Good morning all,
The only positive to come out of lockdown for horse racing has been the opportunity to watch some quality Sunday cards covered on ITV, due to the agility of the sport rescheduling abandoned meetings, as they did on Sunday with the rearranged Betfair Hurdle card at Newbury. In normal years with paying spectators, it just would happen.
Inside today’s main piece I look back at Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle card and Tiger Roll’s run in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan. Plus, I have a selection from Wetherby.
But first a quick mention of the “ride of the century” at Navan on Sunday.
Ride of the Century
I had backed Young Dev for the 3m handicap chase and in truth thought I had done my money when jockey Hugh Morgan’s right stirrup broke at the first. It looked a case of when, not if, he would pull up.
The young jockey had other ideas though and he continued to ride without irons. After four out it looked like he might be left behind but to Morgan’s credit he kept the horse going and he gradually brought mount into the race. Remarkably he came to the last in the lead. A good jump there sealed it and he just had enough in hand to hold the rallying Se Mo Laoch on the uphill climb to the line.
It was painful to watch for the guys but Young Dev’s win was a tribute to the young jockey's fitness and determination as most others would have pulled up. It was a miraculous win and quite rightly is the ride of the year and most likely ride of this century.
Another Denman for Nicholls
Secret Investor made all to give Paul Nicholls a 10th win in the Denman Chase at Newbury. Not for the first time this season, Bryony Frost dictated the pace from the front and it paid dividends. It wasn’t quite as easy a lead as she got in the King George VI on Frodon but it was easy enough.
Secret Investor is a sound jumper in small fields, as he showed here. Stablemate and race favourite Clan Des Obeaux went clear with the leader two out and he looked like he would throw down a big challenge on the run in but he couldn’t get past the determined leader and went down by a neck.
It was a respectable performance from the runner-up after his lifeless run in the King George VI. However, he still wasn’t at his best here and a hard race in the Betfair Chase looks to have left its mark on the horse.
Back from more wind surgery Lostintranslation travelled well, albeit his jumping was a bit scruffy at times. Three out it looked like he would play a hand in the finish but when asked for his effort he found nothing and quickly weakened out of it. It was another poor performance from last season’s Betfair Chase winner and Gold Cup third. Maybe he bled again or his love for the game has gone. Who knows?
There was a sad postscript to the race. The Conditional who was pulled up at the 8th suffered a fatal injury. So sad for connections who had enjoyed Cheltenham Festival success just 11 months ago with horse in the Ultima Handicap Chase.
Champ’s ideal Gold Cup prep
Champ had been expected to make his seasonal reappearance in the Denman Chase but the rescheduling of the meeting meant Nicky Henderson opted for the two-mile Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase. The decision was vindicated. Champ was very fresh out in front but he jumped better than ever and coming to the last he was still bang there with the strong travelling Sceau Royal. However, a mistake at the last ended any chance he had. This will have blown away the cobwebs.
It was no disgrace to be beaten by a specialist two miler like Sceau Royal on drying ground that suits him so well. It was a deserved day in the sun for Sceau Royal. Hopefully Champ's day in the sun will come next month.
Greaneteen who had been a big drifter on the day, was far too keen on his first start for 78-days and those early exertions took their toll in the latter stages and he weakened into third.
The well backed Fanion D'estruval was disappointing and was the first off, the bridle. He did plug on into 4th but likely needs a return to 2m 4f.
Given a few Henderson horses misfired over the last few days, maybe the yard has bug? Champ’s performance over an inadequate trip can be marked up. After this cracking run, he will surely give Al Boum Photo plenty to think about in next month’s Gold Cup.
Soaring Glory landed a typically competitive Betfair Hurdle. The race was run at a strong pace from the off which suited the 6-year-old who became the ninth novice in the past ten years to win the race.
The winner could now head to Cheltenham for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, after this comfortable three length success. Two previous winners of the race Kalashnikov (2018) and My Tent Or Yours (2013) went on to finish runner-up in the Supreme. However, its worth noting horses running in a handicap prior to Supreme are 0 winners from 24 runners 4 placed since 2008 and 0 winners from 52 runners 7 placed since 1997.
It was the biggest career win to date for jockey Jonjo O’Neill jnr. Made all the sweeter, by the fact that winner was trained by his father. After Cloth Cap’s win in the Ladbroke Trophy earlier in the season, it was another big handicap success for the yard.
It was a big performance from the inexperienced runner-up Fifty Ball who posted a career best on RPR’s. He just came up against a better handicapped rival on the day.
A strongly run two mile was expected to suit Edwardstone and so it proved with the 7-year-old finishing third, albeit no match for the front pair.
Both Annual Invictus (4th) and Guard Your Dreams (6th) finished the races off well. However, they were just up against speedier rivals on going that was more good than soft. There will be other days for the pair.
All eyes where on the Boyne Hurdle at Navan with Tiger Roll on the comeback trail, after a lifeless run in the Cross Country at Cheltenham 100-days previously. He looked to be travelling as well as any of his five rivals leaving the back straight but was left behind after the third last and dropped away tamely. On the face of it, this looks a poor run. However, it’s too premature to write him off just yet. He was likely in need of the run and the race turned in to a four-furlong sprint for home. The heavy ground also wouldn’t have suited the 11-year-old.
The Tiger is likely past his best. However, next month’s Cross Country at Cheltenham will tell us more about where he is.
As for the race itself, the form book will tell you the well backed Beacon Edge just got up to deny Fury Road. The winner had finished ¾ length third to Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle in November. He looks worth a try over 3m and he’s now a best priced 20/1 for the Stayers Hurdle.
The front two pulled clear of the rest. Fury Road got the run of the race out in front. He did everything right but he was just beaten by a classier horse on the day.
A game all the way success by Multellie got the week off to a good start on the selections front. Today's selection is from my local track Wetherby.
3:10 – Runasimi River won two mares’ only handicap hurdles last season on soft and heavy. Just the two starts this season and last month’s runner-up effort at Doncaster was much better than her seasonal reappearance. She’s just 1lb higher than for the last of her wins and the yard is among the winners.
Runasimi River – 4/1 @ Bet365.
Good luck with your Tuesday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk