4:45 – Chepstow – BET AT BLUESQ.COM HANDICAP CHASE (CLASS 2) (4yo+ 0-150)
Victors Serenade makes his seasonal reappearance this afternoon at Chepstow after a break of 210 days. The 7 year old bay gelding is in the hands of up and coming trainer Anthony Honeyball and had a very good season last term when he took to fences for the first time. In four runs he won twice and finished 2nd once and looks a very good prospect for staying chases this season.
Victors Serenade was a bargain buy with Anthony Honeyball paying just £5,000 for his at the DBS Spring Store Sales back in May 2009. He did well in his hurdling career, winning twice and being placed three times from seven runs but was really just filling in time until he could start his chasing career, which he did in March 2011 when he finished 2nd in a Beginners Chase at Carlisle. His next run came in November in the Southern National at Fontwell but the trip of 3 miles 4 furlongs was too much for him at the time and he refused at the last fence. He was given a nice break and did not run again until February when he ran in a Class 4 Handicap chase at Ffos Las. Always in touch he led at the 9th fence and after being ridden two fences out he stayed on well to win by 8 lengths. His final run of last season came in March at Ffos Las when he ran in Class 3 Handicap Chase. Initially held up in the rear, he joined the leaders by the 8th fence and led at the 11th. He drew clear four fences out to go on and win easily by 11 lengths.
The going is key for Victors Serenade’s chances. He trainer made the point after his last run in March when he said: “He must have ground no quicker than soft and the aim will be the Welsh National, though the Peter Marsh and Tommy Whittle could come into the mix. If the rains come, he may run in a novice chase at Chepstow next month under a double penalty, but is more likely to be given a break.” He has got his favoured Soft ground today and his stats speak for themselves. He has run nine times in Soft ground, winning four times and being placed on three other occasions. All four of his Chase runs have been in Soft ground.
He runs over 3 miles again today and he has won both of his starts over the distance with a further win over 2 miles 7 ½ furlongs and all three wins coming in Soft ground. He is ridden by Aidan Coleman who has struck up a tremendous partnership with Victors Serenade as in four runs together the pair have won three times and been placed once. Aidan is also in excellent form at the moment having won 4 times from 7 rides in the last three days, including a win for Anthony Honeyball at Carlisle yesterday on his only ride on the card. His strike rate when riding for Anthony Honeyball is very impressive with 7 winners from just 17 rides overall and 3 winners from 5 rides this season.
Victors Serenade looks a very progressive young chaser and is in excellent hands with his trainer who has a 31% career winning strike rate to date with his chasers, winning 20 times from 64 runs. Victors Serenade jumps well, which is very important around Chepstow’s stiff fences and he is also proven over the distance of today’s race. Up in Class again today, he is in with some smart horses, but given that he has Soft ground and Aidan Coleman riding, he has a very good chance of winning on his seasonal reappearance. He has won twice in the past after long breaks so should be ready to go today.