Past Winners » Shantou Bob
I am backing Rolling Dylan and Shantou Bob here in what is a good each-way race.
Rolling Dylan is clear favourite, but he is the most likely winner of the race by a fair way in my book, and it is worth backing him at 4/1. Philip Hobbs’ horse was a nice progressive novice last spring, and he stepped up on his novice form on his debut this season, when he finished second behind Laser Light over two and a half miles at today’s track in late October.
He stepped on that again next time at Uttoxeter, when he stayed on well again over two and a half miles to win well. The form of that race is working out really well with the runner-up Above Board winning since, and the third horse Melrose Boy running well in defeat since.
The handicapper has given Rolling Dylan a mark of 124 for this, his handicap debut, and that looks decidedly lenient even on the bare form of his recent performances. Add to that the fact that he shapes as if he will improve for a step up to nearly three miles, and that, just a five-year-old who has run just five times over hurdles, he has lots of scope for natural progression anyway, and he has a big chance. The bonuses are that the good to soft ground is ideal for him, and that he ran a big race on his only run at this idiosyncratic track. He is well worth his place at the top of the market.
Shantou Bob is also over-priced at 9/1 in my book, and it is also worth backing him at that.
He was a high-class staying novice hurdler two seasons ago, he finished sixth in Martello Tower’s Albert Bartlett Hurdle, and, after just one run in a truncated campaign last season, he shaped really well on his debut this term.
Weak in the market before that run in a Pertemps Qualifier at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting, he wasn’t suited by the sedate early pace, and he got outpaced when they quickened on the run around the home turn. He stayed on really well from the third last flight, however, running on well to take second place behind Solomn Grundy, who ran a big race at Wetherby yesterday off a 7lb higher mark.
Shantou Bob gets to race off just a 1lb higher mark of 137, which is 6lb lower than his peak, and that gives him a real chance. He goes well on soft ground, but he won his maiden on this good to soft ground. It should be fine for him and, if he can step up just a little on his seasonal debut, he should be right in the mix.
SHANTOU BOB WON (SP 10/1)
ROLLING DYLAN 2ND (SP 9/4)