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Preview - 25 Apr 2008

5:10 STANJAMESUK.COM NOVICES' HANDICAP CHASE (CLASS 3) (5yo+,0-120) Winner £7,806.00

Horses to consider

Lord Sampison (14/1) – Bit of a controversial runner last time out over 20F at Carlisle where he was seemly going the best up the home straight to suffer a less then power packed ride in the finish and would be no surprise to see the horse turn out to be better then he showed that day in which was a very poor race overall. This is a much better race then he contested last time with the introduction of a former grade 1 horse in the picture in the shape of Champagne Harry. One of the most lightly raced chasers under rules in this race he has a fair amount of racing ahead of him being just 7yo and can no doubt pick up some small races along the way. His only attempt on better ground came under his first race under rules and he was beaten some way and if anything he is quite one paced and may well need the give underfoot to be at his best it would seem. Stays the trip well, but would need a stiffer test then this in my view.

112 – Racing today is quite poor overall for a Friday, unless you enjoy 3yo handicaps on the flat where there is countless amount of improvers and can be a mine field to work out, so this rates as the best handicap of the day and most of the performers have achieved class 4 racing standard in recent weeks which makes it a weak affair in comparison to the race rating. The run at Carlisle was his best performances with give in the ground and the fact it was most recent shows the horse in good health with himself, however the conditions today are very much likely to be livelier then ideal for the horse who has to improve on the last run at the weights today. Is likely to continue going the right way but one may be stronger in the finish.

Kalmo Bay (10/1) – Ferdy Murphy won a race in Ireland this week with his novice hurdler who ran so well in the weak Scottish Champion hurdle handicap and is a force to be reckoned with at this time of year. One of the stable lesser lights it would seem with very patchy form so far in novice handicap chases, he is open to improvement on better ground which is a must for this horse. Well suited to a galloping tight right-handed track such as this as proven by his handicap win at Musselbrugh two runs back, he should see every yard of this trip out at this track. Needs to find further improvement to win of this mark at this level he has been reasonably heavily raced for just a 5yo and may needs more time between his races before we get totally to the bottom of the horse.

117 – The effort last time at Newcastle was average in comparison to the run before and Raining Horse was an easy winner as he picked up 2nd prize money thanks to the 2nd departing. The fact he was outpaced over that trip suggests to me that the small field didn’t really help the horse as they quickened and he is better judged on his win the time before where he got the run of the race which is more likely today and travelled up smoothly on quick conditions to take it up readily, with drizzle around the spring type ground should hold out to not be on the slow side of good as it would need to be quite deep to have a chance of being testing enough for this time of year and he should improve on last run to have a say in this handicap with a interesting claimer taking the weight rise back down to a respectable level.

Spirit Calling (16/1) – Another that has been lightly raced for a 7yo as he takes only his 12th start under rules and even though he pulled up last time he is tried and tested under these conditions and trip and its hard to see much improvement coming from him on this type of ground. There is no problem with the trip as he stays very well and maybe a stiffer test would have been more beneficial to the horse chances as a stiff track has seen him at his best and with the conditions quite lively underfoot he may just get outpaced. He does seem to be well handicapped for this race and he is lightly raced for a 7yo suggesting that he should hold his form in this race today.

118 – If you overlook the last run at Musselbrugh where he never seemed to be travelling his form isn’t too bad over fences with good place efforts at that same track and Carlisle the time before. The ground on each of those occasions should have been ideal for the time of year with him able to get his toe in. Stays the trip well enough he may find this less then ideal and happening to fast for him, but he is weighted well and lightly raced so not a total lost cause for a shrewd yard.

Native Coll (9/1) – Has to turn form around with Barney on the run at Carlisle and is more then capable of doing so over this further trip that is ideal for him. Tried on tough going in the past he has improved for better ground but is a unknown quantity on ground this fast. Open to all sorts of improvement on this ground if he likes it he will have no problem in reversing the form this time around as he was sticking on stoutly and looking at his profile and breeding this better surface could well be more then ideal and he rates as a good chance of turning the form around and going well at this level. Quite lightly raced he should be fit and ready for this today and could be ahead of the handicapper in terms of how he weighs up in this race over this trip.

