Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Horse Racing: Bailey's Runner Can Fulfil Promise; Montgermont Must Perform

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Horse Racing: Bailey's Runner Can Fulfil Promise; Montgermont Must Perform

Article excerpt

MONTGERMONT, who only got as far as the first fence in Haydock's Peter Marsh Chase last weekend, has a chance to make amends for that early exit in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster today.

Caroline Bailey's nine-year-old was so fresh and keen to get on with the task at hand that he rushed into the first obstacle, didn't get high enough, and Tom Messenger had no chance of staying in the saddle.

It has to be said his jumping has let him down in the past and his trainer admits that he is not a natural jumper. "He is lean and tall and doesn't find it easy," she says, "but I'm hoping that run around Haydock without his jockey will have taken off the freshness. We are also fitting cheekpieces on him in the hope that it will help him concentrate on what he is supposed to be doing."

When he did manage to put in a clear round, he was a good class novice a couple of years ago, winning a Grade Two chase at Lingfield, before injury saw him sidelined for a year. On his other two outings since his comeback, Montgermont's jumping has been suspect. He was far from surefooted at Newbury in November, yet showed he was no back-number with a promising effort over a trip short of his best. He then went on to put on an even worse exhibition of jumping at Newcastle and, all things considered, did very well to make the frame again.

With the ground and trip in his favour, Montgermont is in the last chance saloon as far as I am concerned. He has ability and, if his jumping holds up, he must go close off this mark.

I was tempted to go with Ungaro, who prefers to go right-handed but finished a highly creditable second to the well-handicapped An Accordion in this event a year ago. He is a couple of pounds higher, but of more concern is the ground.

While he has won on a similar surface in the past, he is essentially a good ground performer and he might find this too much of a slog in what could be sticky ground, so he is passed over. …

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