Dashel Drasher battles to first Grade 1 success

23 Feb 21

The feature at Ascot was the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase and it saw Dashel Drasher complete a hat-trick of wins at the track with a typically resolute performance, writes Michael Harris…

A handicap winner on his previous start, this was a step up in grade for Dashel Drasher, but with favourite Cyrname (down 3 lb to 169) clearly not running his race, only 4 lb separated the rest of the field on pre-race figures. Dashel Drasher had beaten Bennys King (remains on 157) by just over a length on their previous start and was able to increase that margin to seven and a half lengths here, with the pair split by Master Tommytucker (up 1 lb to 160), who loomed up as a strong challenger to Dashel Drasher in the straight but ultimately went down by a couple of lengths.

Historical standards for the race suggested a rating in the low 160s was appropriate for the winner, and that level is supported through the form of the other two finishers in the race. I have raised Dashel Drasher 4 lb to a career high mark of 162, and whilst that is lower than the 10-year average for the race of 167, it was a deserved Grade 1 success for the horse and his connections.

Goshen back with a bang

Goshen’s wide-margin success in the Kingwell Hurdle was one of two notable performances in the 2m hurdle division on Saturday, writes Andrew Mealor…

It would be fair to say that things hadn’t exactly gone to plan for Goshen hitherto in his second season over timber but he got firmly back on track with a thumping twenty-two length win in the Grade 2 Betway Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, the last of the recognised Champion Hurdle trials.

Admittedly the opposition rather melted away on the day – Navajo Pass (152) and Friend Or Foe (146) were both beaten in excess of forty lengths and clearly didn’t fire, whilst favourite Song For Someone (158) was a very laboured second having come under strong pressure three out – but it was still hard not be impressed with the manner of Goshen’s success. On a more substantive note, the time in relation to the quicker division of the earlier novice hurdle suggests a mid-150s effort on the clock from Goshen, and his effort was probably even more meritorious than that strict comparison suggests given conditions had likely eased on a wet day by the time of Goshen’s race later on the card. Wincanton was also not the first time Goshen has looked a rare talent. Last year’s Triumph Hurdle has proven a strong renewal with the placed horses Aspire Tower, Allmankind and Navajo Pass all now rated 150+ after notable wins this season, and Goshen was in the process of demolishing those rivals prior to his late mishap.

His 164 performance is the best in the Kingwell since Binocular’s win in 2012 and is also the best of any GB-trained hurdler this season. Provided the quick turnaround isn’t an issue, Goshen looks likely to have a major say in the Champion Hurdle in three weeks’ time, though a win in that race will probably require an even better performance given he has to concede 7 lb to the high-class mares Epatante and Honeysuckle (both 161). Let’s hope all three turn up fit and well on the day.

Goshen and Jamie Moore winning The Kingwell Hurdle

There was also a change at the top of the GB juvenile division following Monmiral’s comprehensive success over Nassalam (141) in a conditions event at Haydock. The latter had given Adagio (145) a good race in the Grade 1 Finale at Chepstow on his previous start but was brushed aside impressively by Paul Nicholls’ charge who maintained his unbeaten record over timber. A new rating of 147 puts Monmiral top of the pile amongst the British-trained juveniles, usurping Adagio, and has him behind only the Gordon Elliott-trained Zanahiyr in the overall pecking order (Zanahiyr’s stablemate Quilixios is also 147). He would clearly be a strong contender for the Triumph if supplemented (isn’t entered at present) but he’s reportedly likely to skip Cheltenham and head to Aintree.

Sunday is the start of a new racing week in GB, meaning the amended ratings for the Betfair Hurdle runners won’t be published until next Tuesday, but I have provisionally pencilled in a new mark of 143 for impressive winner Soaring Glory (a rise of 10 lb). He’ll need to improve again to figure in the Supreme, a mooted target in the aftermath, but he’s clearly going the right way.

Investor Saves The Day

The staying chase division has been a muddy picture this season, and recent events haven’t helped clear those waters, writes Martin Greenwood…

When I last blogged I bemoaned the confusing picture following on from the King George and Savills Chase, and in truth the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup and Denman Chase haven’t brought much clarity, either.

Kemboy certainly took a step back in the right direction when winning the former but he remains only in the high 160s, still quite a way off his pomp. With Cyrname fluffing his lines again at Ascot the previous day and Lostintranslation looking nothing like his old self in the Denman on Sunday, pretenders to Al Boum Photo’s crown are thin on the ground. Native River looked to turn a corner at Sandown recently and is the highest rated staying chaser in the UK on 172, though still 3 lb shy of Al Boum Photo’s 175 from the 2018/19 season.

Back to the Denman Chase; the betting suggested a one horse race but on pre-race ratings I only had 1 lb between Clan des Obeaux, Lostintranslation and Secret Investor (factoring in the 6lb he received). With Kalashnikov (159, receiving 6lb) running pretty much to the lb with Clan des Obeaux’s 169, the result made a lot more sense to me than maybe to the general racing public.

Secret Investor looked better than ever when scoring in a handicap at Chepstow back in October, and he confirmed that was no fluke by making all at Newbury, battling on well having looked likely to be swallowed up by stablemate Clan des Obeaux. He may not quite have the ability of the latter but Secret Investor certainly showed more guts in the finish, with Clan carrying his head high and not seeming to relish the battle. Secret Investor will earn a slight uptick to 164 (from 162) and the pair will reportedly take each other on again at Aintree.

Secret Investor and Bryony Frost winning The Betfair Denman Chase from Clan Des Obeaux