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Preview - 19 Feb 2008


3.20 The Frank Knight Novices handicap chase 2M 1/2F Good to soft

1. Sasso – Even though the absence of Tony Mccoy to these connections is quite a blow, the deputizing Noel Fehily hasn’t done his future any harm with some brilliant rides and a win of top weight on Sasso will only help to rubber stamp his emergence as a jockey. The horse has a lot of weight to concede to some more unexposed novices in this handicap chase having had four outings over fences so far. Successful over further then this two runs back he struggled under a penalty in a novice event last time and reverts to handicaps now in the hope of being more successful for connections. The drop in trip isn’t a major concern having shaped well over the minimum trip in the past, the ground is drying out from the over night frost and could be quite tacky under foot which wouldn’t be ideal under this weight. The unexposed types will have to amount to little in the make up of this race but he should hold his form and wouldn’t be the most surprising winner of this handicap but has a fair amount on his plate today.

Tissue Price - 10/1

2. Nanga Parbat – It would be wrong to see a feature race down in the west country without a Paul Nicholls runner and his Nanga Parbat who has form in better races then this could finally come good having struggled in both outings over fences so far. Put back over hurdles after unseating his jockey on his previous try over fences, he improved for the return to hurdles and then finally completed in his own time over fences last time out. Talented horse on his day and most probably the class act in the field unless one of the unexposed lightly raced horse improve to be decent handicapper in the making. You have to go back nearly two years for his last fetching performance in a Sandown handicap over hurdles and given time he could bounce back here today back to his best given that he still takes up residence at the champion trainer’s yard. Suited to the ground and trip around this track, the jockey’s claim makes him well weighted if he can hold his jumping together.

Tissue Price – 5/1

3. Space Cowboy – One of those horses that strikes when you least expect it too and that could happen today as his last performance over fences in a race such as this was easily forgettable as he shaped like a horse limited on progressive ability. Has had a few efforts over fences on his day can jump as well as any in this race and has in a way been consistent over fences so far. The fear has to be that on a whole he is quite exposed as a handicapper and could struggle to give weight away in this handicap let alone have answers for the potentially smarter horse above him in the handicap. Tacky ground doesn’t seem to suit him to well on the book and a 0-18 over this trip wouldn’t fill many with optimism that he is about to turn that around. Recent form is ok if you disregard the Ascot form last time and he does go well around this time of the year.

Tissue Price - 9/1

4. Climate Change – the first of the two real unexposed lightly raced novice chasers steps into Handicap Company for the first time over fences having finally shown ability over fences last time in what was a fairly substandard novice chase. Given a higher mark then the similar profiled horse to himself in this race and that maybe down to what mark he was allotted over hurdles in some shape or form. Has a fair bit to prove on what we have seen so far over fences but the trainer is one of the best when it comes to handicap chases and wouldn’t be a surprise to see the horse rapidly improving over fences now he takes on handicap company for the first time. Tried and tested at this level over hurdles but to no avail and shouldn’t be written off solely on hurdles form but one to gain more information on by watching his races. Has quite a bit in favour and may overcome recent tacky ground performances.

Tissue price – 13/2

5. So Wise So Young – Only one sole run over fences in which he did beat Climate change home but was no match for the classy winner of that handicap at Exeter. Does save some of his better efforts for Exeter with a fine 2nd place over hurdles at the track to a fair novice hurdler. However he has to show improvement in the same manner as climate change did last time out and get his jumping together and the view could well be that it may take him a while to be a betting proposition over fences. Exposed on what he has done as a racehorse over hurdles. The jumping game may well be the making of this horse but on what we have seen so far he may be better of as a watching brief at a level he struggled with over hurdles on countless occasions.

Tissue Price – 33/1

6. Fabulous Jet – Made a nice impression last time over fences in which he hacked up at the third time of asking over fences and left those previous two runs well behind and firmly looks to be going the right way. The performance he put up that day could have seen him stuck to novice chasings and not go the handicap path as he may have taken in a top novice event to see if he could be considered for the Cheltenham festival. The fact they go handicap novice chasing with him suggests he has been given a lenient mark by the handicapper in which he is firmly taking advantage off. Only raised 6lbs for that win he does take on better class handicappers then last time but in receipt of weight from the others in this race bar one is a big bonus. Has a lot in favour and if continuing his progression he should be hard to beat from this mark today.

Tissue price – 5/4

7. Compton Star – Firmly exposed handicapper over hurdles has now been given a chance to show how good he can be over fences, however he will need to jump and travel a lot better then he did when well beaten in last of 4 last time out at Chepstow in very testing conditions. Totally different race today in which he receives weight all-round, but he has plenty of miles on the clock and you have to wonder why they waited so long to get him over fences if he is a natural jumper of a fence. Sure that he will win a small chase race in the summer once the ground has turned on to the quick side which is his preference under foot. Today may be a little too tough for him despite the weights favouring him for the tacky conditions under foot.

Tissue Price – 16/1

Tissue – Fabulous Jet 5/4, Nanga Parbat 5/1, Climate Change 13/2, Space Cowboy 9/1, Sasso 10/1, Compton star 16/1, So Wise So Young 33/1.

Verdict – A small handicap for a Tuesday, but one with a interesting handicapper in Fabulous Jet, who looks to have a solid chance of following up his impressive win last time, where he jumped his rivals into the ground. The Paul Nicholls trained Nanga Parbat and Climate Change are the chief dangers to the Evan Willimas trained novice and a market move for the former could well make it a straight match between the two.

SelectionFabulous Jet 3 pts @ 5-4 (BF2.2)

Best of luck all

Well Chief