Well its been a Fun Year for the Flat season , Dawn Approach tried and failed at being the new Frankel, Ruler of the World won a sub standard Derby and has ruled nothing since , Toronado and Sky Lantern both ran as expected , Talent won a fairly good Oaks and Leading Light romped away in yet another poor classic, Camelot was disappointing ( now retired ) , Lethal Force was superb ( now retired ) and we have a new WR cost for a yearling > £5,600,00.00 ....bonkers stuff as Coolmore and the Sheiks go toe to toe...With the sires Dubawi come good on the soft , Invincible Spirit was great with it Firm and the new kid on the block is most definitely Mastercraftsman however as we saw last year its difficult being great every year as Ravens Pass and New Approach have done little this term so hopefully Sea The Stars will give us some Stars as 3 yr olds next term...Maybe we might even have a little star from Avonbridge ??..who knows?!..*wink wink*.
So this season ( for me at least ) comes to a crashing halt tmrw but it does go out with a bang as we have the much lauded Champions Day and some stars out on show for one last hurrah and this is being aided by the beginning of the NH season proper as we go into day 2 of the Cheltenham meeting so i have decided that instead of doing a single card in full i will cover both meetings but in lite form as i just dont have enough hours in the day to do everything the way i would like.
RACE 1 : ASCOT 1345 : ESTIMATE - Unplaced ( A terrible race tactically as Harris Tweed stacks them all up on dead ground and fails by a nose to hang on to the King that is Johnny Murtagh )
The Long Distance Cup to start off proceedings which is a fantastic way to start , Estimate will be many peoples favourite for this and rightly so for many reasons as this has done nothing wrong , had two races this term and won them both very well ( The Sagaro Stakes and the Ascot Gold Cup ) and with the ground getting softer his undoubted stamina will come to the fore and this is gteed to be in the shake up come the final 1-2f and has every right and every chance of winning but is just a bit short at 2.98.
Ahzeemah is a very interesting sort, very rarely out of the top 2 , stays the trip very well , loves the ground and is another gteed to give its running but i do think this runs a bit slow for the grade and does lack a bit of class and this makes it vulnerable and even at 9.2 im not tempted although i may put a lower price in the run for a lay say around 5.6 and 3.85 as this may flatter to deceive again. ( Hit 3.80 )
Times Up is running right up to his very best and is another that if in the same mood could surprise with it being a surprise and at 16.5 certainly does make a good bit of EW value as this will be storming home when others have cried enough. ( BFSP 29.30 and hit 3.50 )
Harris Tweed is just below the level on show given the race make up and the Irish Duo look over rated imo although useful but no better than group 3 / Group 2 Hcaps.
Saddlers Rock has my fav Irish jockey on D P McDonogh ( i have said this before but you guys really should be following him, he picks up a lot of loose rides and gets big priced winners ) who i think has now nabbed the stable retainer for John Oxx ( canny move ) and even tho this is the rank outsider this will def be getting some money from me at big odds to trade because i have faith in the jockeys ability to get me a ride and a profit although i cant see it winning but it wouldnt take me breath away if it did.
High Jinx owes me a nice win and will be getting some change as well, this has bags of ability but quite often throws the towel in..moody sort but worth one more go.
Having examined all the form it really is quite hard to get away from Estimate, it wont have any of my money on it but it will probably win.
WIN - ESTIMATE - UP
EW - AHZEEMAH - UP
LONG - TIMES UP - UP
|1st (4)||7 Royal Diamond (IRE)||7||9-7||20/1|
|2nd (7)||nse||5 Harris Tweed||6||9-7 p||8/1|
|3rd (10)||¾||12 Eye of The Storm (IRE)||3||8-11||13/2|
|4th (12)||1||11 Pale Mimosa (IRE)||4||9-4||14/1|
|5th (8)||nk||8 Saddler's Rock (IRE)||5||9-7||25/1|
|6th (9)||nk||3 Biographer||4||9-7 p1||16/1|
|7th (3)||½||10 Estimate (IRE)||4||9-4||2/1f|
|£2250-£1000(x2) £4000-£2000(x4) £2000-£1000(x8) £1000-£500(x11)|
RACE 2 : 1400 CHELTENHAM : NELTARA - Unplaced ( Did absolutely nothing and i got this all wrong, looking to beat the favs and their ability to stay the Pipe horse hacks up with Monbeg dude the best outsider )
Over to the NH team and the Sniper says >> NELTARA to shoot down the opposition , all the big boys are playing and we have a few from Ireland but none in this field are as proven over the trip as Neltara and i think the 22/1 is a joke and an insult and if this doesnt trade at least half its bfsp in the run i will eat my shoes!.