119 – Best effort was last time at Carlisle where he stayed on well over a shorter trip and is much better weighted with his victor today, which is a massive bonus for the horse. The better ground has to be the only slight concern but his form from that race rates as one of the best coming into this race and no doubt he is on the upwards curve now stepped back up in trip.

Lockstockandbarrell (9/1) – A faller last time at Ayr this 9yo is another very lightly raced chaser and should still hold his best form with some potential improvement to come in this race today, the field is made up of potential improvers even though it is a weak race for class 3 status and Lockstockandbarrell will enjoy the improved conditions underfoot. Only had two previous chase races in which both have come on very soft surface he has struggled to really shape with any promise over this 20F trip and might just find the in between distance against him having gone well over further and shorter then this trip.

116 – The last run at Ayr was his best performance in recent months and that is despite the fall as he was travelling well with in himself from the front before coming a cropper at the last, when looking set to earn a win, so potentially he runs here without a penalty which is interesting. The improved conditions underfoot can just improve him further having shown good solid form on good ground over hurdles and maybe he might be ready to finally run a big race over this trip having looked set for victory last time even though potentially a stiffer test of stamina sees him home well. Slightly a better race this time on step up to class 3 companies but it isn’t a great race and the improvement may mean he can overcome the step up to this level.

Lofty Leader (33/1) – A Perth specialist and one that has pretty much the most ideal race for him in terms of field size, how the race is to be run and the ground and trip around here to be at his best. Could be on the decline as he has been heavily raced for a chaser over this distance, but that is more likely to come next season I feel and he should still hold his form that has seen him win at a class 4 level which should be good enough today with only the rapid faller champagne Harry having achieved more. Well weighted and another big run should come from him at this meeting as he is solid this time of year.

119 – 3 pull ups since the performance at Carlisle back in October that would have him as a leading fancy for this race and maybe there was some reasons for those bad runs with the ground being tacky and soft enough on his last two starts and the time before the class of opponent just to good for him to overcome from that mark. Dropped back down the weights from that day he is well weighted in this race today given the opponents and the return here and better ground would spring no surprises if he returned to his best form.

Top Dressing (14/1) – Not the first horse and wont be the last that has seemly not gone on from the Howard Johnson camp and it may take some more time to get this horse jumping and travelling as well as you would expect from a Graham Wylie purchase. Forget the run at Ayr last time where the ground was racing on the untraceable and It maybe done the horse well to get of the extra weight on his back so he didn’t get bottomed out like the winner who was disappointing last week when turned out. Ideally suited to a bit of cut in the ground he should be kept away from extreme testing ground, which has proven him to be not as genuine as punters or connections would like. The conditions are likely to have him at his best even though he has very little in the way improvement; he is another that is lightly raced and well handicapped given the rivals.

118 – If you avoid the last two runs where he jumped poorly and maybe didn’t enjoy the conditions underfoot which he is quite a quirky horse and needs the ideal conditions, then his win over 2M is quite promising in the conditions of this race as it was on quicker ground then the last two runs. The step up in trip maybe the downfall for this horse who has problems with his jumping and settling and if he pulls to hard then he wont get home even on this sharp track that should be more then ideal. Dennis O’Regan has got on well with this horse and had a season to remember so it is a bonus that he is here and not in Ireland.

Verdict – A very open handicap in which there are plenty of chances and it isn’t a vintage class 3 handicaps for the track and maybe Lofty Leader can go close to landing this race for connections after running so well at this track in the past. He should still hold his best form and given that it isn’t the greatest class 3 handicaps 33/1 is a fairly big price. Native Coll at the bottom of the handicap has caught my eye and this step back up to 20F could well have him hard to beat and 9/1 is a true reflection of his chance as he is going the right way, while Lockstockandbarrell is out of compensation and is no surprise to see him priced at 9-1. Top Dressing has some stamina doubts while Spirit calling will most probably need further. Lord Sampison has more on his plate. Kalmo Bay at 10-1 seems to be fairly decent value for a trainer to keep on the right side of this time of year.

Selection Native Coll 2 pts win @ 8-1 (BF8’s) + Kalmo Bay 2 pts @ 10-1 (BF12’s)

Best of luck all

Well Chief