wonderful “no apologies” terrain, unless you have a runner who appreciates one extreme or the other, of course.
O’Brien seems an ideal jockey for Kalooki
I hope the ground doesn’t get in the way of Kalooki at 1:15 p.m. no matter what happens on Saturday. Philip Hobbs’ representative runs in the large open Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase on 2m6f. Of course, cases can be made for a multitude of runners in this cool competition, but I’m saving the conundrum that is Kalooki to hopefully add to his run and distance he gained last season.
This success was Kalooki’s first start on the fence. Now, if you had wondered without knowing where Kalooki made his winning debut, you never imagined Newbury would be the runway. This is the jumping technique of this horse which can be hair-raising to watch. Yet on this trail and trip it was fantastic for a newbie to the hunt.
He jumped best when left on his own to assess his stride. That’s why i think Tom O’Brien will suit Kalooki. O’Brien has only ridden Kalooki once before, over hurdles where he ran well to finish second.
He’s never ridden Kalooki on fences, but his quiet riding style is what this horse needs. We know Kalooki has one main preference, running on a left-handed track as he jumps significantly to his left when under pressure or when asked to see a stride. This became even more pronounced when stopping in the pursuit of Kauto novices at Kempton last season where his left-handed jumps ended in failure. The frustration about this race was that his actual crossing of his obstacles was so solid until the last two fences before the swing in the straight line.
Yes, he lowered his fences to his left, which cost him some ground, but he barely touched a twig at the same time. As soon as the pace picked up and he was asked to go further to his fences, that’s when he paid the price for his left-handed preference.
On his last start, he failed to take the lead in Newbury on a too short course of 2m3f187y but jumped well in the final with a good aim at his fences. However, once again, under pressure and called upon to take up his challenge, he ran his fences to his left. He then nearly collapsed while trying to sort his undercarriage into a compromised position. At the final fence, he jumped to his left so violently that he collided with the rear end of the eventual winner, the Hope De Teillée. Yet Kalooki once again showed his big engine to pull himself together and stay the best throughout the trip to get beaten by a head.
Catching Kalooki Fresh seems like a good ploy and without a natural favorite in this lineup either, that will hopefully mean Kalooki will be ridden forward. O’Brien looks like a jockey well suited to the needs of this horse and back on this course and this distance he looks like a good bet.
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The pair have ideal profiles to challenge De Bromhead’s Eklat
Sometimes I wonder why I set myself these tasks of trying to find the winner of some of the most competitive handicaps of the season when I have so many other races to choose from. Still, if you’re not tempted to have an opinion in a race like the Ladbrokes Trophy at 3:00 p.m., then you’re really in the wrong game.
Over the past few years, the Ladbrokes Trophy has needed the spark of a potential future first class first class winner. This season, with the inclusion of the Irish raiders, we may well have that angle with Eklat De Rire who could be on his way to even bigger things.
The hilarious one being that if Eklat De Rire shows a dominant performance in this race with a score of 154, he could end up leading in the Gold Cup bet. This may mean Henry De Bromhead ends up in the top four in bets for National Hunt Racing’s Blue Riband event – what an embarrassment of wealth that would be.
Like I said, Eklat De Rire could be anything, so it’s not a horse that I want to take lightly in this race. However, there are two runners that I like at random one-way prices to fill the frame.
These selections are Remastered and Potterman. Both have the ideal profiles for this race on recent renewals. First, they are the two eight-year-olds, they are classified in the sweet spot of 146-150, which gives good racing weights. More importantly, both had an early reappearance. The Ladbrokes Trophy has been won by horses having their second start of the season in the last five editions of this race. It’s also worth siding with a horse that won or placed its respawn start, which both Remastered and Potterman did.
My slight preference for form and racing style is Remastered because it is likely to be mounted in evidence because that is its only real way of proceeding. It seemed the target of David Pipe’s runner after he reappeared over hurdles. He ran honorably on this last start where he qualified for the Pertemps final after finishing third behind Koshari beat a little more than a length at Aintree on 3m 1 / 2f. This race should prepare him well for this race.
The greatest concern over odds of Remastered is the ground. Hopefully the terrain will be cut enough from Friday to Saturday to suit Remastered just enough as it ideally wants milder conditions.
Due to this concern, I also have a Potterman saver which will certainly not be hampered by better ground. Unlike Remastered, Potterman will certainly be edited with more restraint. For all of the recent renewals of this race suggesting that you want a top runner, there is a slight concern that there could be a lot of them this year. Therefore, Potterman can turn the tide of horses going out of rhythm and is a saver if that happens.
Éclair D’Ainay looks like a great player
My last race to analyze is yet another fascinating Handicap Chase at 3.35pm, this time over 2m where I want to keep Éclair d’Ainay on the side. For all of us we have a lot of nice, fit and consistent horses ready to compete in this race, I’m not sure it’s a vintage revival in terms of established class.
Two winners of this race over the past six years have been rated 147, these horses weren’t even the highest rated riders in their respective rosters either. The best weights in the race this year are Sully D’Oc and Gumball with scores of 145, which I’m ready to take on despite the proven class angle.
However, I don’t want to stray too far from the marks of around 140 for this race and I don’t want to take sides against the experience either. Therefore, the horse that divides the difference in this race with these preferences in mind is Éclair D’Ainay.
Dan Skelton had a wonderful season, from graduated competitions to handicaps, he was able to solve all kinds of races. I hope this will be the case again with this seven year old gelding which has already had a reappearance start which is another positive point for this race.
Éclair d’Ainay was fourth last time in Wetherby on 2m3f85y. He was pretty sharp at first without running with the starter. His exuberance was on point as he tucked his head to his chest and, starting from behind, he quickly found himself on the leaders’ heels after just two fences. The ease with which he ran the race was so sympathetic, showing the pace he has. It was fast and smart on its fences before looking for the winner at the turn in the straight line.
He dominated future winner Good Boy Bobby, who competes in the 2m7f repeat race at Newcastle on Saturday. Éclair D’Ainay was asked to come out of a long stride at the first fence of the straight that he had to reach, but showed his honesty and came for Harry Skelton. He lost his momentum again stuck to the task well under pressure. Succeed in getting back upside down from the winner at the penultimate barrier before weakening between the last two obstacles.
He again showed his genuine nature at the final hurdle when clearly a very tired horse, but still heeded the call for a long stride and just pulled it off. He hooked up under pressure on the line in a gallant manner despite failing to make the trip against real stayers. Good boy Bobby established strong fractions throughout the race with Daryl Jacob straddling him for maximum effect as the trip felt minimal to him.
Éclair D’Ainay lost third place near the line as he was poached by another horse that needed a more rigorous test. I think this going down two miles will suit Éclair D’Ainay. His jumping style and cruising speed should be much better at minimum. He will likely show up for this last start and was also reduced by 1 pound by the handicapper which makes him a great player.