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Simply The Betts

Nicely backed before the 2m maiden hurdle, he travelled well through the race, in second place behind ultimate winner Lostintranslation. He was just a little keener than ideal down the back straight, and he was still probably doing a little more than Harry Bannister wanted as they rounded the home turn. So it wasn’t surprising that he got tired from the second last flight, he lost second place on the run-in and he was almost caught for third place by Black Op, who had been left behind by the front two at the third last.

This was Harry Whittington’s horse’s first run since September, and it was his first run over hurdles, so he should progress from it. This is often a good race, Jenkins won it last year, with Bags Groove, Captain Forez and Pingshou behind him in second, third and fourth, and the 2017 Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air won it in 2015. It could be a race which is worth monitoring again this season, and Simply The Betts should be able to win his maiden soon before stepping up in class.

Newbury, 1st December 2017

Willoughby Court

Willoughby Court put up a nice performance to win the Grade 2 2m 4f novices’ chase. His task may have been made easier than it might have been by the fact that main rival Yanworth made a few jumping errors, but he could have been called as the most likely winner from a long way out. Jumping well, he was ridden aggressively by Nico de Boinville, he took up the running half way down the back straight, and he stayed on strongly over the last two fences to repel the late effort of Yanworth. He jumped to his left at Huntingdon on his previous run, his chasing debut, but he looked very straight here at left-handed Newbury.

The Neptune Hurdle winner from last season, he should be able to progress from this now over fences. He is a good jumper of his fences and, only six years old, he is an exciting recruit to chasing. Trainer Ben Pauling said that he would be kept to this kind of trip so, given that he is a Cheltenham Festival winner, he has to be high on any list for what is shaping up to be a fascinating JLT Chase at the Festival in March.

Newbury, 1st December 2017

Master Of Irony

Master Of Irony can be marked up a fair bit on the bare form of the performance that he put up to finish 4th in the Gerry Feilden Hurdle over 2m. They went a really slow pace early on, they actually stood still for a few seconds after the tapes went up. He was held up in last place, he was about 10l behind the winner and pace-setter High Bridge as they rounded the home turn, and he got left behind in last place when they quickened off the slow pace. He stayed on really gamely from the final flight, however, to take fourth place. In another 100 or 150 yards, he might have won.

John Quinn’s horse was a big price here, but he obviously deserved his place in this listed handicap hurdle. He is only five and this was just his sixth race over hurdles, he had won three of his previous five races, and he can progress again, and he should do better off s stronger pace. It may be that he remains under-rated, for all that this run may not have gone completely under the radar.

Newbury, 2nd December 2017


Supasundae ran a really encouraging race to finish third behind Apple’s Jade and Nichols Canyon in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle on his seasonal debut. Weak in the market beforehand, Jessica Harrington’s horse was racing for the first time since he finished second to Yanworth in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree last April. Niggled along a little by Robbie Power on the run around the turn five furlongs out, he landed a bit flat-footed over the third last flight and suddenly he found himself last of the tightly-grouped seven runners as they started around the home turn. He stayed on well from there, however, over the final two flights, however, over the final two flights and all the way to the line to just snatch third place from Cilaos Emery, despite making a mistake at the last.

Winner of the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last March, and second to Yanworth over 3m in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree, he should progress from this run, his first run since Aintree, and he should do even better stepped back up to 3m. He has raced over three miles just once in his life, in that Liverpool Hurdle, when he put up one of the best performances of his career. He is still only seven, and he could take a high rank among the top staying hurdlers this season.

Fairyhouse, 3rd December 2017

Davids Charm

Davids Charm put up a good performance to win the big 2m 4f handicap hurdle, and there could be more to come. Settled towards the rear of the field and towards the outside by Rachael Blackmore through the early stages of the race, he made a mistake at the second flight, and he made another at the fourth last, just when he needed to be making ground towards the leaders. He made his ground wide around the bottom turn, and he was wider than ideal around the home turn, but he picked up impressively to hit the front on the run to the second last flight. That was early enough, he appeared to think that he had done enough, and it wasn’t a help that he got in tight to both the second last and the last flights and landed flat-footed, but he picked up well again on the run-in under a strong drive from his rider and was going away from his rivals again at the line, winning by 5l in the end.

It was a fine performance by John Joe Walsh’s horse. It was almost certainly a career-best, and he just continues to progress. It was only in June, six months and four months previously, that he won a handicap hurdle at Listowel off a mark of 95. He was racing off a 39lb higher mark of 134 on Sunday, and he made light of it. His improvement has coincided with the fitting of headgear, cheekpieces or a hood, and there could be more to come now. He has now won three of his four races in headgear, and he might have beaten Lagostovegas at Listowel in September had he not been squeezed out of it a bit as they started around the home turn.

The handicapper raised him by another 9lb to a mark of 143, but he could still go higher than that. He certainly did plenty wrong on Sunday, and he probably won with at least a little in hand. He is only six and this was just his eighth run over hurdles. Expertly campaigned by John Joe Walsh, he has the pace for this 2m, especially on this soft ground and with a fast pace, but he has won over 2m 4f and 2m 5f, and he could be even more effective at the longer trip.

Fairyhouse, 3rd December 2017