25 Feb 2017

Betfred Eider Handicap Chase (Class 2)

By the standard of some years it's been a pretty dry winter, so it seems that mud-lovers everywhere have been eyeing up the Eider to provide some watery mayhem. And it hasn't disappointed; 4.0 on the going stick equals a slog-fest, where just to finish counts as an achievement.

In years like this, there's a nice criteria I've used to narrow the field; aged 8 to 11yo, weight 11-00+, OR 123 to 138 and no claiming rider. In the 9 wettest renewals this century those filters have thrown up 8 winners from just 31 qualifiers, and a further 6 placed. The only snag is this year with every mud-hound around turning up, there are no less than 10 qualifiers, so it's not much help.

The market likes Shotgun Paddy - we all know his form credentials and it's hard to argue that a rating of 137 isn't tempting. He looks solid for the frame, probably a shot to nothing. He's only 10yo, has been around forever but wisely campaigned. He sets a quality standard. Bit of a downside though to back a favourite without a win since 2014.

Almost as likely to run well is Russe Blanc, who has been laid out by Kerry Lee. A past winner of the 3.5 mile Grade 3 Classic handicap chase at Warwick, he's back on the right sort of mark and had a nice tune up at Carlisle under Brian Hughes. I couldn't put you off.

However it's such an open-feeling race, with a number of possible improvers, I think you could tie yourself up in knots with savers and I'd rather just take a small interest at a price. BEREA BORU fits the bill. He's a mud-lover, a likely improver and shapes like an out and out stayer. They tried him over 4 miles in the Scottish National but that race is typically too quick for him. This looks a much better idea.

The yard are almost certainly giving it maximum effort. Peter Bowen has a habit of reaching for first time visor/blinkers with much success in staying chases. His last 14 such runners over trips of 3m1fl+ since 2010, have produced 6 wins and 2 placed. Given this, I'd say despite the attention of Pricewise, the current quote of 14/1 looks OK.

1pt win, Berea Boru, 14/1 various

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at: WWW.ENIGMARACING.NET/RACING-FORUM

** Shotgun Paddy made the frame but contrived not to win, the race taken by one of the younger less exposed system qualifiers. Russe Blanc was laid out but declined to co-operate, as was Berea Boru who travelled until hitting one **

Shotgun Paddy - can anyone beat this lad in the Eider Chase?

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