Charlie Longsdon’s Pete The Feat will attempt to win his sixth consecutive race when he runs in the Classic Chase at Warwick this afternoon
Up 40 lbs in the handicap and with a rating that has improved from 92 to 142 this season; the front running Pete The Feat has been a revelation for the Charlie Longsdon. It is a hard not to draw parallels with the meteoric rise of Hunt Ball last season and who knows where Pete The Feat’s season will end. Crockford was there in a driving rain at Newbury when the horse notched up his fifth victory this season but today will be a much stiffer test again. At Warwick he will face what appears to be a revitalised local hero in Restless Harry following his recent Newbury victory and the useful Bradley from Fergal O’Brien’s yard. If he can draw the sting out of these due to another bold front running display then Cheltenham just like for Hunt Ball last year may not be just a pipe dream.
The highly regarded The New One runs this afternoon at Warwick in the Neptune’s Novice Hurdle (3.00) and should make light work of his opposition. The interesting clash in the (1.50) between Highland Lodge for Emma Lavelle and Rocky Creek for Paul Nicholls should provide excellent form lines and clues for the chances of horses looking to compete for the novice chases at the Festival. Given the vibes that have surrounded the Nicholls horse Crockford expects a big showing from him today.
The Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton (2.40) this afternoon is a fascinating renewal in which Crockford is uncertain of which Henderson horse provides the strongest option. Bear’s Affair won impressively last time out but the form of those behind him has not worked out and the trainer himself admits the weight is an anchor on his chances. Henderson’s other fancy Oscara Dara has strong form and his attracted market attention this morning and may present just the safer bet. Charlie Longsdon could provide the surprise in the race and earn himself a big race double with his course and distance winner Loose Chips.
Crockford wishes good luck to Olly Stevens who has his first runner as a trainer today at Lingfield (12.50). The former Ger Lyons horse Hard Walnut may prove himself a hard one to crack for his rivals and in so doing provide Stevens with his first winner from his first runner.
Crockford’s Dead Cert – Holywell (2.25 Warwick)
The run of Holywell in the fixed brush hurdle at Haydock caught Crockford’s eye and with Maurice Linehan claiming five on the Jonjo O’Neill horse he seems well in. His strongest rivals appear to be Grand National contenders (The Package, Sunnyhillboy and West End Rocker) who may all be tapped for toe against this younger horse. With the yard in form and as shrewd as it is, expect Holywell to be in the winners enclosure this afternoon.
Crockford’s Whisper – First Avenue e/w (3.10 Lingfield)
The participation of this horse in an all weather contest at Lingfield leapt off the page to Crockford. Often hurdlers when you look back at their form lines have run well at 1m2f and this dual performer travelled well recently in his last hurdle race in desperate ground at Ascot. Quotes in the morning papers have him at 14/1 which is outstanding value.
Archer’s Selection – The New One (3.00 Warwick)
The shrewd Archer would have always listened to his colleagues and would have known the talk in the weighing room and yards is that this horse is Festival bound. Good bumper form and a nice early season win at Cheltenham would certainly have made this Archer’s ride.
Crockford’s gambles around the courses this afternoon:
Warwick – Rocky Creek (1.50), Holywell (2.25), The New One (3.00), Pete The Feat and Bradley e/w (3.35)
Kempton – Oscara Dara e/w (2.40), Golden Chieftain (3.15) and Ivor’s King e/w (3.50)
Wetherby – Shotavodka (12.30), Poole Master (1.05) and Ubaltique (2.50)
Lingfield – Hard Walnut (12.50), Waabel (1.25), Speak The Truth (2.00), First Avenue e/w (3.10) and John Lightbody (3.40)
(Featured photograph – The 2012 Mandarin Chase at Newbury by Stuart Rice)
(Photograph – Pete The Feat winning the Mandarin Chase at Newbury by Stuart Rice)