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Preview - 11 Feb 2008


4.15 Wetherby Handicap Hurdle class 3 Soft ground 3 Miles

1. Laertes – Looks to have regressed so far this season after promising so much in his earlier days over hurdles and no surprise to see him returning to this code in which he looks to cope better with then fences, the last run over fences confirmed that his jumping isn’t sharp enough to do him justice over fences, has a hard task here against more unexposed runners over hurdles of top weight but he does have a few things in favour and a return to form wouldn’t be totally out of the question.

Tissue Price – 16/1

2. Kealshore Lad – In the famous colours of Trevor Hemmings this horse looks the type to make up into a nice chaser with time and with more likely improvement to come could be very hard to beat at this level despite the fact he is at the wrong end of the handicap for this staying hurdle. Has ability in abundance it seems and with plenty in favour he can go close to continuing the great form of the Mccain yard with natural progression.

Tissue Price – 4/1

3. Fair Question – Another runner in this handicap that has most probably seen better days then he has been experiencing over fences of late and the return to hurdling did have a positive effect on the horse who if returning to his best could be hard to beat at this lower level then what he is capable of. Now 10yo he may just lack the natural speed to land hurdle races in comparison to chasing but given his jumping this should be his best bet for quite some time. Recent form has taken a up turn for the return to hurdles and has a fair few things in his favour to have a chance if staying the trip, however he is exposed and doesn’t have to much in hand of his rivals in this handicap.

Tissue Price – 16/1

4. In Dream’s – Needs to rediscover his best form having struggled here and Warwick on last two runs and return to the form he showed at Chepstow would have him very much the horse to beat in this handicap where he loved the cut in the ground and ran a blinding race to a staying type. Plenty of stuff in favour but he may be a horse that handles quirky staying tracks more then your conventional flat turning track such as this. Only 6yo he is quite well exposed now for a reasonably young staying type and with a few more lightly raced progressive staying types in the field he may just struggle to hold his own giving weight to them.

Tissue Price – 12/1

5. Freetown – The oldest horse in the field and the one horse who has most probably achieved the most in terms of bigger races then this, however there is no reason to think that the progressive stayers in this race won’t progress to run big races in listed handicaps as this 12yo and it’s clear that time is starting to catch the old boy up who has fallen in the handicap to this level, The last effort was good enough to give him claims at this level and there is few things that he has in his favour. The 3M trips however may be a little shorter then he needs these days in a small field and he may just get done for toe when turning into the straight for home.

Tissue Price – 14/1

6. Surricate – Trying to second guess Ferdy Murphy handicappers is never the easiest job in the world as the man is a master in his own right when it comes to getting his horses handicapped to land the big prizes and his unexposed hurdler here has some claims on what he has showed so far and there is certainly more to come from a horse that has been very consistent so far. Weighted to go well for Keith Mercer who will be number one jockey for the yard in absence of Graham Lee, he should handle this track and stay this trip well enough on breeding and the market should guide us to any positive vibes on the horse.

Tissue Price- 8/1

7. Giovanna – Has looked particularly good at the jumping game so far and has quite a fair bit more improvement in him based on the run last time at Newbury where he went very close to a solid staying type from the Philip Hobbs yard. Showed signs of immaturity that day he is certain to have learnt a lot from that run and is going the right way at present. Suited to the conditions of the race today and is at the right end of the weights for a progressive type at this level and could well gain compensation for that defeat last time.

Tissue Price – 100/30

8. See You There – put up a cracking run this time last year to win back to back chase races and ran a blinder at Hexham two runs back to finish 5th to Delray Beach in a decent staying chase in which he was a outsider to land showing that he is as good as he was this time last season. Not overly exposed there isn’t much in the way of improvement to come for the switch back to hurdles after a below par run at Haydock last time out. What he does have however is a nice racing weight and much in his favour even if not the classiest horse in the field and we know he is in good health this season so far and is interesting back under this code.

Tissue Price – 8/1

9. Matcho Pierji – Forgetting the unseating last time at Haydock behind Ballyshan the JP owned Matcho Pierji would have been close to the finishers in front and looks to have very little between him and Kealshore Lad on this drop in level today for this handicap, receiving weight all-round is a big bonus for this horse as he is dropped 4lbs in the weight and should have a big say in the outcome under the impressive Noel Fehily. With quite a fair bit of improvement to come he deserves to be on the short list at this level and could well turn the tables on the other well connected horse in the field.

Tissue Price – 9/2

Tissue Prices – Giovanna 100/30fav, Kealshore lad 4/1, Matcho Pierji 9/2, See you there, Surrcate 8/1, In Dream’s 12/1, Freetown 14/1, Fair Question, Laetras 16/1.

Verdict – Open little contest for Wetherby in which small fields is the norm and the progressive trio of Giovanna, Kealshore lad and Matcho Pierji are taken to have all the aces in this race with the preference of likely improvement and experience at the weight’s going to the Jonjo O’Neil Matcho Pierji with old adversary Kealshore lad to give him most to do.

Selection Matcho Pierji 1pt win @ 7/1 (8-1BF) + 2pts place @ 7/4 (15/8BF)

Best of luck all

Well Chief