'We've always seen him as a chaser' - smart Boothill starts out over fences
Friday: 1.50 Newbury
Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boosts Chase (The Fulke Walwyn Trophy) | 2m½f | 4yo+ | RTV/ITV3
How confident should you be when backing a horse on their first start over fences? Asking yourself whether they have the size and scope to succeed in chases should be the first port of call, while assessing the opposition obviously ranks high on the list.
Recent trends is an important factor, too, and the pitiful record of chasing debutants in this 2m½f contest has to be noted. Royal Regatta (2014) is the only horse in the last decade to make a successful switch to fences in this race – and he did so against sub-par opposition, as proved by an RPR of 143 (lowest in the last eight years).
Celtus could finish only second in 2011, Black River fell in 2013 and Full Shift trailed home eighth in 2015. All three were favourites (4-5, 5-4 and 7-2 respectively). Two other chasing debutants from a relatively small sample have failed to complete in this race.
That is the challenge facing likely market leader Boothill, L'Homme Presse and the Nicky Henderson-trained Mister Coffey and Cascova, albeit the latter was set to make his chase debut seven days ago but refused to race. All four have the scope to progress in this sphere but Newbury is a tricky starting point and the value may lie elsewhere.
Solo and Fifty Ball have previous experience over fences and drop down in trip after flattening out in the final furlong on their most recent outings. Perhaps the latter, who finished second in the Betfair Hurdle at this track in February, is the horse to beat.
It would be remiss to ignore Not Available, who has run seven times over fences and remains new to the Matt Sheppard yard after switching from Henry de Bromhead. He has plenty to find on figures, but is worth following once he's sent over a longer trip.
Race analysis by Tom Collins
What they say
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Solo
He ran a brilliant race to finish second at Ascot, where the four-year-old who beat him [Nassalam] was helped by the weight allowance. He'll have a good chance.
Nicky Henderson, trainer of Mister Coffey and Cascova
I'm looking forward to this with Mister Coffey – it's a big day in his life and one we've been waiting for a long time. It'll be exciting. He was keen one day at Huntingdon as a novice hurdler, but he settled down last season. Cascova will be great and I don't know why he didn't start at Ascot last week. He won't do that again and he'll run well.
Harry Fry, trainer of Boothill
It was a great run on his return from a layoff at Ascot and that should have brought him on. We'll walk the course on arrival to check the ground is suitable for him, but hopefully we can start him out over fences and his schooling has gone well. He's very lightly raced, done very little wrong, and we've always seen him as a chaser.
Gary Moore, trainer of Fifty Ball
I was very pleased with his chasing debut at Sandown and he’ll have come on for that. If he takes to the fences around Newbury, he should have every chance. His form is very strong.
Reporting by Jack Haynes
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