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Paul Gibson Takes a look at Potential Improvers from the Novice and Handicap Chase Division for 2018/19 Part one

15-August-2018 13:59
in General
by Admin

I have always found the Novice and young Handicap Chasers to be a fascinating part of my Jump racing calendar. What has always interested me is finding the horses that can improve and go on to better things, I tend to look for horses that are, in my opinion, going to rate substantially higher by the end of the season than their current rating,

I judge this by looking at their ability and potential through their p2p career onwards, through NHF and Novice Hurdles. I look at their pedigree, size, scope and the ability to jump a fence accurately at speed.

The following horses will hopefully improve in the manner I think they will and provide us with a good few winners at value prices. They are horses I have adjudged to be well handicapped and /or have more improvement in them given their right conditions and circumstances.

Some will obviously be very well known to you, but I am not trying, as Basil Fawlty would say " to state the bleeding obvious" , it does not matter if a horse is a household name or not, its the judgement of the level of improvement given the right circumstances that gives you the edge.

Hells Kitchen

This son of Robin des Champs ran no sort of a race when tackling a a Grade A handicap back in February having been sent off 9/2 fav. In his previous run at kempton Park on Boxing day, he outstayed and out jumped the field, running right through the line, showing there was more to come. He beat the Mick Channon trained Mister Whitaker, who has since won twice at Cheltenham, the latter being a Listed Handicap at the festival and is now rated 145.

Hells Kitchen is also on 145 and given the way and manner he beat Mister Whitaker and the subsequent franking of that form there could be a considerable amount of improvement to come on what should be a very workable mark. 20f...good to soft....just on soft side...absolutely not heavy, his action wont cater for that. Could go off at a nice price in a competitive handicap given the right conditions, Tracker Horse.

Belami Des Pictons

This unexposed French bred son of Khalkevi won three chases during the course of 2017, Two Novice Chases and a Handicap. He was only beaten in a Listed Chase at Carlisle in November 2017 by the great Waiting Patiently by two and a half lengths and he had the Nicky Richards trained Baywing 32 lengths back in third( now rated 149). Not seen since, we can only hope all is well and we will see him on track this winter as he is just the sort of horse the trainer, Venitia Williams, thrives with.

His rating of 148 looks very workable given Waiting Patiently is now rated 170.

All being well its very hard not to see the horse taking high rank in the staying Handicap division at least.......Competitive handicap at a grade 1/2 track....24f.....soft to heavy ground. 

Give Me A Copper

This Paul Nicholls son of Presenting is, in my opinion, very unexposed over fences, a very well built model, strong, robust, fences was always going to be his game and is exactly the sort of horse his trainer likes to buy. 

He won a Cork Bumper on heavy ground and subsequently won two Novice Hurdles at Exeter and Ayr with a poor sixth place sandwiched in between at Doncaster on ground that was much too quick for him.

In The Novice Hurdle he won at Ayr he beat the 142 rated Burbank, trained by the master of seven barrows, Nicky Henderson by three and a half lengths going away at the line and to be honest, watching the race its obvious that hurdles just get in his way.

On his Novice debut back in October, at Kelso, he went off odds on fav, but unseated his rider when he jinked at the path, there was no mistake next time out at kempton Park where his jumping was impressive, slick and fluent and although only a two runner affair, the manner in which it was done was taking.

Unfortunately he did come back jarred up,and his trainer put him away with this season in mind. Paul Nicholls talks in glowing terms about this horse and he could be top class. He already has a chase mark of 146 and could be absolutely anything, In my opinion a handicap win is a formality, whether or not its a value bet remains to be seen, I think graded Novice Chases over 3 miles on soft ground will see this horse in the best light.

Happy Diva

This 7yo daughter of Kings Theatre, trained by Kerry Lee, has to make the list running off her current mark of 140.

Her last run, in a Novice Chase at Ascot in March, she beat the Paul Nicholls trained Adrien Du Pont, now rated 144, by a length going away. Even though it was only a 3 runner race her jumping for a novice mare was sensational and the manner in which the race was wrapped up caught the eye in no uncertain terms.

Improvement will come when she is stepped up to 3 miles plus and soft/heavy ground prevails. Her pedigree, being out of Megans Joy, whose sire was Supreme leader suggests she will stay longer than the mother in law (and she stayed long enough) .

The form was also boosted by Rons Dream who won a Listed Handicap at Perth in April, Happy Diva had previously beat Rons Dream with ease at Bangor on Dee.

A bold statement I know, But I will be shocked if we dont get a good win out of this one.

Sainte Ladylime

This French bred mare, a daughter of Saint des Saints is another who is still well handicapped over fences and open to more improvement. She has been somewhat of a duel purpose horse albeit running to a good level. 

She is a 137 rated hurdler but only 132 over the larger obstacle's. Her last run in March at Wetherby was in deep ground where her jumping was not great,but still won by a cosy three and a half lengths beating the Nicky Richards trained Progressive drive (rated 134).

The form that really took my eye though, was her run at Uttoxeter back in November in a Novice Chase on Good to Soft ground, beating the above mentioned Happy Diva by two and a half lengths giving that horse 5lb with the much improved Ms Parois a further nine lenghts back.

24f Good to Soft/Soft ground Should see us in the money provided track and odds and race conditions suit.



Part 2 with 5 more horses will follow Thursday Morning with Part 3 the final 5 horses will be published Friday Morning


Paul Gibson ( twitter @sonofgib1209)


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