WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview and two each-way selections for the sponsored card at Fontwell Park on Wednesday 20th October
Date of Tips: 10/09/2020
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (19:35 10/09/2020) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
Having gone into detail ahead of Wednesday’s Scarbrough Stakes the effect that a prevailing headwind can have on the finish of races at Doncaster, and in particular on the straight track – it was pleasing to see Tarboosh live up to the billing by travelling like a dream, before sailing past the front-runners.
Over the course of the last two days of the St Leger meeting, time and again races have been won by horses who sit off the pace – including on Thursday, when there was only a light breeze. Friday’s conditions are set to be dry, but much like Wednesday, there will be a stiff headwind.
Stalls will have moved to the centre of the track for the sprints, and so I’m mainly on the lookout for hold-up horses who are drawn high(ish), given the frequency of winners coming home near the stand rail this week, and with the prospect of a nice solid pace to chase.
Step forward the Charlie Fellowes-trained Chiefofchiefs in the Bet365 Handicap over the niche trip of 6½ furlongs at 2.10. At 10/1 with Paddy Power, who are not only top price, but also are paying four spots in the place market, he is an outstanding bet.
Since dropped to trips shy of 1m, Fellowes’ talented Chiefofchiefs has been a different horse to the one that looked a little uncooperative and trip-less a few seasons ago. Since coming back from Meydan in the spring, he has had three runs this season. The first was a resounding success in the Silver Wokingham at Royal Ascot, with William Buick executing hold-up tactics so imperative to Ascot to a nicety.
He then headed north for the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle, which coincided with a day when the track was riding in a way that made it virtually impossible to make up any ground from off the pace. Plus, Chiefofchiefs was stuck out on a limb in the middle of the track for the latter stages of the race – that he finished within 3¾ lengths of the winner is testament to his new-found love of sprint trips.
The third of those runs came back at Ascot, in the valuable International Stakes over 7f at the back end of July. Fiendishly competitive as ever, he had to race slightly away from the main action for the early stages of the race, and made up some nice late ground to pinch fourth spot.
This race on Thursday represents a huge drop in class, given that in the International Stakes he faced 5 rivals rated 100+ and 12 rated 90+, whereas he faces just one other horse rated 100+ and a further 3 rated 90+ at Doncaster.
Lots of positive points there clearly, but what he will need to be seen to best effect is a good pace to scythe through. No fewer than 6 of his rivals either usually lead or race very prominently. The final piece of the jigsaw, it would seem, appears ready to slot into place for Chiefofchiefs.