Steve Hughes previews another very good jumping card at Chepstow
There were plenty of early season pointers at Chepstow yesterday, including another big race win for The Young Master, pinpointing the resurgence in form of the Neil Mulholland yard. The English based Ulsterman can strike again in one of today’s feature contests.
Chepstow 4.00: Caroles Destrier
Last season was a write off for Caroles Destrier, but that was the case for plenty of Neil Mulholland’s string and things are going much better for the Wiltshire handler this autumn. He has plenty of well handicapped horses on his hands now and one of those is certainly this 10yo.
Perhaps his career best effort was finishing a strong closing second to Native River in the 2016 Hennessy from a mark of 148. He has not achieved anything like that since, but at least was a fair fifth in the bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of last season to suggest ability still remains.
Dropped another 2lbs for that run he is down now to a mark of 136, so given the improvement of the yard there is plenty of hope that he can recover his form today. The ground should not be a problem to him and a stiff 3m should be ideal having won over 3m5f in the past.
Chepstow 5.10: Baron Alco
It is taking a bit of a risk to side with a horse not seen since the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, but Baron Alco is a class act who looks well handicapped if anywhere near his best today.
He had a fantastic first season over fences in 2016/17, finishing in the first three on all six starts. That included two wins at Plumpton where his front-running style is heavily favoured. However more significantly he was second in the 2m5f handicap behind Road to Respect, and was second to the top class Top Notch in a Grade 1 at Sandown.
Given his absence the handicapper has been kind and dropped him 4lbs since that Cheltenham run and there should not be too much competition for the lead here. Softening ground should not be an inconvenience and he is a very sound jumper. Gary Moore used this meeting to good effect with stable star Sire de Grugy in the past and this contest will no doubt let connections know how highly to aim him for later season prizes.
1pt each-way- Caroles Destrier – 4.00 Chepstow – 6/1 general
0.75pts each-way – Baron Alco – 5.10 Chepstow – 8/1 Bet365, Paddy Power