I’ve been away from blogging the best part of 3 weeks due to the inclement weather prior to Christmas, and spending some quality time with family over the holiday period.
There has been some good racing since the last blog – even if there has been little of it to go around – and the two feature races of the holiday period; that is the King George and the Welsh National, are yet to be run on their rearranged dates.
I left you with a winner in Aztec Treasure and for December the blog selections broke-even (3 selections, with 1 winner @ 3/1).
So far, the following antepost advices have been provided on the blog:-
IMPERIAL COMMANDER, 2pts win @ 9/2 for the Gold Cup (on 22/11 and again on 28/11)
DENMAN, 1pt eachway @ 8/1 for the Gold Cup (on 28/11)
BURTON PORT, ½pt eachway @ 20/1 for the Gold Cup (on 28/11)
PEDDLERS CROSS, 1pt eachway @ 14/1 for the Champion Hurdle (on 27/11)
GHIZAO, 1pt eachway @ 12/1 for the Arkle (on 23/11)
GAUVAIN , ½pt eachway @ 25/1 for the QM Champion Chase (on 15/11)
So, there’s 10pts staked already.
At Leopardstown on 28th December there was the grade 1, Lexus Chase. Won by Pandorama (one of my bankers in the my TTTF entries) this was a solid performance, with the places filled by the same horses as in 2009 (Money Trix and Joncol). They will all now go on to contest the Hennessey where Pandorama will be hard to beat if showing natural progression. However, his liking for soft going is likely to prevent him contesting the Gold Cup.
On 30th December, Big Zeb confirmed his superiority to Golden Silver over 2-mile with Captain Cee Bee toiling behind. That’s the end of it for Captain Cee Bee as far as I am concerned as he went into the race with 3 wins from 4 runs on soft/heavy, so claims that he hated the heavy going were a straw clutching exercise. With BIG ZEB at 7/2 and Master Minded at 7/4 for the QM Champion Chase, the value has to lie with BIG ZEB who was only beaten a head by Master Minded on levels at Punchestown in April 2009. I can see Master Minded starting at slight odds-on for the QM Champion Chase on the day, and so we could see 4/1 or longer for BIG ZEB then. The next race on that card was the grade 1 hurdle won by Hurricane Fly. This display did not impress me at all and merely confirmed that the “Fly” is about 3lb better than Solwhit who I rate a solid 158 horse. Corals are best-priced at 9/2, but I’m not tempted as Hurricane Fly needs to find another 7lb+. The presence of Hurricane Fly at the head of the market has pushed PEDDLERS CROSS out half-a-point to 13/2 (he’s just 9/2 with Corals) and I’m tempted to have another 1pt win on PEDDLERS CROSS for the Champion Hurdle at those odds, but I’ll hang fire just yet.
After winning the Champion Hurdle last March, BINOCULAR was 4/1 to repeat in 2011. He is now 5/1 in some places (Bet365 and Stan James) and I expect Nicky Henderson to get a win out of him NTO before attempting to hold on to his crown. Remember, 15 of the last 18 Champion Hurdle winners won their previous race; the last 16 winners all ran in the calendar year the race was run; and 8 of the last 11 winners have been aged 7 or older (4 being 7yo’s).
I’ve already written that POQUELIN is my idea of the winner of the Ryanair, and he’s been cut by most firms from 6/1 to 5’s. I’m starting to formulate some Festival multiples, and POQUELIN is featuring highly as “banker” material.
The performance of the holiday was GHIZAO winning at Newbury while giving 10lb to Captain Chris. This was a race won previously by Paul Nicholls with the likes of Big Bucks and Kauto Star. I said after his win at Cheltenham in November that he was a 160+ horse, and he confirmed it here.
Current odds of 6/1 look generous and, as he goes straight to the Festival, I’m recommending another 1pt win at those odds.
Do not ignore Captain Chris; he had a wind operation prior to this race and may have lacked some fitness.
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