There was just the one selection yesterday – PANDORAMA – tho’ there were some good words about a few others that were running.
What was perhaps the biggest news was the successful reappearance of KAUTO STAR at Down Royal. He never put a foot wrong and comprehensively beat what looked to be good opposition in Sizing Europe and China Rock. However, that news was supplanted in the headlines by Ruby Walsh suffering a broken leg which must surely put him in some doubt over having the ride on Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day. However, full marks to KAUTO STAR and he is not showing any signs of losing his powers just yet. Where now for Sizing Europe? Personally, I would drop him back in trip to the 2-mile division, but I expect connections will aim him at the Ryanair at the Festival. In the next race the Nicholls/Walsh partnership notched up a quick double with The Nightingale. My blog selection PANDORAMA was withdrawn at the post. At the time, PANDORAMA was the 6/4 fav and I really do think he would have given The Nightingale a lot more to do, as he won the race in a canter.
At Wincanton, the Elite Hurdle was ripped apart by NEARBY, who has now won his last 3 hurdles over 28-days and already has been raised 20lbs by the handicapper, but must now be OR150+. When he won at Aintree on 9th October I marked him as one to follow, but thought the 10lb he went up was too harsh. He won off his revised mark on 23rd October and went up another 10lb, and I thought that too was a bit harsh. Where he goes now is anyone’s guess, but his trainer Phil Hobbs certainly knows how to handle hurdlers and he is not afraid of using claiming jockeys either. Full marks to him. As for Australia Day, its back to the drawing board as he ran a shocker and his hurdling went to pieces.
In the Badger Ales Trophy, Paul Nicholls had certainly better prepared MEANUS DANDY for this, but he really had to fight for it to beat an old fav of mine BUENA VISTA. I was correct in swerving I’MONCLOUDNINE as he just missed-out on 3rd place by a head. The performance of the race tho’ was BUENA VISTA. I reckon he will again be aimed at a Festival handicap, and now we know he can jump a fence at pace he must be on the longterm shortlist as he loves it at Cheltenham and he always gets the going he loves there, which is “proper” good going.
Horses tho’, they love to take you to the cleaners. Who remembers me writing this on 13th October?
“won her opening couple of races last autumn and this trip is right up her street as is the going. She was highly tried last winter, and lost nothing in defeat but has now slipped back to her last winning mark of OR125”. That was about FIT TO DRIVE, and she clearly needed the run as she wasn’t race-fit. She ran an improved race on 23rd October, but yesterday when fully fit, and dropped to OR119 (how did I miss that!) she won @ 14/1 by 10-lengths and must surely be capable of a follow-up.
The only other horse mentioned on the blog yesterday was DOUBLE DIZZY and this race was perhaps over at least a mile too short for him these-days. Cheltenham over 3-mile-plus shold see a much improved display.
Despite there being 3 good meetings for a Sunday at Ffos Las, Hereford and Market Rasen, I am having a day-off from racing and – as it’s my birthday tomorrow – I’ll be having tomorrow off as well. However, I may have a sneaky wager on SIR WINSTON at Market Rasen as he never ran a bad race last season and won on his seasonal debut and this is Vic Dartnall’s only runner today (he’s sent just 5 to Market Rasen and had 2 winners) and tho’ I respect the chance of recent winner Bobby Bullock this week, I never think any horse is an odds-on chance when chasing, and 6/1 on SIR WINSTON looks fair.
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