**KNOW THE BEST HORSES IN TRAINING (BEFORE THEY RACE!)**
Thursday 4 February 2016
Some welcome winners ?
You may or may not be pleased to know that I've started compiling a list of horses to follow for the for the fast approaching flat seasons sprint races. I've been trawling through the form from last season in order to unearth some potential improver's as well as some old favourites.
Today Wincanton stages a 7 race card and the going is once again heavy - whilst up at Towcester the going is soft.
The best race of the day is at Clonmel - a Grade 3 hurdle over 2m 6f and one who might go off at the backable odds of 5/1 is Dermot Weld's lightly raced
Don't Tell No One
who is 2-2.
He's a horse with a lot of ability that stays well according to his trainer and he steps up another 2f today following his latest comfortable win over 2m 4f.
He was bred by tv pundit Brian Gleeson and his half brother Go All The Way finished 4th to Cheltenian in the 2011 Cheltenham Festival Bumper.
An injury kept him off the track for a while between his wins so although 8 he probably has a fair amount of improvement still to come and he may relish a stronger run race with Last Encounter likely to lead the way at a good clip.
It's a race Willie Mullins has won 5 times in the last 10 years so both his runners demand respect, although Brian Cooper will have had the choice of the three Gigginstown runners.
I'm getting a bit demoralised with the form of the Nicholls stable and no doubt he is too. I can't believe it's all down to the heavy going and the fact that he has a bunch of moderate novices this season and no doubt something will come out once he gets a fair run of winners on the board. That said he's had just the 1 winner in the last 14 days and it's been a miserable start to the year and to coin a name he's been "Dodging Bullets" !
The battle continues though and he sends 5 out at his local track and I'm hopeful that a few can get him back on the winning trail today.
1.30 Lifeboat Mona was a winning Irish pointer - she contested 4 bumpers last season winning the first two at Warwick and Huntingdon with the latter being a listed event. She was then third at Sandown in another listed bumper before being over the top when running at Aintree. She has had problems with her wind and was therefore operated on over the summer. She is a nice exciting prospect that will appreciate jumping and the mares hurdles are an attractive proposition for her.
She was heavy odds on when she returned in a Class 4 mares maiden hurdle at her local track recently and duly obliged as expected.
She then took her chance in a Listed mares hurdle at Taunton over 2m 104y on heavy and she was pulled up having weakened quickly after 3 out. She was reported after the race to have had a breathing problem - although she had an op for a wind issue during the summer and always wears a tongue strap in any event so the stable will be hoping that ailment doesn't manifest itself again today.
That said given the stables aspirations with her previous entries you would hope she would be up to winning this Class 4 event.
2.00 The Brock Again hadn't run for 418 days when he returned at Taunton in the Bathwick Tyres Class 3 handicap hurdle on 13/01 where he finished 6th of the 10 runners over 2m 3f on heavy going. The reason for his long absence had been a combination of wind issues and a leg injury which are now all clear. He should have no problem with the heavy going as both his wins in France on the flat came in similar conditions and the stable will be hoping that he improves for his first run back and is more competitive this time in this his first foray into a novice limited handicap chase over 2m.
2.30 Crin Au Vent has come from France and is said to be a big scopey chasing sort. He won at Auteuil on his most recent start on 26/09 beating the now Nicky Henderson trained Consul De Thaix who finished a good third in the Triumph hurdle trial at Cheltenham on Saturday and for that bit of form he's odds on. However he wears a hood for the first time so might be a bit quirky - but you would hope this would be a penalty kick.
3.05 Baoulet Delaroque was purchased by Anthony Bromley and he thinks this might be a dark horse to keep on the right side of. He ran an eye catching race at Enghien in April even though he was still babyish and immature. He was said to have come on a fair bit over the summer and he started reasonably well for this stable at Chepstow when 4th in a Class 5 maiden hurdle. He then went to Doncaster for a race of a similar type and beat the well regarded Divine Spear although he may have to a certain extent sealed his own downfall there but franked the form yesterday.
Baoulet Delaroque could do no more than win and that is what he did. He's been given a mark of 124h, which seems fair to me, and Nicholls tries him out in a Class 3 handicap hurdle and the 9/4 available is backable as he's one of the few that hasn't blew a gasket up the home straight for Nicholls..
3.40 Stilletto is one of a number of horses sent to the stable over the summer by Roger Brookhouse this one having been with Philip Hobbs. He returned at Haydock when in need of the outing and finished 3rd behind Rock The Kasbah. He is a big horse not short of ability and he is reported to have needed plenty of work prior to his return. He was then switched to the larger obstacles at Catterick in a Class 4 Beginners chase over 2m 3f on good to soft going and he won the same by one and a quarter lengths from Amore Alato who next time out at Ascot had a Grade 2 novice chase at his mercy when falling at the last fence - the fortunate winner of that was Nicholls Le Mercurey.
Stilletto then went to Newbury on 29/12 for a Class 3 novices limited handicap chase over 2m 92y on soft going where he finished 2nd, beaten 4 lengths, to Violet Dancer from whom he received 8lbs.
He was very keen there and he as good as sealed his own fate in being so as he had been travelling all over the well regarded winner up the home straight.
Even if he calms down here he has a job on his hooves as this is a fair old field to overcome, but 6/1 is a good price on this step back up in distance and he should go close if Twiston Davies can switch him off in this bigger field of runners.
1 point win Stilletto @ 6/1 with several firms
1 point win Baoulet Delaroque @ 2/1 with several firms
1 point win Lifeboat Mona @ 2/1 with several firms
Given the form of the Nicholls stable you may well get bigger odds as they day goes on so it's a difficult decision to make as to when to step in.
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