Well Handicapped Barney Dwan to Strike in Grimthorpe

Barney Dwan is my bet to strike in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon. The nine year old appears to be coming back to some kind of form and he can progress further here to take the feature race at the Yorkshire venue.

He was a much-hyped runner at the Cheltenham Festival last year, but could only finish 4th behind Mister Whitaker in the Close Brothers Handicap Chase. A fall at Ayr ended his season on a bad note, but he came back this season and he was still a very exciting horse.

However, so far this season things have not gone to plan. His handicap mark has dipped to lower than when running at Cheltenham, but he has not been able to get competitive in races. He has been running in some good races though, races that have been better than this one, and while slowly improving and looking as though he will get competitive, I think the slight dip in class here will allow him to take a big step forward.

He went into the festival last season off a mark of 143, with the Fergal O’Brien yard thinking he was well handicapped on that mark and capable of winning a race from it. He is now down to 140 after his runs this year, which is certainly a very workable mark. This horse hasn’t quite looked his best this season, but has got better with each run and that is a positive sign.

I don’t think it is a case of if this horse will win at some point this season, but more a case of when based on the mark he is on. The yard need to get him ready and solve the issues that have been niggling him, but other than that he looks ready to win a race.

He has been off for 49 days before this run, and comes here on the back of his best run of the season so far. I am taking him to come back to life and win the Grimthorpe on Saturday afternoon at Doncaster. He has clearly had his problems this season, but that handicap mark is far too low to ignore now, he looks due to win one.