Funny Old World…
It crossed my mind at the weekend, not for the first time, when I was in the pub chewing the fat with the lads, average age 73 average IQ substantially less, how few people are interested in racing. Our conversation ranged leisurely from Macron to Boris from sleaze to covid a detour via Twickenham then disappeared into a cul-de-sac about the fishing dispute. The latter topic being a subject everyone present had no idea about but a boat load of opinions. Not once did the weekend’s racing crop up, no chance for a post-mortem of the Badger Beer or the Grand Sefton or even a look forward to the Paddy Power next weekend. Probably just as well after last week’s selections both of which seemed scuppered by a fast early pace before staying on at the end. It’s a good job syndicates like Hope Eden are around to provide a meeting place for interested racegoers these days as the demise of betting shops in the internet age, where the like-minded could meet for a debrief, seems irreversible.
I was very impressed with Fergal O’Brien’s chasing debutant Brief Ambition at Kempton on Monday. Admittedly it was only a 0-120 handicap but the seven-year-old jumped like an old hand and beat the odds-on favourite very easily. Racing off 117 he will go up a few pounds but if his jumping remains so assured, he looks capable of defying any rise.
There was a cracking comment in the Press recently from a point-to-point trainer about one of his horses….” Envious Editor is a fast horse, so fast he could play table tennis on his own” …what a line.
Its looked like another lengthy spell on the side-lines for the unfortunate Jack Kennedy who sustained a suspected broken arm at Navan at the weekend. Just when the big guns start firing this happens to one of the most talented younger jockeys who has broken his right leg three times and his left once since 2016. Add to that collarbone issues and broken ribs and you wonder where these guys get the bottle to keep getting up and doing it all over again. Be fascinating to see who Gordon Elliott uses on the big days if Jack is out for a while, perhaps the new kid on the block Jordan Gainford will get the opportunity to prove his worth? Luckily a further examination revealed a dislocated and fractured shoulder and Jack is hoping to be back around Christmas, lets hope he mends quickly.
Selection – 2:15 Cheltenham: Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase
More good racing this weekend especially at Cheltenham where the Paddy Power Gold Cup takes centre stage. As usual it’s a difficult handicap to work out but no harm in having a bash.
I was very tempted by Protektorat of the Skelton’s who seems the ideal type for the race being a second season chaser who has form on the track but at the current odds he is a bit skinny for me. I would like to see the Northern stables do better in these big handicaps which always seem destined for the top Southern yards. I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be the North’s turn in the shape of Sue Smiths Midnight Shadow. This 8-year-old has some excellent course form in the book as well as making an excellent seasonal debut at Aintree in the Old Roan chase. There are loads of others in the mix not least our selection from last year Al Dancer who is now with Sam Thomas, Lalor now with Paul Nicholls, the 5-year -old Galahad Quest is well fancied but may need softer ground I could go on and on…but at around 8/1 Midnight Shadow will do for me.
1. Midnight Shadow
Selection – 1:05 Cheltenham: Jewson Tool Hire Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase
The other Cheltenham race on Saturday worth a closer look is the 1.05 the Amateur Jockeys’ 3m1f handicap. I cant resist these races as you get a good mix of potential improvers and old sweats and that’s just the jockeys. One Irish visitor that catches the eye is Matthew J Smith’s Mindsmadeup the mount of Finian Maguire. Maguire doesn’t ride over here much but he is a top-class pilot, son of ex jockey Adrian he is the go-to man in lots of Irish amateur races and his mount won’t be lacking in assistance. I think he is worth a modest investment at around 7/1.
Moving on to Sunday if you can tear yourself away from Songs of Praise the Shloer Chase at 2.20 is a must watch, Put the Kettle On up against Nube Negra and Sky Pirate should be a corker. So, hymn books down and notebooks out the season’s warming up nicely.
Over at Uttoxeter on Saturday the Hobgoblin IPA Handicap Chase caught the eye not as a betting proposition but it’s a really nice pint if you haven’t come across it…
Cheers and have a good weekend.
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.