A small and select field for the 2012 renewal of the Coral Hurdle (Grade 2) at Ascot on Saturday, with just the four runners going to post.
Won last year by the Donald McCain trained Overturn who has now embarked on a novice chasing campaign, so won’t be around to try and defend his crown so it’ll be going with a horse that will be winning this race for the first time.
[frame_right src=”http://www.ohracing.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/GMOOH.png” href=””][/frame_right]1. GET ME OUT OF HERE
A very likeable son of Accordion, who is very likely to be the pace in this race under champion jockey Tony McCoy. He has put together back-to-back successes in his two recent runs and given he usually comes on plenty for his first run you have to take note of that victory last time out over Brampour, in the William Hill Hurdle. He has high class form but was held by Oscar Whisky whilst in receipt of weight (8lb) when second in the Relkeel Hurdle (Grade 2) at Cheltenham last year.
[frame_right src=”http://www.ohracing.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/oscar.png” href=””][/frame_right]2. OSCAR WHISKY
Without doubt the class horse in the race, and many would argue he was coming to win the race last year when taking a tumbling fall when overstepping the final flight. He is a small field specialist with form reading: 111F1111 (8 runners or less), and has a killer burst of acceleration which will be his great strength in this sort of battle. I think he is the one to beat and is likely to sit behind likely pace-setter Get Me Out Of Here, stalking him into the straight and then easing clear over the last.
[frame_right src=”http://www.ohracing.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/brampour.png” href=””][/frame_right]3. BRAMPOUR
Has always been held in some regard at Ditcheat and in some ways has yet to reach the lofty heights he was touted for early on in his career, however last year showed somewhat of a resurgence to form; winning a handicap hurdle at Ascot before taking down the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham off 149. Came up short in both The International and the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham since, and was held by Get Me Out Of Here on return at Kempton on his most recent start. The step-up in trip ought to suit this stamina laden sort and that could bring out more improvement but he seems a horse better in larger fields where there is a true pace and could be undone by a tactical affair likely here.
[frame_right src=”http://www.ohracing.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/raya.png” href=””][/frame_right]4. RAYA STAR
Hails from the Barbury Castle outfit of Alan King and has shown improvement through the handicapping ranks, rounding off with a good success in a decent handicap at this track last time out (off 149). Is certainly bred to improve over further even though his only start over the longer distance yielded a defeat to Premier Grand Cru (now rated 133), but I think Raya Star is a much better animal now than he was back then. He will need to improve again and I don’t think the small field will be of great help to him either given he likes to take cover in races and is likely to come up short against this opposition in these conditions.
On paper this race looks between OSCAR WHISKY and Get Me Out Of Here and I think that is what we’ll get, with the Nicky Henderson trained gelding confirming Relkeel Hurdle form with Jonjo’s charge. These two last locked horns in the Relkeel Hurdle (Grade 2) at Cheltenham last December and given that they now race off level weights you’d have to expect Oscar Whisky to confirm his 1.75L superiority over Get Me Out Of Here given the fact he is 8lbs better off at the weights.
If the ground got any softer it would be a concern for Brampour who has shown a liking for a little juice but not too much, but that wouldn’t hurt Raya Star’s chances who won a decent handicap around here last year in testing conditions and Alan King’s charge could sneak into third behind the main two if this is the case.
[notification_box]3pts win Oscar Whisky @ 5/6 with StanJames & Coral [/notification_box]