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I expected Singlefarmpayment to be ridden cold, but not as cold as he was, as he was never really put into the race at any stage. However, I don't think the ride was to blame for the result, as he was never making any inroads when Paddy asked him the question. Hopefully today we can have a couple of winners to start the new week off well.
LOST IN MONTMARTRE is a horse who connections must think is very well handicapped as she has gone off as favourite the last three times, and those were the first three chase races she's had since being transferred to England and Alastair Ralph's yard. She looked like a decent horse when trained in France, and when she came over here she was given a very steep hurdles rating of 130. She struggled off that high mark, but when the stable felt it was time to go over fences, she was extremely well backed in from big odds into 2/1F, where she ran with credit, but it was clear as day that she would be better over further. She ran well in her next race, which was over 2f further, but bumped into a well handicapped horse in Representing Bob, but when they stepped her up again in trip, she truly obliged and won with plenty in hand.
This race is a tougher assignment than the three runner race she won last time out at Hereford, but the manner in which she did it and the fact she's only been raised 4lbs makes her a very attractive bet, in my opinion. She clearly appreciates a flat track, as Hereford looked to be suited perfectly for her, and Kempton is somewhat similar to that track. Kempton is one of, if not the flattest jumps track in the country and suits front runners. The selection enjoyed a front running ride last time out, so hopefully they go for the same tactics in this tomorrow.
MINELLA DRAMA is a horse who could be a very smart novice chaser this year, and I'm very appreciative of the decision by Donald McCain to revert this lad back to a right-handed track, as it looked needed when he raced at Uttoxeter on his chase debut. He won well at Uttoxeter, and jumped good for the most part, but he jumped right at a lot of him fences, and when it comes to competitive races, you can't be giving easy ground away like that, so a return to RH track like Carlisle is a definite positive.
This isn't a novice race, and does have some experienced chasers lined up so it will be interesting to see how he fares. This is a very nice pot for this time of year for a race of this nature, so they will all be prepped and raring to go for this £26,015 prize. I do believe he is the best horse in this race, and I think it would be a real statement if he could beat this field in convincing fashion tomorrow, as these horses are no mugs.
Though some of the opposition do have good pieces of form, I think Minella Drama will have too much firepower for them. He was a very exciting novice hurdler last year, where he finished 2nd to My Drogo, who looks like a monster of a horse, and he finished a neck second to Favoir in a Grade 2 at Haydock. He appears well treated at the weights as well. He is the joint highest rated horse, but races off 11st 2lbs, and gets weight from 3 of the 5 horses who competes against.
Trainer Donald McCain is having a very good time of things at the moment, and his record in the last fortnight is impeccable. He is currently operating at a 36% SR in the last 14 days, which has seen him get 17 wins from 47 runners. Brian Hughes is also in red hot form as well, with 15 wins from 50 rides in the same time period (30% SR).
17:30 Newcastle - Race: 4
18:00 Newcastle - Race: 5
18:30 Newcastle - Race: 6