3:25 – Fontwell – LOUIS LATOUR HANDICAP CHASE (CLASS 4) (4yo+ 0-115) Soft, Good to Soft in places, Heavy in the odd place 2m6f
The fences at Fontwell are some of the stiffest obstacles in the country and jumping accuracy is therefore vital. Venetian Lad won here on his last start 18 days ago and a big feature of his win was how well he jumped. This should have come as no surprise however, as the 7 year old gelding had won here twice already this year. He has to defy a career high mark today, but a feature of his recent successes has been that he keeps finding more at the business end of the race, trying really hard for his rider.
Venetian Lad could probably drive himself to Fontwell as he has run here 8 times in total. Five of his starts at the track have been over fences when he has won three times. He runs over 2 miles 6 furlongs this afternoon and is very versatile over the distances he can run over, having won at 2 miles 4 furlongs, 2 miles 6 furlongs and 3 miles 2 ½ furlongs.
He is also versatile when it comes to the going, which is probably a good thing given that Fontwell gave the going for today’s meeting as, Soft, Good to Soft in places, Heavy in the odd place at 6:47 this morning. Venetian Las ticks most of the boxes as he has won in Good, Good to Soft and Soft ground, as well as being placed is his only run on Heavy ground.
He is ridden by Marc Goldstein again today. Marc has ridden Venetian Lad on his last nine starts which has coincided with his upturn in form as the pair have won three times and been placed twice. Marc who is a 3lb Claiming jockey has already ridden 13 winners this season from 56 rides for a 23% winning strike rate overall which includes a very good 6 wins from just 16 rides in Chases giving a 38% winning strike rate for the season.
Venetian Lad has to defy a career high Official Rating if he is to win today. However, as mentioned earlier, a big feature of his recent success is that he keeps finding more when he is challenged over the final fences. He also has an excellent record over Fontwell’s stiff fences and the benefit of Marc Goldstein doing the steering who has ridden him on all three of his wins to date. With no concerns over the going or distance a 6lb rise by the handicapper may not be enough to stop him, even though he us up against some better horses today. He certainly knows where the winning post is around here.