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Home / Racing / Happy New year – with excuses for Boxing Day (gulp), a new horse to follow, and two with chances on Saturday!

Happy New year – with excuses for Boxing Day (gulp), a new horse to follow, and two with chances on Saturday!

A few days race free left me cold turkey over Christmas (pun intended), but we are back to something near to normal with the Welsh National to come and daily action back on the menu. First things first and have you ever seen a horse bottom out as quickly as Cue Card in the King George? As those who read my Placepot article (an overall disaster – but I got one race right), I did question his stamina in a truly run race but sat there watching and waiting for a large slice of humble pie as he pretty much bounded clear, hard held. Suddenly (and I mean suddenly!), he stopped as if he had been shot (and without any distress signals) as my selection swept past, but was there something wrong or has they simply gone off too fast in the conditions? I try not to criticise jockeys (I cant ride myself), but if he set his own pace and went too quickly, we all know who to blame – it will certainly be interesting to see if anything shows up in the days ahead?

Naturally, I have an opinion on the My Tent Or Yours versus The New One match up that saw a narrow success for the first named after Sam Twiston-Davies lost an iron. Heavy ground (they still called that soft, go figure?), may well have been an issue for both of them to be fair, and although this does mean we could be in for a season of nip and tuck fights between the pair, I am less convinced than some that we learnt a thing for this particular race.

One horse that did catch the eye (though remember the ground) was Lily Mars who ran a blinder first time out in the Wincanton bumper. Time may show that winner Mountain Of Mourne is above average (quickened up nicely considering the ground), with the daughter of Presenting eight lengths back but the market suggested she needed the run and I will be following her at least until she wins a race!

As for the future, this weather makes it even more difficult to call though we did have an each way second (10/1 but I took 16/1 BOG) and a non runner so if we can match that, I will be pretty happy and only hope you feel the same? Two horses were all I could find worthy of a serious mention (the racing isn’t all that for a Saturday to be honest), starting at Newbury when I am hoping the Martin Keighley yard have finally struck top form. If they have, then surely Creepy has every chance in the Challow Hurdle at 1.45pm, even though the handicapper has him down as the fourth best of the six – but what do they know lol? The two miles five furlongs look perfect having seen him win at both Chepstow and Cheltenham and we can forgive him a well beaten second behind Kings palace (won a Grade Two since) over a trip too far when he was never going to get home unless the race was run at a snails pace – and it wasn’t.  He should be a half decent price (tissue suggests 9/2), yet he looks to have as good a chance as any and is thus a spot of value at the very least.

Unbeaten French hurdler Black River was going like the winner when falling here at the eighth fence on his chasing debut and Paul Nicholls has switched him back to hurdles ahead of the 2.50pm here this afternoon.  Some in the media are suggesting this is a confidence booster and they may well be correct, but the fact is he is still only a thrice raced four year old with many years ahead of him barring injury, and I am hoping connections are looking to mop up a bit of prize money over the smaller obstacles first, starting with the £11,574 he can pick up this afternoon.  As for his form in France, well he ran on strongly over two miles one and two miles two furlongs, so two and a half miles here looks perfect, while winners since from those among the places suggests the form could be above average, though I admit to knowing precious little about French hurdles form!

Selections this week

Creepy 1.45pm Newbury Saturday

Black River 2.50pm Newbury Saturday

Horses to follow:

New look shaken up horses to follow list:

Jumps:

Lily Mars – one run in a bumper was enough to catch my eye and I feel she caught a tartar at Wincanton on her debut when she looked in need of the run. With that experience under her belt she ought to be placed to pick up a race, which should be enough to make us a profit.

***No entries at present***

Rolling Star – a well-regarded young hurdler who won with any amount in hand at Haydock and seems certain to come on again for the run as per the Henderson yard this season

***Lost in the Ladbroke but deserves another chance***

African Gold – a classy hurdler expected to be even better over fences, he rather let the side down on his chasing debut but is I am assured far better than that – he will win races over fences.

***No entries at present***

Opera Og – hopefully well handicapped off a rating of 117 (when last seen), the seven year old looked all over the winner at Bangor before fading badly to finish third. The lack of a run was clearly his undoing and with that run under his belt he should win next time out provided connections keep their sites lowered to a sensible level.

***No entries at present***

Champagne Fever – on target at home for the Arkle Chase, held in the highest regard and schooling well for Willie Mullins, likely to have Ruby Walsh in the saddle, what more can a punter ask for?

***Lost at Leopardstown at odds on but should win again shortly***

Sire De Grugy – won as he pleased on his return and sure to improve considerably for the race for Sussex trainer and ex jockey Gary Moore.

***STOP PRESS – just won at Kempton at odds of 4/1 but I am more concerned about the wellbeing of Sprinter Sacre ***

Big Casino – removed – he does not appear well enough handicapped to win a race to me, and will take all season to get down to a workable rating. He will be added back in when they send him chasing…

Flat:

Mutakayyef – trained by William Haggas I had a quandary this week – do I or don’t I back the son of Sea The Stars? As with all the stable juveniles he was a shoe in to improve for the run but he is spoken of in glowing terms by gallop watchers in Newmarket. Fact is he ran as expected – slowly away, green as grass, and hampered as well, he will learn plenty from the experience and can be ignored at your peril.

***No current entries***

Freemason – a once raced juvenile owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – Harbinger (a posh syndicate), he cost a whopping 150,000 Guineas so ought to be half decent – word is he is all that and more, so one to stay on the right side of.

***No current entries (unless you include the 2014 Derby!***

Idea – once raced two year old trained by Sir Michael Stoute and said to be flying on the gallops. Won after a poor run at Windsor when last seen looking as green as grass and very much one to keep on the right side of – originally nominated by a post racing reader!

***No current entries***

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