A relatively quiet week has been set alight from Wednesday onwards, starting with the announcement that Black Caviar has run her last race. Personally, I suspect all is not well as she can surely make more money on the track in Australia (if not here) than from one foal a year, so why oh why retire her after telling us all she is getting better with every race? Personally, it could be good news if it stops those whinging Aussies bending my ear about how she would thrash Frankel when I am on my next International trip, though she is a sad loss to the racing world so soon after Frankel retired – and where is the next superstar coming from?
I have deliberately waited a whole day (so sue me) to write my article this week (while Ron is away the mice will play, lol), mainly so I can add a few comments about Ripon racecourse, Hiddon Coin, and our day out in Yorkshire, but the best laid plans etc eh? After driving for four hours plus, as we all know (now), Hiddon Coin heads off to Newbury tomorrow instead but that didn’t stop me meeting up with Jeff (what a character he is, I just hope I spelt his name correctly), and a dozen or more others he introduced me to. First things first though, and that was my first visit to Ripon and it wasn’t as bad as I thought! The course is neat and tidy, well looked after, and with plenty of viewing room, though like most tracks, there are parts that need a few quid thrown at them to bring them up to date (the cheaper stand looks like an oversized shed), while the Owners and Trainers bar has been decorated to look like a scene out of George and Mildred lol? That said, syndicates were very much in force on the day (the Owners bar was ten times busier than any of the public bars, and I should know – I sampled then all!), and the first race saw more people inside the Parade ring than outside, a first for me that one, but promising for those of us involved with Postracing – Ron is clearly in a growing market which as to be a good thing all round!
Sadly, nothing really jumped out at me from the races other than Muspelheim who ran a blinder on his debut, and looks good to take a minor juvenile maiden before the big guns unleash their bluebloods. That leads me almost neatly to this weekend and the Newbury card where Hiddon Coin will take on some classy colts on a proper card, that in my view matches or surpasses Newmarket this week past. Much as I would love to run through the card, even I am not that optimistic but I do like the look of a few so on we go (with fingers and toes firmly crossed). 7/1 is freely available about He’s No Angel ahead of the opener at 1.15pm and I have to say, that tempts me as an each way option. Trained by Clive Cox and part owned by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, the son of Excellent Art won a pretty lowly Wolverhampton maiden by an easy seven lengths but has been handicapped accordingly, but as he was unraced at either two or three, it seems pretty safe to assume he is backward so could have even more improvement to come? Noble Mission really ought to take the 1.50pm on all known form but I am less convinced and am wary that he is likely to have bigger and better targets later in the season and Sir Henry may well have left a bit to work on, leading me to the Fred Darling Stakes which looks fascinating. As mentioned last week, William Haggas is anything but convinced that Rosdhu Queen will stay (hopeful Yes, convinced No), yet if she does she should take all the beating, and the yard did have a winner yesterday (Friday), but at 7/4 overnight I can afford to keep a watching brief.
As for “our race”, the Greenham Stakes due off at 3.30pm, will I be hung drawn and quartered as a traitor for an honest assessment of the race I wonder? First things first and I have to say that if we are really lucky and Harry Dunlop’s Sir Patrick Moore breaks badly or isn’t fit enough, there is a slim chance of an unchallenged early lead which frankly is our only chance. Correspondent is being asked to improve considerably and would not be on my short list after wins at Lingfield and Wolverhampton on the all-weather, leaving me with just Olympic Glory and Moohaajim in what I see as a straight old fashioned match. As you may remember, Richard Hannon Junior is very bullish about Olympic Glory for the season, yet Richard Hughes feels he will improve for the run so I wont be taking the odds on about the jolly and may even have a small bet on Marco Botti’s colt instead. Many think this will be the year the likeable Italian really shines, and this son of Cape Cross is bred to be much better with age, which makes him even more interesting. His form makes this a drop in class (as it is for the favourite, to be fair), and I wonder if he may just have the edge first time out, though once again, I am more likely to be watching than betting seriously here.
Finally, asking a novice chaser to win the Scottish National is a bit much I suppose yet Our Mick seems to stay for ever and the McCain yard are at least having a few winners again which they weren’t at Cheltenham. He stays forever and did well to finish runner up to Golden Chieftain in the JLT Chase (gave the winner sixteen pounds) under those circumstances, and at odds of 16/1, I can’t resist a little each way tickle!
Weekend suggestions :
He’s No Angel (each way) 1.15pm Newbury
Our Mick (each way) 3.50pm Ayr
Horses to follow – flat 2013:
Afortunado – declared to run at Kempton on Monday 22nd April
Olympic Glory – runs Saturday at Newbury (see above)
Paris Rose – possible runner at Beverley next Thursday (25th)
Muspelheim – once raced juvenile who should find a small race.