THE Classic Chase (3.35) takes centre stage at Warwick tomorrow and the one I like for this marathon event is Cogry for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
This Grade Three handicap is now worth £75,000 and although the going is currently soft, this is set to turn into a real test of stamina over the 3m5f trip and this nine-year-old has been in cracking form over the past 12 months.
Cogry ran a blinder in the Scottish Grand National in April, going down by a neck to Vicente in a thriller, and was then always in command on his reappearance at Cheltenham in October, tanking through the race, jumping soundly and ultimately comfortably beating a very decent yardstick in Singlefarmpayment.
Up in grade for the Ladbrokes Trophy, he was pulled up after a couple of early mistakes, but Twiston-Davies looks to have found the bay gelding an excellent opening here and it would be no surprise if this has been the plan since Newbury.
There’s a slight worry that he prefers better ground nowadays, but I’ll keep the faith given he was a winner on bad ground at Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day meet in 2017 and makes plenty of appeal at 10-1.
Indian Castle is yet to win for dual-purpose trainer Ian Williams having previously been with Donald McCain, and is worth an each-way saver having dropped to a very feasible mark of 127 and looking like he’ll relish the step up in trip here, but they could all find Cogry tough to pass.
Over at Kempton, it’s hard to envisage On Tour not winning more races this season and he could be the answer to the 32Red Handicap Chase (3.15).
On Tour was a selection for this column for Ascot’s Silver Cup on December 23, but found himself detached from the field as the race began to hot up and could never land a blow under Mitchell Bastyan, who is again booked to take 5lb off.
The main reason I retain the belief the 10-year-old remains a very well treated animal is his previous run at Newbury on Hennessy day, travelling powerfully and looking every inch the winner turning for home before a clumsy unseat three out.
Down a pound, he’s now just 4lb higher than when successful at Aintree in November, and as long as Bastyan boots him into the contest slightly earlier, I think he’ll pose a real threat to likely favourite Fountains Windfall, and makes lots of appeal at 12-1.
Newcastle stage a decent card on the all-weather tonight and I’m very interesting in Mosseyb in the 32Red Casino Stakes (7.45).
William Haggas’ three-year-old made his debut at Lingfield in November and was very slow out of the gates, running green in the early stages. However, the penny dropped two furlongs out and he charged home to finish third, putting up some smart sectional figures on the clock in the process.
Mosseyb is now open to significant progress and should be able to get off the mark at the second attempt, with Newcastle’s straight track likely to suit.
Finally, at Huntingdon today I’ll take a big chance with Riverside City on his fourth start for Jonjo O’Neill in the Smarkets Handicap Chase (2.30).
Formerly with Gordon Elliott, this nine-year-old is a hugely frustrating character as he’ll often travel well in his races before weakening out of things tamely.
However, it’s impossible to ignore his tumbling handicap mark – down to 109 – a mark he won off two years ago at Downpatrick in similar soft conditions he’ll encounter today.
Added in the 7lb claim of O’Neill’s son in the plate and his chance becomes clear, it just takes a leap of faith to back him given he could simply be gone at the game. At likely double figure odds I’ll give him a go.