Pacify to Represent Duchess of Cornwall at The November Meeting
Trainer Jamie Snowden is set to saddle leading novice prospect Pacify at Cheltenham’s November Meeting in what promises to be fascinating renewal of the Grade 2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (3.30pm) run over 2m on Sunday, November 17.
The seven-year-old, who was a smart performer on the level and rated 100 when in the care of Ralph Beckett, is a perfect five from five over hurdles this season .In the last of those at Kempton, Pacify made all and only had to be shaken up after the last to readily account for Cardigan Bay by 1 3/4 lengths in a seven-runner Listed contest.
It was a most taking display and the sponsors make Pacify, who is owned by the Duchess of Cornwall and Arsenal Chairman Sir Chips Keswick, their 9/4 favourite to go in again.
“Pacify is in good form and the plan is for him to go to Cheltenham. It was a lovely performance at Kempton and he has come out of it very well. He was obviously a very smart Flat horse, but we have been delighted with his transition to hurdles. We are going up into Graded company at Cheltenham, but he has done everything we have asked of him so far, and we are looking forward to seeing how he gets on.”
Pacify faces now easy task, however as he is likely to come up against the Paul Nicholls trained Ecco who finished a fine sixth of 14 to Pentland Hills in the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. The lightly-race four-year-old is unbeaten in two starts this season, scoring easily at Wincanton and Ascot.
Those wins have earned Ecco an official rating of 141 – 1lb higher than Pacify. It suggests that he could be value at 100/30 with Sky Bet to complete the hat-trick in a race which will certainly throw-up plenty of clues for the future.
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Highly-Regarded Birchdale Favourite to Make Winning Chase Debut
Birchdale is set to make his eagerly awaited debiut over the larger obstacles in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase on Friday, November 15, (2.25pm) and is the 7/4 favourite with Paddy Power to make it a winning one.
This gelding was purchased by owner JP McManus after winning his sole start in an Irish point and then joined champion trainer Nicky Henderson. He was sent off the 9/4 favourite to make a winning debut for the seven Barrows handler in a 17-runner maiden hurdle at Warwick and his supporters never had an anxious moment.
After racing in mid-division, he made smooth headway to take up the running two from home under a confident Barry Geraghty and quickened smartly on the run-in to readily beat stable companion Clarendon Street by four lengths. That victory saw Birchdale sent off the 6/1 second favourite for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but Bitcdale was never travelling well at any stage and was eventually pulled-up.
However, his handler has always insisted that he was the type to come into his own as a chaser and has made no secret of the high regard in which he is held. I my eyes, the five-year-old has the potential to make up into a Grade 1 winning chaser and leading contender for the 2020 Cheltenham Festival should all go to plan.
This race will certainly tells us plenty, as amongst the opposition is the Fergal O’Brien trained Jarvey’s Plate who took the slap of dual Grade 1 winner Reserve Tank on chasing debut at Chepstow last month.
As Reserve Tank has since come out and landed a Grade 2 at Wincanton in good style, Jarvey’s Plate sets a good benchmark on which to assess the ability of Birchdale – despite facing no easy task in having to give 8lb to that rival.
Ballymore Promises to be a Cracker
Thyme Hill made an impressive start over the obstacles when landing the Grade 2 Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow and is a top priced 5/2 favourite with bet365 to further enhance his 2020 Cheltenham Festival claims with victory in what looks a cracking renewal of the 2m 5f Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on Friday, November 15 (3.15pm).
The Philip Hobbs trained five-year-old, who had finished a fine 2 3/4 length third of 14 to Envoi Allen in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at this year’s Cheltenham Festival when last seen in action, showed real battling qualities to beat Colin Tizzard’s well-regarded Fiddlerontheroof.
It was a most taking introduction and one which suggested that Thyme Hill needing keeping formly onside this season. However, he is set to take on some smart and well-regarded types – including the Tizzard trained L’Air Du Vent who shaped with stacks of promise when a staying on 2 1/4 length third to Champagne Well in a novice hurdle at The Showcase meeting here last month.
L’Air Du Vent looks sure to come on for that spin and is a 9/2 shot with Coral. Champagne Well is also set to take his chance an is a 13/2 shot with bet365 to confirm the form. Another very interesting conder is the Olly Murphy trained I K Brunel, who has been well-backed and is 9/2 chance with Paddy Power. This five-year-old ran very well at the track last December when a 5 1/4 length third to subsequent Grade 1 winner Elixir de Nutz and was most impressive on return to action at Fontwell when powering clear to score by six lengths.
So taking everything into account, this is definitely a race to watch closely as regards to clues for the Ballymore itself at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.