Sam Martin Sunday Tips 31/01/21
Evander on the Gallops. (Photo Copyright JTW Equine Images)
For my second Sunday Tips Blog, my focus will be on Naas' two competitive-looking grade threes and Catterick for one race. Once again, I’m on weather watch with Catterick inspecting at 8am on Sunday morning but Naas’ forecast looks promising. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed!
This six-runner grade three over just short of two miles looks very competitive. It is interesting to see Winston C back in this part of the world. He won three races in early 2019 for Harry Fry before coming fifth in an Aintree grade one. Then, he was sold to America and has won two grade ones over there. He has been brought over with Cheltenham as the target and Kerry Brion’s first runner in Ireland finished a creditable second. Now with a first-time tongue strap, he has some good form to his name but heavy ground could be the problem for him. It won’t be for Bachasson. This grey gelding has won his last three starts in good style on heavy ground. Now ten, I think his biggest threat is the youngest horse in the race, Grand Roi, who is having his third start for the Gordon Elliott yard. At Limerick over Christmas, he won by eight lengths on heavy ground but this is much stronger company. I assume Bachasson will take them along and he will be hard to beat.
Selection – Bachasson 7/4
I am a big fan of Evander here for Oliver Greenall and Sean Quinlan. It took this horse three attempts to win over obstacles and, when he did so, he made all and jumped beautifully at Doncaster. He ran a slightly strange race at Wincanton last time against 150 rated horses. He was hampered on a few occasions when trying to challenge and stayed on really well to be second, beaten three and a half lengths by Capeland. In October, seventeen and a half lengths split Evander and Informateur, off equal weights, when they finished mid-division at Sedgefield. My selection has top weight of 11st8lbs and Informateur carries 11st2lbs this time. Jack Valentine will be their biggest threat with just 10st7lbs on his back. He made a good impression at Leicester, on soft/heavy ground, eighteen days ago. The ground could be the only worry with Evander but he is extremely classy and held his own in much higher company than this. Glenduff is really interesting as he is making his debut over fences – he could be very smart.
Selection – Evander 3/1
This is a really good quality grade three and it could offer suggestions to some of the Cheltenham Festival races, in particular the National Hunt Chase. Pencilfullofflead is 12/1, Escaria Ten is 25/1 and Eklat De Rire is 28/1 on Antepost markets. Those three are on my shortlist for this. To begin, the form of Pencilfulloflead’s second place last time has been massively boosted with the winner, Colreevy, hacking up earlier in the week. Before his half-length defeat at the hands of the talented Mullins mare, he beat Thyestes winner Coko Beach and subsequent grade one-placed Latest Exhibition. He will need to finish in the first four to qualify for the National Hunt Chase. Escaria Ten’s connections will decide his Cheltenham option after this race. He was fifth in behind Monkfish on his first chasing outing and easily won over this trip by twenty lengths last time. That was a really impressive victory and he travelled extremely well so that win puts him as a leading player in this race. Eklat De Rire has only had three starts under rules and the most recent of those was a convincing front-running victory over three miles and a furlong. It is interesting that the only horse to have beaten him is Foxy Jacks, who is set to run in this race. He behaved like a nutter last time and, eventually, he ran out at the last. When this horse gets his act together, he has a big prize in him. I think this race will got to Escaria Ten, though. There are no doubts about his stamina and the ground should be absolutely fine for him. This looks a fascinating race to savour!
Selection – Escaria Ten 4/1
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Photo Copyright JTW Equine Images.