Blank For A Bit Yet

Good morning all,

It would appear we are going to be devoid of racing in this country until Wednesday at least, according to the BHA's edict from yesterday. It's only right and proper we take all possible precautions against the equine influenza and stop it spreading as soon as we can and if we have to lose a few day's racing to make sure we get Cheltenham next month, then so be it.

Speaking of which, the fun and games will really start once we get back underway – how will this loss of racing affected the likes of Native River and Clan Des Obeaux, both due to clash this weekend as a prep for the Gold Cup? They and many other horses will need to find races and quickly. Let's hope the BHA have a plan to save the big events missed and get them on as soon as possible once racing resumes.

Again today then, no selection but I will have a look at Naas for tomorrow given it's on the TV. I'm no expert on Irish racing but I'll do my best. Second part of Sandown on the main piece. 

2.25 – Scilly Isles Novices Chase

Lovely looking quintet of chasers.

Lostintranslation is very nearly the perfect chaser on looks – lengthy, but not too much so, stocky, tall but not too tall, and whenever I see him he leaves me with a really good vibe about him. He’s gone down all guns blazing to Defi Du Seuil here and there’s clearly little between the two. I would say that he did shift a bit left-handed at his fences a few times, resulting in him going in a bit shorter than perhaps Richard Johnson might have liked. Still think there’s a Grade 1 in him.

I have never been Defi Du Seuil’s biggest fan over fences but I’ll give him his due here – firstly, on looks, he was transformed from the rather scrawny beast I saw at Cheltenham in November, he now looks far more bulked out and much more a chaser, and he was turned out match fit here. He’s becoming hard to knock and I have to concede he’s a player in what’s looking an open Arkle.

Pre-race, I couldn’t see that piece of form that made Vinndication the price he was. I just thought he’d been very well placed by Kim and this was his acid test. Only the harshest of judges would say he failed it, but he never looked that happy and was constantly niggled along to keep up with the front two. Given the way he stayed on late, he already looks to want three miles and it’s over that trip he might make more appeal. When all is said and done, he’s run well here, but not quite well enough.

The disappointment was Mulcahys Hill, who has all the scope you’d like for fences but threw in a pretty moderate effort, losing his position fairly early and always on the back foot after that. I think it’s all in his head, always a difficult one to sort out. The talent’s probably there if it can be harnessed but that might be some task.

4.10 – Novices Handicap Hurdle

A moderate lot, in the main, and I don’t think there’s any superstars to come from this. Having said that, on paddock looks the right horse won, as Duarigle was bang fit and although he was a bit smaller than a few of these, he’s well put together. He travelled like the best horse throughout and might well win again before the handicapper catches up.

Second home She Mite Bite got just an “okay” from me, no more than that. The handicapper has stuck her up 3lb for this, which to me looks a little harsh. I’ll be looking to oppose rather than be with her next time.

Special Acceptance looks to need fences already, and similar comments apply to Eclair De Guye, tapped for toe here. Paddock best was The Brothers, a really huge, angular type that wants fences but sadly on this, looks devoid of any speed and isn’t progressing at all. El Hageb Rose needs to grow a bit but she’s not a bad sort and might improve. Much of a muchness, in truth.

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