Under the Radar #5

After a week where controversy and Cheltenham prospects stole the headlines, let’s see if we can uncover some future winners…

Tiger Crusade (3rd)

Yellow and red silks, (David Simcock)

Wednesday 11th November – 19.35 Kempton

As long as Jamie Spencer is a jockey, his riding style will stir up controversy. His method of dropping out the back, coasting into contention, then asking for maximum effort in the final furlong can lead to mixed results.

If the horse obliges and powers home in impressive style, then Spencer is a hero. If the plan fails then a quick Twitter search can see him labelled a clown, a disgrace or a fool. This was the case after his ride on Tiger Crusade last week.

The gelding had been a well-backed favourite on his last three outings, but had failed to win on any of those occasions. Many were of the opinion that there wouldn’t be many better opportunities than at Kempton.

The three-year-old broke well from his low draw but was quickly dropped off the pace. Coming round the bend Tiger Crusade was still cruising despite the increase in tempo and looked the probable winner. As he looked to surge past tiring runners all the gaps closed up and he was left to sit and wait.  Spencer did all he could to weave his way out of the pocket, but nothing appeared until it was too late.

The fashion in which David Simcock’s gelding did finish after finding daylight certainly indicated that he was the best horse in the race. He finished just over a length behind the winner, Papa Stour, having made up six lengths in a matter of strides to grab third place.

In his next few races, I really would be surprised not to see Tiger Crusade pick up a victory or two.

Fanion D’Estruval (2nd)

Red and grey silks, (Venetia Williams)

Friday 13th November – 13.50 Cheltenham

After eleven months off the track, Venetia Williams’ Fanion D’Estruval returned to action, and the comeback might have been successful had he not made mistakes at the final two fences.

The five-year-old travelled well for Charlie Deutsch, settling towards the rear of the group.

After some eye-catching headway coming into four out, the 2019 French recruit was upsides eventual winner Magic Saint, and going the better of the pair. Then it all fell apart for the 5/1 shot. Fanion D’Estruval tripped on landing two from home and then nosedived at the last to throw away any chance he had of winning.

After a 322 day break, a second-placed finish to a former Class 1 contender is a great result. Going forward, this lightly-raced gelding definitely has the ability and scope to run in some big races, thus I can see her winning at this level (Class 2) very soon.

Wild Romance (2nd)

Yellow and blue silks, (Dan Skelton)

Friday 13th November – 15.35 Cheltenham

The Skelton yard is in flying form. They have unleashed some exciting prospects already this season, and we may well have seen another last Friday in the shape of Wild Romance.

After winning a Grade 4 contest in the dying strides, it appeared the five-year-old had been thrown into the deep-end as she lined up for a competitive Class 1. Despite it being only her second race for the yard the mare showed maturity to settle quickly for Harry Skelton.

As the pace quickened after four out, Wild Romance was caught flat-footed.

Coming round the home bend she was ten lengths behind the leading quartet, but soon found a turn of foot. The way that Skeltons’ Irish recruit surged from a distant fifth to an unlucky second was remarkable.

In my opinion, this is a mare to be excited about this season. It comes as no surprise to see she is being priced up for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and Ballymore Novices’ at Cheltenham next year (both 33/1).

Wudashudacuda (3rd)

Pink and purple silks, (Roger Teal)

Saturday 14th November – 18.00 Wolverhampton

A debut against a 2/5 favourite that had already competed in Class 1 company left no margin for error, so when Wudashudacuda missed the break and found himself ten lengths behind the rest of the field the chances of him winning were remote.

The two-year-old nevertheless put in a promising performance to grab third in a run that will have left connections pleased.

Despite racing alone for the first half of the 6f race, jockey John Quinn made up ground and caught the pack on the home bend. The Roger Teal trained colt then unleashed a good change of gear.

Wudashudacuda will have learnt plenty from his debut. It would be no surprise to see him winning races in the future.

by Charlie Parker-Turner