14th July 2012
Stratford Betting: Top weight Passato to land Sunday's feature race at Stratford
3.50 Stratford: Birmingham Post Handicap Chase (For the Stratford Summer Cup)(Class 2) (2m1f110yds)
Just two National Hunt meetings have survived the weather in England on Sunday and the feature race of the day is at Stratford in the 3.50. A class 2 handicap chase for horses rated 0-145 and a first prize of nearly £8,000. Only five horses have been declared but all can be given some sort of a chance and the market leader is Nobunaga at 9/4 with Bet365.
The 7yo gelding trained by Venetia Williams has won two of his three starts this season and is also a course and distance winner. Stage Acclaim beat him at Ffos Las last time out but he was running 6lbs out of the weights that day and was racing on heavy ground. When he won here last month it was good ground and it will be similar here and is back on his revised mark of 122. He can be a difficult ride and often needs pushing along from someway out but does eventually respond to pressure.
The second favourite is the top weight Passato; he also has a victory here at Stratford in this race two years ago to his name and showed his well being with a win on the level at Warwick last time out, that was his second victory from three starts on the flat. His last venture over fences was at Newton Abbot where he was a close second to Doeslessthanme, which was a fair effort and has been raised 5lbs since. Trainer Jo Davis has been going well this season and has found a good opportunity for her 8yo here.
Tempting Paradise won back in May for Evan Williams after swerving the bad ground throughout the winter, he had been steadily dropping down the handicap but now finds himself back to square one with a rise of 8lbs and runs here just out of the handicap. He is the veteran of the race being a 9yo and it’s hard to visualise him improving much nowadays and may have to play a minor role here. The yard also run Get It On who is on a losing run of twelve races now. He often finishes in the frame but hasn’t had much help from the handicapper lately and needs to be eased a few pounds to get his head in front. He does drop back in trip slightly and that may help his cause and the jockey takes off a valuable 10lbs so is not without some hope.
The final runner is Deans Grange, he ran his first race after a six month break at Newton Abbot in May and battled on well to beat Mister Matt, he was raised 4lbs for next run and wasn’t disgraced behind the useful Rajnagan at Worcester at the end of June. He may want the ground a bit firmer than what he will find here but is a very consistent type and should run his usual solid race.
It’s a pity that only a handful of trainers have supported this decent contest but it should be an intriguing race never the less. The favourite can be tricky and although he has been fairly consistent he does seem to need a quick pace to run at and use his stamina close home. I’m not sure he will get that here and the top weight Passato may just have too many gears for him on this sharp track in a small field. The others look badly handicapped although the 10lb claim off Get It On may bring him into the equation.
3pts Passato 7/2 Ladbrokes
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Author: Ray Singpost