Good morning all,
Well, the UK is back in lockdown. Thankfully elite sport continues so we can breathe a big sigh of relief and the show goes on!
When will there will be decent crowds back on a British racecourse?
It certainly won’t be at the Cheltenham Festival in March that’s for sure. An official announcement is expected in the coming days about arrangement for this year’s Cheltenham Festival. It’s expected that the festival will be held behind closed doors or at best with a small crowd of say 2000 people. As Lee Mottershead wrote in Monday’s Racing Post: The greatest of all racing events has become part of the Covid narrative. Hence why the Cheltenham Festival was never likely to be the first racecourse to play host to anything resembling a normal race day attendance.
It’s sad because it’s not really the sports fault but the governments and there is nothing that racing can do about it.
I said last spring I didn’t expect to see many paying spectators at a British racecourse until the Guineas Meeting and that looks increasingly more and more likely with each passing day.
In more positive news, the weather outlook is promising for all three of Saturday’s big meetings at Chepstow, Kempton and Wincanton. More on those meetings over the next couple of days.
Inside today’s main piece I have three horses that caught my eye from last week's action. Plus, I have selection from Lingfield.
Three for the tracker
Stones And Roses – Willie Mullins
Stones And Roses made it 2-7 over fences when landing the 3m 1f handicap chase at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve. Always in a good position, he took it up coming to the last and drew clear for a comprehensive eight length success. It was an excellent staying performance and given he’s only a 6-year-old he is open to more progression over 3m 1f+. The further he goes the better he looks. Described by his trainer as “a real old fashioned staying chaser”, the 7-year-old is up 11lb for last weeks success but is at the right end of the handicap. He can win again of his revised mark before the season is out.
Destinee Royale – Venetia Williams
Destinee Royale was 11lb higher than when last seen in action, making all to win at Market Rasen on her chase debut back in February. The lightly raced 8-year-old was in the lead when unseating her rider at the sixth in the handicap chase win by Doitforthevillage at Sandown on Saturday. Sent off a strong 6/4 favourite. The market clearly thought she was ahead of her mark on her seasonal reappearance and she’s worth another chance to prove it.
Hollywoodien – Tom Symonds
Returning for the first time since winning at Hereford in March, the 10-year-old put in a good performance to finish 3rd of 8 behind the useful Ibleo on Saturday. The cheekpieces that he wore at Hereford were off on Saturday and he will be interesting on his next couple of starts.
We have lost Ludlow today due to weather and also lost Ayr on Wednesday. So, for the next two days it’s the all-weather that keeps the show on the road.
1:40 – Our Oystercatcher has yet to win on the all-weather after five starts. However, he put in his best performance on the synthetic’s when 3rd of 12 at Chelmsford last time. He’s a 1lb below his last winning mark on turf and in a race which doesn’t seem full of pace, is nicely drawn in stall 2 to make all.
4:40 – Dual C&D winner Drakefell returns to the tapeta for the first time for Anthony Brittain. Now 3lb below his last winning mark; he looks up to winning this if not inconvenienced by stall 7.
1:40 – Our Oystercatcher – 6/1 @ Coral & Ladbrokes
Good luck with your Tuesday’s bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk