'If he stays he'll probably win' - expert view on Warwick's Grade 2 novice chase
McCoy Contractors 2020 Construction News-Awards Finalist Hampton Novices' Chase (Grade 2) | 3m, 5yo+ | ITV4/RTV
This race fully earned its promotion to Grade 2 level after producing winners like Black Hercules and American, but this year's running looks weaker. Only one of them has contested a graded novice chase with Ardlethen finishing last of three at Newbury.
That he has been priced around 7-2 all week tells the story. He might be up to winning a weak Grade 2, but in most he would be held.
Highest Sun is favourite and that reflects his potential, which would be the greatest in the field. His second to Pym at Ascot, in receipt of just 1lb, reads well and he has since won at Plumpton. That was a match though and he was quite clearly outstayed at Ascot, so the doubt over him remains stamina. If he stays, he will probably win.
Two For Gold and Roll Again have Grade 2 potential, but for them it is jumping that is the issue. Two For Gold went right constantly at Kelso last time and that would not cut much ice at Warwick, while Roll Again took one chance too many when crashing out at Kempton last time.
In the process, he wiped out Hold The Note, who reopposes. That horse had jumped pleasingly to that point, and travelled best in a strong novice chase at Ludlow on reappearance. He would not make much appeal in most Grade 2s, being rated 133 by the BHA, but he has clear potential beyond that and this is not strong for the grade.
Keith Melrose, betting editor
What the trainers say
Tom Messenger, assistant to Dan Skelton, trainer of Ardlethen
He's been progressing well. He won nicely first time out this season at Chepstow, the ground should suit and he has a good chance.
Mick Channon, trainer of Hold The Note
We’re very hopeful and thought he was a bit unlucky last time. We’ve got to find a few pounds but if we’d have won at Kempton we would probably be up near 140. We’re going to try and win but it’s a decent race.
Venetia Williams, trainer of Roll Again
Inevitably it’s a very competitive race. The handicapper has pushed him into these sort of races now as a novice, so we’ll find out how he steps up to it.
Henry Daly, trainer of Whatmore
The step up to three miles will be hugely beneficial to him. I haven’t dared do it before because he’s always been a bit keen, but he finally began to settle down during his last run at Haydock.
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