Milansbar Gets Classic Ride
I was eulogising in last week’s article about James Bowen’s ride in winning the Coral Welsh Grand National. Well, he won yet another of the season's big handicaps when taking the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday, this time on William Henry trained by his boss Nicky Henderson.
As good a win as that was, the jockey performance of the weekend happened an hour later at Warwick. As Bryony Frost picked up a winning ride on the Neil King trained Milansbar to win the Betfred Classic Chase. A week earlier the horse had never been travelling before coming to grief in the rescheduled Welsh Grand National. On Saturday his young jockey had him up with the pace and once he got into the lead from the 9th he was always jumping better than his rivals and two from home he was well clear of the field.
Granted the first time blinkers replacing the cheekpieces made a big difference to his much-improved performance but let's take nothing away from the jockey who got the 11-year-old into a great jumping rhythm from the start and there was no stopping the well-handicapped horse from then. Not even Ruby Walsh or Richard Johnson could have given the horse as good a ride as Bryony Frost. A natural horsewoman, she is, but not for the first time this season she was seen to good effect on front-runner showing she is also a good judge of pace.
I have spoken before about how highly I rate her and how valuable her 5lb claim is. Let’s hope her Saturday success leads to even more outside rides in these big handicaps over chases and fences as I think she’s already as good, if not better than 80% of male professional jockeys.
Another jockey to catch the eye over the weekend was Irish amateur jockey Liam Quinlan who won the Amateur’s National handicap chase at Punchestown on Saturday. This young man had caught my eye when coming in for a winning spare ride for Henry De Bromhead at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. He has a long way to go to match the likes of Jamie Codd and Derek O’Connor but he’s already heading in the right direction. I didn’t know much about him before last month but his career record so far is:
7 winners from 40 rides 18% +48.9 A/E 1.9 15 placed 38%
Chases – 4 winners from 12 rides 33% +32.9 6 placed 50%
Hurdles – 1 winner from 9 rides 11% +14 7 placed 78%.
He looks well worth his claim and is a jockey to note till the end of the season, especially as there are plenty of amateur riders races at the upcoming spring festival and his services will surely be in demand.
Cheltenham Festival: Horses for the Tracker
As I mentioned last week in the lead up to the Festival I will be giving you a horse for Cheltenham trackers. They will mostly be potential horses for the handicaps although there will be the odd non-handicap horse too.
Coo Star Sivola – Nick Williams – The 6-year-old has won over hurdles at Cheltenham but even more importantly he’s placed in big field handicap hurdles at the last two festivals. He was beaten, just ¾ length into 3rd in the Fred Winter in 2016 and last year finished 4th in the Coral Cup. He has had three starts over fences this season and although he has yet to win his form figures being 522 and on his last start was 2nd to the useful Kalondra in a 2m 5f novice chase at Cheltenham.
A sound jumper of a fence already he still has improvement in him over the larger obstacles. We already know he’s got the previous festival form and is effective in big fields, as well as being ground versatile. Given his rating of 135, his likely target would seem to be the 2m 4f Close Brothers Handicap Chase on Day 1 of the Festival. He’s not certain to get into that race but if you decide to follow me in and can get on the 25/1 available with Betfair Sportsbook that looks a value price. Unusually for me, I didn’t have any ante-positions for the Cheltenham Festival until the weekend but I couldn’t resist a nibble Coo Star Sivola at 25s.
There are jumps meetings today at Ayr and Plumpton and flat action at Wolverhampton for the all-weather fans.
Last week’s selection Clondaw Rigger never made it to the track as the Hereford card was abandoned due frost. Let’s hope for better on the weather front as I’m heading up to Ayr for today’s selection.
2:15 – Rowdy Rocher might be a 12-year-old but he showed last season that he could still win races when winning twice here in January. Ran poorly over fences on his sole start of the season at Carlisle back in October but he handles the track, distance and forecast heavy going. This is his time of year as he’s 3 wins from 5 runs in January. Granted fitness has to be taken on trust given his after his 81-day absence but he is 3 wins from 9 runs 4 placed when racing 60+ days since his last run. A field of nine is declared to go to post which gives us an each way option and at the available 14/1 he looks fair value.
Rowdy Rocher – 14/1 @ B365 & BV
All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable week’s betting.
You can benefit from Victor Value expertise and tips every day when you take a trial of his service for just £1 – Click Here