Mandarin Handicap Chase preview: Cobolobo fancied to follow-up at Newbury

14th September 2021

This 2019 Mandarin Handicap Chase preview from Newbury includes Jonjo O'Neill trained Cobolobo

Cobolobo scored with tons in hand last time out, so looks worth siding with to make light of a rise in the weights and follow-up in the Mandarin Handicap Chase at Newbury on Saturday (14:25).

This Jonjo O’Neill trained seven-year-old ran a cracker on chasing debut at Ffos Las 13 months ago when getting chinned close home and beaten a short-head by Albert Bartlett winner Kilbricken Storm, who is currently rated 150 over fences.

The third home Steely Addition, whom he beat 3 3/4 lengths, has won two of his three starts since and is also now rated 150. Cabolobo was allotted an opening handicap mark of 122 on the back of that.

He was far from disgraced off it at Wincanton when a keeping on, never nearer 19-length third of 10 to Reikers Island.

He was also yet to be asked a serious question when making stealthy headway and coming to grief at the 16th in the Devon National at Exeter back in February.

Revised mark looks exploitable

Cobolobo was sent off a heavily-backed 4/1 favourite on the back of those efforts for a competitive class 3 handicap amateur riders’ chase on the opening day of The Showcase meeting at Cheltenham in October.

However, he was never really travelling at any stage and, after a couple of mistakes, was pulled-up after the third last. Cobolobo was reported to have suffered a breathing problem.

The refitting of the tongue-tie duly had the desired effect when he quickly bounced back to land a gamble in a seven-runner contest at Haydock earlier in the month.

After travelling ominously well throughout, Cobolobo was produced to take up the running four from home and drew clear to easily beat The Ogle Gogle Man by five lengths off a rating of 122.

He scored with real authority, so a 7lb rise in the weights looks more than fair. A revised rating of 129 still looks exploitable – judged on his aforementioned run behind Kilbricken Storm.

So, at odds of 7/2 with Coral, Cobobolo looks well worth a wager to go in again under Jonjo O’Neill Jr who steered him to victory last time out.

Top-weight Strong Pursuit a key player

In what doesn’t look like a strong renewal of the Mandarin Handicap Chase, top-weight Strong Pursuit is feared most.

Trained by Philip Hobbs, this nine-year-old was a decent hurdler who came good at the first time of asking over the larger obstacles when landing a four-runner beginners’ chase at this venue back in November 2017.

Strong Pursuit made all and jumped well, before staying on strongly after the last to readily beat Morello Royale by 2 3/4 lengths off an official rating of 139.

The front two pulled 22 lengths clear of the third home Beat That, who won three of his four starts last year – including a competitive class 2 handicap chase at Warwick off 139.

That gives the form a string look in relation to this class 3 contest. Strong Pursuit went on to run well when third on handicap chase debut at Sandown off 136.

He now returns to action off a mark of 135, so that makes him a key player from a handicapping perspective on the pick of his form.

The son of Flemensfirth also has a decent record fresh. He also has a 50 per cent strike rate under champion jockey Richard Johnson who is three from six on him.

So, despite having to shoulder 11st 12lb, Strong Pursuit has plenty going for him and can be backed at 8/1 with Paddy Power to bag a second success over fences.

Polydora the each-way play in Mandarian Handicap Chase

The Tom Lacey trained Polydora has form to his name which suggests he could be the each-way value in the race at 8/1 with Betfair.

This seven-year-old rah very well on chase debut at Aintree when an eight-length third to the smart Molly The Dolly off mark of 131, before scoring in good style at Newcastle off the same rating.

Polydora also ran very well at Uttoxeter back in March when a 9 1/4 lengths third of 11 to De Rasher Counter off 139.

As the winner, from whom he was receiving just 1lb, won the vaiuable Grade 3 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury last time out off 149, it gives the form a solid look in relation to this class 4 contest.

Polydora is able to race in it off 6lb lower, and his revised rating of 133 is just 2lb higher than when last victorious. It makes the son of Milan look weighted to run a big race.

He is entitled to come on a bundle for his return to action at Newcastle last month when runner-up to Bafana Blue.

Lacey has also been among the winners of late, so Polydora has more going for him than his odds would suggest and a bold bid looks assured.

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