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Richard Hoiles: All change for my tracker with 5 released

19 Feb | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles: All change for my tracker with 5 released

The racing broadcaster reviews the best of the action from Ascot on Saturday and adds two horses to his tracker, with five going the other way.

You can follow all of Richard’s tracked horses with the Racing TV tracker.

A busy but rather frustrating week, with four of the five stable tracker runners making the frame but none getting their heads in front.

First up was the unluckiest one in Al Rufaa (second, 5/2), who was clearly the best horse in the race. He came from well off the pace, having pulled very hard in the rear, but found that the winner had gone beyond recall. He had also been very keen on the way to post so the defeat was largely self-inflicted, but he’s retained given that he looks ahead of his mark. A faster run race will make it easier to settle him and will suit his hold up run style more.

Later on the same card, Photon (second, 15/2) confirmed he had not been suited by the pace last time when finishing a decent second to favourite Green Power. While the winner got a nice spilt up the rail, Photon was not unlucky and is released as the ‘better than it appeared last start’ angle has gone.

Juventus De Brion (third, 18/1) was next up at Ascot and ran well in the face of a stiff assignment. He looked pretty much flat out early on but stuck to his task in admirable fashion, running on after the last to take third. There are plenty of options for him now, both in novice or handicap company – he qualifies for his mark having placed in both hurdles runs – and he is retained as he should be competitive next time, whatever route is chosen.

King’s Threshold (second, 5/2) placed again for us, this time at Wincanton, and again shaped as if 3m will suit. He has had a couple of chances now and the stable remain quiet, so he is released as he is not quite delivering at the business end, hanging to the left in the closing stages having been close enough if good enough.

Sisters In The Sky (unplaced, 4/1) had been included based on his being too close to the pace in a very strongly run race at Wolverhampton. He was very well supported in the market but never really got involved here, having to switch but essentially lacking the change of pace to get involved. He is released as well.

Running through and checking some of those on the tracker that we haven’t seen for a while, Alhambra Palace and Urban Outlook have both been sold to race in Australia, so they can be removed as well.

Review of the week

I had a few days away and a bucket list visit to the San Siro – if you haven’t been, then go! – meaning the only meeting to review was Ascot on Saturday.

In the opener, I have already spoken about Juventus De Brion’s promise. The market leader In The Waterside looked a big chasing type but needs to settle down mentally, having sweated up beforehand and been edgy down at the start.

The Reynoldstown was a weak renewal with little to interest going forward, but the handicap hurdle at 14:25 had a few points of interest. First, be suspicious about Bad’s attitude. He looked all over the winner going to the last but again only finished in the frame. The two positives were Arqoob, who came from far further back than the front two to grab third, and a positive first run in this country for the imposing OSTEND who shaped well for a long way at a big price. Alistair Ralph’s horses are going well but the stable are only 7/100 (A/E 0.81) with switchers and a big price suggested this was just a getting to know you exercise. It could well be different second up, so he is added to the stable.

The handicap chase at 15:00 looked quite shallow for the money, especially with Venetia Williams’ horses still running below par. It was more Victtorino’s jumping that let him down, but so far this has been a really quiet 2024 for the yard so they are best watched until things turn.

The feature race, the Ascot Chase, saw a puzzling decision to hold up Ahoy Senor give a big tactical advantage to Pic D’Orhy, and Harry Cobden needed no second invitation. Unlike Politologue in the Fleur De Lys, L’Homme Presse did not find the leader coming back after putting in an extra stride at several fences, losing momentum in the process. It also shows the importance of factoring in how important any individual race is in a horse’s season. Connections expressing their satisfaction in putting a horse right for Cheltenham means other objectives were more important than Ascot on Saturday, which is not the case for Pic D’Orhy.

Following the staying handicap hurdle I am going to take a chance and add in CROSSING THE BAR to the stable tracker. He stayed on from the back without ever really threatening, but is now below the mark of his last two wins, both of which were at Plumpton. They have a meeting on the 4 March that features a £10k race over the distance of both those victories, which would look a very good target for Neil Mulholland’s charge.

The bumper featured a smart turn of foot from favourite Anno Power, whose rider had been at pains to settle her for most of the race. The leaders got first run as a result, so she deserves credit for not only cutting them back but being well on top at the line. Quite a few of Harry Fry’s horses can be keen, so her progress may well depend on her losing that trait if she is to succeed at a higher level. The Aintree Mares bumper could be a future aim.

SUMMARY

RETAINED: Juventus De Brion, Al Rufaa

REMOVED: Photon, King’s Threshold, Sisters In The Sky, Alhambra Palace, Urban Outlook

ADDED: Ostend, Crossing The Bar

You can see the stable in full as it stands here.

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Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.