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Sunday, 17 November 2013
Johns Spirit does the biz - another winner!
JOHNS SPIRIT was given a tremendous ride by his jockey Richie McLernon and altho' he hit the front a bit too soon and idled on the run-in, when he was challenged by the runner-up in the final 50 yards he picked up again and maintained the advantage. I thought he matched his performance when 2nd to Katenko at Sandown earlier this year and there could easily be another 10lb+ improvement in him. Remember, Jonjo O'Neill has been in this position before with a 6yo winning the Paddy Power off a rating of OR139 - Exotic Dancer!
Exotic Dancer had a similar racing style to JOHNS SPIRIT, coming from way off the pace and, while it is early days with this horse, nothing is impossible in horseracing. Exotic Dancer went on to win again at Cheltenham twice that season before running 2nd to the great Kauto Star in the Gold Cup earning a rating of OR168.
With a bit more bravery on the selection from, it could have been a very good day as the novice chaser LE BEC who was on my alert list, won in very catching fashion earlier on the card. He looks like a marathon chaser in the making. In respect of the 3m3f & 110yards Murphy Chase (handicap) passing it over was a good play. Race winner Alverado had shown a liking for Cheltenham when 3rd here in April off OR131 and, dropped 2lb yesterday, was weighted to be in the picture. The runner-up Knockara Beau ran right up to his best form, but it wasn't good enough. It was another step back for 3rd-placed Bradley who was runner-up in this last year. Then, I gave him a rating of 149 when 2nd to Monbeg Dude but, for yesterday, I only award him 133. If his return to form continues, I'd love to see him go for the Welsh National where (on soft ground) he could be a handicap snip. Monbeg Dude ran a brave race in 4th, and at one point I thought he'd win. But, he's handicapped to his ceiling now at OR138 and that's as good as he gets. He is the classic example of finding a horse running much better than his rating and taking advantage. I'd spotted the horse when he won his chase debut in Nov'11, and followed that up with a eye-catching run at Newcastle in Jan'12. He is the horse that I look out for and he rewarded up with a couple of long-odds wins last season before the handicapper caught up with him.
I chose the wrong one with my other selection DENALI HIGHWAY, favouring him over my other alert runner No Planning who one the race. I'm still not convinced that No Planning stays 3-mile well enough as he clouted the 2nd last hard, and that's the sign of a tired horse. Unfortunately, Denali Highway could not take advantage and did look in need of the race. I'd expect DENALI HIGHWAY to go well NTO and I'd not be put off whatever trip is tried between 21f - 25f, as he looks like a 3-miler yet has a bit of speed about him. As for No Planning, I think he'll struggle once re-rated over 3-mile and he'd do better dropped in trip to 20f-22f.
It's too late to post some selections for Cheltenham this afternoon, but here are the runners from my alert list:-
Cheltenham 2:10 Raya Star and Dodging Bullets
Fontwell 1:50 Emperor's Choice
Fontwell 2:25 Dolatulo and Foxcub
Cheltenham 2:40 Sire De Grugy
Cheltenham 3:15 Ahyaknowyerself and Cash And Go
Cheltenham 3:50 Red Sherlock
I do like CASH AND GO and, having run 2nd in this race last year, we know he'll love it. FOXCUB at Fontwell looks value to be in the places and should go well.
Onwards and upwards into next week.