Seeyouatmidnight To Thrive

October 31st, 2016 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

There was a good card of jump racing at Carlisle on Sunday, where the highlight was the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase.

The race had promised an intriguing three-way clash between More Of That, Bristol de Mai and Seeyouatmidnight but Jonjo O’Neill decided to withdraw More Of That on account of the ground, due to concerns over a couple of areas which were deemed quicker than ideal.

The market beforehand on the two remaining runners suggested Bristol de Mai would be hard to beat, trading at 2/5 with his rival at 15/8, but that was not an accurate reflection of their chances on form.

Bristol de Mai had a chase rating just 4lb superior to his rival, while over hurdles Seeyouatmidnight was actually rated 5lb higher. The 2m 4f trip was probably shorter than ideal for Seeyouatmidnight, but Carlisle has the stiffest finish in the country so stamina was always going to play a part.

In the end it was jumping that won the day. Seeyouatmidnight was sent into the lead and from the outset you could see he was relishing the job, gaining an advantage over his rival at virtually every fence. There was a point turning for home when the favourite looked a threat, but Brian Hughes asked the leader to pull away and the response was impressive. At the line he had 12 lengths in hand of his rival.

On the book, taking the ratings literally, Seeyouatmidnight ran to a mark of 166, 16lb higher than his current chase rating of 150. That leaves him about 10lb adrift of the Gold Cup market leaders, but on softer ground and with the benefit of this race behind him there is scope for further progress.

As to the future, I asked Brian Hughes afterwards about the Hennessy and he said, “I don’t want to see him getting his balls pulled off in handicaps. He’s too good for them.”

That is frustrating for those, like me, who have backed him at 25/1 for the Hennessy. He would now be the best part of a stone well in compared with his new mark, while the problem with the Gold Cup may be the ground.

Whatever the future holds Seeyouatmidnight is just the type of chaser northern jumping fans warm to. A tough gutsy stayer, from a low-profile yard, he has the class and talent to make an impression down south.

Earlier I spoke to Nigel Hawke, who came all the way from Devon with two horses. Both finished third, with Lord Ballim staying on well at the finish of the 2m 1f novices’ handicap. He is one to keep in mind for a similar race on soft ground.

Bye for now