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Bookies bonanza on Friday, an “I wish” Lucky 15, and a couple of maybes for Saturday?

To no-ones great surprise it has been a busy week, though I have to say Ron and I had a blast doing the podcast with an honourable draw the result in my mind, with Ron’s winners stacked up against my each way places at decent prices – a profitable Cheltenham is never easy and we can at least walk away with our heads held high and my wallet intact if not overflowing.

An opportunity to go back over the Festival in brief is not to be missed in my book (so I won’t) and although some will see it as lazy (maybe it is?), the news is the news and it doesn’t come much bigger than that.

One day at a time seems the sensible route (its all a blur anyway), and on Tuesday we saw the eclipse of Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle as the now ten year old was put in his place by the next generation and although they may yet win races with him, he will not win another Champion hurdle I am sorry to say. Jezki kept the prize in Ireland for Jessica Harrington though I felt The New One was the moral victor – I know Ron disagrees! Quevega brought the house down when winning for a ridiculous sixth year in a row (how lucky are we – Frankel and Quevega are once in a century horses if that and we have seen them both), though I do hope we don’t see her next year – enough is enough and retirement ought to be beckoning after Punchestown if not before. As for the future, Vautour looked a machine when taking the Supreme, though his future could be very interesting as he is built like a chaser with the speed over hurdles and I feel a natural successor to the fly for the Mullins yard.

Wednesday was a delight for me personally as I have worked in the past with trainer Gary Moore and have a lot of time for one of racings real good guys.  Watching Sire De Grugy power home was the highlight for me as Gary landed his biggest career win to date and with son Jamie in the saddle, the bars of Maplehurst would have been buzzing last night.  Earlier on the card Faugheen landed the odds for favourite backers in the first but I was not so impressed (Vautour looked the better prospect), and won’t be backing him ante post for anything I assure you.

Thursday saw the sad retirement of Big Buck’s

Big Buck's - have a happy retirement old chap, you deserve it.
Big Buck’s – have a happy retirement old chap, you deserve it.

who I backed out of sentiment, but to be fair he owes me nothing. More Of That impressed considering this championship event was only his fifth career start and barring injury he has a big future ahead of him, as does Fingal Bay if they can keep him sound after he carried top weight to victory in the Pertemps final and is clearly better than a handicapper – it will be interesting to see where he is targeted next, hopefully Aintree?

Friday saw one of the strangest Gold Cups I can remember on a day the bookies will be celebrating for months to come. Looking at the odds, favourite Calipto was travelling like the winner in the Triumph hurdle until his leather broke, scuppering plenty of four figure bets, followed closely by Cheltenian (5/1 from 6/1 and bets of £2000 to win £12,000 twice and £3000 to win £21,00 binned) in the County Hurdle and pulled up before the last. Add Briar Hill (fell 2/1 favourite) and Kings Palace (fell 5/2) in a two-horse market with £44,000 struck in big bets on the two and it wasn’t going to be a good day for punters. Luckily (?) the Gold Cup followed which we all “knew” was between Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti – how silly we are! Fourth and fifth were our rewards as 20/1 shot Lord Windermere held off 16/1 chance On His Own and The Giant Bolster (14/1) with another £50,000 in big bets alone hitting the bookies satchels.

I took and take little or no notice of the Foxhunters, though the last two handicaps are fun but tell us precious little for the future with new weights assessed by the time we see them in action again, and a whole new ball game of course. Congratulations to Gigginstown Stud for four winners on the day including Savello who took the last at 16/1 to finish off an 82653/1 four timer or a return of £105,838 or a £1 win Lucky 15  – if only eh, so maybe next year, with me leading a Post Racing horse in to the Winners’ Enclosure – we can all dream you know?

As for tomorrow, to my amazement I have actually found a couple of horses that may be worth a second look despite feeling deflated after the best have been put away in their stables after the festival end. Both should be a price (each way would be my choice or a 20/80 if you are a fan of Ron’s staking methods), starting with classy mare Legacy Gold who is stepped in to handicap company as a novice by David Pipe in the 2.55pm at Kempton and I have to assume they know what they are doing? After three wins out of four in bumpers she was put away for a hurdling campaign and started off at Uttoxeter when comfortably seeing off the very highly regarded Flementime (winner since), before beating Run Ructions Run (winner since) at Leicester and then Revaader at Exeter. All in all, her novice form is excellent BUT how that crosses in to handicap is close to impossible to second guess and I would have her a lot lower than 133 on a line through Revaader or the others she has beaten, but what do I know as she goes from strength to strength and with the yard in fine form, she looks worth a small each way bet at least.

For my other bet the Guinness has finally set in to my already addled brain as I have been told a big run is expected from hurdling debutant Solar Sky and have decided to be brave enough to pass that on. Trained by Lady Cecil when last seen on the flat, he was just shy of Group class on the flat and rated as highly as 103 and if we knew he could jump a hurdle, he should be favourite this afternoon. Sadly, he has been off the track since last May when well beaten in the Sagaro Stakes on his first run for David Elsworth, and it will be interesting to see if he jumps as well as the reports from the Newmarket schooling grounds suggests? He is clearly no good thing here and may well need further than this two miles but was better than main rival Last Mohican on the flat and gets six pounds from that rival here and on a tricky trappy day, a small each way bet (and maybe even a double with Legacy Gold) will certainly do for me!

Selections this week:

Legacy Gold each way 2.55pm Kempton

Solar Sky each way 4.05pm Kempton

Horses to follow:


Little Jon – will be a different beast when sent over fences but the Twiston-Davies yard like him a lot and he will be well worth following long term.

***No current entries***

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 current entries**

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

***No current entries***

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?

***Runner up at Cheltenham No current entries ***

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.

***Won Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday at odds of 11/4 ***


Tominator – back in training at the Jonjo O’Neill yard they are very happy with him and he looks a picture – expect a few wins this season with the Chester Cup very much on the agenda.

***No current entries***

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 – twice 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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