Racing Punter's guide: Tiutchev a weighty problem for rivals
The former top jump jockey Steve Smith Eccles analyses today's Tote Gold Trophy
Saturday 13 February 1999
Dreams End: No chance on form shown this season.
Shankar: Well beaten in two outings this term.
Upgrade: Soundly beaten in three runs this season and needs to improve.
Sharpical: Makes his seasonal debut but his trainer, Nicky Henderson, can be relied upon to have him spot on.
City Hall: An eye-catching grey who has disappointed this season. Probably needs better ground.
Rainwatch: Improved to win at Cheltenham in first-time blinkers but seems to lack a turn of foot.
Wakeel: Has shown best form on a sound surface.
Effectual: This fellow steps up in class after posting two fine victories but is likely to be found wanting.
Polar Prospect: Consistent sort but may be going off the boil after nine runs already this season.
Decoupage: Yet to win in this campaign and will do well to finish in the minor placings.
Benatom: A solitary victory in a maiden hurdle on fast ground is no recommendation.
Tiutchev: Handily weighted, loves the softer ground and in fine form - he is the one they all have to beat.
Amitge: Cannot possibly make the frame on recent form.
Sadler's Realm: One-paced, and this trip should prove too short.
Vent D'Aout: Won at Taunton last time under top weight but looks out of her league.
Mister Rm: Soundly beaten by Tiutchev at Kempton last time and unlikely to reverse the form at the weights.
Siren Song: I would be surprised to see him finish in the first six.
Conclusion: Even though these handicap hurdles are always tough to predict, I expect TIUTCHEV to land a prize for which he has been laid out. The ground, the trip and the weights are in his favour, and he should get the better of Nicky Henderson's seasonal debutant Sharpical.
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