At Kempton, Master Blueyes & River Wylde both put up very decent, but probably slightly short of top class, performances. River Frost (who won the 21 furlong handicap hurdle off 133, 11-10) acts as a good guide to the form.
Neither race was strongly run. MB and RW clocked almost identical times between the 1st and 3 out, with River Frost only 0.4 seconds slower in the same period, despite the race being over 5 furlongs further.
Between 3 out and the line, River Frost clocked around 77 seconds with Master Blueyes around 76 seconds and River Wylde the standout at around 73.9 (largely due to a very fast 3 to 2 out sectional).
Assuming River Frost ran to a mark of around 138, I would suggest (taking into account the distance differential) River Wylde ran to between 142-144 with Master Blueyes running to about 130.
Charli Parcs would probably have won had he stood up in my view, but he would still have been a good way below his debut performance here at Christmas. Given there was no notable left when he came under pressure, I can’t really see why he struggled in the middle part of the race. Perhaps it was just inexperience, or maybe there’s a reason for his running flat. Either way, a repeat of today’s performance wouldn’t see him a Triumph let alone a Supreme. Disappointing from my perspective!
Frodon puts up a very smart performance:
Over fences, Frodon put up the best performance of the day. He led for much of the way, jumped well for pressure and proved himself likeable and straightforward as well possessing a good cruising speed.
Between the 1st and 3 out, he was 4.65 seconds faster than Pilgrims Bay in the same period in the Betbright Chase. From 3 out to the line, he was 1 second slower, but that would be expected given the weight differential and the strong early pace.
Assuming Pilgrims Bay ran to 135 (carrying 10-2), Frodon (11-5) would have to be adjudged in putting up a performance of around 155, which fits in with his previous handicap win at Cheltenham. He would undoubtedly run well at Cheltenham Festival 2017, but Kempton looks to suit him perfectly and, given how he often tends to finish weakly, you’d fancy a few of them to outgun him up the hill. Aintree looks the more suitable option and, going there as a fresh horse, he’d have a big chance. He might even be an interesting long shot for the King George VI at 25/1 given how easily he travels although, similar to TeaforTwo, he’s likely to find one or two classier, stronger stayers to beat him.
In the immediate short-term, Gold Present could be going into the festival a well-handicapped horse. He ran huge, despite quirkiness, and could easily have pushed Frodon close had he run straight. He’s entered in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed Race) and would have a big chance on a repeat of today’s run.
Dinaria Des Obeaux was awarded the race on a technicality, but was definitely the horse to have taken out the race. She’s a strong traveller who just lacks a tactical change of gear at a crucial stage, before finishing well. Today’s clock performance was very good again and reinforces my view that the Juveniles in Ireland will hold sway at Cheltenham. I would fancy her to run well in the Triumph, before going on to play a big part in next year’s World Hurdle. Ex Patriot is a decent horse too, although is likely just short of top class.
Clocked a a very impressive closing 3 furlong sectional at Wolverhampton (in the early-to-mid 35s) suggesting that he remains well-handicapped. He has a super turn of foot, and would appear to be at his best in small field mile races where they go steady. Shamrokh lacked the same turn of foot, but battled on bravely and will likely be the scopier horse for the future. He too remains well-handicapped.
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