No Fallers Please…
How perceptive were these words last week?
“…but if Willie Mullins thinks his lad is up to this grade, who am I to disagree”
Err right sentiment wrong horse, what a kick in the selection box watching Tornado Flyer keep on doggedly to win the King George at 28/1 whilst our great grey hope Asterion Forlonge overjumped and came down at the final fence. Talking through my charred wallet I still thought the grey was in with a shout but there you go that’s steeplechasing.
The Gold Cup market has had a bit of a shake up over the last few days to me Minella Indo is still the one to be on, even after his Kempton flop, he loves Cheltenham and is unbeaten on the New Course two statistics it is hard to ignore. Galvin, I feel is a bigger danger than A Plus Tard as he seems to possess more stamina, although Henry de Bromhead seemed happy with A Plus Trad’s performance. It will be fascinating to see which of the De Bromhead runners Rachel Blackmore picks and whether connections stick with cheek pieces come March. At around 10/1 Minella Indo is worth an early interest. Not forgetting they all have to get there safe and sound which is a big ask with National Hunt horses, but it promises to be a cracking contest if last Tuesday’s Savills Chase is anything to go by.
Still in Ireland , it was hard not to be impressed with the chase debut of the Willie Mullins gelding Galopin Des Champs who led from the first and won unchallenged at Leopardstown. He is already 9/4 for the Festival Novices Chase which could be good value come March. He won the Martin Pipe at this year’s Festival so acts on the course and is a novice to keep an eye on. From the reports so far, it looks like both Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor are being aimed at the same Festival target, what a contest that could be.
Cheltenham has also a decent meeting to kick off New Year’s Day and perhaps put us in funds for the year ahead….no sniggering! There are a couple of good handicap chases to have a look at, let’s hope we can avoid fallers this weekend.
Selection – 12:50 Cheltenham – New Four Eighty Restaurant At Cheltenham Festival Handicap Chase
The first at 12.50pm is over three and a quarter miles and on the forecast soft ground the trip will take some getting. Never a bad idea to see what is lurking amongst the bottom weights when the ground is testing, and David Bridgwater’s Captain Tommy might be the answer carrying 10st 1lb. He runs off a rating of 120 and he is inching down the weights from a high of 127 earlier in the season. A possible downside is that he seemed to have a hard enough race last time at Exeter, which was only a couple of weeks ago, when he appeared to pay the penalty for helping force the pace. He was struggling to maintain his position entering the straight but then ran on again after the last two fences. At the forecast odds of around 12/1 I think he is worth an interest. Like all good handicaps the race is wide open, and Venetia Williams’ unexposed Destinee Royale could be anything as could Undersupervision from the Twiston Davies yard.
1. Captain Tommy
Selection – 2:00 Cheltenham – Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase
The other cracking handicap at 2.00pm over two and a half miles is like déjà vu all over again, bearing a strong resemblance to the earlier Paddy Power and Racing Post chases so much so Paddy Power have sponsored this contest. Coole Cody and Zanza first and second in the Racing Post turn up again and on 2lb better terms plus the addition of cheekpieces Zanza might have his revenge. I have my doubts as the Hobbs gelding always seems to find trouble in his races and make life difficult for his jockey before finishing with a late rattle. At around a similar price I would rather have a few quid on the six-year-old Galahad Quest who started favourite for a handicap at Aintree at the start of December… you guessed it he fell… but watching the race again it wasn’t a drastic error more a slip on the landing side… no jokes about old lads getting up for the toilet in the night please. He was a fast finishing fifth in the Paddy Power, so we know he handles the track and his trainer although he doesn’t have many runners gets a decent return from them. The usual caveats apply as in all good handicaps but around 7/1 I feel Galahad Quest will give us a decent run.
1. Galahad Quest
I was pleased to read that another old stager has been given an honourable retirement this week, no not yours truly, but Nicky Richards’ Takingrisks the 2019 Scottish Grand National winner. The gelding is now destined for life as a hack at Greystoke which he thoroughly deserves after a career which saw him win six chases and three hurdle races. The Greystoke handler was quoted as saying “It’s brilliant when you can retire them in one piece, which is the main thing.” An excellent sentiment.
I was taken aback to read the title of the 1.30pm race at Uttoxeter this Friday, the Steve Lawrence Northern Soul Memorial Handicap Chase… err
Right just off to man the border crossing near Carlisle before the Tartan Army descend for their Hogmanay Celebrations…
Hope 2022 brings you health and happiness and perhaps the odd winner.
Have a good one.
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.