Ffos Las and Wolverhampton previews: Copper Birch looks pure gold
David Metcalf | March 31, 2016
Golden chance for Copper Birch
Copper Birch can take advantage of a drop in the weights to get back to winning ways in the 3m handicap chase on today’s card at Ffos Las (15.25).
Trained by Evan Williams, the gelding was a wide margin hurdle winner on heavy ground at the track earlier in his career and was last successful on soft ground at Taunton 14 months ago when staying on strongly to land a handicap chase by seven lengths off a mark of 112.
Copper Birch backed that up with a third at this venue off 120, and also ran very well to occupy the same position behind Catching On in the Devon National on heavy ground at Exeter off 1lb lower.
The eight-year-old is now able to race off a reduced rating of 106, 6lb lower than when last victorious, and that gives him major claims from a handicapping perspective on pick of his form.
Copper Birch also hinted at a return to form last time out at Chepstow when posting an improved effort to finish third, and with the bottomless ground holding no fears looks to have plenty going for him.
Pilgrims can keep rivals at Bay
Trainer David Pipe is in terrific form at present, and Pilgrims Bay holds outstanding claims of providing him with another winner in the 2m 4f handicap hurdle (15.55).
The Pond House handler has saddled eight winners from his last 20 runners, and in Pilgrims Bay has a gelding with a progressive profile who comes into the contest at the top of his game.
Since making a winning handicap debut at Wincanton in January, the six-year-old has posted solid efforts to finish in the frame on his next three starts.
They include a fine 2 3/4 length second to San Telm last time out over 2m 6f at Market Rasen, where Pilgrims Bay looked all over the winner until being unable to find any extra close home.
The drop back to 2m 4f looks sure to suit judged on that effort, and although now 3lb higher in the weights the son of Turtle Island looks the type who may have even more to offer.
Pilgrims Bay will also have no problem with the heavy ground, and with Connor O’Farrell in the saddle this looks a nice opportunity for him to return to winning ways.
15.25: Copper Birch (NAP)
15.55: Pilgrims Bay (NB)
16.30: Coeur De Fou
17.00: Geordie Des Champs
Chauvelin weighted to strike at Wolverhampton
Chauvelin looks decent value to cash-in on a huge drop in the weights and score and overdue success in the 1m 4f handicap on today’s card at Wolverhampton (17.10).
The gelding has just one success to his name, and that came at Lingfield in January 2015 off a mark of 66 when trained by Roger Charlton.
Chauvelin went on to finish a cracking 3/4 lengths runner-up at Salisbury off 68, but has failed to trouble the judge in six starts since joining Richard Guest.
However, that had resulted in the handicapper cutting the son of Sir Percy plenty of slack and he is now able to race in this off just 53.
That is a career-low and gives Chauvelin major claims at the weights on the pick of his form.
Chauvelin also comes into the contest on the back of an eye-catching effort when a not knocked about sixth of 10 over 1m 6f at this venue on his second start back from a break.
That should have put the five-year-old spot on, and the drop back down to 1m 4f is sure to suit.
Surround Sound ready to call the tune
In the other 1m 4f handicap on the card (16.40), Surround Sound can defy top weight to land the spoils.
The Tim Easteby trained gelding scooted up by 4 1/2 lengths over course and distance last May off a mark of 50 before going to finish a fine 3/4 length at the venue off 60.
Surround Sound then got back to winning ways at Musselburgh when scoring off 62, and was then beaten just a nose at Catterick off 65.
The six-year-old is now able to race off 60, and that should enable him to be very competitive in what looks a weak contest.
Surround Sound also drops back down into class 6 company having shaped better than the bare result suggests last time out over course and distance when seventh of 10 to Tangramm in a class 5 affair.
That was was the son of Multiplex’s second run back after a break, and Surround Sound should now fully tuned-up and ready to be seen to best effect.
14.30: Mount Cheiron
15.00: Bayan Kasriga
16.40: Surround Sound (NB)
17.10: Chauvelin (NAP)
17.40: Boonga Roogeta