Good morning all,
Well it’s been an exciting three-days from Cheltenham. As I mentioned last week the November Meeting often provides a few clues to the Festival in March.
Did we see any Festival winners this year? Yes, I think we might have seen a couple.
The big races come thick and fast each weekend between now and the end of the year. Next Saturday we have the Betfair Chase and the following weekend the Ladbroke Trophy.
Over the next two days I am going to look back at Cheltenham and some performances that caught my eye. Inside today’s main piece I’m concentrating on the first two days. Plus, I have selection from Plumpton for you.
Tiger fails to roll
On Friday all eyes were on the Cross-Country race with Tiger Roll and Easysland expected to fight out the finish. It was not to be. As both failed to shine.
Kingswell Theatre who had won the race in 2017 was running from well out of the handicap but he jumped for fun out in front and never really looked like he would be caught after the last.
Tiger Roll looked on edge before the start, was never really travelling and was pulled up. Where next for the 11-year-old after this? I doubt we have seen the last of him on the track but maybe time has started to catch up with him.
Easysland so impressive when winning the Cross Country at the Festival was sent off the 8/11 favourite. He never looked happy on the ground, his jumping was sloppy from the off and he didn’t run like a 167 horse. It was his first start since March so he was entitled to need the run and will appreciate softer ground.
Friday’s standout performance came from Protektorat in the 2m 4f novices’ chase. A useful, if at times temperamental hurdler. He really looks to have come into his own over fences. An impressive winner at Carlisle on his seasonal return and debut over fences. The 5-year-old was taking on just three rivals here but they included the experienced Southfield Stone who had won here at the last meeting.
He jumped superbly out in front and although Southfield Stone came to challenge him three out, he quickly saw him off and ran out a comfortable winner.
I liked the way he attacked his fences for such an inexperienced novice. He could go to the top of the novice chase ranks, if they can keep a lid on his temperament.
Coole as you like in Paddy Power
It looked a strong renewal of the Paddy Power Handicap Chase on Saturday and the race certainly provided its usual thrills ‘n’ spills which all started at the first fence.
Siruh Du Lac having his first start for David Pipe, overjumped the first and unseated Tom Scudamore at the first. That left Simply The Betts a slightly reluctant leader until the third when Coole Cody pulled his way into the lead. He slipped on landing at the 4th and went down on his nose but survived that mishap and built up a good lead. The challengers loomed after another mistake three out but he held them all at bay to win by 3 ¼ lengths.
You have to feel sorry for connections of Spiritofthegames. The 8-year-old has put in plenty of good performances in big field handicaps at Cheltenham and this was another one in finishing runner-up. He made good headway from the rear and it looked like he was coming to win his race at the last but winner pulled out a bit more on the run in.
How the rest fared
The well fancied Saint Sonnet made a mistake three out and soon faded. He was beaten horse when falling two out.
Al Dancer the 5/1 favourite came to make his challenge three out but seemed to get a outpaced. Before staying on well to finish third.
Kauto Riko made good late headway to finish 4th. He came from a long way back and looks in need of further.
Last year’s winner Happy Diva was still in the mix when falling two out. She might not have won but would likely have finished in the first four if she had stood up.
Simply The Betts jumping was a bit rusty and he also found things happening a bit too quickly and lost his place. It looked like he would be well beaten but he did manage to plug on into 6th. He looks like he will be worth a go at 3m.
Top weight Aso looked in need of the run. He can jump better than he did on Saturday and was outpaced four out before keeping on into 7th. He should be sharper for this.
Mister Fisher wasn’t suited by the soft ground and was never travelling. He also might be better horse in a smaller field. Slate House who looked the most likely winner when falling two out last year was another who was never travelling and like Mister Fisher was pulled up.
Sky Pirate looked unlucky
Sky Pirate, a maiden over fences after nine starts, had previously shown he could run well in races like this. The 7-year-old was held up like Spiritofthegames, he was smuggled into the race and was disputing second when badly blundering two out. That knocked the stuffing out of him and he lost a couple of places in the run in.
I think he could have finished in the first three and could well have won but for that mistake. Mind you I am slightly biased, as he was my each-way selection in the race. He could get compensation in next month’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup?
Can Coole Cody follow up?
Looking at the future form, is Coole Cody worth following next time out?
Well six of the last 23 winners of the race went onto win next time? If you had backed them all you would have made a £5.86 level stake profit to a £1 stake.
The form of the race is normally reliable and if you had backed the first three home on their next run you would have made a £20.77 level stake profit.
More on the weekend’s action tomorrow.
Today’s selection is from Plumpton which has to pass an 8am inspection.
2:20 – Wenceslaus made a promising seasonal reappearance when 2nd of 7 at Uttoxeter last month before running to bad to be true at Huntingdon 15-days ago. Needs to over come that poor performance today but a return to Plumpton where his form figures are 7111 can hopefully show the 8-year-old in a better light. Last win came here on heavy in February, off 7lb lower. Hopefully he receives market support this afternoon, as all five of his career wins from nine runs have come when he was returned 6/1 & under.
2:20 – Wenceslaus – 5/1 @ Bet365.
Should Plumpton not race. Have a look at Blazon in the 6:30 at Kempton. The 7-year-old is 3-5 over C&D and returns for the first time on the all-weather since February when he won off a 2lb higher mark.
Good luck with your Monday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk