Calico ran a great race in the handicap chase at Cheltenham last week and only just got pipped by Triple Trade in the final furlong, writes HARRY SKELTON.
Sometimes you just need to walk away and admit defeat, and that’s exactly what we did. He’s performing solidly at the moment and, following that race, has become more consistent so hopefully, it won’t be too long until he gets his head in front. All things considered, he ran a very creditable race, giving a bit of weight to the winner and did nothing wrong.
I was very impressed with Jonbon’s run in the Shloer Chase. He ran at a strong gallop on very soft ground which is what every very good two-miler needs to do, and that’s exactly what he does. He could go up in trip, but his main assets are that he jumps well, and he stays very strongly over the two miles.
I think it’ll be a great race come March against El Fabiolo.
💚💛 Jonbon dazzles in the Shloer Chase
🏇 13 runs
🥇 11 wins
🏆 G1 Celebration Chase
🏆 G1 Maghull Novices’ Chase
🏆 G1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase
🏆 G1 Top Novices’ Hurdle
🏆 Four G2 victories
⭐️ Superstar@sevenbarrows | @NdeBoinville | @CheltenhamRaces pic.twitter.com/iQ1Xu86sop
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) November 19, 2023
Unexpected Party ran creditably in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, but probably just found the ground a bit soft over that trip. We’ll need to have a look where we go next with him, but he ran well for a long way.
L’Eau du Sud obviously pulled up in the Greatwood which we were very disappointed about but we have since found out that he has some quite unusual ulcers so that explains his performance.
We’ll be looking to get that right and put a line through that run.
And now for Saturday …..
12.40pm betting.betfair.com Handicap Chase ⭐ STARSPORTS.BET PRICES ⭐
I start off on Real Stone in the 2m handicap chase. I think he’ll run very well and enjoy the ground up at Haydock. There aren’t many negatives really, it’s a small field and I think he’ll go well.
LAC DE CONSTANCE
1.15pm Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle ⭐ STARSPORTS.BET PRICES ⭐
Lac De Constance runs in the 2m2f handicap hurdle having run okay on his comeback at Aintree. He’s taken a step forward since that run at home, and we can see he’s just improved a little bit.
That said, I don’t think we’re quite where we want to be with him yet after just going a bit west over fences last year. We were on a bit of a rebuild mission then, but now he’s going back in the right direction and we’re hoping he can take a big step forward from Aintree. Whether that’s enough to see him win, we will see.
1.50pm Betfair Exchange Graduation Chase ⭐ STARSPORTS.BET PRICES ⭐
Grey Dawning is up against Gaillard Du Mesnil in the graduation chase. We’ve got quite a bit to find with him on figures but we’re looking to get out there again and gain some experience.
He’s come out of his last run really nicely and we hope he will run well, although we’re under no illusion that he’s up against a field of tough opposition.
& SANTOS BLUE
2.20pm Betfair “Serial Winners” Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle ⭐ STARSPORTS.BET PRICES ⭐
Sholokjack (pictured below) tipped up over fences last year, and is back over hurdles so we’re looking first and foremost for a clear round. Win, lose or draw he’ll come on for the run, but he’s a horse with plenty of ability and will be ridden quietly over this trip, so hopefully he can pick up some pieces and then we’ll have plans for him further down the line.
Ben Sutton rides his own horse Santos Blue who ran nicely at Aintree behind Crambo and has come out of that race well. Dan’s had this race in mind for him for a while now. It’s good prize money and we’re hoping he should go there with a fighting chance.
3.00pm Betfair Chase (Grade 1) ⭐ STARSPORTS.BET PRICES ⭐
It’s obviously no secret that this is the race we’ve had in mind for him and it’s a very important race that he’s very well trained for. We’ve used exactly the same formula of work we put him through as we did last year so he goes there with every chance.
Protektorat has been away three times to our grass gallops and seems in very good form. Fitness certainly won’t be an issue, as we know he enjoys easy going, so Haydock suits him really well and the ground won’t be a problem.
Obviously, we’ve got Bravemansgame to contend with who has a run under his belt and we’ve got to go there and try and beat him. If we’re ever going to beat him, it’ll be on Saturday, so we hope to go there and defend our crown. We’re very happy with him and look forward to going back to Haydock.
3.15pm Jim Barry Hurst Park Handicap Chase ⭐ STARSPORTS.BET PRICES ⭐
Frere D’Armes (pictured below) runs in the 2m handicap chase where Tristan Durrell takes off a valuable five pounds. He’s running really well at the moment so we’re hopeful that he can do the same again on Saturday.
He needed the run over course and distance a fortnight ago, and he’s taken a step forward since then. He’s a very burly type of horse and takes a lot of work so we’ve found it difficult to get him very fit first time. The drying ground will suit him, though, and he’ll go there with a fighting chance.