Oscar Magic , Vinnie the Fish and Ariel all make great appeal however at the odds i simply cant resist the allure of Neltara.
WIN - ARIEL - UP
EW - NELTARA - UP
LONG - VINNIE THE FISH - UP
|1st||5 Kings Palace (IRE)||5||11-3||5/1|
|2nd||18||4 Creepy (IRE)||5||11-3||10/3f|
|opened 3/1 £3000-£1000 £1500-£500|
|3rd||2||10 Monbeg Dude (IRE)||8||10-12||25/1|
|4th||13||1 Kilbree Kid (IRE)||6||11-6 t||12/1|
RACE 3 : 1420 ASCOT : MAAREK ( NAP ) - Unplaced ( Reared in the stalls and blew the start )
Now we have the £200k+ Sprint Stakes over 6f and there is no way im deserting my NAP MAAREK and the fact DPM is riding is just a nice bonus ;) , Won the Abbaye lto quite cosily and before that had won a nice race at Newbury on the back of some " iffy " performances but appears to be right back to his dominant best and should have too much for these in his ideal conditions...he has everything going for him here and there can be no excuses.
WIN - MAAREK ( NAP ) - UP
EW - VIZTORIA - 3rd @ 7.20
LONG - HOOF IT - 4th @ 24.40
|1st (6)||12 Slade Power (IRE)||4||9-0||7/1|
|Tracked leader, challenged on bit 2f out, led soon after, edged left inside final furlong, ran on well opened 6/1 £5000-£700|
|2nd (13)||nk||7 Jack Dexter||4||9-0||5/1|
|Raced on on near side rail, chased leaders, stayed on to 2nd approaching final furlong, kept on as winner edged left inside final furlong, always held opened 9/2 £2700-£600|
|3rd (14)||3¼||14 Viztoria (IRE)||3||8-10||5/1|
|Raced on near side rail, chased leaders, ridden over 1f out, stayed on to 3rd inside final furlong, never going pace of leading duo opened 6/1 £3000-£480|
|4th (11)||hd||5 Hoof It||6||9-0||20/1|
|Led, pushed along halfway, ridden over 2f out, headed well over 1f out, well held when lost 2nd approaching final furlong, one pace and dropped to 4th inside final furlong|
RACE 4 : 1435 CHELTENHAM : TARTAK - ( Pays Top 4 ) 4th @ 13.0 ( Much better runs there sneaking two places at decent prices..i suppose things could only get better!! )
This is a very tough looking 2m4f Chase , 16 runners and very tight on the ratings >From the entire field there are none that can be fully discounted as they all have chances of sorts.
Horse i have reports from..
1. TANKS FOR THAT : In great shape and ready for a race but not thought quite at the top of this level and will need some luck in running to win a place is best although it has a lot do to get there.
2.EASTER METEOR : Loved in the yard and not without ability but just not shown enough to suggest it could sustain a consistent run at this level and may well be outpaced in the final 4f although will travel well for the main but is another that if he is to get anything from this will need others to fail and the trip is still in question, not the staying of it but the pace at which it stays.
3. MALT MASTER : This is a very exciting prospect , stays the trip well and can be ridden on or off the pace and does give retained jockeys headaches is another right on the cusp of being great but isnt there just yet and its a worry that neither Geraghty nor AP have taken the ride.
So from those three we have gained precious little other than the fact that i dont see the winner there.
AP rides Vulcanite who is another tight prospect but has neither convinced in his ability to jump nor his staying prowess and is one to swerve at this juncture.
Astracad has winning form at the trip but whenever he has been asked to up his game he has been arseholed so the only conclusion is that he just isnt good enough at this level.
For me the three to focus on are Tony Star , Sew on Target and Tartak , none of these will be the best long term proposition but they must just about be good enough today.
All three are proven over the trip, all three have back form to get involved and all three with be prepped for a win and not a warm up to other things as this could well be there Hennesy.
