I do believe I have negotiated a bit of extra leeway from Boss Ron regarding my scribblings this week as I have been running around from pillar to post interviewing various trainers ahead of some small Cheltenham articles for you, Post Racing readers. Before you ask, they ARE the same trainers you will have probably been reading about elsewhere BUT I am hoping you will find my jottings a little more profitable. With no names and no pack drill (whatever that actually means?), some go to the yards with pre conceived ideas, even trying to put words in to the trainers mouths (“would you agree that….” for example), and then rushing off for the free lunch and not actually listening to what they are being told – while body language is clearly a back art to most if not all of them lol. Fact is, I record everything said, am not tied down to using as many quotes as possible ((nice, but lazy journalism), and feel I can take my time assessing what was said and what it actually meant – patience is a virtue in this game and although nothing comes with a guarantee except death and taxes, I am quietly confident that by the time you have read all five articles, you will be pointed in the direction of plenty of Cheltenham Festival winners.
Before then we need to look at the amazing performance in Australia last weekend by a young lady known as Black Caviar, who smashed the track record at Flemington despite hardly breaking a sweat. When she arrived at Royal Ascot last year my Aussie racing friends assured me she was the best sprinter the World has ever seen (though arguments about beating Frankel over a mile had me giggling out loud), though sadly she failed to really sparkle thanks to a mid race injury and only just got home, to the derision of the British racegoers. Rumours of massive weight gain followed (she is a bull of a horse any way), and to be fair she did look as if the race would bring her on based on a brief paddock inspection via the TV, and I really hope that connections see fit to bring her over to Royal Ascot again to prove how good she really is, before a date in the paddocks with the aforementioned Frankel. Mentioning that (and drifting off subject as I do), it will be interesting to see just how good their offspring perform once they hit the racetrack. Much to my father’s disgust (he owned Northmore Stud), I am not a massive believer in the breeding industry, who seem to like to choke their clients on a massive diet of hype, and if this baby fails surely I have proved my point and the breeding game is akin to the lottery?
Looking ahead to the weekend and we are in that little lull ahead of Cheltenham when the best horses are either a) trying to get a run in to them or b) sitting at home avoiding injury before their seasonal target. The Racing Plus Chase from Kempton is one of two races on Saturday that break that mould though as a handicap, it is more Ron’s cup of tea than mine – why would I want to voluntarily bet on a contest where outside influences (the handicapper) have had such a massive influence on the potential result? The answer I suspect lies in the bigger prices which does make sense to be fair, and I will be considering an each way bet on Nacarat who won the race last season off a handicap mark of only a pound lower and looks stonking value at 9/1 as I write (yes, he also won the race in 2009 off a rating of 147 and was third in 2011 off of 156 and was second in 2010 off of 158), so we are really talking about a horse who just loves it over course and distance and is at his best at this time of year. At the age of 12 he could be going backwards but at the price there are good arguments to back him each way – which is exactly what I intend to do!
At Newcastle we have the Eider Chase and that is not a contest I intend to duck (sorry, couldn’t resist). Four miles and one furlong makes me tired just watching it and if the going remains heavy I am more concerned for their safety than anything else. If Master Overseer stands his ground then exactly half of the currently declared runners will be out of the handicap (i.e. carry more weight than the handicapper has allotted thank to the minimum weight rule), which will make their life very difficult but in theory, make ours a lot easier? Cool Operator looks one for the short list after winning his last two races, but I am wary of his claiming jockey’s relative lack of experience, and wonder about his strength from the saddle (this trip will take some getting for the jockeys as well as the horses), which just about turns my attention to Chac Du Cadran (above left), freely available at 8/1. Only a seven year old, he has more room for improvement than most or all of his market rivals, and made all the running over three and three quarter miles on heavy ground last time out at Catterick, implying stamina will not be an issue. If the same tactics are employed at least he stays out of trouble and although this is a bigger and better contest (with a lot more prestige attached), everyone has to start somewhere and he is also at an each way price in my book.
Horses to follow list:
Mansonien L’As ( no entries at the time of writing).
This weekend’s suggestions:
1pt each way Nacarat Kempton Saturday
1pt each way Chac Di Cadran Newcastle Saturday
Half point each way double on the two.