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Preview 11 April 2008

4-40 Ascot K-Fit Veterans Handicap Chase Class 2 0-145 Good 3M

1. El Vaquero - Was highly regarded over fences in his earlier days and setbacks have taken the edge of the horse in recent years for top connections and comes into this handicap today. A grade 1 novice winner over fences he has regressed since those days and was no match for Master Minded latest in a handicap. Still that form has been franked and over this longer distance he could well bounce back to some sort of form in a condensed handicap for older horses. The ground should be ok for him even though more give would give him a better chance, but he is entitled to build on his form over 3M with only one effort over this far.

My rating - 133

2. Briery Fox - the first of two handicappers in this race for Henry Daly and is paired with his usual jockey Mark Bradburne who gets on well with this horse and could well reverse the form with Tango Royal from the good effort latest. Ease in the ground will only enhance his chances and a dry day and night will not do him any favour even though he stays the trip well. Maybe handicapped up to the hilt given his rivals here today he is quite exposed as a handicapper even though against similar types here and is some what better suited to a easier track then this, but often goes well this time of year.

My rating - 135

3. Tango Royal - Continued the good recent form of the Pipe yard who have become a force again with the ammo that they have at Pond House and bounced back to form last time to beat Briery Fox who he meets on worse terms here today and while that rival has a better chance of turning around the table with the old boy, he has quite a fair bit in his favour for another big run with his listed class form in the book still giving him a handicapping edge. However he is up against some decent horses dropping down the weights and being quite near the top of the handicap he may well struggle to follow up here.

My rating - 134

4. The Bandit - Often gambled on to win his races and has been a great servant for his current yard and returns over fences after a spin on comeback run over hurdles in which he should be much better for. A decent run at Ludlow back in May Last year over fences in a lesser race then this off top weight he could well hold a decent chance at the weights if in that kind of form. However the ground has gone against him and he may be best waited with until Scottish Grand National day and a easier race then today as he looks in the grips of the handicapper at this level. Timmy Murphy is a interesting booking for the horse but he may want further then this.

My rating - 130

5. Rakalackey - The second runner for the Daly yard and one that shouldn't be to easily discounted in the make up of this race with class 2-handicap form to his name. Weighted up to his best form his recent form with a cracking run against Naunton Brook back in November stands up well and was every bit as impressive as his run away win at Market Rasen in September and could be set for a profitable campaign this summer in top handicaps. Handles good ground well and has form lines with a few of these and stays 3M well including trips on a stiff track such as this and if jumping well should stay on to good effect in the latter stage of the race and goes right handed much better then left so is most probably on his best track and this could be a good indication for the Whitbread gold cup at Sandown later this month.

My Rating - 138

6. Kelrev - Didn't cover himself in glory in the Racing post plate at the festival and was well beaten at a track that he goes well at and may be on the down grade these days having ran well in graded handicaps in the past. This however is a step down in class and he may have dropped enough to give it a good shout today given that 3 miles might be a step in the right direction. The ground is ideal for him and he is always of interest in races such as this. If he does stay the trip he could well bounce back to the form here today and if you take his performance at Cheltenham on New Years day as a pointer in a better race he could well do himself justice in a handicap such as this.

My rating - 136

7. Cool Roxy - Loves a sharp track and a gaff track so today does look totally against him as he steps up from his comfort zone to take on better quality opponents and from this weight has very little chance. However some of his hurdles form gives him some sort of chance having finished 2nd to Flake in a class 2 handicap hurdle recently and might surprise a few today with a bigger run then his likely odds suggest he is capable off. However he is well exposed over trip and on good ground and while there is no expected improvement and the course is stiffer then he would ideally prefer he isn't a total forlorn hope in the make up of this race.

My Rating - 132

8. Limited Edition - Carl Llwelyn hasn't had the best of seasons after making a instant impact as a trainer the year before and his Limited Edition has the hallmarks of a horse that has been tried to hard and suffering from the handicapper not lowering him enough to be pitched in at a easier class of race and even though connections will be pinning there hope on him improving over these staying trips, he needs to improve massively to have a say in a handicap such as this and until proving his worth at this level he looks best looked over here.

