Friday, January 25, 2008

Cheltenham and Doncaster

With a little over six weeks to the Cheltenham Festival, punters will be analysing tomorrow's action for potential clues. Eight go to post in the Letheby and Christopher Chase at 2.40. Exotic Dancer looked the proverbial good thing for this before picking up an injury; connections feel he's still on course for the Gold Cup. There are question marks against several of the runners here; Simon should run his race on ground that suits. The early tissue has Evan Williams' State Of Play a 10/1 shot which looks too big to me. This horse needs a decent pace which he didn't get in the Lexus. His sixth in last year's Gold Cup reads well and he's closely matched with Our Vic on official handicap ratings. If 10/1 is available, I'll have an each way wager.

Inglis Drever is the top rated horse and likely favourite for the Cleeve Hurdle but he's worth taking on; I've seen two or three reports of the recent bad weather affecting Howard Johnson's gallops. The obvious contender is Alan King's Blazing Bailey. On official ratings Francois Doumen's Millenium Royal should be competitive, will handle the ground and has won over the trip; he's worth an each way interest at around 10/1.

The 3.15 looks between Franchoek, Tatenen and the Peter Bowen trained Serabad. The Bowen stable has been out of form recently. Franchoek has beaten Tatenen; some commentators feel the latter named can reverse placings. I'm going to sit this one out.

In the opener Keith Goldsworthy's Hold Em is interesting. Having previously raced over two miles on decent ground, last time out he went and won over two and a half miles on soft. A few days ago Teletext reported the trainer as saying this horse easily had the beating of the 140 rated Hills Of Aran on the home gallops. Using that as a benchmark, he should be in the shake-up here, so I'll take a chance with Hold Em.

It's worth noting that Mick Fitzgerald has chosen to ride at Doncaster; the two that catch the eye are Khyber Kim in the opener and Chomba Womba in the 1.55, but both will make little appeal as betting material. I've done no work on the ultra competitive Sky Bet Handicap Chase (3.00) but Rambling Minster is of interest. The yard is in decent form and the conditional jockey takes an additional five pounds off - the horse has a reasonable each way shout.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

10/1 State Of Play was never on offer. Sent off 5/1 third favourite SOP raced keenly enough for a circuit but steadily lost his position as the race unfolded, to finish last, tailed off. This was desperately disappointing. I don't know why he ran so poorly; for me, that was his last chance.
The general feeling beforehand was that Inglis Drever (11/8f) was short of a gallop but it didn't show on course as he comprehensively put Blazing Bailey (11/4) to the sword, winning by five lengths. A most impressive performance - I'd imagine ID will be many people's banker at the Festival. There was plenty of money for Millenium Royal (4/1) but he finished a well beaten fifth.
Franchoek (10/11f) beat Serabad six lengths to cement his position at the head of the Triumph Hurdle betting; Tatenen fell away two from home to finish fourth.
I was pleased with Hold Em (5/1)who ran well to finish second to Nicky Henderson's Aigle D'or. The winner looked as green as the grass and further improvement could be expected; Hold Em stayed on for strong pressure to go down by three and a half lengths.
At Doncaster, where the ground had dried out considerably, Khyber Kim (2/5f) was well and truly beaten, Chomba Womba (10/11f) won and Rambling Minster (18/1) ran well for a long way but was outpaced on the run for home, eventually finishing sixth.