Good morning all,
First of all, a really heartfelt thankyou to everyone who donated a few quid yesterday, you have no idea how much that will help me come the end of April. To each and everyone of you, thankyou.
Ireland yesterday came out with a statement that keeps their racing going for a while longer, but I have to say I'm sceptical about it lasting much longer than a week. I hope I'm wrong, as it at least gives us something to watch other than Bargain Hunt and Loose Women, time will tell.
I'm going through the Cheltenham handicaps this week, trying to find a few that might be winning from them in the future, starting with the Ultima.
This looks a very solid piece of form, with all the right horses coming to the fore.
I’d have been quite keen on The Conditional if he’d taken his chance in the RSA, but in retrospect this was always the right race for him.
Earlier in the season it looked very much like the form of this year’s Hennessy/Ladbrokes might not be working out. It has taken time, but with Ok Corral winning the Skybet, MIster Malarky finally coming good at Ascot and The Conditional winning here, it is starting to have a better look about it. He was a worthy winner and as the sort that only seems to do enough and not much more, he’ll still be very competitive off a mark of 147 next season.
Kildisart is a class animal, trying to give the winner 11lb here, and the addition of cheekpieces seemed to perk him up. Connections must be kicking themselves that Aintree is off, as he’d have had a cracking chance there. That’s probably it for the season for him, but it’s not hard to see him returning to the Festival next year, quite possibly for a go at something better.
Discorama and Vinndication went off the joint favourites for this, and what a performance Vinndication has thrown in. I thought he had plenty on his plate under his welter burden, but this performance marks him out as 160+ already after just six chase starts. He wouldn’t need a lot more to consider himself worthy of a crack at the Gold Cup on this, yet you can seemingly have what price you like for the big one next year. I’m interested….
Big River, bless him, gave me hope of the jackpot turning in. I knew four out he would go close, as his jumping had (in the main) held up, and once given a reminder, started to make ground up hand over fist. Between two out and the last he was switched to make his challenge but he could only stay on at one pace for fifth. Not a disaster, as most of the ante-post bets I’d had were five places, but when you get a tantalising glimpse of the lot two out, it’s not quite the same, is it?
Cobra De Mai would have been a natural selection for the Scottish National off the back of his sixth here, as I think he’s happier on better ground, but that’s gone by the wayside now. Maybe the Summer National at Uttoxeter could now be his target?
Cepage has travelled as well as anything but his stamina was ebbing away very quickly late on and he finished a tired seventh. There were questions beforehand as to whether the Brown Advisory might not be a more suitable race for him and on this, you’d have to say it probably would have been. Nevertheless, there will be plenty of races around here for him next winter, not least the Bet Victor, although he’s going to find some better handicapped rivals in his way.
Vintage Clouds was an admirable eighth but the handicapper has him right where he wants him, and Atalanta Ablaze, my other e/w poke for the race, tried hard in ninth and briefly gave me hope of the places three out, but she simply isn’t quite up to this class.
Cogry never really went a yard and the big disappointment was Mister Malarky, who looked pretty much done for at halfway. The first of a string of poor efforts from Tizzard horses last week, he must be better than this, and remains of interest next year. Probably when I’ve tipped him up three times and given up on him for the season again.
Tomorrow, the Brown Advisory.