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Friday 27 February 2015

Betbright Grimthorpe Chase Preview

The feature race at Doncaster on Saturday, the Betbright Grimthorpe Chase (3.45), has only thrown up one winner at double figure odds in the last 10 years, but it is a handicap, and typically a competitive one at that, so there’s always the possibility of a ‘surprise’ result.

Right at the foot of the handicap – in fact, 1lb out of the handicap proper – William Money hasn’t seen a lot of racing in the last couple of seasons, but popped up at 22/1 in a 0-135 contest over 2 miles 7½ furlongs at Kelso earlier this month and may be capable of building on that effort. He steps up in class off a 4lb higher mark, so he’ll need to, but he loves good ground and the way he stayed on at Kelso, after being outpaced heading down the back straight, suggests that 3 miles 2 furlongs should suit him admirably at this stage of his career.

Another who falls into the ‘lightly raced’ category is Ian Williams’ 9-year-old Super Duty, who missed most of the 2013/14 season, but made a promising reappearance over hurdles at Wetherby four weeks ago. The Grand National is the principal target for the son of high-class jumps sire Shantou, but he only failed by 1¼ lengths to give 3lb to subsequent Bet365 Gold Cup winner Hadrian’s Approach when last seen over fences and is 4lb lower in the weights. He’s yet to win beyond 2 miles 5 furlongs, but was only just touched off in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup, over 3 miles 1½ furlongs, at the Cheltenham Festival two seasons ago, so stamina shouldn’t be an issue.

Wayward Prince lost his way completely in his second season with Ian Williams and, having returned to his owner, Hilary Parrot, at the start of the 2012/13 season appears to have done so again. The 11-year-old has only completed the course twice in his last five starts and was hopelessly tailed off on both occasions, including in this race last year. On that occasion, he gave Night In Milan 14lb and was beaten 68 lengths into seventh place; this year, he receives 22lb from the same horse, so is 36lb better off. Wayward Prince has returned from the doldrums before and, while it’s asking a lot for him to do it again, his current handicap mark of 124 is the lowest it’s ever been.

Our friends the enemy have been very slow pricing up the Grimthorpe Chase this year, so I’ve had to make an educated guess about likely prices. Super Duty may not, I suspect, fall into the ‘outsider’ category when the prices do appear and Wayward Prince is likely to be a ‘War Of The Worlds’ sort of price – 1,000,000/1, geddit? – so, in a break with tradition, I’ll row in with just one selection, William Money, this week.

Selection: Doncaster 3.45 William Money