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Tuesday 12 February 2013

Handicappers reaction to Super Saturday

The Handicapper today revealed his finding on his blog page as follows :

12th February 2012 - SUPER SATURDAYNewbury’s card billed as Super Saturday certainly lived up to its name. My Tent Or Yours stamped himself as one of the very best novices of recent years as he blew the feature Betfair Hurdle apart, and the also-progressive Silviniaco Conti completed his unbeaten Gold Cup preparation with another solid display. Throw the Irish Hennessy into the mix and it was a weekend full of Cheltenham clues. Here’s what our team made of it all.

I was impressed with Silviniaco Conti at Newbury on Saturday in the Betfair Denman Chase, writes Phil Smith.

In the last year his performances have been 144, 156, 168, 172, and on Saturday I have him running to 175. The chances are that he will have to improve again to win this year’s Gold Cup as Bobs Worth is moving in a similar direction - he has run to 148, 160 and 171 on his last three outings. Don’t forget Long Run either as after a 163 blip in last year’s Gold Cup he has recovered with efforts of 168 and 172 this season.

What I liked about Silviniaco Conti was his staying power because Saturday’s race was run at a fierce pace. The ex-French Mail De Bievre set a scorching gallop until his stamina gave way and the time was just under sixteen seconds faster than that of Unioniste in the novice chase later on the card. That equates to more than 60 lengths on the prevailing soft ground.

Compare that to Sir Des Champs (who I had running to 171) whose Leopardstown win was only around four seconds faster than the hunter chase later on in the day won by Salsify. Admittedly Salsify won last year’s Foxhunter at Cheltenham but his rating is only 137.

At Warwick Godsmejudge continues to progress as a novice. His performances have been 92, 128, 134 and now 139. As novices go he is pretty experienced and streetwise as on his previous run he had finished second in the Betfred Classic at Warwick against older staying handicappers, finishing just in front of this year’s Hunt Ball, Pete The Feat.

Meanwhile another noteworthy performance came from Ruben Cotter who ran to 139 on his chasing debut at Doncaster, beating a solid performer in Vintage Star (137).
The loss of Darlan last Monday was a tragedy for all involved with the horse, writes David Dickinson.

It was a tragedy for all true Jump Racing fans as well. Few of us are in a position to miss seeing his head peering out of his box every morning but the loss of untapped potential is something that always touches a nerve. Names like Golden Cygnet and Killiney are still mentioned with both admiration and sadness. Just what would they have achieved? Now we sadly add Darlan’s name to that list.

Racing didn’t take long to answer back though. Running off a mark of 149, Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle didn’t look a straightforward task for the handicap debutant My Tent Or Yours, representing Darlan’s connections. Not only did he win, he did so with so much authority that there are now single figure Champion Hurdle quotes for the novice. He would need to be supplemented to go down that route.

There are holes that can be picked in Saturday’s race. There was no obvious front runner so the steady pace saw the field stacked up tightly to the home turn. Leaving the rail behind on the run to three out, the pace appeared to be quickened markedly by those at the head of affairs and those racing off it were left at a sizeable disadvantage. That said it would be hard to fault the manner of My Tent Or Yours’ success.

As a race, it was surprisingly easy to rate. The winner was running in his first handicap, the second was having his first run over the trip, the third was unbeaten and the fourth had only been beaten once in five hurdle starts, recording very much a career best on his most recent one. Fifth home was the admirable Ladbroke runner-up Petit Robin, who I have used as my marker horse. True, his Ascot conqueror Cause of Causes ran no race on Saturday but the Ladbroke form had already been franked by Double Ross and the aforementioned Cause of Causes, who beat Midnight Game at Naas in January.

Using Petit Robin as the marker, Dark Lover goes up 2lb to 150, Swing Bowler is up 4lb to 138, Cotton Mill is up 5lb to 150 and My Tent Or Yours goes up 13lb to 162 - I called the five-length margin 8lb to reflect his having more in hand. If this rating is confirmed at the end of the season he will be the highest rated 2m novice hurdler during my tenure. The last novice hurdler with a higher rating was Iris’s Gift, who earned a mark of 167 when beaten narrowly by Baracouda in the 2003 Stayers’ Hurdle.