How did we do on the opening day?
In the Supreme Hurdle, the selection Il Etait Temps lacked mid-race pace, and looked a horse that probably should have run in the Ballymore over 2m4f - but he may not even have been good enough for that. Readers of the blog were in clover after the Arkle Novices Chase when El Fabiolo - advised at 11/2 in January - romped home a good winner. We were brought back down to earth in the Ultima Handicap, with main selection The Big Breakaway running no sort of race, and Tea Clipper running 6th, just out of the places. There was 40/1 available on Tea Clipper and upto 8-places available with some bookies. In the Champion Hurdle, there was no stopping Constitution Hill, who looks the best since Istabraq. The speculative ew wager on I Like To Move It didn't come off as he tried to make-all - what on earth was Sam Twiston-Davies thinking? The Mares' Hurdle turned out to be one of the races of the day with Honeysuckle rekindling her best form - it's been a year of triumph and tragedy for Trainer de Bromhead. I didn't think she'd do it, so glad I passed on that race. There was no selection advised in the Junvenile Handicap hurdle. Onto the last race of the day, the NH Chase, and what can I say? The selection Mahler Mission looked home & hosed 3-out, but it soon became clear that he was fading will little left in the tank as he approached the 2nd-last fence, where he duly fell. The amateur jky just pushed-on too early trying to make ground as they went up the hill (spectacular jump at the top of the hill), and that was a schoolboy error. I'm not sure if he'd have held off Gaillard Du Mesnil on the run-in, but it would have been close.
We need Mighty Potter to win the "Turners" on Thursday and complete the double started by El Fabiolo to recoup this days losses.
Onto Wednesday, and I've already reviewed the main runners in the races over the past couple of weeks, so I won't repeat those notes here; but they are available if you scroll back through the blog entries.
Remember: there will be NO Selections posted on this blog at odds of under 9/4.
If I think the fav will be the most likely winner, and it's odds are under 9/4, I will say so, but I will not use that race as a measure of success when assessing results at the end of the week.
1:30pm Ballymore Novices' Hurdle over 2m5f
A race that usually produces a top-class field, although some recent winners haven't progressed as well as expected. I had an antepost wager on the fav Impaire Et Passe, but in the "Supreme" and not in this race. This will be only his 3rd hurdle race, and it will be a stamina test for him. As such, I don't think he's value at odds of 7/4. I've not been convinced that Hermes Allen is good enough to win a race of this quality, and his position in the betting is likely due to him being a confirmed runner for some time. Now we have the declared runners, we know what Mullins is sending along with the fav, and I'm more impressed with the form of Gaelic Warrior than Champ Kiely, and the 5yo Ho My Lord could be anything. If push comes to shove, I'd have a wager on Gaelic Warrior @ 5/1; but I'm sitting this race out.
2:10pm Brown Advisory (Broadway) Novices Chase over 3-mile
This looks like being a really good race, and it could produce a future Gold Cup winner. I posted Thyme Hill as my antepost selection early following his win at Kempton, mainly as he ticked a lot of boxes and this was his declared target race. A fair few "stats" guru's consider the 9yo to be one to avoid, we shall have to see. This 3-mile trip[ should bring about more improvement in the fav Gerri Colombe, and he is a worthy fav, if a bit short at odds of 6/4. When watching the "Dipper" at Cheltenham on 01Jan, I was more impressed with Thunder Rock than The Real Whacker, and I can see the places being reversed over this 3-mile trip. If Thunder Rock repeats his LTO run behind Gerri Colombe, that should be good enough for him to be 3rd. The enigma in the race is Sir Gerhard: he's only had the one race over fences and that was an inadequate test, we learned nothing from it. This race has probably come too soon for him. The mare Galia Des Liteaux could be interesting: she was disappointing when behind Thyme Hill at Kempton, but bounced back from that LTO. She looks a good eachway wager if you are not already involved. I'm already committed to Thyme Hill, but I think the most likely winner is the fav Gerri Colombe.
2:50pm Coral Cup (handicap) Hurdle over 2m5f
With 26 runners and 8/1 joint-fav's, this race is a minefield for the punter. You can follow the main selections, or go a bit left-field for a small eachway wager; and that's my preferred way to go. I will be honest, I've not had the time to analyse the field for this as I would a chase handicap, as the 2m5f trip is a bit of an odd one. There's only been 3 winners of this race in the past 10 years that's carried under 11st and, as the lowest weight carried this year is 10st 11lb, carrying a big weight may not be a problem. Gordon Elliott has had a few winners of this race, and at massive odds too, and that he runs Fil Dor in this is interesting. Until the Dublin Festival he was a live "Arkle" candidate, but not being a good enough chaser saw him switched back to hurdles (he was 2nd in the Triumph Hurdle last year), and he duly won a Grade 3 hurdle beating multiple Grade 1 winner Sharjah in the process. He may have 12st in this race, but he's a class horse with a decent 5lb claimer in the saddle, and we know he's race-fit and in form.
FIL DOR - £5 ew @ 14/1 (Paddy Power, 6-places, 5th odds a place)
3:30 Queen Mother Champion Chase over 2-miles
A high-class field, and the only one missing from the line-up is Shishkin (goes for the Ryanair Chase on Thursday). Readers of the blog pocketed a big win from the success in this race by Energumene, but he has a worthy opponent in Edwardstone who had the beating of him when they met LTO. Unfortunately, they beat each other LTO by ignoring the eventual winner of the race, Editeur De Gite. That won't be allowed to happen again, and I expect Edwardstone to come home the winner: but there's no value in the betting, so no advised wager from me in this race.
I'm going to ignore the Cross-Country Chase at 4:10pm, ass it isn't my sort of race at all. The same with the Champion Bumper that closes the day's racing. Instead, I shall take a look at the:-
4:40pm Grand Annual (Handicap) Chase over 2-miles
This race is famous for it's gambles and it is usually run at a fierce pace. The subject of last years' gamble was Andy Dufresne who ran 2nd. He is well fancied this year too, but I feel he may not be able to repeat & beat that effort. The Mullins-trained Dads Lad has been aimed at this race since winning here over C&D in October, and my only worry is that he's been off the track since 13Nov; but Mullins is well capable of winning a race here. Another that looks to have been prepared for this race is Thyme White who won off a long break at Ascot in October, and looks well handicapped in this race. Overall, this looks too tricky, and I'm just clutching at straws in this race. So I'm going to pass.
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