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Sizing Tennessee

Sizing Tennessee would surely have won the 3m novices’ chase had he not fallen at the second last fence. Sent to the front early on by Bryan Cooper, he allowed Black Corton take it up from him at the top of the hill, but he travelled well down the hill again, and moved up on the outside of Paul Nicholls’ horse on the run to the home turn, where he went on. He was travelling best and was in front on the run to the second last fence, but he just got in too tight to it and came down.

Second to Black Corton at Newton Abbot over 2m 5f on his previous run, but 8lb better off here, he seemed to get his second wind on the run down the hill, he was probably all set to show improved form for this first attempt at 3m, and he will be of interest now over 3m again. He is nine, but this was just his sixth run over fences, so he still has potential for progression. He jumped a little to his right here, so he might do even better back on a right-handed track. He is a second-season novice, so he may have an edge over his rivals in novice chases at this stage of the season, but he is also interestingly-handicapped on a mark of 140.

Cheltenham, 27th October 2017


Cogry was very good in winning the 3m 1f handicap chase that opened proceedings at Cheltenham on Saturday. Settled in second place behind the early pace-setter Sonneofpresenting, he wasn’t helped by the fact that the leader jumped a bit to his right and that he jumped a bit to his left in behind through the early stages of the race, and he made a fairly significant mistake at the first ditch on the far side. That said, for a horse who has a fair few non-completions on his CV, his jumping was good. He travelled well down the hill, moved into the lead after they had jumped the third last fence and, even though favourite Singlefarmpayment and Viconte De Noyer moved up threateningly on the run to the home turn, once Cogry kicked off the home turn, it never looked likely that he would be caught. He was a little long at the last, there wasn’t much margin for error but, once on the landing side, he kept on well up the hill and he probably won with more in hand than the four-length winning margin. He was probably getting a little lonely in front.

This was a nice performance from Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse. He does have jumping frailties, but he obviously has talent and he can be very good when he puts in a clear round as he did here, and as he did when he finished second in the Scottish National last April, beaten just a neck by Vicente. To that end, Sam Twiston-Davies could be key, his record on Cogry over jumps now reads 11812121.

The handicapper raised Cogry by 6lb for this to a mark of 139, but this was his seasonal debut and, despite the fact that he was strong in the market beforehand, some of the paddock-watchers suggested that he could improve for the run. He should also be even better with an even sterner stamina test. It seems like he has been around for ages, and he might be under-rated as a result, but he is only eight, this was probably a career-best performance, and there could still be more to come.

Cheltenham, 28th October 2017

Le Prezien

Le Prezien ran a cracker to finish second to Foxtail Hill in the 2m handicap chase. He made a mistake at the first fence, but he settled into a nice rhythm after that behind the fast pace that the ultimate winner set. Moved to the outside down the back straight by Barry Geraghty, he made nice progress towards the lead, moved well down the hill and over the third last, and moved in between Foxtail Hill and Sizing Platinum as they rounded the home turn. At that point, he looked like the most likely winner, but he just couldn’t get past Foxtail Hill over the last two fences. He got to within a neck of him, and that pair of them quickened up impressively and pulled well clear of their rivals. It was a great battle between the pair of them, they clocked a good time, 0.24secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par, and both horses emerged from it with their reputations enhanced.

Le Prezien was strong in the market for this, his seasonal debut, but it is still reasonable to expect that he will improve. He is only six and this was just his seventh race over fences. Also, there is room for improvement in his fluency over his fences, and he could do even better stepped up from this 2m trip to 2m 4f. He has always been highly regarded, and he could continue his progression this season.

Cheltenham, 28th October 2017

Cloudy Dream

Cloudy Dream ran a big race to finish second to Smad Place in the Old Roan Chase, and he might have won had the ball hopped a little differently for him. Held up in rear through the early stages of the race by Brian Hughes, Malcolm Jefferson’s horse travelled well, he moved up nicely down the back straight, moved into third place behind Royal Regatta and Smad Place as they rounded the home turn, and challenged new leader Smad Place on the run to the last. It appeared as if he was going much better than Alan King’s horse at that stage, but he was a little short of room on the inside on the run to the last, and he got in tight to the obstacle as Smad Place flew it and landed running. He closed on the run-in all the way to the line, but he just didn’t have enough time to get there. He is a horse who probably doesn’t want to be in front for too long – remember that he was beaten by the rallying Flying Angel in the Grade 1 Manifesto Chase over this course and distance in April having hit the front on the run to the last – but he is a horse with lots of talent and he has lots of scope for progression.

An unlucky-looking second in the Scottish Champion Hurdle on his last run over hurdles in April 2016, he is only seven and this was just his eighth run over fences. Second to Altior in the Arkle last March after Charbel had departed at the second last, and winner of a Grade 2 novices’ chase at Ayr last April, he has never been out of the first three in his life, and he has never been out of the first two over fences. He stays this two and a half miles, and he could make his mark in graded chases this season, but he would also be interesting in a good handicap off this mark of 155.

Aintree, 29th October 2017

Presenting Percy

There was an awful lot to like about the performance that Presenting Percy put up in winning the 2m 6f beginners’ chase. He travelled well throughout for Davy Russell, and his jumping was very good. He moved up nicely in fourth place on the outside on the run into the Dip, and he jumped the last two fences really well, with the result that he landed over the last in front. He had De Plotting Shed on his inside at that point, and the pair of them picked up and quickened around the home turn, but it always looked like Presenting Percy was travelling better, and he stayed on best of all up the hill to post an impressive victory.

Pat Kelly’s horse won the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham last March, so this 2m 6f, combined with a not overly-fast early pace, would not have been ideal for him. But he showed a lot of pace into and out of the Dip before his stamina probably kicked in as they started up the hill.

This is usually a very good beginners’ chase. It has been won in the past by China Rock, Lyreen Legend, Last Instalment, Jessies Dream, Very Wood and, in 2013 by Don Cossack, and it looked like a particularly hot contest this season with Sutton Manor and Mall Dini and Free Expression in the race as well as the first two home. This is a race that could throw up a few horses who could take a high rank among the staying novice chasers this season, and both Presenting Percy and De Plotting Shed should progress from this now, but Presenting Percy is the most exciting horse to take from the race at this stage. He was weak enough in the market, he is more lightly-raced and he is only six. He has lots of scope for progression. Also, as a Cheltenham Festival winner, he can go on any shortlist for the Cheltenham Festival already, trained by a man who has top form in that regard, given that he has sent out the winners of the last two renewals of the Pertemps Final. The RSA Chase looks like a legitimate target for Presenting Percy at this stage.

Galway, 29th October 2017