Desperate scenes at Towcester yesterday as 10/3 Nap pick Café Au Lait sauntered clear only to idle on the run-in and get chinned on the line – agonising stuff.
If Towcester was a test of stamina then step forward Chepstow, where heavy ground promises to make conditions even more sapping.
It is around this time of the year that the Jonjo O’Neill yard starts its charge towards festival form, and his runner in the 3m slog (1555) Catching On has lifetime form that reflects this trend.
His first handicap hurdle win in 2014 came in January on soft ground, the following year he broke his handicap chase duck in February on soft ground (following up soon after on heavy), and his latest handicap win came in February 2017 on heavy ground.
Clearly he needs the turn of the year and testing conditions, hence it was no surprise to see him run so well here two weeks ago on heavy ground. They were well strung out that day, and although beaten 11 lengths, that was a good effort as the young 6yo winner is probably pretty decent, and the rest were miles behind.
There are three ahead of him in early betting here, but these are more exposed 9yos. All Kings is very late to chasing, Allchilledout has been gambled on after a wind op which is dubious on this surface, and The Drinkymeister is probably the bigger danger.
All three however could struggle to see out this gruelling slog in the manner of Catching On and he is worth the day’s nap investment.
Recommendation: Catching On, (1555 Chepstow), 1pt win, 7/1 generally available
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