So, the Dublin Racing Festival 2022 two years in the planning twenty minutes in the cancelling. What a downer the dreaded Covid strikes two days before the tapes go up so no trip. Hey ho perhaps 2023. At least you were spared the dreaded selections for a week.
Plenty to chew over from the weekend though not least Galopin Des Champs in the Ladbrokes Novice Chase. Although he was still a bit novicey in the early stages the further he went the more polished his jumping became. Whichever race he starts in at Cheltenham he must have a serious chance.
Others to throw their hats in the Festival ring included Minella Cocooner, Vauban, Facile Vega (daughter of the mighty Quevega) and Sir Gerhard not forgetting of course the unbeaten Honeysuckle. The unconsidered, except by a few shrewdies, Conflated gave a good performance in the Irish Gold Cup but I wouldn’t be surprised to see reigning champion Minella Indo turn the tables on the big day. Throw A Plus Tard in the mix and that’s another race coming nicely to the boil.
Interesting the contrast in fortunes of two National Hunt jockeys in the past week. Brian Hughes notched up his 150th winner on Monday and seems well on his way to the jockey’s championship providing he stays injury free, whilst at Doncaster on Thursday John Kington rode his first winner for something like 322 days on 66/1 shot Lough Salt. It makes one wonder what drives the less successful boys on, they have the same risks the same weight struggles the same travelling etc as the top boys all for a rare day in the sun. Long may they chase the dream.
More egg and chips than steak frites this weekend but one or two nice chases to cast an eye over. The Denman chase at Newbury has only attracted five runners but it will be informative to see if Royal Pagaille can give Clan des Obeaux a race. The Nicholls’ horses seem out of sorts whilst the Williams’ yard is bang in form so a good opportunity for Royal Pagaille to polish his burgeoning profile.
The 3.15pm at Warwick is a cracking little Class 2 handicap and the seven -year-old Lieutenant Rocco catches the eye as a likely improver. He had some half decent novice form last season including a two-length beating by Protektorat receiving three pounds when they finished second and third in a rerouted Dipper at Wincanton. This lad likes to bowl along, and Warwick is a track for front runners so if he gets an early lead, he might take some pegging back at good odds. Trainer Harriet Brown is a new kid on the block only having her first winner in mid-January so a high-profile Saturday winner would be very welcome at this early stage.
Selection – 3:35 Newbury – Betfair Hurdle
The handicaps at Uttoxeter are pretty low-grade fare so I thought I might break the habit of a lifetime and dive into the murky waters of the Betfair Hurdle which is Saturday’s most valuable race. These big pot handicaps don’t seem as sexy as in previous but there are lots with chances and at 9/2 the Henderson favourite Broomfield Burg the betting reflects this. One trainer I like is Tom Lacey who is beginning to get noticed and his entrant Glory and Fortune must be worth a punt at around 20/1 at the time of writing. Last time out this lad was second to Epatante in the Christmas hurdle beating last year’s Betfair winner Soaring Glory a neck in the process. Lacey’s gelding has gone up 3lbs for that so a narrow defeat will tell us whether connections might rue running so well.
1. Glory and Fortune
So, a month until Cheltenham unless I am mistaken it looks like another good meeting for the Irish. I think l’Homme Presse might be one for the home team but with one of the bookie sites going 1/12, as the man said “They think it’s all over” …… ummm.
Have a good week
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.