Good morning all,
It was announced yesterday that Cheltenham would be tinkering with a few things come the 2021 Festival, with the introuduction of a Mares Chase and the distance of the NH Chase. My views on those amendments on the main piece, plus today’s selection from Lingfield.
Cheltenham yesterday announced a few changes to their 2021 Festival program that, for starters, is going to include a Grade 2 Mares Chase over 2m4f in order to try and bolster their roster throughout the season. I'm presuming the Listed Mares Chase they have there in April is probably going to fall by the wayside as well, seems a little pointless having two such similar races in quick succession and anyway, those that were wanting a crack at the Listed event will surely want to try their hand in a race that's more prestigious, and worth more money. Personally, I've no issue with it, although some are clearly against it.
One race is going to go to make way for it. Here, I'd like to see the end of the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, which is pointless and merely detracts from the Triumph, both in terms of numbers and, for those at the top end of the handicap, quality, as they should be having a crack at the bigger event. I've seen suggestions the Kim Muir should go, but as it's a race I enjoy punting (and do well with!) I'd like that to stay, please!
The National Hunt Chase has had its distance changed, with two furlongs being knocked off, and two less fences to jump. I get why this has been tried – this year's spectacle was anything but, with tired and exhausted horses (and I always think – if us racing types aren't comfortable with it, then something ought to be done. Ballabriggs' National a standout example that comes to mind) but for my money, a better solution would be to have it as the first chase of the day on fresher ground. I realise you can get soft/heavy ground at the Festival these days and if that happens there's little you can do about it, but by having it on better ground, that must help to reduce the tiredness factor by some degree. By all means make it confined to “better” horses and make sure the jockeys are skilled enough to get their mounts home, but if it's exhausted horses that were the problem, moving the time of the race makes some sense to my eyes.
Anyway, back to today. I have written up a potential minefield of a card at Lingfield for the Sporting Life https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/racecards/2019-08-13/lingfield/racecard/538094/ray-and-dis-golden-wedding-anniversary-handicap if you want a full rundown, but if you're after just one bet then I thought Cat Royale might give you a run for your money in the 6.30. This is a poor Class 7 event, but something's got to win it, and given the selection's last win came over C&D last year and he's now 4lb lower, he's not badly handicapped, and for a front-runner, stall 1 can only be a bonus. Makes more appeal than most and I've had an e/w bet.
Good luck with all your bets today,