The opening day of the Punchestown Festival in Ireland, and the tremendous prospect of seeing SPRINTER SACRE extending his unbeaten run as a chaser is the highlight of the day. The brilliant thing about Punchestown is that the first race of the day is at 3:40pm with the best races on at 5:30 and 6:40 allowing many the option of watching "live" on the way home from work if they pop-into the local bookies (which is what I intend on doing). While I cannot see anything beating SPRINTER SACRE today, I can see an upset in the Champion Novice Hurdle being staged at 4:20pm. RULE THE WORLD - who was last seen coming 2nd in the Neptune (Novice) Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival - will not be lacking in stamina over this minimum trip, and he can put-stay the principle pair of Champagne Fever and Jezki. At 6:40pm, the Champion Novice Chase over 3m1f would not look out of place at Cheltenham – this looks a top-class field and is probably stronger in depth than the RSA Chase run last month, in which BOSTON BOB fell at the final fence. I felt BOSTON BOB was not given enough credit for that run, his first attempt at 3-mile, and I also felt that his jockey Paul Townend was given too much stick for that final fence fall when his horse was leading. The tactical speed he showed that day on the run-up to the 2nd-last was impressive and is not something that we've seen in some of his rivals who all seem to want a trip in excess of 3m1f and the opportunity to show their stamina.
There is plenty of horseracing in the UK with some jump racing at Newton Abbot, Ffos Las and Towcester; but it's all fairly ordinary stuff tho' I do like the chance of Theatre Guide in the 2:30 at Newton Abbot. Not all horses appreciate the hustle and bustle of Cheltenham in March, so I can forgive him that run. I can also forgive him his run in the Feltham Novices Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day when he was hopelessly outclassed. In-between those efforts, he ran a cracker when looking like pushing Grandioso all the way to the line till falling at the final fence over 2m4f at Kempton. A repeat of that level of performance should be too good for this field, altho' the "dark-horse" Empire Levant from Paul Nicholls' stable could prove the most troublesome should he improve for his latest winning debut by about 12lb+.
Those are my thoughts on the days racing. I'm not posting any selections as the form of the jump racing becomes as unpredictable as the weather at this time of the year, and I had my fingers badly burnt on Saturday lumping-on a so-called "hot-pot".
The news that Mahmood al-Zarooni has been plying his horses with anabolic steroids is not good for horseracing. A shadow has been cast over the performances of horses from his stable since he burst onto the scene in March 2010, and questions will now be asked as to whether his phenomenal success was all down to his use of steroids. For his patron, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, this is a double-blow as it puts pressure on his entire breeding operation. Reliance on performance based on merit is the fundamental foundation stone of a successful racehorse breeding operation, and if Sheikh Mohammed cannot trust his own trainers to run a drug-free operation then he cannot have faith in his stallions and mares to produce top-class stock.
Finally, the punter is also hit as form-lines become unreliable when a trainer abuses his position by administering steroids. The punter is always the one to suffer whatever the outcome.
I'm formulating my punting strategy for the Flat season and I should be able to expand on that strategy over the coming couple of weeks. In previous years I have concentrated on handicap racing, endeavouring to find under-rated and/or improving horses to wager on. Unfortunately, for me that is a time-consuming occupation and time is something of a scarce resource for me this summer. I'm in a new job, with a house-move planned in a couple of weeks, and I've a couple of holidays planned in July and September – all of which will remove the opportunity to study race-form in depth this summer.Thanks for reading this blog and I hope you get enjoyment from it.
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Thanks from Wayward Lad
THEATRE GUIDE does the business at Newton Abbot! After posting the blog I took odds of 5/2, and the SP was 2/1.ReplyDelete