There is a cracking handicap chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday with E60,000 to the winner of the BetVictor Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase over the extended two miles. Gordon Elliot has saddled the winner of the corresponding race for the last two years and his Duca De Thaix (4/1 from 5s at BetVictor) and Cubomania (11/2 from 8s) have been well backed with the sponsors in the opening salvoes. The Willie Mullins-trained Cadmium is second in at 5/1.
The ground on the chase course at Leicester today is good to firm and in the opener, I hope to see Gary Moore’s Early Du Lemo (12.35) go one better than when second at Newbury last time from a 1lb lower mark.
This will be the fastest ground the French import has raced on, but he was well supported at the Berkshire track last time and is open to further improvement. The selection will not get a soft lead with New Millennium in the field and, if he does get embroiled in a battle for the lead, then Windspiel looks a big danger at the foot of the weights.
Mad Jack Mytton (2.20) reverts to timber from a 5lbs lower mark then when finishing fourth at Cheltenham in a better race than today’s back in October. The selection blundered away his chance over fences here last time, but the handicapper does appear to have given him a chance.
Brecon Hill (2.55) lost nothing in defeat when runner up to the exciting Brewin’Upastorm at Huntingdon last time and I would be disappointed if he did not return to winning ways with underfoot conditions ideal. The talented stayer Monjeni is a fascinating recruit to the hurdling ranks for Ian Williams and a market move for the newcomer would be worth noting.
Mistress Massini (1.35) gave the impression there was much more to come when winning at Ludlow last week and he escapes a penalty for that success at Catterick, given it was a conditional jockey’s event. Rex Dingle keeps the ride and the selection is 6lbs “well-in” this afternoon. Do note he holds further entries tomorrow and Monday – he looks the type who could run up a sequence.
Only six go to post for the North Yorkshire Grand National and that must be disappointing for the racecourse executive. Little Bruce and Greyed A must go close as they receive plenty of weight from Sharp Response (2.45) but I hope the latter’s class prevails. Trainer Sue Smith has won the last three renewals of this valuable contest and this represents a drop in grade for the 8-year-old.
Jimmy Rabitte (3.50) can land the finale having done us a favour when landing a gamble at Taunton in a boy’s race over New Year. The selection would have to carry an additional 10lbs if this race were run at the weekend and I feel he would have been competitive in this field from his revised mark.
Sporting Chance will be a warm order in the opener at Meydan, but I believe there is more to come from Estihdaaf (3.05) this year and it was encouraging to see how forward the Saeed bin Suroor horses were last week in the opening week of their Carnival.