The Grimthorpe Chase, run over 3m2f at Doncaster, is typically one of the most competitive races of the season at the South Yorkshire track (3.45pm, Saturday). This year’s renewal has attracted a dozen runners, none of whom can be ruled out with any confidence.
Last year’s winner, Night In Milan (6/1), is 10lb higher in the weights this time around but, following a couple of preparatory races over hurdles, has run creditably in defeat on both starts over course and distance this season. Usually a sound jumper, Keith Reveley’s (pictured) nine-year-old encounters good going for the first time since staying on well to beat Storm Survivor by five lengths last year and underfoot conditions could be the key to his chance. Six of his seven career victories have come with ‘good’ in the going description, on flat or sharp tracks, so he must have a decent chance of repeating last year’s win.
Mon Parrain (7/1) could only finish eighth of 12, beaten 77 lengths, behind Night In Milan last year, so appears to have little chance of reversing the form on just 6lb better terms. Though it may not pay to take that form too literally as he was below par that day.
Paul Nicholls’ nine-year-old won over 3m2½f at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day but, although that form has been franked by the third, Saint Are, it is worth noting that Mon Parrain has done all his winning on testing tracks. That said, the yard has been in blinding form in the big Saturday races and this renewal will take less winning than is usually the case.
Farbreaga (12/1) has won three of his eight starts over fences and took advantage of a slipping handicap mark when winning a 0-115 contest over 3m at Uttoxeter by 15 lengths three weeks ago. However, he takes a significant step up in class off a 14lb higher mark and, having done most of his winning on soft or heavy going, may struggle to get competitive.
Theatre Queen (9/1), the winner of six of her eight point-to-point races, didn’t make her debut over regulation fences until last April, but won her first two hunter chases despite jumping erratically on occasions. However, she blotted her copybook when refusing to race on her reappearance at Taunton in December. Her subsequent second, beaten three lengths, behind Tony Star in a 0-135 novices’ chase at Ludlow last month doesn’t look good enough for her to make an impact at this level. She is another who could do with a drop of rain, but she is less exposed than many of her rivals and it will be interesting to see how she goes.
Samingarry (14/1) is an interesting contender insofar as trainer Nigel Hawke sent the eight-year-old on the 680-mile round trip from Stoodleigh, Devon to Carlisle 12 days ago and now sends him on the 500-mile round trip to Doncaster. The Ballingarry gelding didn’t run at all badly at Carlisle, plugging on to finish fifth, beaten 8¾ lengths, behind Knock A Hand, but his trainer must surely have been expecting better to send him on such a long journey. He remains 9lb higher in the weights than when winning at Chepstow last April, but stays 3m2f and has winning form on the prevailing good ground, so could be the surprise package in the race, if there is one.
Of the others, Drop Out Joe (5/1) ran on well very late last time after getting too far behind but he looks a fairly short price for this. That is mainly due to significant money for him on the basis that he may prove well-in on his handicap debut over fences. Personally I don’t see any value at current odds. Venetia Williams saddles Aachen (9/1), who is up 5lb for winning on this track last time, but still looks to have fair claims from a yard in form.
Grimthorpe Chase Betting Tips Advice
Mon Parrain was livened up by first time blinkers last time and could have a say in this for his top stable.
The Grimthorpe Chase has not had a habit of throwing up long priced winners lately so, with conditions in his favour, our betting tips advice is to back NIGHT IN MILAN each-way at a best price of 6/1 with Ladbrokes, Bet365 or Paddy Power. His sound jumping, particularly on ground faster than he has encountered of late, could have a few of these in trouble quite early on and he looks excellent value for money.