Three chasers from last week to bear in mind next time out
3rd, Chepstow, January 19
Nothing was catching Becauseshesaidso at Chepstow last Friday, who finally realised the ability that had long been lurking just beneath the surface as he won by an eased-down 14 lengths.
Third-placed Badilou has been suffering from a similar malaise, albeit at a more modest level. Since switching to fences, however, he has looked more and more likely to get his head in front in Britain, where his mark has slipped 33lb from an initial 110 based on his two wins for Arnaud Chaille-Chaille in France.
At Ludlow in December, he came to challenge Red Square Revival before falling four out in a good race for the 0-105 grade and in Becauseshesaidso's race, despite late market weakness, he shaped a clear second best.
Held up by Jeremiah McGrath, he was among the last of those still going leaving the back straight and picked off wilting rivals all the way home to be beaten less than two lengths for second.
Few 0-100s have a Becauseshesaidso in them and Badilou looks ready to pick up a more typical race for the grade.
Moon ready to rise again
3rd, Fakenham, January 22
This time a couple of years ago, Halo Moon was one of the most progressive chasers around. He won three handicaps in 12 days and went up 23lb in the weights.
A long absence followed, the third of his career, and the apparent problems in keeping him sound are the major caveat. He even had a couple of months off after his comeback run at Bangor, but he showed the ability is still there when third at Fakenham on Monday.
The six runners in the race were all interesting in one way or another, but a muddling pace failed to sort them out and four came to the last with a chance. Popelys Gull fell and Halo Moon made what in the circumstances was a race-ending error, leaving Holly Bush Henry (who represented previous strong form) and the well-treated Morney Wing to fight it out.
The evidence that Halo Moon is up to winning off 122 is compelling, if not conclusive, but the added bonus is that as such a lightly raced horse he is totally unexposed over the staying trips for which he is bred. With stamina more or less proven, options for him increase, so long as Neil Mulholland can keep him sweet.
Hale showed a bit too much pace
Spirit Of Hale
3rd, Catterick, January 24
In low-grade staying handicap chases, any horse who is unexposed and enthusiastic has a jump on the vast majority of their rivals. Spirit Of Hale showed both, if anything a little too much of the latter, at Catterick on Wednesday and still has plenty to offer at a similar level.
Given the notably testing ground, Catterick's 3m1f contest was run at a good gallop throughout, which was increased by Spirit Of Hale and Ronnie Lawson well over a mile out.
The increasingly impressive Ross Chapman ultimately took advantage on So Satisfied, but in the circumstances Spirit Of Hale, making just his second start at three miles plus, did very well to still be within a neck and a nose by the line.
With just three chases and four handicap runs in all behind him, this half-brother to the same connections' Beauboreen, who won three times at three miles, should not be long in gaining a first success. If he is given a short break to get over Catterick, all the better.
It did not feel like much was learned at the top end this week. Acting Lass and Testify are very good novices, but we knew that already, while a couple of more promising midweek performances have been tempered since.
Ramses De Teillee (Chepstow, Friday) won a useful small-field novice in the style of a horse crying out for a return to handicaps, particular those with a big field, but the chances are that has been built into his revised mark of 148.
Looking back a little further, Terrefort's deeply impressive British debut at Huntingdon a week past Friday off 137 has been rewarded with a mark of 151, which calls for graded company next.
The form looked strong in theory but has already been dealt a couple of unexpected blows, with both placed horses (Bentelimar and The Boss's Dream) not living up to expectations in recent days.
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