Swimming against the tide.
The famous painting colloquially named Whistler’s Mother is actually called Arrangement in Grey and Black No 1. Fascinating I hear mumbled from the back, but it seems a good description of the world we are currently inhabiting. Look out of the window, look at the telly, read the press, all doom and gloom. Are we down hearted? nah …it has just been reported on 5Live that Bonnie Tyler has learned to swim at the age of 69. That’s the kind of news to get the nation pulling together.
At least the good old racing world is doing its best to keep those of us who are fans of the game involved. There has been the odd downturn with various items of news that could be done without. However, when there’s a meeting coming up to get one’s teeth into it’s the ideal distraction from the grey and black at least until the result is known. There was an old saying, that no trainer ever committed suicide in the winter with a good two-year-old in their stable, and you can appreciate that sentiment. There is always something to look forward to and as long as clubs like Hope Eden can keep members involved and connected Bonnie Tyler will stay afloat.
Talking of positivity, I thought David Bass’ ride on First Flow last Saturday was one to savour. Watching them serving it up to Politologue and Harry Cobden as they eyeballed each other going away from the stands was what to me makes jump racing so good. I know a winner always makes the punter review the race through rose tinted glasses, but this was different gravy. A few more duels like that and lockdown will soon pass.
Anyway, enough of reflection.
Unfortunately, Cheltenham’s Festival Trials Day card tomorrow has been called off due to waterlogging which is a shame. A number of the races are set to be rescheduled/relocated so I will keep the below as is.
The big race at Cheltenham was set to be the Cotswold chase which has always been seen as a Gold Cup trial. The likes of Dawn Run, Little Owl, Master Oats, See More Business and Looks Like Trouble all contested both races. All but one of them winning. Talking of the loser I remember watching Dawn Run falling in the race in 1986. It was a hoot to see the face of one of Hope Eden’s finest, a mere child at the time, drained of colour until he realised the horse was ok. I think it was the health of his lumpy ante-post bet for the Gold Cup that he was concerned about …. luckily, all was well, the mare got up not only on this occasion but also under an inspired Jonjo ride to triumph at the Festival.
It looked like Bristol de Mai would go off favourite on Saturday with what would have been his favoured heavy ground to race on. He’s been second and third in this race but has never won any race at Cheltenham so at the likely skinny odds he was not for me. Hopefully, he ‘ll run well in a re-scheduled renewal as he is a grand stayer who does his best time and time again.
Selection to follow in re-run –1:50 – Cheltenham – Paddy Power Millionaire Trophy Handicap Chase
The Cheltenham race which was worth a look was the 1.50 a good Grade 3 handicap. As to be expected it had attracted a good field. Like most of these decent Cheltenham handicaps there were a few in with a squeak but there are only so many masts to nail one’s colours to. Jonathan Burke is a jockey who flies under the radar but given the opportunities he very rarely lets connections down. Mick Channon uses him a lot and I think they’ll have a great chance here with Mr Whitaker. The gelding is a bit shorter in the betting than I expected at around 5/1 but I think he has to be a bet. At better odds Nick Alexander sends Clan Legend all the way from Sturgeon country, this lad loves the softer ground and with Danny McMenamin being booked he’d also worth a punt at around 12/1 in a re-scheduled race.
1. Mr Whitaker
2. Clan Legend
Selection – 3:15 – Doncaster – Sky Bet Handicap Chase
Doncaster sees the Skybet Chase formerly known as the Great Yorkshire Chase which in the past used to attract some top-quality animals. Looking back through previous winners there’s a couple of Gold Cup winners Knock Hard and Bregawn, together with three Grand National winners Freebooter, E.S.B. and Nicolaus Silver. It doesn’t seem to attract the top quality these days, but it is always a good betting race.
This year is no exception, and Christian Williams’ Cap Du Nord heads the market after his last two good runs but at the odds I would look elsewhere. J P McManus has two in the race Canelo and Musical Slave. Canelo won a good race at Wetherby over Christmas but to me Musical Slave looks unexposed andat around 8/1 is worth chancing. He has always appeared to need this trip but has usually been campaigned over two and a half miles or less. There will be plenty of pace come Saturday with Yorkhill and Aye Right likely to be taking each other on for the lead. Hopefully, Tom O’Brien can smuggle Musical Slave out the back an always risky tactic, but that’s what makes steeplechasing fascinating.
1. Musical Slave
Came across a quote from Lester Piggott this week…. a good jockey doesn’t need orders and a bad jockey couldn’t carry them them out anyway, so it’s best not to give them any.
Have to agree…
Enjoy the weekend as always.
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.