3:50 – BARNETT WADDINGHAM HANDICAP CHASE (CLASS 4) (4yo+ 0-115) Good, Good to Soft in places 2m1f110y
Irish raider Benefique has run just once over fences when she finished 4th at Tramore in June in a beginners chase. She was prominent throughout the race and was jumping well on the whole but was involved in some scrimmaging at the third last when she was forced wide and at the second last when the winner has to slightly force his way through. Benefique was 9 lengths behind the winner in the end but would have finished closer without the interference.
Benefique is a 7 year old bay mare and she will be making only her 13th career start at Bangor today. In her previous 12 runs she has won three times – once in a National Hunt flat race and twice over hurdles – and been placed on four other starts, so has a decent win and place strike rate. An interesting point is that she has run in the UK three times which for a trainer based in Ireland who has only sent out 60 runners in total in the past 5 seasons could be significant. In the UK she won at Wetherby and was 2nd at Carlisle in Novice Handicap Hurdle races and was pulled up at Ascot in a Class 3 Handicap Hurdle.
The going at Bangor is Good, Good to Soft in places which should suit Benefique as she has run six times in Good/Good to Soft ground, winning three times and being placed twice. The distance of the race should also suit her as she has run seven times over trips between 2 miles and 2 miles 2 furlongs and she has won twice and been placed three times.
She is ridden by Paul Moloney who has ridden her once before which was when she won at Wetherby last October, which is the only time he has ridden for her trainer. Paul has a 19% winning strike rate on the chase course at Bangor having ridden 4 winners from 21 rides.
Benefique runs off top weight this afternoon and while it is not easy to compare UK and Irish handicap figures she did win off a mark of 119 at Wetherby over hurdles last year and she runs off 115 today, so if she can translate her hurdle form to chasing she is 4lbs below her best winning mark. She runs today after a break of 115 days and she has run well fresh before as she won on her racecourse debut and then won again after a break of 8 months, so should go well fresh. Although she is up against some horses with more progressive form and horses who have won over fences it is interesting that her trainer has brought her across from Ireland for this race. She did not jump badly on her debut, on Good to Firm ground which would not have been ideal and she has good form in the going at Bangor and over the trip. She may not be up to winning today but at a current price of 8/1 it is well worth a small wager to find out.