The final national hunt meeting of the year for Catterick racecourse takes place on Wednesday 7th March, before they switch their attention to flat racing. I was hoping to go to this one, but unfortauntely it drops on the same day as the Doncaster Cheltenham preview evening, where I will be and the times make it impossible for me to do both. Doncaster wins, and I’ll have to wait for the end of 2018 to visit Catterick for a jumps meeting.
Anybody interested in the Cheltenham preview at Doncaster, I’ll post a blog up with my notes on Thursday morning after I’ve digested them all, so do check back.
Anyway, onto the meeting at Catterick….
No often you see a horse rated 129 running in a selling handicap hurdle, but we do have here. Unfortunately that means three of the five runners are out of the handicap, making this quite an uncompetitive affair. The favourite is the 129 rated Hurricane Hollow, a horse which looks like taking a whole lot of beating. However, it is a surprise and a worry that he has been pitched into selling company. The second favourite, and only likely challenger is Young Tom, another horse who is surprisingly put into selling company here. This isn’t a race to get too involved in, and if Hurricane Hollow performs anywhere near what we have seen from him in the past then this race is there for the taking. Young Tom has only had three runs over hurdles, and there could be more to come from him, and if I was forced to pick a horse I’d probably side with him due to the odds. However, like I said, it’s not a race to really get involved in, and a rather uninspiring start to proceedings.
This looks to be a nice little novice chase for the track, with three decent horses in the five strong field. Verni ran a nice race on chase debut just over three weeks ago, and can go one better here. He may be nine year old, but he is still a relatively fresh horse, and looks to be a horse who can win races over the bigger obstacles. I’m not 100% sure about De Dollar Man, he should have won at Wetherby last time and didn’t go through with his effort. With the twists and turns really testing horses at Catterick, I don’t personally want to be on a complicated ride. Cracking Find is worth a mention, as is any Sue Smith horse at Catterick, although he will need Verni to perform below par if he is to trouble the judge. At 4/6 Verni isn’t my type of price, but looks to be the one to beat in the second.
Trainer James Nash sends Alohamora across the Irish sea again to raid Catterick. He sent her across for a race in February where she won nicely to record a victory on her first hurdle start. She ran to a similar level when finishing 4th in a Grade 3 hurdle in Ireland, and back down at this level once again she looks to be dangerous. French import Quick Wave looks interesting, but it will take an above average performance for her to win on debut around a track as sharp as Catterick. Kaloci ran well under a penalty last time, but will need to find better opportunities that this if she is to win carrying the additional weight. All roads point to Alohamora here, she looks to be a great bet assuming that Quick Wave is nothing special, priced at 7/2 at the time of writing.
This could turn out to be a very trappy race with just the four runners going to post. The most straight forward horse in the field is Uno Valoroso, who is likely to bowl along in front. This track favours front runners, and if he gets an easy lead he could be tough to reel in for the rest of the field. Leap Dearg looks interesting on old form, but has struggled recently, and until he shows more I am more than happy to pass on him. Dica is running extremely well, despite his advancing years, but the way this race is set, he could struggle to peg back the leader Uno Valoroso, who is my pick at around 7/4 at the time of writting.
Tickanrun has gone up 6lb for finishing second on his last two starts. That’s not the ideal type of profile for a horse but he has ran two very good races against promising types. He looks to have a win in him, even off this higher mark but with plenty of experience he will take a lot of beating here. A 7lb claimer on board negates the additional weight he is carrying, another positive for the horse that I just can’t seem to go against. Houndscourt has a penalty for winning at Southwell last time, but that is not a horse to trust, and one who has been up and down for a while now. Brian Hughes is an interesting booking on the bottom weight Broadway Belle, but as an eight year old maiden, she doesn’t really stand out off the page. The more I look, the more I go back to Tickanrun, so he is the bet at 11/4 for me.
Hunter chase races are not really for me, I always struggle to compare the form between rules racing and point to point races, so I will leave this one alone.
The bumper ends the card and ends the national hunt season at Catterick. This looks to be a match between the proven form of Sea Story and the potential of point to point recruit Colorado Gold. It is impossible to know what Colorado Gold will achieve under rules, she could turn out to be useful though and is well related. This isn’t a race to bet on, but I’ll certainly be watching Colorado Gold, in the hope of picking up a form clue.
2:50 – Alohamora (7/2, win) (NAP)
3:20 – Uno Valoroso (7/4, win)
3:50 – Tickanrun (11/4, win)