I think I am right in saying that January is named after the Roman god Janus who was the god with the ability to look both forwards and back in Roman mythology. I suppose I could check it out on Wikipedia but hey its not that important.
At least it gives me an intro to this week’s musings, looking back at the career of another equine favourite who has just died and forward to the potentially rewarding careers awaiting two Irish conditional jockeys.
First the sad news of this week with the untimely death at 17 of the 2013 Gold Cup winner Bobsworth. The old warrior suffering a freak accident in his field at Hillwood Stud where he was spending his retirement. Successful three times at the Festival Bobsworth was an unspectacular horse who tried his heart out each time he ran. His victories in the 2011 Albert Bartlett 2012 RSA and 2013 Gold Cup make some hat trick, add in the 2012 Hennessey and the 2013 Lexus at Leopardstown and you can see he was all quality and must have been a joy to own. If you have the opportunity, take a look at his Gold Cup victory again and see the ground, he makes up from three out to overhaul the leaders before the last. That took some doing as the leaders weren’t for stopping and only a real trier would have bridged the gap.
Looking forward, I think over in Ireland another conditional might be about to make a name for himself. Sam Ewing has just started riding over jumps this season and has proved a young lad going places. He seems to be switching his attention to the jumps after fifty odd flat winners in the last couple of seasons. His precocious talent was recognised in 2020 when as a 16-year-old he was legged up on Tiger Roll by Gordon Elliot in a flat race at Navan. Both his jump wins to date have been in chases, but it won’t be long until some shrewd trainer utilises his claim over hurdles. It’s early days but if they use him in any of the big Cheltenham handicaps come March take note.
Much the same applies to Jack Foley who we flagged up last season when he joined Emma Lavelle. Whether he was homesick, or things didn’t work out we will probably never know but he went back to the Emerald Isle and has never looked back, with 37 winners so far this season. He is equally at home over hurdles and fences and is another to keep an eye on. He is jocked up at Lingfield today so Lucky Max must be fancied to complete a four timer. The future looks bright for both these lads given the necessary luck.
Good cards again at the weekend where there is an excellent Sunday meeting this side of the Irish sea for once. Lingfield have put up decent money lets hope the anticipated frost doesn’t put a spanner in the works. The highlight at Ascot is the Clarence House with a mouth-watering clash between Shishkin and Energumene. Last year’s winner First Flow won’t be far away on his favoured soft ground if he can jump away like last year, he might get the two market leaders to make errors, but it looks a match between the big two.
Fresh from last week’s triumph of managing to get a selection to complete I think the Peter Marsh at Haydock is an interesting race… what a surprise. Like Ascot last years winner shows up again, but this time Royal Pagaille carries seven pounds more. It’s a big ask but the connections must feel he is up to the task. He was quietly fancied for last season’s Gold Cup when he finished lame in sixth place. He was put in his place over course and distance last time out by A Plus Tard but returned with a cut leg whether he might have finished closer who knows? It’s not often the really big boys show up in handicaps these days so that’s a tip in itself. I’m reluctant to bet against the Williams horse as I don’t see any improvers in the line-up so no bet, unless the fav eases out to 7/2 or thereabouts which is doubtful, when I might have an interest
Selection – 3:45 Haydock – Smalley Decorators Handicap Chase
One horse I do like the look of on Saturday is Dr Newland’s Katpoli in the Haydock 3.45pm. This lad didn’t run a bad race last time up in the Castleford Chase when he hadn’t been seen for 430 days and had also had wind surgery in his time off. He was running off 138 a couple of years ago and now gets in off 129 so in the hope the Castleford blew the cobwebs away he is worth a few bob at around 6/1.
Selection – 1:10 Ascot – SBK Handicap Chase
The other race to have a look at is the 13.10pm at Ascot. Evan Williams is going well at the moment and his entry Winds of Fire might be the one to be on. This will only be the gelding’s fourth chase and he hasn’t been highly tried to date so Ascot will be a stiff test, but his price will reflect that. The likely favourite Cat Tiger will be ridden by his enthusiastic owner Mr David Maxwell who got lots of stick by the social media jockeys when getting beaten at Doncaster so he’s probably a winner without a penalty but at around 11/2 I think Winds of Fire could go close.
1. Winds of Fire
Soon be February……
Have a good weekend don’t forget Lingfield.
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.