Past Winners » Deep Purple


I am backing Deep Purple in this (at 14/1). I thought he would be much nearer the front of the market. It is not the greatest handicap chase ever run, a couple of them have had layoffs through injury, and a couple of others have taken a fair rise in the handicap. Do It For Dalkey is a highly progressive horse, but he is fashionable, he is short enough now, and Deep Purple has a much better chance of winning this than his odds suggest.

Evan Williams’s horse has never raced beyond three miles and a furlong and so the three-mile-five-and-a-half-furlong trip is obviously an unknown, but he has shaped several times before as though he will stay further than three miles, and this trip may be within his range now as a ten-year-old. He looked a strong stayer in last year’s Charlie Hall at Wetherby, when he stayed on from a long way back under a 10lb penalty to finish third, closing on the front two all the way up the run-in. He had seen the trip out well to win the previous year’s Charlie Hall, and he was far from certain to get the trip beforehand, that was his first run beyond two and a half miles, and he actually didn’t look like winning at any point up the home straight that day until the final few strides, it was stamina that won the day for him.

He is capable of going well first time out – both those Charlie Hall runs were seasonal debuts – and the handicapper may just have been a little premature in dropping him to a mark of 149. After all, he did finish third in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase last season, beating the useful pair Big Fella Thanks and Tartak, over a trip that is short of his best now, possibly by some way, and on ground that was softer than he prefers.

The ground today would ideally have been a bit better for him, the overnight rain is not in his favour, especially with him trying this longer trip, but a sound surface is not imperative for him, he has won a Peterborough Chase on good to soft, and the chase course at Sandown was not riding that bad on Friday so he should be fine on the ground. Evan Williams’s horses have been running really well over the last couple of weeks too. With the dead eight runners and some of the bookmakers betting ¼ the odds a place, he is an each-way bet.