Head to Kent for Tuesday ammunition
Close again with the each-way double yesterday, as Miss M didn’t do what was expected and missed out on the extra place by one, although My Brother Mike ran well for second at a BSP of 11.521/2. Two near misses by one place with each-way doubles recently at both 25/1 and 14/1. I don’t think we’ve got to the bottom of Miss M and she remains one to watch closely.
While one urn battle has looked less than competitive this winter, another ‘Erne’ has been progressing for trainer Nick Kent. The 13:40 is a good Novices Handicap Chase too, but Erne River looks a backable price at 13/2, and might just be a little under-rated.
In three starts over hurdles he has won twice; by 5L and 8L at Doncaster and Warwick. Both those came last spring on good ground and soft so he is adaptable with going. His jumping at Donny was quite good, low and efficient at nearly every flight. He was a bit scruffier at Warwick with a mistake down the far side, and one late on, but overall, his technique has been good.
This will be his debut over fences, an interesting move from Kent, who has wasted no time at all in sending him over the larger obstacles.
He won a Point-To-Point in Ireland when trained at the Colin Bowe academy, as so many good horses pass through his hands. He beat Minella Drama in that, and he’s gone on to good things with Don McCain over fences and is rated near 150.
Erne River should stay this trip as he wasn’t stopping at Doncaster, but he’ll have to iron out his enthusiastic style as he was quite keen in both starts last term and almost carted his jockey Charlie Hammond into the lead.
His dam Lusty Beg is out of the grand Old Vic, and she has produced four horses and three have won. One was Passageway for Willie Mullins, who only had one start and beat Minella Indo in a Punchestown bumper.
Acid test for On Call down in distance
Another front-runner for the second selection today, and I am happy to give Grace Harris’ On Call another chance after pulling up when last seen in action.
He was on the battlefield in a stamina-sapping lung-burster at Exeter last time over 3m7f and just didn’t stay. Previously he’d won at his favourite track Chepstow with a 7L win from 109, which rated a personal best. It was a fine performance too as he was hassled for the lead and taken on, and the middle part of the race was quite hot in terms of pace, so he done well to stretch away.
His trainer Grace Harris has brought him on in fine fashion, as he was a frustrating sort over hurdles, but his jumping has been very good and he’s a stout stayer, so don’t be surprised if he comes off the bridle as he’s a big burly horse. One victory at Chepstow in October saw him hit 110.0109/1 in-running – and he won by nearly 3L.
At 5/1, he might be able to eek out some more improvement back in trip from 117, and he’s a big enough price to include in an each-way double which pays 37/1.
For pedigree buffs, a good horse of Jonjo O’Neill’s in Keepitsecret is a relation, and he was a decent stayer on good ground. Although his best relation is the late great One Man.