Cheltenham preview: Clondaw Banker to collect on handicap debut
David Metcalf | October 22, 2015
Clondaw Banker can take advantage of what looks a lenient mark to land the 2m conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle on a cracking seven-race card at Cheltenham (17.40).
This Nicky Henderson trained gelding won a bumper on his debut and shaped with plenty of promise on his first start over the obstacles when chasing home Jolly’s Cracked It at Ascot.
Clondaw Banker stumbled badly and lost vital ground at the fourth flight before rallying strongly to be beaten 3 1/4 lengths and was arguably an unlucky loser.
The winner is a useful sort now rated 138, and that makes Clondaw Banker’s opening handicap mark of 121 look very exploitable.
Although the six-year-old failed to build on that effort in three subsequent outings, Clondaw Banker was far from disgraced when last seen in action and finishing a 2 1/2 length third of 15 to the 137-rated A Vos Gardes over 2m 4f at Doncaster.
That form also reads very well in the context of this contest, and the drop back down to 2m is a plus.
Clondaw Banker also remains lightly-raced and open to further progress and, with the useful Jeremiah McGrath in the saddle taking off 3lb with his claim, looks weighted to take all the beating.
Ballykan can hit hat-trick
In the 3m novices chase (15.55), Ballykan holds solid claims of landing the hat-trick.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies gelding won two of his three starts over hurdles last season, and made an impressive winning debut over the larger obstacles when only having to be ridden clear to register and easy seven length success at Uttoxeter.
Ballykan jumped well for the majority of the contest, and followed up in good style on his handicap bow at Chepstow when making light of an opening mark of 129 to score with far more in hand the the winning margin of two lengths suggests.
Judged on the manner of those successes, Ballykan is a very useful recruit to the chasing ranks who needs keeping firmly onside, and the five-year-old can take this before going on to even better things.
14.10: Sandymount Duke
14.45: Rock The World
15.20: Dark Spirit
15.55: Ballykan (NB)
17.05: Five Star Wilsham
17.40: Clondaw Banker (NAP)