Saturday Racing Tips: Kate Tracey believes Shan Blue can upset Cyrname at Wetherby

Kate Tracey
Kate Tracey looks in-depth at how three races may unfold

Kate Tracey is back once again to analyse three of the biggest races this weekend at Wetherby and Ascot, who is predicting the favourite to falter in the Charlie Hall Chase...

"I have doubts about how Cyrname copes when the pressure is poured on. When this has happened previously, Cyrname started grabbing at his fences which halted his momentum and his race was over."

It's a Halloween bonanza on Saturday with some quality National Hunt racing in Britain and Ireland. There are plenty of early season pointers to take from all meetings as we begin to try and establish the jumping hierarchy for the 2021/22 season. Let's hope I can give more treats than tricks with my best bets in three fascinating contests.

Cyrname doesn't convince me at Wetherby

The feature race in Britain on Saturday is the 15:05 Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase over 3m where Cyrname currently heads the market. He's short enough considering he's pulled up on his last two starts and hasn't seen a racecourse since February.

He won this race last year on his reappearance and his first start since falling in the Betfair Ascot Chase. He's taking the same route this season again, with a requirement to bounce back. He impressed in last season's Charlie Hall however, he was entitled to. He was rated 13lb higher than his nearest rival last year whereas he's only 9lb higher than Clondaw Castle here.

In that reappearance win he was never put under pressure and was ridden wide throughout, giving him a sighter at his fences following his horror fall at Ascot.

I have doubts about how Cyrname copes when the pressure is poured on. When this has happened previously, Cyrname started grabbing at his fences which halted his momentum and his race was over.

Cyrname Ascot 1280x720.jpg

Paul Nicholls felt Cyrname sulked after pulling up in the King George because of not getting his own way in front. Hence the fitting of cheekpieces for the Betfair Ascot Chase.

The intention at Ascot was clear, to make all. There were doubts that Cyrname would get an uncontested lead with stablemate Mastertommy Tucker in the line-up as well as eventual winner Dashel Drasher. Despite the concern, Harry Cobden was determined to keep Cyrname's head in front.

However, Dashel Drasher became keen on the downhill run into Swinley Bottom and soon eyeballed Cyrname. Quickly Cyrname was out of his comfort zone, as displayed by the elbow movements of Harry Cobden to roust him back into the bridle. Shortly after, he performed his customary launch at the sixth fence from home and it was game over.

This second wind operation may make all the difference to him, especially for a horse who has worn a tongue tie in all his British starts. However, I believe the issue is in the horse's head. He hasn't looked the same since his titanic battle with Altior in the 1965 Chase at Ascot. At his current price, he has to be worth taking on.

The most likely horse to crack Cyrname for me is Shan Blue. Dan Skelton's runner is the only other likely pace angle in the race. This horse has the pace and scope to throw down a serious challenge to Cyrname on the front end. Shan Blue himself has been effective over this course and distance, as shown when bolting up in a novices' chase at this meeting last year. He has plenty to find on ratings with Cyrname but I believe there's only one horse likely to come out with an improved mark after Saturday.

His Kauto Star Novices' Chase success last season displayed his effortless technique. He made most in that Grade 1 contest and one by one, he broke his rivals with his fluent jumping, gaining lengths at each obstacle. Merely travelling in third gear in the main yet it was halfway down the back straight, at the final ditch, where Shan Blue really started asking questions of his rivals.

This increase in tempo saw Kalooki's jumping go to pot, Enrilo couldn't make up any ground and only the stayers were able to pick up the pieces in behind Shan Blue.

He's capable of posting that type of performance here. He's against superior opposition in comparison to Kempton admittedly, but there should be far more to come from Shan Blue now facing open company and is the likeliest to crack Cyrname.

Eye-catching performance at Chepstow

There are evident claims about the first three in the betting in the 14:10 Ascot Listed London Handicap Hurdle over just shy of 2m. Betfair Hurdle winner of last season, Soaring Glory makes his reappearance in this race after finishing fourth in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle on his last start. He had just 23 days between those two runs which may well have taken a toll and he's difficult to oppose for the win back in listed handicap company.

However, there is a runner in this race at an each-way price who is worth chancing to at least run into a place. That horse is Megan in the hope that she can take this step up in grade with this being her toughest task yet. She is a very well handicapped horse, as shown on her latest start at Chepstow.

She was still cantering on the turn into the home straight in the four-year-old Handicap Hurdle before taking a novicey fall at the third last flight.

Her hindquarters simply came up higher than her front-end and she knuckled over due to momentum. This filly wouldn't have travelled at that speed over obstacles in her career which can very often catch a novice out. She fell at what is a notoriously tricky hurdle at Chepstow. The general impression this particular hurdle gives is that the ground runs away from the flight.

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However, this is false and if anything, the hurdle is met on an incline. There is a downhill run on the swing into the home straight at Chepstow which forces races to unfold sooner than ideal.

Therefore, the pace is often wound up at this point and results in horse getting caught out due to the speed taken into the third last hurdle.

Megan can be forgiven for her latest fall when travelling into the contest like the winner. The one positive to take out of the race is that the handicapper couldn't alter her mark of 120 which she's able to run off again at Ascot. She is clearly over the issue that caused her to pull up sharply on her final start of last season and can also put this fall behind her.

The concern is she isn't going to get a chance to ease herself into the race against this opposition. However, they couldn't go quick enough for her early on at Chepstow so hopefully she can hold her own against graded performers.

Stuart Edmunds's filly remains nicely handicapped to run into a place at least at a decent price.

Well weighted pick can serve it up to the fav

The 15:20 Ascot Grade 3 London Gold Cup Handicap Chase over just shy of 3m is always a fascinating contest and this year is no different. Vinndication currently heads the market at the time of writing and should have all variables in his favour.

He still doesn't overly convince as a chaser despite his three wins from just eight starts over fences. However, all three of those wins have come at right-handed tracks. He's simply not as good at jumping fences left-handed as shown in his defeats at Cheltenham, Wetherby and Newbury. The reason being that he jumps markedly out to his right so last season can be written off with all four starts coming at left-handed tracks.

He should be far happier back at Ascot on what remains a feasible mark for him. His claims for the win are evident however, there is another runner at a bigger price who also has solid credentials back over this course and distance.

That horse is Mister Malarky who is a winner of a Grade 2 Novices' Chase over this track and trip in 2019. Before winning again in December last year in a Listed Handicap Chase again over Ascot's 2m7f180y where he had The Conditional and course specialist Regal Encore held.

He was too close to a frenetic pace at Kempton in a Grade 3 Handicap Chase in February and did well to finish third. He went on to pull up in the Grand National which was forgivable.

He returned this season with what looked a reappearance run as much as anything off top-weight in the Native River Handicap Chase at Chepstow. He ran well to a point after being outpaced on the good ground after the final fence in the back straight. His jumping had really, only kept him in his prominent position as he tried to live with the pace of a very well handicapped winner in Chirico Vallis.

The only other horse who could cope with the pace up front was Cobra De Mai who also was very well handicapped on old form having just his second start for a new yard.

A line can be drawn through the finishing position of Mister Malarky who still showed plenty of enthusiasm as well as posting a solid round of jumping in less-than-ideal circumstances.

The handicapper has given Mister Malarky 3lb back for that effort and with a further 7lb offset from Harry Kimber's claim, he looks very well weighted.

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