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  • Andy Gibson’S Eyecatcher Service: Sail Away, Richmond Lake, And More

Andy Gibson’s Eyecatcher Service: Sail Away, Richmond Lake, and more

Andy Gibson's Eyecatchers Service considers horses that may go under the radar for many, including a few interesting performances from horses he might be keen to oppose on another day.

There is usually more upside to noting an interesting performance when you believe the majority are more likely to have missed it.
Spotting winning and losing efforts that may be underestimated or overestimated in the future can be key.
Below are Andy's notes on five horses that he believes put up noteworthy performances during the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr.

Richmond Lake

Although Richmond Lake only won by half a length and a head, he still gave the impression at the line that he had more left in the tank. After giving him a couple of backhanders Brian Hughes drove him to the line without resorting to the whip again in the closing stages.
Aside from making a mess of the second fence, I thought this was comfortably his best round of jumping yet. This was his fifth chase run and I think it is fair to suggest that he has not been the quickest to learn.
I don't mind this trait in a horse as long as one can see progress along the way, as has been the case with Richmond Hill. I am not sure where they will go next season but one would assume with this positive experience behind him he might be a northern challenger for one of the big intermediate pots at Cheltenham in November or December.
I am not sure either way whether he would prove up to that sort of level, but there will be plenty of races in the north he can go for before and after.

Saint Calvados

Given the way that the other prominent runner, Killer Clown, dropped right away it is always possible that the two leaders simply went too fast.
I would suggest that this issue is clouded by the fact that Killer Clown, and indeed Saint Calvados, are both inconsistent and have more than their fair share of quirks.
Saint Calvados raced with his head high as is his want and he was keen through the race to the point that I would not be in a hurry to have him onside when his enthusiastic owner returns to the saddle.
Harry Cobden gave the impression of nursing him round throughout and I suspect he has done well to finish so close at the line. If he could not win a northern race whilst competing off 150 with a relatively untroubled lead on his side, then I would suggest this is a clear indication of how far below his best he is currently.

Christopher Wood

I am yet to be convinced by the ability of Christopher Wood to stay this sort of intermediate trip. He faded in the home straight like a non-stayer and had nothing finishing behind him the way the race was run.
He is presumably showing plenty at home as he was strong in the market here and likewise in his two previous chases.

Sail Away

The new 145 rating of Sail Away surely overestimates his ability based on this one performance. He simply jumped well throughout as he led the field a merry dance.
Unfortunately his rivals all failed to jump with fluency, resulting in this race being fairly neutral as a form guide. With 26k in the bank his connections will not be complaining; nevertheless, I would be surprised if this form amounted to much in the short term.

City Chief

The four chase runs of City Chief have been littered with jumping errors and this was arguably his worst round of the lot. He does not look like a natural chaser and I will steer well clear of him until he shows something different.
  • Andy has kept the above eyecatchers in this format for members of thecheltenhamtrail.com and for all readers wishing to save them in an A-Z file or in a tracker service.
READ MORE: Andy Gibson reflects on the Scotty Brand handicap Chase at Ayr

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