My Rating - 116

9. Out The Black - Has only completed one of his last three runs and that was well behind the run away winner Charlies Future who has franked the form since. The hope with the horse has to be that the ground will play a major factor in him completing a race over this trip as he has got earlier form suggesting these are his ideal conditions. Philip Hobbs has had a strange season and recently has seem;y turned the corner with most of his horses and out the black goes well this time of the year. However he has never really shaped with much promise when tackling this class of opponents and often his jumping doesn't stand up to a strong test and needs to drop quite a fair bit to have a chance of landing a race of this quality and looks a fair 10lbs wrong in the handicap around a stiff track that takes some jumping.

My rating - 115

10. Snoopy Loopy - One of the lighter raced horses in this race for older handicappers and the 10yo has some solid form in recent months with the race he gave to Silver Sedge the pick of them last time out and could well run a big race today with improvement at 10yo not totally out of the question as he seems to improve with every run over this trip so far. The handicapper may have had his say with this horse but it wouldn't be out of the ordinary if he was to overcome the another hike of 5lbs for 2nd and isn't without a chance despite being 18lbs higher then his highest chase win mark. Some rain would increase his chances

My rating - 135

11. Model Sun - Was a subject of a gamble last time out at Uttoxter in the midlands national in which the run away winner could well land the Scottish national next week if the ground comes up soft. Beaten quite far by that rival he isn't without chance in a handicap at this level and from this weight he could well be regarded as regressive over recent seasons having gone well in grade 3 handicaps. The ground suits his action and he has gone well on this better ground in the past and may make the effort last time better then it looked as the ground was more testing then ideal. Has gone well on a stiff track in the past and could be better right handed then left where he has been tried more in his career. Has a few things to prove, but is getting close to being handicapped.

My rating - 130

12. Native Coral - Comes into this race in form and seeking a third straight win over fences and hurdles even though the two races he has won doesn't compare to this handicap, he is clearly going the right way and with him needing to find improvement to win of this mark at this level it isn't against him finding it as we get to the bottom of the horse ability. Certain to do better at this level then when last contesting one. That day two and half years ago he finished in front of Tango Royal but isn't as well weighted with that rival, as he was that day. However with an unexposed edge it would be no surprise to see him confirm that running this much later on. Ground and trip should suit and Brian Harding has gone well on this straightforward horse in the past so the now retired Tony Dobbin shouldn't be to badly miss.

My Rating - 137

13. Iris Royal - was a great servant for Nicky Henderson and the 12yo is still in the same ownership, as when with that yard, but now he is with a smaller trainer who could dedicate more time to the horse who has clearly had his day. Dropped right the way down the handicap since landing grade 2 chases and could be regarded as well handicapped if ever finding his old form. The change of yard is unlikely to see a turn around in his chasing career, but the 5lbs claimer does help him at the weights and he may be able to run his best race for sometime over fences with failure to complete on last two starts, return to the form shown behind Mister apples may have him involved from a low weight at this level, but he is on the downgrade and isn't one to go to overboard with those efforts very much in the memory recently.

My rating - 133

Tissue Prices - Rakalackey 5/1, Native Coral 6/1, Kelrev 7/1, Briery Fox, Snoopy Loopy 8/1, Tango Royal 9/1, El Vaquerro, Iris Royal 10/1, Cool Roxy 12/1, Model Sun, The Bandit 16/1, Limited Edition, Out The Black 25/1.

Verdict  A nice handicap for the older brigade and some proper seasoned handicappers in this race that Henry Daly should have a strong hand. The first string would appear to be Briery Fox on the odds in the post and expect him to be well supported with the Tango Royal pointing to him. However the stable mate Rakalakey looks to be handicapped to go well and has the right profile for this race and could well come out on top here. Native Coral is on the upgrade and respected but may just have to settle for a minor role, while Kelrev who could benefit for this step up in trip is another overpriced at the suggested 16-1 in the post.

Selection  Rakalakey 2pts win @ 12-1 (BF16's) + Kelrev 1pt win @ 11-1 (BF13's)

Well Chief