Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekend highlights

New Approach tries for his third Group 1 win of the season in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow but I won't be tempted into getting invovled. Last time out the Derby winner had to be kept up to his work to fend off Traffic Guard half a length; my guess is more will be required here and he could be vulnerable.

Invariably you can find a few jumpers in a Cesarewitch field and this year is no exception. On June's Ascot Stakes' form there's nothing between Missoula, Mamlook and Liberate. Although Missoula won the race, you could take the view that Mamlook would have collected the spoils with a clear run. While Missoula has been busy since, the other two come to this fresh. The Pipe yard hasn't really hit form this season so I'm going to have a small each-way interest in Philip Hobbs' Liberate who wears cheek pieces for the first time which, I hope, will help him concentrate that little bit more in the closing stages of the race. Jamie Spencer takes the ride.

Cheltenham's first Saturday card of the new season serves up some competitive-looking fare. In the feature handicap chase at 3.25 Ouzbeck is worth a mention but this looks a stiff task for a novice, particularly one who unseated his rider last time out. A number make their seasonal debuts but I'm siding with Lord Ryeford who has decent form this summer; the going and the trip are right up his street.

No selection for the Mick Fitzgerald Novices' Hurdle run thirty five minutes later but this race will be worth noting for future reference. Incidentally Mick's autobiography, entitled 'Better Than Sex', is now available from all good bookstores; quite a catchy title - I reckon it could be a bestseller!

Kempton hosts a fine card on Sunday, the highlight being the return of champion hurdler Katchit in the 4.35. A recorded interview with Katchit's trainer, Alan King, has been available on the Racing Post site over the last few days. By my calculations it was filmed roughly a fortnight ago; in it the trainer comments that his charge has 'thickened out' but is 20 kilos above his racing weight of last season. Teletext report today that the horse is expected to 'come on for the run'. That being the case, I won't be in a rush to take a short price about the champ; two to consider as plays against him are Snap Tie and Katies Tuitor.

In the same video, Mr. King is quite bullish about Greenbridge who runs in the 2.50. Greenbridge has schooled very well and the trainer admits that he's 'excited about him'. I'll take the hint, although he won't have it all his own way with Paul Nicholls' I'msingingtheblues also in the line-up.

Top-rated horse Woolcombe Folly looks the answer to the 3.25.

Provided the prices aren't too short, two other King inmates I'll consider on the card are Saticon in the opener and Nikos Extra in the 5.05.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Well, a jumper won the Cesarewitch but Nicky Henderson's 50/1 shot Caracciola wasn't an obvious choice. Caracciola becomes the first eleven year old to win the Ces; a return to jumping is now on the cards. Liberate (15/2) was close enough if good enough; racing in fourth at the two furlong marker he faded from that point to finish seventh. Mamlook fared slightly better in fourth at 10/1.
Lord Ryeford (6/1) raced at the rear and made some progress to come in fifth but never looked like winning. Ouzbeck (8/1) surprised me (and a few others I suspect) by collecting the spoils. This was potentially a very smart performance; it will be interesting to see if the form works out as several were making their seasonal debuts, so the race may not have been as competitive as first thought.
Diablo (9/1) won the Mick Fitzgerald Novices' Hurdle but Paul Nicholls' Simondiun fell two out when travelling well.
Heaven knows, I've called it wrong often enough on this blog, so it was pleasing to call it right for once concerning Katchit (4/5f). The vibes from the yard were that they'd had to rush a little with him and so it proved with Snap Tie (backed in from 4/1 to 11/4) taking over from the champ at the last flight. A mistake at the fifth flight did for Katies Tuitor who finished fourth at 8/1. This race represented something of a step-up in class for KT - unfortunately that mistake means I'm still not certain how could good this horse could be.
Greenbridge (7/4f) was comprehensively outgunned by market rival I'msingingtheblues (15/8); if the King stable rate their charge then the Nicholls inmate looks top drawer material.
The three remaining selections all obliged but at rather cramped odds - Woolcombe Folly (8/11f), Saticon (8/15f) and Nikos Extra (6/5jf).