Good morning all,
Again, first of all can I thank you all for your donations again yesterday, every single one is greatly appreciated, they really are.
This will be the last written Punt for a week – I'll do a video tomorrow, mainly to say thanks – but I will do some weekly updates and interesting bits and pieces throughout April. Let's hope we can get back to some racing as soon as possible. Boris reckons 12 weeks and we'll see the end of this….let's hope he's got that right.
For today, my review of the Brown Advisory. Hope you find it of some use.
The Brown Advisory tends to throw up a good finish most years and this year’s renewal was no exception.
Simply The Betts came out on top after a thrilling battle with Happy Diva after the last. At one point it looked like he might come out second best after a small mistake at the last, but he rallied very well in the last 100 yards to win going away. He looks very much like he will stay further, and if he can jump with a little more fluency (didn’t always) then there’s got to be more to come next year.
This win only goes to emphasise the strength of the Timeform Novices Handicap here on Trials Day, with the front three all winning again last week (albeit On The Slopes was at Kempton). I’d also point out that the only horse to beat Simply The Betts in his five chase starts this season is Commanche Red (getting 3lb), who beat him fair and square on Boxing Day. We now know Commanche Red had an issue last time and there’s surely more to come from him next year as well.
Happy Diva’s record around Cheltenham is remarkable, and she very much looked likely to add another win to it after she jumped the last slightly better than her rival, but he was just the stronger close home and she was held. Another admirable effort from an admirable mare, and no doubt she’ll be back for the Bet Victor next year.
Mister Whitaker, returned to what I think is his best trip, ran a much better race in third but the handicapper probably has him in his grip. Oldgrangewood has fared best of the hold-up horses in fourth and continued his good season – he’s going to miss not going to Aintree, as he goes well there too – and Ben Dundee plugged away for fifth. He might be worth a try over a bit further now.
Spiritofthegames has run some race, as he seemed to get caught a bit flat-footed at the start, made little mistakes at the first and second, and at one stage looked like he might get adrift. But he made steady ground up under an energy-saving ride from Bridget Andrews and came home well for sixth. (Incidentally, the more I look at the finish, I’m sure he’s fifth, nailing Ben Dundee on the bob!). He’s building up quite a nice Festival record – fifth in a County Hurdle, third and sixth in this, merely outlining how horses that run well at the Festival often come back and do so again. This mark probably isn’t beyond him, and the Bet Victor has to be on the agenda again next season.
These six were nicely clear of Louis Vac Pouch and the slightly unlucky Livelovelaugh, who was hampered when La Bague Au Roi (herself still going okay) fell at the tenth. His effort can be marked up a bit. In ninth, Springtown Lake probably found even this ground a bit too lively, and the well-backed Death Duty travelled fine but stopped pretty quickly. He’s a grand looking sort but he’s clearly not the horse they hoped he would be, and there might be a bit of a hole in him.
Siruh Du Lac was still in front when taking a crashing fall two out, one he did not deserve. He had jumped boldly to that point and was giving the defence of his crown a good go, but was starting to feel the heat and it may be a place was where he would have ended up.
Mention needs to be made of Imperial Presence, who I had thrown a few quid at e/w with the extra places and he still had some hope of hitting a place when coming down two out as well. He had looked pretty much out of love with the game but his last two efforts suggest that might not be the case. He runs Cheltenham well, and he could return for the BV/Caspian next year. He’ll be on a fair mark if he does.
Robin Des Foret travelled well at the back and was just starting to creep into it when he got caught up in the backwash of the fallers two out. He hadn’t been asked for any effort and although it’s stretching a point to say he’d have gone close, a top-six finish wasn’t out of the question. Third to Warthog in the Caspian Caviar, he’s another you can expect to see in the big Cheltenham handicaps next year.