Good morning all,
Off to Sandown for a couple of days now, hopefully the weather stays fine. Ground will be very testing there, that's for sure.
Last of the Cheltenham handicaps looked at, including my best bet of the week (in the handicaps, anyway).
Disappointed to see Not That Fuisse not lining up for this – really fancied him to run a big one. Never mind.
Storm Rising (Richard Newland)
If you need a reminder of how easily he won at Cheltenham in October, go back and have a look at the video. A motionless Charlie Hammond wins 4l on him when in truth it could have been three times that, a most impressive performance. He quickly followed up under a penalty and then was, on first glance, perhaps a little disappointing in the Greatwood, finishing eighth. But maybe that third relatively quick run did for him and on reflection, it wasn’t that bad an effort anyway. Look at some of the quality horses that finished in front of him – the likes of Verdana Blue, Western Ryder and Silver Streak, and it starts to look better. Plus, the handicapper actually dropped him a couple for that, putting him on a mark of 135.
Lines up for the Imperial Cup at Sandown tomorrow, be interesting to see how he goes in that.
Western Ryder (Warren Greatrex)
Speaking of Western Ryder, here is is. I can’t say I’ve ever been in love with the horse but maybe this is his opportunity. The problem seems to be that he lacks a gear at the end of the race and to that extent, perhaps a fast-run 2m around here is what he wants. Whereas Storm Rising probably needs it on the good side, Western Ryder won’t mind a bit of rain and under the microscope, his runs at Cheltenham (including a reasonable sixth in the Supreme last year) read a bit better than perhaps they do at first glance. In fact, he has some decent handicap form to his name, and he of some interest.
No point covering the Martin Pipe at the moment, same entries as the Coral Cup to a large extent, and you’ve no idea what runs.
Le Prezien (Paul Nicholls)
There’s some way to go until we know the final line up but at this stage there’s at least five out-and-out front runners and if only two or three of them line up, this will be run very, very quickly. I see no reason why Le Prezien won’t make a spirited defence of his crown. Forget Sandown last time – I don’t think he’s anywhere near as good right-handed as left-handed, and trainer has done well to get him in here just 1lb higher than last year (when he won easily in the end, lest we forget). Horses often go well in this after running well in it the year before, and Le Prezien can hopefully continue that trend.
Rapidly coming to the conclusion this might be the best bet of the week, btw. I must be mad.
On to today. I'm now into last chance territory with Forza Milan, (3.05 Sandown)he has been most disappointing and never went a yard at Chepstow last time. He reverts to hurdles now, has had a wind operation, and Jonjo junior taking another five off are all positives. As is the ground, which I think he needs. Bottom line – he could be gone at the game after injury, and another tailed-off here might see the end of his racing career, I feel, but equally if he bounces back, he could make mincemeat of this lot off that mark. Win or bust, one last go.
Good luck with all your bets today,