Saturday's selection EASTLAKE was a disappointing one. As expected, the heavy ground did add another dimension to the race and, despite being only a 2-mile chase; the stamina of the runners was severely tested. The early pace set by Oscar Hill (ridden by Robert "Choc" Thornton) was far too fast and when the field met the "railway" fences, which was after just over a mile, some of the field were already tiring. As such, approaching 3-out there were only 4 still in the race, which included the selection EASTLAKE but even he tired quickly after that to finish 4th. That the race was won by Grey Gold who made it 4 wins from 5 starts on heavy ground (and had previously looked desperate for a trip longer than 2-miles) with the 3-mile chaser Rebel Rebellion staying-on to be 3rd, showed just how stamina-sapping the ground at Sandown was on Saturday. EASTLAKE was not pushed very hard by his rider, the 10lb claimer Tommie O'Brien, and we might see the best of him at Cheltenham if he's reunited with stable jockey AP McCoy.
Perhaps I should just have followed my alert runners without thought as No Planning (6/4), Saphir Du Rheu (2/1) and Emperor's Choice (9/2) all won on the day.
I was particularly impressed with SAPHIR DU RHEU who won a protracted battle with the race-fav Whisper who was receiving 6lb (after taking off the 5lb allowance for Saphir's jockey, Harry Derham). I appreciate that this 5yo is entered for the 3-mile World Hurdle at the Festival and is destined to be a superlative chaser, but I'd like to see him supplemented for this year's Champion Hurdle. From what we've seen, he's about 7-10lb shy of Hurricane Fly and his stamina might well make him a dangerous beast to under-estimate in the Champion Hurdle.
I've spent a fair bit of time updating the Cheltenham Festival Bulletin and I'm about to start writing the "essays". This will be a new section for the bulletin. I've been looking at other Cheltenham Festival productions and, if I may say so, some are looking a bit stale. They are also not looking like good value as some, and I'm including prestigious Festival guides, don't even provide a selection for the Festival – not one. It would not be a Festival if the punter didn't go into March with at least one antepost wager of substance tucked in the wallet. Last year I gave readers Cue Card @ 5/1 for the Ryanair Chase, and we certainly made hay!
My target date for issue of the Cheltenham Festival Bulletin 2014 to donators is Friday 21st February.
Look forward to the bulletin Ian, think i need to top up my donation! Always good to read your thoughts, keep up the good work.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the compliment James.ReplyDelete