As many of you will have read it has been a busy old week with “charity” horses running at Wincanton on Saturday and then Lingfield, Tuesday keeping me out of mischief and adding a few racing photos to the pile labeled “possibles for future use”. The best news was the run put in by Blue Buttons in finishing second on Saturday afternoon in a red hot contest, closely followed by the even better news that the handicapper has decided to leave her on the same rating (which came as some surprise), so she will head off to her next target in good heart and in with every chance as things stand this morning. The Young Master took the Badger Chase with any amount in hand but has now been thrown out as it turns out he wasn’t eligible to run as you will have all read, but what a farce of epic proportions, and I am not as sure as some where the real blame lies – or who suffers most? Those who backed the winner will have walked off with their cash but what about those who backed the runner up, are any of the bookmakers paying out and if they are let’s face it – they only do so for the publicity if it doesn’t add up to too much? Meanwhile, connections of the winner will be left smarting both financially and through the embarrassment but will be even more upset to see him upped a stone for his efforts that resulted in zero prize money – very harsh indeed on the owner in my book, as he seems to have been turned over in every way possible through no fault of his own?
Elsewhere in the racing World I am delighted to tell you that weather permitting I will be heading off to the Harry Fry yard next Tuesday (18th November) to see the horses we are involved in and talk to the main man himself for a brief biography plus a picture taking opportunity, though bright dry weather would be a major help when it comes to that aspect as I am no photographer (as many of you will have noticed). Ron will be grinning from ear to ear by now as Cheltenham’s big weekend meeting is well under way, though it looks plenty competitive to me at first glance – over to the ratings then! Sadly (because it rarely works out as I hope once I spot an outsider), there are three horses I like the look of on Saturday so fingers crossed they can make the frame, as they will all be decent enough prices if the tissue is to be believed. Two weeks ago we had a good priced Paul Nicholls trained winner basically based on my thought proves that his horses did not run at their very best last season, and thus may start this year off of decent enough handicap marks. If that is correct (and it is still guesswork this early in the season), then there is every possibility that Sam Winner can hump top weight round and take the Murphy Group Handicap Chase at 1.50pm. Still a youngster at the age of seven, his jumping has certainly been an issue on occasion but he seems sure to have been well schooled at home at Ditcheat and if he has improved at all than he could be well in here.
As for the Paddy Power at 2.30pm, any one of the nineteen declared overnight could win (and one of them will), but like the idiot I am I remain fiercely loyal to the stables who have made me most welcome on various visits. Martin Keighley could not have made me any more welcome which in turn has left me following Champion Court over a cliff, and with zero wins last season that gets a bit costly. He does, however, love Cheltenham (three of his five career wins have been here), and if they can get him back to his best he is thrown in here having won off a rating six pounds higher albeit back in April 2013.
Lastly, do we all jump on the Willie Mullins bandwagon again this season, or will the prices all be too short to bother with? Daring Carlotta comes over from the Emerald Isle to take them on in the Mares’ Bumper at 4.05pm looking to defend her unbeaten record after three races. Nine of the fourteen runners won last time out so I would not want to take a silly price about the daughter of Kayf Tara, but she did ooze class last time out at Listowel and cannot be easily opposed even in this difficult to call contest.
Good luck one and all…..
Selections this week:
Sam Winner each way 1.50pm Cheltenham Saturday
Champion Court each way 2.30pm Cheltenham Saturday
Daring Carlotta 4.05pm Cheltenham Saturday
Horses to follow:
Creepy – well supported on his debut over fences this week at Chepstow when making all and jumping well throughout to score by twenty lengths easing down. Trainer Martin Keighley thinks a lot of him and he will surely add more races to that success this season with the Sun Alliance Chase at Cheltenham presumably his long-term objective.
***Runs at Cheltenham Saturday in the 1.15pm good luck Creepy***
Broxbourne – used to be well above average on the flat when trained by Mark Johnston and looked like a machine when winning at lowly Fakenham for Nicky Henderson this week. More of a confidence booster than a real race he is entitled to improve for his first run in over a year and he could be pretty decent over two and a half miles or further over hurdles and seems sure to add to that victory.
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Ballyallia Man – Tom George is off to a flyer and this nine year old returned to action with little more than an exercise canter to win at Wincanton by a long looking six lengths. This was his first run for seven months or so and he is entitled to strip a little bit fitter next time out, so as long as the handicapper isn’t too punitive he ought to score next time out as well, after which he may be in the grips and can be removed with profit made!
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