Ceebee previews Saturday's racing at Newcastle and he has bets in the Eider Chase and Humbie in a later handicap chase.
Good to see Seeyouatmidnight back on track after a small setback in January. He’s my idea of the best bet in the RSA currently. An almost top class hurdler who stays well, his Dipper form is some of the strongest on offer.
14.50 Eider Chase
With 17 going to post this is as competitive as one would expect. Plenty of Welsh National and Classic Chase types.
Wyck Hill is a past winner but after 300+days off and coming from a yard who’ve had an awful season he’s hard to fancy. Glenquest’s Welsh National effort from 2014 would see him go close but he hasn’t looked like repeating it. I was very confident about Portrait King at Chepstow last time but he disappointed. Not being able to keep up in a Welsh National run on the worst of ground is not good. He’s won this before off the same mark but I’m not convinced he’s as capable these days.
Emma Lavelle has had 5 horses PU from of her last 10 runners. The best of them was 4th. So put a line through Shotgun Paddy. Cultram Abbey has stamina questions to answer. Milborough won last year’s Eider so warrants a second look. He’s been well below average lately which is in contrast to last season. He beat Woodford County and Summery Justice and both go again this year. The latter is now 12yrs old and 7lbs higher so is up against it. Woodford County returns off just 2lbs higher and with a similar preparation. He won at Exeter (3m6f) before finishing 5th in the Welsh National. He placed in the Midlands National last March also, a consistent sort in these staying chases. Like Theatre Guide at Kempton, he’s solid but something else may just be better handicapped when it comes down to it. One for the e/w multiple maybe.
On first glance the Russe Blanc form has worked out very well but really Houblon des Obeaux was turned inside out by cheekpieces and Midnight Prayer won a farcical race where only 1 completed. The 10lb hike for Russe Blanc will be too much. Presented has been in consistent form this season but doesn’t look good enough in this company. William Money looks bang out of form but has dropped to a workable mark if getting it together. The in-form Rocking blues is the best handicapped horse but his price takes that into account. He must recover from racing twice already this month, a tough ask in these conditions.
Mysteree appeals at a big price. Visually his last win impressed me. Admittedly his direct opponent may not have been very genuine but Mysteree raced on the front end with a low head carriage and always appeared to be just doing enough, winning very snuggly in the end. That win came at Newcastle just 3wks ago so he’s clearly in form and handles the track.
Most of these are highly tried exposed types but this fella is only 8 and having his fourth chase start. Judging by his two novice handicap chase wins to date and the level he reached over hurdles he’s not badly handicapped. He’ll also be getting weight off all bar 1 rival which (although I’m not a big believer) some will argue is a positive in staying chases on soft ground. He looks the perfect type to get into a nice rhythm up the front and keep grinding it out up the straight.
1 point each way Mysteree at 20/1 with Betfred, Bet365, Stan James and Coral
16.35 Handicap Chase
Blakemount is very nearly a selection here but I’m going to pass over him (partly because I missed the 7/1). He’s well handicapped over fences after a few below par efforts. He’s had a wind op since his last run which should help him return to the level of form he showed over hurdles. The yard are in terrific form. However it’s his less than fluent jumping on show last time and the 2m4f trip that put me off. I think he wants further to be at his best and connections may be using today to knock the rust off for bigger events in the spring.
Preference is for Humbie. On first glance the 12 in the age column is off putting but these older horses are often overpriced as a result. Having been off the track for over 2yrs until recently and with just 18 career starts he should have a bit of mileage left in him still. He has been in the front 2 for 9 of those 18 starts, quite consistent even if some of them were weak races.
He runs off an official rating of 120 here. Having won off 115 (twice) and 117, placed off 120, 122 and 123 – he’s not handicapped out of this. One of the wins came over 2m4f so the trip won’t be an issue.
His last effort, at Musselburgh, saw him finish 9L behind one of today’s rivals Indian Temple. That day Humbie made an awful mistake 2out and wasn’t subjected to a hard race from there on. He would’ve gone much closer but for that mistake. There’s a 7lb swing between the two which will help Humbie reverse places but the bigger issue is fitness. There is no guarantee, but after 26mts off I’d be amazed if Humbie didn’t improve for that last effort. Of course he may have been 100% fit that day (historically he’s gone well fresh) and may regress/bounce but at 10/1 in what looks a weak race, I’m happy to pay to find out.
1 point each way Humbie at 9/1 with BetVictor and William Hill