Always something else…
Cheltenham over for another year but no respite, the start of the Flat season this weekend swiftly followed by Aintree then Punchestown. There is hardly time to learn anything from this year’s Festival before prices go up for next years. I was a bit taken aback to see on one of the betting websites this week some firms were offering prices for the handicaps next year never mind the Championship races.
So, what can we take from last week’s action? The Irish still seem to have the upper hand although they were not as dominant as was feared beforehand. A Plus Tard looked a class act when ridden slightly differently, Honeysuckle still looks a class above her contemporaries. Could they be dethroned next year? The Gold Cup winner has at least two worthy contenders for his crown in Galopin Des Champs and L’Homme Presse. The former looking mightily impressive until slipping up at the last fence. In the hurdling ranks Constitution Hill will be well fancied to beat Honeysuckle and that showdown might come next month if they meet up at Punchestown. If they do it should be a race worth seeing. Include Vauban and the contest looks even more inviting next year.
Only two jumps meetings this Saturday which is disappointing but at least we have the Scottish Grand National next weekend to look forward to. The Ayr race is being run this year before Aintree which is giving some trainers a dilemma over which race to go for.
Selection – 4:48 Stratford – Paul Diblasio Memorial Handicap Chase
The only chase which has an open look to it is the 4.38pm at Stratford a handicap over two- and three-quarter miles. The two youngest horses in the race seem to be the ones to concentrate on. Top weight Kap Auteuil is a seven -year- old and the six- year- old Galahad Quest is only rated four pounds lower. Of the two my preference is for the top weight who has course and distance form to his name and is a slightly better price in the opening shows. However, Galahad Quest has decent handicap form, and this race will be easier than where he usually struts his stuff. He is only around 9/4 and I prefer the forecast 4/1 on Toby Lawes’ topweight. Sods Law will no doubt muscle in on the act but there you go….
1. Kap Auteuil
Seems a low-key start to the Flat these days as opposed to days gone by. I suppose these days it never really goes away with the All-Weather meetings, but the turf seems to enter the room without anyone making a fuss anymore. I am not a great fan of the Flat, except for the Group Ones and the top handicaps, however I feel it needs a bit more of a fanfare to welcome the big boys back.
For a bit of relief from selecting chase losers I thought it might be fun to have a dabble in the Lincoln and leave the Flat well alone until the Prix de L’Arc… probably wise looking at recent selections.
Selection – 3:35 Doncaster – SBK Lincoln
Charlie Appleby’s Modern News was my original pick, he has been all the rage especially with the booking of the promising claimer Harry Davies and is now 7/2 favourite. Leaving him aside I think the mount of the under rated David Probert is worth a small punt. Notre Belle Bete has some good recent form and off 92 might go close for trainer Andrew Balding. First time up last season he was only beaten two and a half lengths at Leopardstown by Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare who went on the win the 2000 Guineas, a reproduction of that would see him in the mix. No doubt the draw will enter calculations as usual and scupper some well laid ante post bets. Drawn 21 of 24 our selection’s connections will be hoping high proves the place to be in the earlier races.
1. Notre Belle Bete
In case you missed it there is a cracking clip on the Hope Eden Facebook page of Lady Kyria and her new foal by Muhaarar. The foal is only a few days old but the way she cavorts round the barn, with mum trotting diligently behind, she will be well suited to the likes of Chester. Hopefully the little rocket grows into a decent type…. fingers crossed.
Have a good weekend and enjoy the Flat season.
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.