Bailey and Bass heading for Uttoxeter

November 12th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

The only source of profit last Saturday was Growl’s last-gasp victory in the Wentworth Stakes at Doncaster. He has been on the go for a long time and is a credit to Richard Fahey but I think he will be flying very high in Hong Kong if invited over for the big sprint in December.

Withernsea needed softer ground in the seven-furlong handicap and George Bowen has simply become disappointing, though he will be on a very handy mark if Fahey perseveres with him next year.

I spent an enjoyable evening at the Lygon Arms in Chipping Campden on Thursday, talking about the old days with Kim Bailey, Jim Old and Sam Morshead before a dinner audience of about 40. It was also a preview evening, of course, but very few people had studied the Open Meeting in any great depth so I was very pleased when Astracad landed the nap just about everywhere – telephone line, Wednesday Weekend Card and the Lygon.

I haven’t a great deal of information to pass on but Kim has a few runners at Uttoxeter on Saturday and stable jockey David Bass will be there rather than Cheltenham. The horse the trainer picked out was ALFIE’S CHOICE in the maiden hurdle. Clearly he must have come on and jumped well at home because here is nothing to get excited about following his one outing in a Carlisle Bumper last season. Still, it means we get a price and maybe there will even be some each-way value.

In the big race at Cheltenham I respect the chances of Frodon, whose 5lb penalty will be partially offset by Harry Cobden’s claim, though I’m bound to say this looks much harder than Wincanton last week.

Much depends on the weather because I wouldn’t rule out Venetia Williams’ Tenor Nivernais at a very big price if it comes up soft. He is well handicapped with last year’s winner Annacotty and Village Vic and the trainer knows how to get them ready first time up. Having said that, Tenor Nivernais has very little form on ground faster than soft so we need to keep an eye on the weather.

WINTER ESCAPE has clearly been laid out for the Greatwood on Sunday but his ante-post price is wholly unrealistic after three wins in novice company on flat tracks. When he was 10/1 he was fair each-way value but 11/4 is way too short and even the 7/2 likely to be available on the day makes little appeal. He would need to be different class, which he may well be, but the advice is to have a saver in the race, as well. Interestingly, Alan Potts – not well and unable to attend on Thursday – sent through a few thoughts and can see Dan Skelton’s NORTH HILL HARVEY running a big race.

Rather more controversially, he is far from convinced that Barry Geraghty has recovered mentally from the fall which ruled him out for several weeks. I have no strong opinion on that and would need to watch quite a few races to decide, but it’s a fact that Barry has ridden very few winners this term and Potts is one of the shrewdest guys around. If he’s right, Winter Escape’s backers have another reason to doubt the value. An interesting day!

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