Good morning all,
Spent yesterday going back through the videos of the weekend and have found three that we ought to be following in the future, including my first ante-post bet for Cheltenham.
I'll be at Nottingham later today and will report back on those first four races, which could well throw up some horses for next year.
Cake De L’Isle (Jonjo O’Neill)
Ran on Sunday, Carlisle 1.30
A horse I’ve seen in the flesh a couple of times now and he’s always impressed upon me how he’s a chaser that has needed a bit of time. Really lengthy, scopey sort, it should not be forgotten that he beat a couple of useful sorts in Mister Whittaker and Royal Village in his maiden hurdle at Market Rasen last year, so isn’t short of ability, and he’s shaped far better than the bare result would suggest here. He jumped well in the main and was on the heels on the main group turning for home before getting very tired and weakening. He may well need another race to get fully fit but whatever, he should definitely be on your trackers for a good novices handicap this season.
Global Citizen (Ben Pauling)
Ran on Saturday, Ascot 3.00
Impressive last year when winning the Dovecote at Kempton, where he simply ran away from his opponents, he disappointed at Aintree when upped to Grade 1 level but the soft ground there may well have been to blame for his defeat and I wouldn’t be holding that against him.
He was once again allowed to roll along in the lead here and was too free for his own good, which was a shame as he looked to have most of them cooked turning in before getting tired after the last, and finding another improving sort in Fidux eight lengths too good.
But let’s not get too bogged down in the negatives and focus on the positives instead – this was his first run since Aintree, so he may well have needed it to take a bit of the fizziness out of him, and he was giving 10lb to the winner. The handicapper has put him up a pound for that performance, which is fair enough, but there must still be a good chance he’s better than handicap company and could easily progress again (probably when actually winning a big handicap off this mark). The words of Ben Pauling, when interviewed at the Festival Weights launch, keep coming back to me – he was furious with himself for not giving him a Supreme entry (as his wife kept telling him he should!) as he felt he could have more than held his own there. So the trainer thinks he’s capable in top company. If he learns to settle a bit better, then the necessary improvement to make the step up could be forthcoming. At 50-1 with 365, I’ve tried a few quid e/w for the Champion Hurdle. It’s tilting at windmills but that division is not the strongest this year and it’s worth a go.
Oi The Clubb Oi’s (Ian Williams)
Ran on Sunday at Huntingdon, 1.45
Second to Katpoli in the juvenile hurdle here, I was quite taken with him on looks and he certainly has the scope to jump hurdles. This was only his seventh start overall and there’s clearly plenty of improvement to come from him. I liked the way he travelled here and although the winner went clear between the last two and had the race in the bag at that point, he stuck on well to the task to chase him, pulling well clear of the rest. It was a decent speed figure he clocked too, and this race could work out okay. A run of the mill juvenile hurdle is there for the taking, but I suspect he’s better than that.
On to today and given he's on the 10 to follow this year, I have to go with The Big Bite in the 1.25 at Chepstow. He's no great price here but I'm more than hopeful he'll be a cut above these. Here's what I said about him –
“Sticking up a load of horses that are promising in bumpers isn’t really my style, but I have to mention The Big Bite, who I really liked in the paddock at Cheltenham for the Champion Bumper.
He’s one that’s going to improve no end once he sees a hurdle this time around. A grand looking sort with loads of size and scope, he clearly wants a bit further already and found the speed test of the Champion Bumper just a bit too quick. But after getting a little outpaced, he was staying on nicely in the closing stages, running on nicely into midfield. This year’s bumper crop looked a better lot, as a whole, than last year’s, and The Big Bite should do well this season.”
Let's hope he lives up to my expectations!
Good luck with all your bets today,