The Dark Horse previews races at Limerick, Down Royal and Rasen on Boxing Day.
Form figures of ‘FOF’ would usually not inspire confidence in a horse but Se Vende has shown ability in all three of those starts and they act as an initial mask for this.
He made his debut in the pointing field at Kilmallock where after clouting 5 out, he was in 3rd when making another mistake at 4 out and came down. It was a long way out but he was still in contention at the time and this race is working out quite well.
His next run came a couple of weeks later at Dromahane. He was at the head of the chasing group throughout behind runaway leader Rathnure Rebel, and had opened up a gap on that group turning the bend after 4 out. Se Vende was still travelling well when suddenly ducking left and 3 out and he went through the wing. He most likely wouldn’t have got close to the winner but he could have finished 2nd. That position ended up being filled by Three Musketeers, since a 5-length winner of a Wetherby novice hurdle, and the 3rd has since finished a close 2nd in a maiden.
Se Vende’s only run under rules came at Navan in a maiden hurdle just under 3 weeks ago. He raced prominently throughout before having to be nudged along at the end of the back straight as the pace started to quicken. He turned into the straight in 6th place and couldn’t go with the leaders after 3 out. He kept responding well to pressure though and was staying on into 5th when falling at the last. Given how well he was staying on, he could have challenged Roconga, who was making a similar run at the time Se Vende fell, for 3rd. The winner, Modem, has been given a rating of 121, and the 4th, Annagh Haven, has since finished a close 2nd to Lyrical Theatre in a maiden hurdle.
This is a race that doesn’t look deep on quality and Se Vende looks to have enough ability to get involved if he gets round. The step up in trip should suit and the 20-1 available is an appealing price.
Down Royal 2.30
There is very little good form on show in this maiden hurdle and Noel Meade’s Bronco Bill looks to have a good chance of scoring having shown promise on his last run in a stronger event.
Having been pulled up on debut when always in rear, he improved significantly on that at Wexford after a break of nearly 6½ months. Held up at the rear of a tightly packed field, he was still travelling well on the run to 3 out. Nudged along after a mistake at that hurdle, he started to close before making another slight error at 2 out. Once again he was nudged along and moved into 5th turning in, still appearing to have something left to give. Bronco Bill shifted to his left at the last and had to be straightened out after the hurdle by Paul Carberry. Still looking to edge slightly to his left on the run in, Carberry looked after him as he came home in 5th.
This looked a good race. Aminabad had won a Listed bumper in the previous season and was making a winning hurdling debut. Domesday Book had run well on debut at Clonmel, and won on his only start since at Navan. The 4th, Lean Araig, had some decent bumper form prior to this and has since run well over hurdles when 2nd to On Impulse at Punchestown.
The slight concern is that Bronco Bill hung left late on. If this was simply down to greenness then it is less of a worry as he could show a more professional attitude today with more experience under his belt. However, if that’s a trait that’s going to continue to appear when he comes under any pressure then it’s a worry as he could throw away chances as a result.
However, given the strength of this race and the strength of that form, the 4-1 on offer is appealing.
Marken Rasen 3.20
1 point win Ourmanmassini at 5/1 with Bet365, Paddy Power and William Hill
Ourmanmassini returns to hurdling today after a disappointing chasing debut last time at Leicester and if he can return to the level of form he was previously showing over hurdles, he could have a decent chance here off 115.
His last 3 runs over hurdles all look quite strong. 3 starts ago, he finished a close 2nd to Phantom Prince at Fontwell after hanging across to the stands side late on. He arguably chucked away that race by hanging, which is a concern with no rail on his right late on today. This was still decent form with the winner finishing 2nd off 7lb higher next time and running well until coming down at the last off 10lb higher on his only other subsequent start. The 3rd was 19 lengths behind Ourmanmassini and finished 2nd in a handicap off 2lb lower next time out.
He didn’t hang so markedly next time at Taunton, though he still did so slightly before 2 out. He ran well there to finish 4th behind Hint Of Mint (now 14lb higher), Purple Bay (now 30lb higher) and Lac Sacre (winner next time out). Given that Ourmanmassini will race off only 1lb higher today than he did there, he looks quite well handicapped.
That was his last run on the 2013/14 season and he reappeared at Cheltenham after a break of just over 7 months. Racing very wide throughout, he smoothly moved into contention at the top of the hill and jumped 3 out in 2nd. He tried to challenge Great Choice after 2 out but he couldn’t go with that rival turning in, and weakened into 5th after the last hurdle. The 3rd, Song Light, has since won comfortably off a 3lb higher mark while the 4th, Coup De Grace, was beaten a neck off a 1lb higher mark next time at Sandown.
He still looked a little awkward under pressure late on in that race and it is a bit worrying that this trait has continued this season. However, given the strength of his form, I’m happy to take a chance on him at 5-1 in this race.