We have some decent enough racing in Britain for a Monday with Pontefract staging a typically competitive card for their final fixture of 2014 and Plumpton staging its usual classy novice chase on an otherwise average card. I have a local challenger for that race, plus one from the long distance race at Pontefract
Plumpton 4.00: De Blacksmith
When he shook up Uxizandre in this race twelve months ago – his first chasing start under rules, getting beaten just a neck by Alan King’s charge, a profitable novice chase season ahead looked assured. However De Blacksmith was not able to get his head in front in any of his six following races.
That means he remains a novice for this season however, and he did show enough last year even later in the season that a win has to come his way eventually over fences. Indeed although there are several highly rated rivals in opposition here, this could provide as good an opening as any. De Blacksmith has a good record at his local track, his form figures reading 1223, two more solid placed efforts being raised post Christmas.
He has inched down the handicap so is now 3lbs lower than for his good run last year in this race. There does not look anything of Uxizandre’s quality in here, with Azure Fly the classy horse, but one full of quirks than means he cannot be relied upon. Of the others Seventh Sky would prefer faster going, Auld Sthock could need the run and lacks chasing experience, Romeo Americo is best going right-handed, whilst Fergal Mael Duin looked a weak finisher last year.
Pontefract 4.40: Dan Emmett
After a steady start to his career, trainer John Wainwright looks to have found the key to Dan Emmett which is to apply cheekpieces and provide an extreme stamina test for his gelding. Therefore a first visit to Pontefract looks very much in order and it looks very much as if he will enjoy this first try at 18f.
He only began his racing career last winter with a couple of tries on the All Weather, and whilst he is clearly devoid of pace, he showed promise in two 12f runs at Southwell. Trainer John Quinn was happy to let him go and he was sent to join Wainwright for a first season on turf this summer. He showed little in his first three runs, but they were all on fast ground.
At Thirsk in August he was asked to run on soft ground for the first time, upped to 2m and fitted with cheekpieces for the first time. He responded in a strongly run contest with a 12l win, relishing every yard of the trip. We did not see him again until Newcastle last week – perhaps waiting for the weather to break and get some more give in the ground. It was good-to-soft at Newcastle and once again he was running on strongly at the finish over 2m. Therefore another 2f on this stiffer track and even softer ground should be ideal and he can race off the same mark of 70 today.
Plumpton 4.00: De Blacksmith – 11-2 BetVictor, Coral
Pontefract 4.40: Dan Emmett – 4-1 general
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