Analysis of the Lewis Badges Limited Handicap Chase
A competitive Class 3 feature race takes centre stage on Warwick’s eight-race card on Thursday. Our experts have provided their thoughts on each individual runner as well as a selection for the feature race of the day.
Jonjo O’Neill’s Prince Escalus has gone from strength to strength in his Chase career so far this season. The seven year old finished third on Chase debut, and was then just edged out by Return Ticket on his second appearance.
Since then, he has won both of his other two races, with an impressive eleven length victory last time out. He comfortably beat Moonlighter that day, despite being eased towards the finish. Although he is now 11lb heavier than that rival this time around, he should take some beating.
This will be just the third time Moonlighter has stepped down from Class 1 or 2 company in the past two years. His best form so far in his career has to be his neck second to Greaneteen in the Haldon Gold Cup, but that was almost eighteen months ago now. Since then, he has only managed to win one race, and that was over a year ago.
He finished third behind Prince Escalus last time out, but could have finished closer has his jumping been smoother. If he can remove those costly jumping errors from his game, he could give Prince Escalus much more to think about this time around, esepcially now that reopposing rival is 11lb heavier.
Galop De Chasse
Galop De Chasse has done well since joining Venetia Williams yard, with two winners and two runner-up finishes in his six races. In those six races, he has gone off favourite or joint favourite in five of those, so is clearly highly thought of.
Last time out he finished runner-up to Doukarov at Sandown, but was giving him almost a stone in weight. He’s been dropped 1lb in his rating to 124, so it will be no surprise if he is in the mix in this race.
Tom George’s Casa Tall made a fine start to this season, winning two of his four races at the end of 2021. However, he has struggled in 2022, with a fifth at Newbury followed by falling at the same course at the start of March.
He was well behind Another Crick at Newbury back in February, and Galop De Chasse finished ahead of Another Crick last time out. It will take a much improved effort to see him get in front of his rivals in this.
Rockstar Ronnie has made a mixed start to his chase career, finishing a distant last on debut before winning his next two races, then another poor showing when fourth earlier this month at Kempton. Interestingly, both wins came at 2m 2f so it may be the case he needs the extra distance.
He did have a four month break in between his last two races, so it may also be the case he needed the run last time out. He likes to lead, so if he can get an easy lead he could make his presence felt. However, it’s likely he will find one or two good for him here.
The in-form trainer Dr Richard Newland sends Rikoboy here, and he’s an interesting runner in this field. He raced over hurdles last time out, which seemed a strange move as he is yet to win over hurdles and never really looked like winning in that race.
He reverts to fences again here, but will need to improve from his last Chase run when seventh at Sandown in February. He was behind Moonlighter that day, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason why he should reverse that form here.
Big Race Verdict
The manner in which PRINCE ESCALUS defeated his rivals (including Moonlighter) last time out suggests it should take some performance to beat him. He will have to overcome a career high rating but we’re backing him to land the hat-trick. Galop Des Chasse and the re-opposing Moonlighter are his most interesting opponents (in that order).