We did not do too well last Saturday (8th January) with the 3 selections given. Both Silver By Nature and Exmoor Ranger were beaten by the pace of the race (in my opinion), and Silver By Nature would have probably preferred softer going as well.
The other blog selection Free World blundered his way around and was always struggling. For a horse with plenty of talent, he is now proving frustrating. He heads for the Victor Chandler at Ascot on 22nd January but, in this sort of form, he has no chance in that. The only good thing is that he’s been dropped 3lb to 149 and you have to remember that just over 12 months ago he only failed by 1¼ lengths to give 2lb and a beating to French Opera who went on to only just fail to win the Johnny Henderson Chase at the Festival off OR154 (raised 4lbs to OR158 for that effort). He looks a handicap snip, but he seems to have “mental” problems.
I was pleased with another horse noted last Saturday - PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE. As I said, he is on a great rating of OR138, but the trip on Saturday was far too short for him and he should never have been the 3/1 fav for that race. As such, coming 3rd was a tremendous effort, and he is now primed for a big run, hopefully over 3-mile.
There was also a cracking run in Ireland from FLAT OUT. I have been a fan of this horse since I watched it win its debut hurdle last February. Always well regarded at home by Willie Mullins, this horse has never failed him on the track. It was, after all, a tremendous effort to run 5th in the Supreme Hurdle last March in only his 2nd hurdle race, with only Menorah, Get Me Out Of Here, Dunguib, and Oscar Whisky in front of him. On that form he’s worthy of a 20/1 quote for the Champion Hurdle! He’s quoted at 20/1 for the Arkle in March and, before that, he goes for the Irish equivalent at Leopardstown on the 23rd Jan. This bold front-runner will join GHIZAO at the head of the market for the Arkle should he win at Leopardstown, and as such he’s worth an eachway punt at those odds. I think it is also very relevant that FLAT OUT has not (in my knowledge) ever been longer than 40’s on the exchanges for the Arkle.
The final horse noted on Saturday’s blog was Midnight Haze and he was going like a good’un before a broken blood vessel did for his chances. Not a good sign this, and a long period of rest will be required.
Back on 15th September 2010, I wrote this on the blog about my winning selection MUSIC OF THE MOOR: “As expected, the step-up in trip to 12f really suited, but I think it was the soft going that really made the difference as the horse cruised through it. Due to go hurdling this winter, he looks a great prospect for the winter scene”. Well, I should have read my own notes as the horse made his hurdling debut last Saturday at Sandown on heavy going and, despite a last hurdle blunder, he cruised to a commanding victory at 8/1. I may not have given you a winner, but I hope you’ll forgive me.
Nothing takes my eye at either of today’s jump meetings at Catterick and Hereford, tho’ HOBBS DREAM will take all the beating in the 1:40 at Hereford. Sir Winston is as game as they come, and will be on the premises, but he’s very one-paced. Much will depend on the attitude of lightly raced 9yo Shannon’s Boy, as even his trainer was surprised by his win LTO. If he comes on for that run then he’s going to go close, but if he bounces? All-in-all, 5/2 about HOBBS DREAM isn’t value, but if you can get 7/2 or longer grab it.
ANTEPOST for the Arkle
FLAT OUT, ½pt each way @ 20/1 (Hills or Chandlers)
Lastly, I learned yesterday that BURTON PORT is out for the rest of the season, so the ½pt each way on him for the Gold Cup has been lost.
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