2.55 Wetherby Novice Chase 2m 31/2f Good To Soft
Before the off
Sam Spinner and Dan Skelton’s, Beakstown, both looked well before their Chase debuts with no alarming signs on either of the promising recruits before the race. Sam Spinner got the better of his fellow Novice Chasers despite becoming out-paced for much of the race.
Not much separated the two short-priced favourites throughout the day, but it was Beakstown – rated 24lbs inferior over hurdles – who the punters were looking to side with before the off, returning an SP of 10/11F. Sam Spinner respectively returned an SP of 5/4 with 16s bar.
How they jumped?
On the whole, Sam Spinner jumped well throughout the course of the race for a Chase debut. It’s clear he had been through his paces at home by trainer Jedd O’Keeffe and bar a few Novice errors, (ones that you would expect from any debut performance) he was remarkably good for one that doesn’t shape like a chaser.
It’s was no surprise to see Sam Spinner out-paced for much of the trip considering his best performances have been over much further (2nd in this year’s Stayers Hurdle over 3m).
He put in three very noticeable slow jumps early on and was out of his comfort zone during the middle section of the race despite jumping fluently and losing no ground at his obstacles. The further he went, the more his jumping improved. The seven-year-old put in his most impressive jump of the race at the final fence, unsurprisingly for a dour stayer who was running at a trip shorter than his optimum.
From the table below you can clearly see that despite Sam Spinner jumping well throughout the race he still found himself 10l adrift of the leaders before the 12th fence. While he built up momentum on the flat before the 13th his stamina told in the home straight and allowed him to put in cleaner jumps than his closest market rival.
Sam Spinner made 3 ground losing errors.
It took five or six times to watch back Beakstown’s round and that’s because despite being given the green light in the table below at many of his fences, they didn’t come without concern, hence the brackets on five of his good jumps.
He reluctantly took up the lead and jumped rather well until his jockey tried to reign him in after the fourth fence (keen). That led to an almost race-ending error at the 5th. It’s no surprise his confidence was knocked going into the 6th, 7th and 8th but gradually as the pace lifted again his jumping became more fluent.
While the six-year-old took up the running again on the turn into the home straight he was still on the bridle but his mistake at the 14th fence blunted any advantage he had built up over Sam Spinner who was out-paced down the back straight but had put in a good jump at a crucial stage to close the gap. With the momentum now with his rival, Beakstown failed to quicken between the final two fences, despite jumping very well, and it’s likely to be the case that the earlier excursions and lack of race fitness perhaps took their toll.
Whilst he only recorded six ground losing errors he tends to jump high and bold at plenty of his fences. His jumping was seemingly inconvenienced by the lack of pace at certain stages of the race and it would be no surprise to see him fair better in a truly run affair which can be seen from the table below i.e pace quickening 9th, 10th, 11th, 15th, 16th.
How they Jumped fence by fence
Who to take from the race?
In short, both. Sam Spinner’s connections may have been on a fact-finding mission in regards to the rest of the season with questions of whether they stay over hurdles or have a stint at chasing. But, while he doesn’t shape like a natural chaser, there was plenty of optimism for a future over fence’s, in particular, big staying chases. I think on this occasion Sam Spinner was favoured by his own mistake as the pace quickened at fence 11 which let the leaders go for home quite a long way out. He made up considerable ground on the very long run between the 12th and the 13th fence. The seven-year-old made up more than 10l on his rivals before the turn into the straight and when stamina kicked in so did his jumping fluency. His slow nature and jumping style looks suited to that of a National horse. Now its too early for talk of potential targets if connections decide to take this route, but could Sam Spinner be an outside shot for the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham?
Expect Beakstown’s to improve dramatically! His jumping left a lot to be desired but he also gave the impression that he will continue to improve with experience and I think its too soon to be writing him off just yet. He finished 16l clear of his rivals before lacking fitness inside the final furlong of the race but considering the 5 ground losing errors and an almost race-ending error at the 5th fence, he did remarkably well to finish as close as he did to 164 (h) rated Sam Spinner. I would personally be watching next time out to see if some of these novice errors can be ironed out at home and with a look to assessing his next performance before staking a wager, but he certainly showed some promise.