WIN - SEW ON TARGET - 3rd @ 32.0
EW - TARTAK - 4th @ 13.0
LONG - TONY STAR -
|1st||14 Johns Spirit (IRE)||6||10-3||5/1|
|2nd||3½||12 Rob Conti (FR)||8||10-4||(3)||16/1|
|3rd||1||16 Sew On Target (IRE)||8||10-1||25/1|
|4th||nk||13 Tartak (FR)||10||10-4 t||11/1|
RACE 5 : 1455 ASCOT : TALENT - 3rd @ 5.48
The Fillies & Mares over 1m4f..what a cracker this looks with Hot Snap , The Lark and Talent all lining up to do battle and with the likes of Dalkala snapping away at their heels this could prove a very important race tactically,
I have no idea how Hot Snap will behave over this trip although she has been upped in trip last four runs without problem its still a guess and for me in a race like this that becomes a no bet situ.
TALENT has to be the one to beat here, take away an anomalous run in the Irish Oaks and her form is rock solid, Won the UK Oaks , 2nd in the St Leger and a win in the Pretty Polly makes her a stand out Filly in a dry season of stars.
WIN - TALENT - 3rd @ 5.48
EW - THE LARK - Non Runner -
LONG - HOT SNAP - ( For betting purposes Nymphea is worth a few quid EW if your backing roughies ) -
|1st (2)||5 Seal Of Approval||4||9-3 h||16/1|
|Held up in 5th, headway to get in behind leaders 2f out, not clear run and switched left over 1f out, led 1f out, stayed on strongly, driven out opened 14/1 £10000-£600|
|2nd (7)||4||1 Belle de Crecy (IRE)||4||9-3||10/1|
|Took keen hold, led 3f, tracked leading pair, wen 2nd over 2f out, challenged 2f out, led soon after, ridden and headed 1f out, chased winner but well held, stayed on to hold 2nd opened 8/1 £5000-£500|
|3rd (4)||nk||7 Talent||3||8-10||7/2c|
|Took keen hold early and held up in rear, headway on outside 4f out, chased leaders 2f out, ridden over 1f out, stayed on to press for 2nd in closing stages but no chance with winner £12000-£3000 £4000-£1000(x7)|
RACE 6 : 1510 CHELTENHAM : SAMETEGAL - 1st @ 2.84
Now we slow down a bit with a nice easy 6 runner 2m Hurdle and this is all about two horses , the Fit and ready HANDAZAN and the class in the race SAMETEGAL who has to give weight all around , now if this were a proper group race and they were racing all of level weights Sametegal would destroy them but fto and with the burden...its a tough ask and at over 3.0 each i think the safe play here is a dutch and rfc.
WIN - SAMETEGAL - 1st @ 2.84
EW - HANDAZAN -
LONG - N/A -
|1st||1 Sametegal (FR)||4||11-6||7/4j|
|Took keen hold early, prominent on outside, led 2 out, ridden and edged left flat, pressed towards finish, held on well opened 13/8 touched 11/8 £700-£400(x3) £650-£400(x2)|
|2nd||nk||2 Bayan (IRE)||4||11-2 pt||4/1|
|Tracked leaders, not fluent 2nd, hit 2 out, ridden to chase winner last, stayed on, every chance towards finish, held close home opened 9/2 £2700-£600 £1800-£400|
|3rd||11||4 Handazan (IRE)||4||10-12 p||7/4j|
|Led, headed and pushed along 4th, reminder and led after next, headed 2 out, beaten last, weakened flat opened 2/1 £675-£300 £1000-£400|
....And here i am back again but short on time.....
RACE 7 : 1530 ASCOT : MAXIOS - Unplaced ( Never in it on bog like ground )
For some this will be the showpiece event with this years almost star attraction having a go but this horse DAWN APPROACH has split quite a lot of opinion with its all action, thrusting running style , it is one that 2f out looks hard at it but powers on and on like a Duracell bunny but is never that nice to watch..for me there is nothing better than watch a class horse cruise up with 1f to run still hard on the bit and cruising , toying with the opposition..that is a sight to behold and this simply cant do that but he is none the less a very smart beast that warrants respect but we he be back to his best ? , will he enjoy the softer going and test of stamina ?...
