Thursday 26 April 2018

watch out the one to watch at market rasen

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Blossom King will probably start favourite for the Beginners' Chase at Market Rasen tomorrow.

An encouraging second on his first start for six months at Worcester recently, Tom George's six-year-old competed against better opposition when also placed on his initial two chasing starts last winter.

However, all of Blossom King's best form -- including his sole career win over hurdles -- has come over two miles, and he is far from certain to stay tomorrow's trip of two miles and four furlongs.

Admittedly, he has plenty going for him if he does manage to see out the trip, but is opposable at short odds when there is a viable alternative at large.

Watch Out, rated seven pounds inferior to Blossom King but set to compete off levels, is the horse to side with. Three times a winner over further, most recently taking a handicap hurdle over two miles and six furlongs in March, the Dai Burchell-trained gelding doesn't lack pace.

When third on his fencing debut at Cartmel, Watch Out ran over two and a quarter, and found only a 139-rated hurdler too good off level weights, in a novice chase over two-five at Worcester last time.

Given that his chasing mark is just 103, that kind of form gives him serious credentials -- so it would be no surprise to see him trouble the favourite at the forecast odds of 9/2.

Sam Thomas, who partners Blossom King, may not have to wait long for compensation if that one flounders. In the following handicap chase, he gets the leg-up on Viper, which he has got to know on the gelding's first two starts for Richard Newland.

First time out, the partnership was a well-beaten third at Market Rasen, before improving to go down by little more than a length next time.The extended trip of three and a quarter miles seemed to count against Viper then, as he raced reluctantly near the finish. The drop back to two and a half will help .

Newland has also opted to put a visor on the eight-year-old for the first time, and that is sure to focus his attention. Off a mark 24lbs lower than which he last ran off over flights, Viper should be hard to beat.

Irish Independent

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