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Stratford Hunter Chase night preview

Darran Pearce’s preview of the Stratford Hunter Chase night. 

We finally get to the end of the Hunter Chase season with the big evening at Stratford. 6 Hunter Chases including the John Corbet Cup, the Stratford Foxhunter and the only handicap Hunter Chase of the season. There is also a point-to-point bumper to end the card. Now the ground they are giving as good with it set to be 22 and breezy tomorrow, but they have been well known to over water for this meeting and last year was a new low in that regards. Horses were finishing as if it was heavy winter ground which was crazy and I don’t think the trainers were happy about the fact it had been so well watered for the pro card on the Saturday. Hopefully they have got it right this year and it is good ground likely to go on the quick side.

Bullsempire – Has two squiggle’s next to his name in the pointing formbook and an unlikely winner.

Classic Ruler – Won his bumper by 15L but the time was 12 seconds slower than the other division. Didn’t look the strongest heat either, but the fact he is proven in a bumper counts for something in this race.

Daranova – Has been really well backed the last twice and does seem like 2m might suit him. I suspect he won’t be good enough, but he has a shrewd trainer so a bold showing wouldn’t be a massive surprise.

Neil The Legend – Well beaten in 2 bumpers before winning over 2m4f. Jumped poorly next time and probably didn’t stay over 3m.

Rivercourt Guy – Clearly wasn’t staying the trip and then suddenly bolted up over 3m at Garthorpe earlier in the month. Could also be the case that the penny has finally dropped and could well go close for Caryto Des Brosses connections.

The Garrison – Was stuffed by Earth Leader 2 starts back which was his first completion and then was beaten 5L last time. Would be a surprise if he was good enough.

Eqqus Gold – Well backed at Barbury but winning time was 8 seconds slower than race Mount Nelly was a close 3rd in. Form doesn’t look at special, but again has at least proven himself in a bumper.

Courtly Love – I wonder if connections tried asking to see if they could use her real name. Anyway she looks to have plenty to find on her form so far although maybe she has a hole in her given she has the first time tongue-tie.

Love Around – Is quirky and her maiden win came when she was left alone. Had 12 starts and looks exposed.

Morning Smiles – Finished upsides Courtly Love last time and looks to have plenty to find.

Mount Nelly – Run in both Exeter and Aintree’s version of these bumpers finishing 4th and 6th. Ran well enough and connections go for the hood. My initial thinking was to oppose her, but having gone through the form this looks pretty weak and she wouldn’t be out of this.

Feodora – The official pointing website doesn’t put the whole video up of races so I haven’t seen the whole event, but from what I did see you would do well to see a worst round of jumping. She was really bad jumping out to her right and being really slow over her fences. Even then she still nearly won although it was a 3 runner race. She clearly has an engine though and did go off 1/3. Connections know the time of day with their youngsters and with no fences in the way she should be capable of showing much better.

Petit Petard – Was 13th of 14 when miles behind Equus Gold on debut at Barbury and then got herself miles behind a month later before flying home to win cosily in the end. She would have been a huge price in running she was that far behind. The concern is she does that again here and she might not get away with it round this tight track, but a good jockey has been booked and the penny clearly finally dropped last time.

Summary – This looks a pretty weak heat and the first up bumper winners have to be respected even though they didn’t do great times and Mount Nelly has to have a chance as well. I am though going to take a chance on 3. Feodora is going to be the main pick as she clearly has an engine, comes from a good yard and will do better with no fences in the way. I know Petit Petard has a lot of ground to make up with Equus Gold on Barbury running, but I was taken with the win the next time and she should continue to improve. I know backing a horse who pulled up on his first 4 starts and then finished a well beaten 2nd means he could be exposed, but based on his win on the 6th start Rivercourt Guy looks like he could just be a slow learner. He also looked like 2m might suit and his trainer wouldn’t run him for the sake of it. At a big price I will have a small play.

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