Notebook: Five to follow
It's not all that often that a faller makes its way into notebooks and lists of eyecatchers but Might Bite was included in any number of columns following his run at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Adrien Du Pont could take advantage of his handicap mark granted the right conditions
The fences are there to be jumped as the maxim goes and Might Bite spectacularly failed to do that with the Grade One Kauto Star Novices' Chase at his mercy.
Fortunately, he appeared to emerge unscathed which was not the case with Robin Roe who suffered a season ending injury in the Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury while others sadly suffered a worse fate.
There are obvious risks of following 'fallers', not least their ability to jump, with their confidence an unknown factor while some such as final fence faller Mumgos Debut have the added insult of seeing their handicap mark reassessed (he went up 6lbs while Might Bite went up by 4lbs).
However, Cogry (albeit over hurdles) proved that a tumble or two needn't preclude a big run and the late Moscow Flyer was a dab hand at picking up the winning thread after failing to complete.
Below are five runners who failed to complete over the festive period that it could be worth giving another chance to.
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Henri Parry Morgan – Watch the video replay
Actually failed to get round twice over Christmas, unseating at Wetherby on December 26 and then falling at Cheltenham on January 1. It's not uncommon for trainer Peter Bowen to be relatively quiet in these two months and that's very much the case this season with the yard 0-30 last month but his nine-year-old responded well to a first time visor and was in the process of running a big race in the feature handicap at Prestbury Park until departing four out. His marked improvement last season came in the second half of the campaign and the Brian Boru gelding could easily bounce back in the spring.
Castafiore – Watch the video replay
The last couple of Decembers have been lean months for Charlie Longsdon as well but Castafiore had every chance of getting his 2017 off to a good start when falling at the last at Musselburgh. The Street Cry filly ran well at Warwick on debut before being outclassed behind Evening Hush in a Listed race at Aintree but was staying on well back down in grade on New Year's Day. She's nothing out of the ordinary but has shown more than enough to think that she can win something similar.
Lord Of The Island – Watch the video replay
The lightly raced nine-year-old was an easy winner on debut for Fergal O'Brien in November and may well have made it two wins from three starts at Exeter on New Year's Day. Well supported in a competitive handicap hurdle despite being a stone higher than for his win, he was firmly in contention under Noel Fehily with his proven stamina still to come into play only to take a heavy fall at the third last. Testing ground clearly suits him well and this extended two mile two trip looked a minimum for him despite the ground, he can go in again but connections do believe that he needs to race right-handed which will limit his options.
Aqua Dude – Watch the video replay
Finished third of five behind Yanworth in last season's Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle at Ascot with All Set To Go (now rated 146 over hurdles) behind, but chasing was always going to be his game and he's gradually getting his act together. He pulled up in a race won by the smart Politologue on his first attempt before being outpaced behind the progressive Waiting Patiently over the minimum. Stepped up to a more suitable trip for his handicap debut at Newbury on New Year's Eve, he was firmly in the mix when falling three from home in a competitive race. Paul Moloney said 'we think the world of him' after he won a novice hurdle last March and the six-year-old could well be a couple of steps ahead of the handicapper from a chase rating of 131.
Adrien Du Pont – Watch the video replay
You can't help but feel that connections are marking time with Adrien Du Pont until he goes chasing while his preference for cut in the ground could see him make a few more forays to France. It wasn't the strongest renewal of the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year's Day and Adrien Du Pont was one of few in the field who was guaranteed to like the ground but his run, so far as it went, still bodes well for his future. A Grade One winner at Chepstow last season, he was a close fourth when unseating his rider two from home and travelling well enough to believe that he would have been a factor in the finish. He was the lowest rated runner in the race and he departed far enough from home to believe that the handicapper won't amend his rating of 145 from which he should be competitive in a handicap (granted testing ground) if connections opt to go down that route.
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