Soft going will be no problem for Olympic Glory and connections expect first-time blinkers to improve the Group 1 winner. But they'll need to if he's to reverse latest running with MAXIOS. The latter recorded an impressive five length victory dropped back to a mile for the Prix Du Moulin at Longchamp and Jonathan Pease's charge gets the vote. The talented but headstrong Dawn Approach ran way below par in France last time when Elusive Kate was also well beaten. The former may well handle the ground but still hasn't learned to settle properly. Gordon Lord Byron has won over a mile but 7f is his optimum trip and Soft Falling Rain makes more appeal. The latter is still improving judged on his latest Group 2 win at Newmarket though he's an unknown on the prevailing going. Kingsbarns' comeback in the Irish Champion Stakes was a bit of a disaster and the jury is out on him for the present.
WIN - MAXIOS -
EW - OLYMPIC GLORY - 1st @ 7.20
LONG - GORDON LORD BYRON -
|1st (7)||11 Olympic Glory (IRE)||3||9-0 b1||11/2|
|opened 5/1 touched 9/2|
|2nd (4)||3¼||12 Top Notch Tonto (IRE)||3||9-0||14/1|
|3rd (12)||¾||9 Kingsbarns (IRE)||3||9-0||14/1|
|4th (5)||2||7 Dawn Approach (IRE)||3||9-0||2/1f|
|opened 11/4 £2200-£800 £2500-£1000(x3) £900-£400(x4)|
RACE 8 : 1545 CHELTENHAM - BALTHAZAR KING - 1st @ 4.80
A 3m Hcap Chase...tricky events for punting at the best of times..BALTHAZAR KING has to be the one here , a multiple CD winner , likes most ground including soft , jumps for fun ( has won the Glenfarlass here as well on the x-country course ) and is coming from a yard that is in form and lets not forget that this very race was one of his CD wins when he took it down last year.
WIN - BALTHAZAR KING - 1st @ 4.80
EW - LOST GLORY -
LONG - TOUR DES CHAMPS - 3rd @ 6.60
RACE 9 : 1605 ASCOT - CIRRUS DES AIGLES - 2nd @ 2.58
Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1)..And for me this is the pick of todays races even if early in the week withdrawals have somewhat weakened it.
this can be broken down into 3 categories......
1. THE STARS OF THE SHOW
A) RULER OF THE WORLD , UK Derby Winner and a relentless galloper that does lack that killer turn of foot to set yourself apart from the rest , solid , reliable but no world beater.
B) CIRRUS DES AIGLES , Multiple Winner of the Prix Dollar , Pix Ganay and a CD winner when winning this in 2011 and ran just as well when 2nd to the now Legendary Frankel last year , disappointed hugely on early runs this term but bounced back with a couple of bloodless victories as the ground turned soft " if " this was back to its very best then it wins...no problem..however i still think it a risky punt but if you can get 3.0 > then its just about becomes backable.
C) FARHH , A horse with undoubted class but has been the Darren Anderton of the equine world of late has the form to get involved although literally speaking it has something to find with CDA ^^ but that is a tight call , Beat an average field on its only run this season in the Lockinge but last years form makes him formidable when only beaten by the likes of Nathaniel and Frankel , if fit and ready this has every chance and there is good cause to suspect this has been laid out for this.
Then we have.....
2. THE " ALMOST HORSES "...
A) MAIN SEQUENCE , Promised much and delivered little, a very frustrating type with a good deal of ability but a shit attitude, cant be trusted and has it all to prove.
B) HILLSTAR , A much better horse this season and does look progressive although when stepped up in grade in the King George and the Juddmonte was found out being easily beaten 5L + on both occasions but with a solid run could run a place or better if the stars fail to shine.
C) MUKHADRAM , This has been a revelation this term stepping up from Hcap company to exalted Group Class with ease and nearly caused a shock when 2nd to Al Kazeem but has been found out a little of late and i think it will be a surprise if this can win but i do think its entitled to place.
and then we have....THE FIELD....
And the remaining runners imo have very little chance of getting involved as they look woefully outclassed , out of form or just not good enough and can be readily dismissed.
WIN - CIRUS DES AIGLES - 2nd @ 2.58
EW - FARHH - 1st @ 4.16
LONG - HILLSTAR -
9 Races , 4 Winners & 4 Places and im very happy with that after a slow start ;-)))
And that rounds up my day as i have now run out of time....Good luck today folks, have fun , enjoy the spectacle and happy punting ...ttfn x.