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Victor’s Monday Musings

Saturday’s big race action took place at Warwick with highlight of that card being the Betfred Classic chase. There was also some competitive looking racing at Kempton with the feature race being the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle. Before getting down to the normal ‘meat and drink’ of this column I thought I would take a look at the two big racing story’s of last week: The possible end of racing at Kempton and the retirement of last years Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack.Continue Reading

Victor’s Monday Musings

Saturday saw some great racing from Sandown, with the feature race on the day being the Tolworth Hurdle, more on that in a bit. But the race I enjoyed most was the Veterans Chase Series Final.

The introduction of this series of races during the year for these grand old staying chasers has been a great success and I think it’s one that has been embraced by race-goers. A field of 16 went to post for the race which goes to show how popular the concept has been with trainers and owners as well as racing fans.Continue Reading

Sussex National Selections

Welcome to 2017 and I hope you enjoyed the New Year Festivities. There was some great horse racing action last week both sides of the Irish Sea.

In this shorter than usual column, I thought I would look at how the Christmas racing has affected the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture. There isn’t a Stats Corner today, normal service will resume next week, but I have had a look at today’s big race the Sussex National at Plumpton and have got a couple of runners that look worthy of support in the race.

Thistlecrack Takes King George in Style

Firstly, let’s start with a look at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. On Boxing Day the novice Thistlecrack took the King George at Kempton beating his stablemate Cue Card in the process. Whilst it would be easy to knock the form given the relatively close proximity of the likes of Tea For Two and Jossies Hill and the fact that Cue Card probably ran at least a stone below his best there is no doubting this was a high class chasing performance by a novice, whose chase experience was only three races in novice company. The nine year old travelled as powerfully as ever and although some of his jumping was a bit novicey at times there is no doubting that former World Hurdle winner will be as good over fences as he was over hurdles. This win naturally made him a short priced favourite for Cheltenham’s Blue Riband race in March. I am not sure where Cue Card goes from here but I would be surprised if was to turn up in the Gold Cup rather than drop back in trip to the Ryanair Chase which has been mooted by connections.

The next day Colin Tizzard followed up Thistlecrack’s win by taking the Coral Welsh Grand National with the Hennessey Gold Cup hero Native River. Carrying top weight the six year old put up a superb weight carrying performance and now finds himself second favourite for the Gold Cup at around 8/1 to give the trainer a very strong hand in the race. There is no doubting how tough and genuine Native River is but does he have the class to win a Gold Cup? I have my doubts.

Don Remains Top Irish Gold Cup Hope

Over at Leopardstown we had the Lexus Chase on the Wednesday. Djakadam was well backed before the race into 5/4 favourite and it looked like it would be a match between him and Valseur Lido. It was one of the finishes of last week with four horses still in with a chance coming to the last but It was Gordon Elliott pair of Outlander and Don Poli who were first and second ahead of Djakadam and Valseur Lido.

Fears that a hard race on his seasonal reappearance for Djakadam might have taken the edge off him look justified as he didn’t find as much on the run as the first two.

Meanwhile Valseur Lido who looked to be travelling like the winner between the last two fences weakened out of it on the run in. His stamina for the Gold Cup distance has still to be proved and on the evidence of this run he looks a doubtful stayer to me.

The Lexus posed more questions than answers but I doubt we saw the Gold Cup winner in the race. I am sure Gordon Elliott will have been pleased though as he still has last years Gold Cup hero Don Cossack to race and it looks like the Don is on course to run later this month and he has recovered well from the tendon injury he suffered last spring.

Another tilt at retaining his Gold Cup crown now looks on the cards for the nine year old and as long as he comes through his seasonal reappearance, looks the only danger to Thistlecrack come March. A best priced 12/1 at the time of writing looks a bit of value to this particular pundit too.

Sussex National Punters Only Bank Holiday Highlight

It might be a Bank Holiday on Monday but there are only three race meetings which is disappointing with only one race standing out, the Sussex National at Plumpton.

I thought I would delve into some of the key stats from past eight runnings of the race: 61.

1. One age group has won 6 of the last 8 renewals of this marathon handicap chase as nine year olds have won 6 times from just 20 runners in that age group having run in the race with a further two placing. There are five 9 year olds running in this year’s renewal – Mysteree, Azure Fly, Nail M, Tothemoonandback and Beforeall

2. All eight winners had run between 2 and 5 times in the past 90 days.

3. All eight winners had won a race over at least 3m.

4. Seven winners of the race had won 2 to 4 races over fences.

Victor’s Sussex National Verdict: A field of 16 are declared to go to post for this years renewal and in an open looking race my two against the field are the Gary Moore trained Tothemoonandback and Dawson City from the Polly Gundry stable. The former is a 9 year old, has won here over fences and looks to have been trained for this race with his trainer having a good record in the race – 2 wins from 4 runners 3 placed.

Shaped last time out like he was coming into form and looks like he will be suited to this new trip. The 8 year old Dawson City is 0 from 8 over fences but he also looks the sort that will appreciate today’s marathon trip. Won here over hurdles and will be well suited by the forecast soft ground. Wayne Hutchinson looks an interesting booking for the gelding who has always struck me as just the sort for one of these regional nationals.



Dawson City.

All that’s left is to wish you a profitable weeks punting and see you all next week.

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Wetherby Tradition

A visit to Wetherby’s Boxing Day meeting is as much a festive tradition to me as mince pies and Christmas pud. There will be the usual big crowd and I believe that the Premier Enclosure has already sold out on what is the courses busiest meeting of the year. Online bookmaker 188bet are sponsoring the Christmas meeting with the feature race being the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase to be run over 3m with a field of ten declared to go to post for this years renewal.

This week’s column is shorter than normal but I thought I would have a look at some of the racing from the Yorkshire track, including three horses that could be worth noting in Stats Corner. There is plenty of top class racing for us to look forward to over the next week and with it some great betting opportunities.

Starting with the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at 1:50:Continue Reading

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