American still improving

December 2nd, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

There was a small profit last week, thanks to Clan Des Obeaux, and I think Frodon can go in soon, as well. He bumped into two very talented individuals at Ascot and, although hard to place, he generally produces his best form before the turn of the year.

These days, horses come to valuable races like the Ladbrokes Trophy, the former Hennessy, as fit as hands can make them so I wouldn’t worry about Harry Fry’s second-season novice AMERICAN coming here for his seasonal debut. I was hugely impressed by him at Uttoxeter last term and, even off a 9lb higher mark, he has to be on the short list. Label Des Obeaux is entitled to get closer at the weights this time but perhaps the main danger will be Nicky Henderson’s WHISPER, whose form against Clan Des Obeaux has been franked, even if the Kempton race was a match. Whisper is a classy sort, a bit more experienced that American, and I shall have to back the pair.

I look at the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle in a similar way. AIR HORSE ONE is fully exposed but Greatwood form at Cheltenham generally works out pretty well and he was a good fourth there. It could be a very good day indeed for Fry but there are dangers, of course, and MASTER DANCER fairly bolted in to give Tim Vaughan his first-ever Cheltenham winner. A 12lb hike is quite frightening but he will be hard to keep out of the frame and I shall save on him.

Buveur d’Air should win the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle without too much trouble. People will make last year’s winner Irving the main (or perhaps the only) danger but he has been on the go a long old while and I was quite taken by FLYING TIGER’s third last time. He is very fit after racing on the Flat and I shall support him for a place, though whether the forecast with Buveur D’Air, a place only bet or betting without the favourite represents the best value I don’t know. I guess the CSF would pay around 3/1 but there is always that slight risk that the favourite will slip up, leaving us with an unbacked 14/1 winner. Perhaps Irving is better than I think and it will be academic anyway, but I expect Flying Tiger to run very well and show us a profit.