Amore Alato looks leniently weighted here at first glance, but while he has form at the top level, his five runs in handicaps have come off marks of 140 or lower, and he’s largely been readily beaten, with his only really solid run coming at right-handed Sandown as a hurdler. He stays three miles over fences when the emphasis is on jumping rather than stamina, but has always looked vulnerable when racing anti-clockwise or when stamina is at a premium, as it will be here.
The move from Johnny Farrelly to Dan Skelton will cause a few ears to prick up, but both Farrelly and Nick Williams got close to the bottom of this gelding, and Skelton hasn’t as much to work with as might be imagined. Coming back from a longish break, and with many of his new yard’s runners struggling for form right now, he should be laid for a place at a shade of odds on.
The theme of opposing Skelton runners continues with Falcon Sun in the juvenile hurdle. Slammed by Mister Chow at Warwick in January, he will be fancied by many to turn the table in this handicap granted the longer trip and the fitting of a tongue tie.
He did struggle to keep tabs on the winner at Warwick, but I would field against any son of Falco (sire of Peace And Co) at a longer trip, and I see no reason why a tongue tie should transform him; his trainer tends to use the aid indiscriminately on the basis that it rarely hampers performance, which is a refreshing approach, but not one which would make me take shorter odds on such a beast.
It’s not like Mister Chow is the only danger either, with the former Donatien Sourdeau de Beauregard (stick that in your pipe and smoke it) inmate Oistrakh Le Noir the likeliest winner having missed the cut for a Fred Winter he would have been a big fancy for.
Finally, I’m keen to oppose Oscar Rose in the mares’ finale after her eyecatching run at Hereford last time. Her saddle slipped badly there, and Paddy Brennan did really well to finish the race at all, but judging her positively on that run ignores the fact that it was a truly dreadful race in which her only market rival ran poorly and it is, in effect, meaningless.
Fergal O’Brien’s mare ran well at Doncaster prior to that, and might have been better suited by a stronger pace, but is handicapped on that form, and is no world beater on form over timber, for all she was a good bumper mare.
This race ought to suit her, but I don’t think she has the class of a few of her rivals, and looks a poor favourite in what is historically a really tough contest.
- 14:05 Newbury; Place Lay Amore Alato @ 1.8 or shorter
- 14:40 Newbury; Place Lay Falcon Sun @ 2.6 or shorter
- 15:15 Newbury; Place Lay Oscar Rose @ 2.8 or shorter