Staying with Man Of Harlech

December 18th, 2015 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

I should probably have had the courage of my convictions with Village Vic at Cheltenham last week. The principals in the Paddy Power Gold Cup had clearly been given just that bit too much to do and were vulnerable to a lightly-weighted horse from a top yard. Philip Hobbs excelled himself here, going to Musselburgh for a fair handicap chase by that course’s standards and earning a rating 7lb higher. That took Village Vic on to ten stones exactly in the Caspian Caviar race and he was always galloping over the opposition.

The big race at Ascot on Saturday is The Ladbroke and it will take some sorting out. The enigmatic Renneti is probably worth including and I have some regard for Unanimite, who would have been very fairly handicapped with top-weight absentee Sign Of A Victory. Jolly’s Cracked It enters the reckoning on that form-line as well, of course.

I shall come away from it and have a little each-way on Edward Harty’s SORT IT OUT, who got himself behind in the County Hurdle and jumped moderately before keeping on gamely all the way to the line, going down by weight lengths to Wicklow Brave. He has not been seen for a while but that does not seem to matter nearly so much these days and the form is certainly strong. It is hardly a race to prompt major investments but he takes the eye and may have a little more improvement in him.

For a long time last season I thought THISTLECRACK was the type for a valuable long-distance handicap hurdle but he went on improving and finally won at Grade 1 level at Aintree. With Colin Tizzard’s horses in fine form, he started in style at Newbury the other day and I am happy to rely on him in the Long Walk Hurdle earlier on. The market will be interesting with Saphir Du Rheu ‘doing a Big Buck’s’ and reverting to hurdles after a modest effort in the Hennessy Gold Cup. He is a threat but Thistlecrack is in good heart and may be the value in the race.

We found MAN OF HARLECH each-way in the Cambridgeshire, where he finished fourth, and Andrew Balding has clearly identified the AW as his preferred theatre of operations over the next two or three months. Man Of Harlech started in style at Lingfield recently and is the type to make up into a solid Listed performer in this sphere. There will no doubt be a small army of Elite Racing Club members on hand for the Coral Quebec Stakes at the Surrey venue on Saturday and I think he can handle the step-up in class. Quite a few of the usual suspects are due to line up and the one I fear most is Mme Pia Brandt’s Metropol.