UK 2-0 Hong Kong as far as last week’s bets were concerned with two out of two winners at Cheltenham and naught out of two winners in Hong Kong but I’ll settle for that even if the winners were so well backed the prices ended up on the silly side. No fancy foreign trip for me this week (and thus no name dropping either), but I do need to at least comment on my last trip one more time, if only in the hope of being asked back!
Fact is they know how to put on a decent show, from singers and acrobats before racing to fireworks afterwards, but more importantly the track is top class, from decent viewing for all through the largest parade ring I have ever seen, decent food at sensible prices, and some really top quality racing. Thanks to the equivalent of a Tote monopoly it appears that money is no object and the course smells of money being spent, with prize money to match, so the racing was always going to be top drawer I assure you and so it proved. Flintshire, runner up to Treve in the Arc made me look stupid(er) with a pretty convincing success in the Vase with a cosy half length victory, but I have to say the Irish sprinters were a bitter disappointment and did not run up to their form by any means. Gordon Lord Byron did OK back in fourth on ground almost certainly too quick for his liking but Sole Power never looked like getting involved in the finish before trailing in ninth taking my money with him I am sorry to add!
Best winner of the day was the odds on Able Friend
who came from pretty much last to first in a top class field to win going away at the line under local hero Joao Moreira. I am quietly confident the Royal ascot executive will be working away in the background to get him to show up in June and make no mistake, unless there is a top class three year old next season that we are yet to discover, he will take some stopping – have a look at him here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHUBRbIvnZk and if you aren’t impressed I would be surprised – his run will be my lasting impression racing wise of what turned out to be an amazing trip.
Looking ahead to the weekend and we have a double header of quality jump racing from Ascot and Haydock, so more than enough to get our teeth in to which has to be seen as a good thing, though as Ron will have undoubtedly mentioned in our podcast, where have all the runners gone (again)? Starting with the 1.50pm I wonder if it might be worth giving a chance to the long absent Ballygarvey who represents Philip Hobbs who has the facilities and the ability to get one straight first time out and will hopefully do so here. My selection has been off since a disappointing fourth at Cheltenham but the handicapper has kindly dropped him four pounds for his off day, which may possibly leave him well in here. Likely favourite Malibu Sun could be better over further and has gone up another eleven pounds since his last race which is why I am hoping I have picked the value option – time will tell as always if any or all of my assessments are correct of course.
Heading north to Haydock and heavy ground looks certain to await the protagonists this weekend but will that be an issue for Bitofapuzzle I wonder? I would be a liar if I failed to confess that I now give all of Harry Fry’s runners a second look now we are so closely associated with the yard, and I was certainly intrigued to see her held up on her hurdling debut at Wincanton having made all in three previous bumper outings that all resulted in victory. I am rather hoping tat was simply trying different tactics (or to stop her being too eager at the obstacles), yet she failed to be as impressive in my book, and I will throw a quick prayer in the direction of a front running performance Saturday, which I feel would help her keep her unbeaten record one race longer at the very least.
Lastly, all I need to do is wish you all the very best both over Christmas and the New year – I will be back next week with an article and may even make it an early one to cover Boxing Day as a special treat – let me have a look at what is running and when to draw my conclusions and I will see you all then!
Good luck one and all…..
Selections this week:
Ballygarvey 1.50pm Ascot Saturday
Bitofapuzzle 1.30pm Haydock 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. Looked well beaten when unseating Richard Johnson last weekend at Cheltenham but can still win races if kept to a sensible grade.
***No current entries***
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.
*** No current entries***
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!
*** No current entries***
Hargam – an unlucky runner up on his hurdling debut the three year old was travelling as if it was a matter of how far not if at Cheltenham before fading up the infamous hill. With that run behind him he is surely a shoe in to win next time out and could win a few more if sensibly entered.
***Won for us at Cheltenham last weekend but no current entries***