Sam Martin Sunday Tips 14/2/21
Elixir De Nutz (Photo Copyright JTW Equine Images)
The weather is making things difficult again. I’m going to be focusing on one race from Exeter, Punchestown and Southwell for this week’s Sunday Tips Blog. Exeter is inspecting at 8:30 Sunday morning and hopefully the meeting survives because it looks a great card!
Exeter quite often attracts nice groups of novice chasers. For example, one novice chase in December 2018 threw up two Cheltenham Festival winners – Defi Du Seuil (1st) and Topofthegame (2nd) won grade ones at the big meeting. I doubt any of the eleven runners will scale similar heights as those two but there are a few smart individuals. I have always thought a lot of Elixir De Nutz. A grade one winner, he struggled in open company last season. Then, at Hereford in December, he was Evens favourite but finished second, beaten fifteen lengths by Le Patriote. It has been well documented that the Tizzard yard hasn’t been in good form but they appear to be going better now. Kalooki and Chantry House started their chasing careers with wins and the latter has always had a big reputation. He won by twenty-six lengths on his first start over fences but found Fusil Raffles and Lieutenant Rocco too good at Cheltenham when last seen. Kalooki, a grey gelding by Martaline, won by twelve lengths at Newbury. Since then, he has been third to Next Destination but he pulled up in grade one company next time, when The Big Breakaway, who had been shockingly beaten by Bold Plan a few weeks earlier, finished second. Bold Plan was fifth on chase debut at Uttoxeter but I think he was better suited to going right-handed over course and distance when he ran brilliantly to beat The Big Breakaway. On his rules form, you would think that he’d prefer better ground but he won a three-mile point to point on heavy. I think he’s good value. One For Rosie, a smart hurdler, is one to watch, making his fences debut for Kim Bailey.
Selection – Bold Plan (8/1)
When looking at Southwell, I keep coming back to one filly – Ruby Red Empress. This Holy Roman Emperor four-year-old is in training with George Boughey, who has some really smart horses to go to war with this summer. This filly was very gutsy last time out to be denied just a head after making the running and battled on when surrounded by challengers in the final furlong. They have put cheekpieces on her to try and help her out a bit. My only concern is the weight. She has top weight of 9st9 and is attempting this trip for the first time. Of the others, Mizen Master is having his first start for Stephen Hanlon. He has been through a few yards and URSA Major Racing have owned him for two outings when he was third both times over hurdles. He has won once on the All Weather. Aria Rose has won his last two starts, which were both at Kempton, but he has gone up 3lbs in the handicap since the most recent win.
Selection – Ruby Red Empress (10/3)
This race is a ‘Grand National Trial’ yet the majority don’t have entries for the race but Alpha Des Obeaux, Moyhenna, Dounikos, Roaring Bull and Monbeg Notorious do. Dounikos won this back in 2019 and he pulled up in the Grand National. He has completed just two of his six starts since, meaning he is 7lbs lower than his last winning mark with cheekpieces applied. He is one of six Gigginstown horses guaranteed to run. Alpha Des Obeaux is lumbered with top weight but he’s 6lbs lower in the handicap than his last win, which was in a listed race on good to firm ground at Thurles in November 2018. Eleven now, he could be under threat from younger horses like The Big Dog, who has an entry in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. Still a maiden over fences, he started this season after a 573-day absence and he has followed in Colreevy and Longhouse Poet, two smart horses, so far. He remains unexposed but I’m siding with Se Mo Laoch. This horse is a bit of a ‘cliff horse’ for me. After winning well at Navan last February, he finished sixth in the Midlands’ National at Uttoxeter. He has run once so far this season and that was a good second over hurdles, over three miles here at Punchestown. He should really enjoy conditions and they have added blinkers to help him out.
Selection – Se Mo Laoch (20/1)
Photo Copyright - JTW Equine Images