Le Prezien form reads well

November 18th, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

It is always galling when horses come nowhere near justifying their official rating and that was the way of it with Vintage Folly at Doncaster last week. She was well backed and came close to landing the Listed race over ten furlongs but found one a shade too good in a tight finish. As she was rated 16lb superior to her conqueror, it hurt a little.

My selection for the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday would have been Venetia Williams’ Aso, who ran well to be fourth on his seasonal reappearance in the race last year. This time he went to Aintree and finished fifth in the Old Roan Chase and I thought that would leave him spot-on for this but there is an alternative opening for him at Ascot next week.

In his absence I have no strong thoughts, although the Foxtail Hill-Le Prezien form from the opening meeting here may prove significant. When he is absolutely right – and many of Nigel Twiston-Davies’ are at this time of year – Foxtail Hill is pretty smart around here and Le Prezien did well to run him close, especially as some of Paul Nicholls’ horses were looking just in need of a run. LE PREZIEN is just my choice and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Twiston-Davies giving him most trouble again, possibly in the shape of Splash Of Ginge.

Barry Geraghty could have a good day because, in addition to Le Prezien, he also rides Minella Rocco in the marathon handicap chase over 3m 3f. There was some late, inspired money for Minella Rocco in the Gold Cup itself and he finished an honourable second. He ran well in this race last year and has had a prep outing in Ireland, so I think he will go close to carrying a formidable burden to victory.

I’d have gone for Richard Hannon’s George William in the good mile handicap at Lingfield but he is another absentee. It might be risky to assume GABRIAL (each-way) is not the force of old. True, he has taken on top milers in his time but he always looked a tip-top handicapper more than anything else and top weight may not stop him. John Gosden simply mops up races like this on the AW and Utmost looks a threat, together with Fahey’s other runner Third Time lucky.

I can be a bit of a sucker for foreign visitors to our green and pleasant land. Consequently I’m bound to look closely at MAKING TROUBLE in the Listed race over 6f on this card, partly because he finished a good fifth at Group 2 level at Baden-Baden last time and partly because quite a few of the familiar faces will be wondering just how long they’re meant to keep going.