In today’s blog:-
Review of the yesterday’s horseracing
And another thing
Review of yesterday’s horseracing
At Exeter, CELESTIAL HALO had his debut race as a chaser – and fell.
It is always a concern when hurdlers go chasing – some make it and some don’t. Some of those in recent years who were top-class hurdlers who did not make the grade as chasers include Straw Bear and Afsoun, but I’m sure many more can be added to the list. At odds of 2/7 yesterday, CELESTIAL HALO was a certain winner so long as he was able to jump the fences. It cuts against the grain for me to lay a horse to lose in the hope that it falls, so I “abstained” from the race yesterday.
Paul Nicholls reported that the horse returned to the stables ok on twitter (@PFNicholls) and there was also talk that the horse would now return to hurdling (comments of back to the drawing board). If you refer to yesterday’s blog, Nicholls has always thought the horse would be best over a longer trip than 2-mile, and he looked like he was on the way to winning the 2m4f Aintree Hurdle (G1) last April till falling at the 2nd-last when in a clear lead. I reckon he may miss the Cheltenham Festival altogether next March, and be aimed solely for the Aintree Hurdle.
There are two jump meetings at Fontwell and Worcester.
I’ve not had much time this morning to look through the racing, but Fontwell provides nothing to generate my interest at all. At Worcester, BALLYDUB was a novice with potential last season, and I expect him to be well-schooled for this as at 100/30 (Skybet, and 11/4 elswhere) for the novice chase at 3:15, he looks value as both those ahead of him in the market are having their chase debut – and as we saw yesterday, it’s a lot different on the course from jumping fences on the gallops.
I will be looking for a good run from SIR IAN in the 4:55. He is 3 wins from 4 runs on “good” going, his only failure being in his debut chase. He’s also best at this 20f trip and he comes here having run a career-best LTO just 26-days ago. At 7/2 with Sportingodds (3/1 elsewhere) he is the value.
And another thing
There was a fair amount of discussion about the re-rating of CLERKS CHOICE following his runaway win at Cheltenham on Saturday. The Official Handicapper has taken that form “as read” and rated CLERKS CHOICE at OR162 – that is an increase of 31lb on his previous rating. To put the rating into context, at the same stage (ie. after their opening run of 4-5yo season):-
in 2007, Punjabi (Champion Hurdle winner in 2009) was rated OR150;
in 2008, Binocular(Champion Hurdle winner in 2010) was rated OR152;
in 2007, Katchit (Champion Hurdler in 2008) was rated OR162;
in 2006, Detroit City (was 6/4 fav for 2007 Champion Hurdle) was rated OR165.
From the above, you can see that CLERKS CHOICE is a “better” hurdler than the last 3 Champion Hurdlers as this stage of his career, based on Official Ratings. The time of the race on Saturday was also very good being well under the standard time, and the best speed rating on the day by a long way. I was also enamoured by the ease at which the horse ran the race as he travelled well off a very strong pace and basically won as he liked with the horses in 2nd and 3rd being solid yardsticks and coming from top stables, therefore surely being fit enough to do themselves justice.
In my opinion, current odds of 33/1 for the Champion Hurdle look generous, especially given the lack of depth in the Champion Hurdle market (most have shown themselves incapable of winning, bar reigning champion Binocular, and Peddlers Cross). Also, 5yo's have taken 50% of the places in the last 4 Champion Hurdles, from a representation of probably less than 20% of the runners.
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