Past Winners » Warthog


I think that Secret Investor has a good chance of winning the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.  He was a progressive novice chaser last season, he finished second to Ok Corral in the Hampton Chase over three miles at Warwick and then, dropped down to two and a half, he won at Wincanton and at Ayr.

I had him down potentially as a flat-track horse, but he ran a big race at Down Royal on his debut this season.  He and Mengli Khan went fast early on, they set it up a bit for Real Steel, but there was a lot to like about the manner in which Secret Investor kept on when he was challenged by the winner.

He went down by 14 lengths to Real Steel in the end, but he can be marked up a fair bit on the bare form of that run.  Also, Real Steel is a 160-rated horse so, even on that form, Secret Investor has a chance today off a mark of 150.

He has never run at Cheltenham, but on his debut last season he won the Grade 2 Persian War Hurdle at Chepstow, which is not dissimilar to Cheltenham in terms of topography.  And he is trained by Paul Nicholls, who has won five of the last 10 renewals of this.

Nicholls also trains Brelan D’As, who has been very strong in the market, and he ran a big race in the BetVictor Gold Cup last time.  He is a nice horse, we had him on side when he unseated in Saint Calvados’ race at Cheltenham’s October meeting, but he is up 5lb for getting beaten last time, and he is short.

Good Man Pat will be happier dropped back down to two and a half miles, but he is short now too, and his jumping is a little bit of a worry.  Clondaw Castle is interesting stepping up in trip, and Cepage is obviously interesting on the back of his run behind Riders Onthe Storm at Aintree last time.  But he is up 8lb for that, he is short, and he has raced 14 times over fences.  He doesn’t have obvious massive scope for progression.

All that into the mix, and I think that Warthog is over-priced, and I am also getting him on side now.  David Pipe’s horse ran a big race in the BetVictor Gold Cup.  He was prominent from early in a race in which the protagonists came from midfield or further back.

The first two home, Happy Diva and Brelan D’As, both race in mid-division, and they came away from their rivals, and Slate House, who fell when going well at the second last fence, came from the back.  Warthog finished a clear third, and he was the only one of the first five home who were better than mid-division early on.  The other prominent racers, Siruh Du Lac, Mercian Prince and Splash Of Ginge, were all pulled up.  Warthog wasn’t helped by the fact that the third last fence was omitted that day, and he was still there with a chance as they rounded the home turn.  He can probably be marked up a fair bit on the bare form of that run.

He was impressive in winning a novices’ handicap chase at Sandown last December on his chasing bow off a mark of 127, and he didn’t run badly in a similar contest at Haydock in February off a mark of 137.  The handicapper has left him on his BetVictor mark of 132, and he has a chance off that mark.  He has raced just five times over fences in his life, and this will be his second run back after a wind operation.  He has plenty of scope for progression.

WARTHOG WON (ADV 11/1, SP 7/1)