Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cheltenham Open meeting - Friday

The first day of Cheltenham's Open meeting features the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at 3.00 run over a distance one furlong short of four miles. Irish trainer Enda Bolger fields two in an attempt to win this for the fifth consecutive year, Spot Thedifference having won the four previous runnings. After passing the winning post in last year's renewal, the incomparable fourteen year old collapsed and many feared the worst but he just needed a little rest and was soon back on his feet! On official ratings, Garde Champetre has something to find with several of these but he has course and distance winning form and had a pleasing pipe-opener over hurdles three weeks ago at Thurles. He's prefered to L'Ami - both horses are owned by one J.P. McManus.

The Graduation Chase at 2.25 has attracted a disappointingly small field of just four runners. Nicky Henderson had intended to run Barbers Shop in this but the stable has decided to withdraw Jack The Giant from the Gold Cup on accont of the ground; Barbers Shop, owned by The Queen, has been re-routed to Saturday's feature. On paper this now looks a match between Battlecry and Ornais, with the consensus being the latter will struggle to give the former seven pounds on soft ground. I'm inclined to agree, although on official ratings there's little between the two. At the likely prices on offer, this is a race to watch rather than bet on.

In the novices' hurdle (1.50), Leo's Lucky Star has the form in the book and is a play against likely favourite American Trilogy while Razor Royale has a fighting chance in the finale. Last time out he was upsides Ring The Boss when clipping the top of the second last and coming down; I thought he would have gone on to win that and is worthy of support here against the Nicholls' trained favourite Herecomesthetruth.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

The money came for Garde Champetre (13/8f) but he finished three lengths second to 28/1 longshot Dix Villez. The ensuing steward's inquiry ruled that that Davy Russell (on the outsider) had not run off course and the combination kept the race.
I was mildly surprised to see Ornais (13/8) easily keep Battlecry at bay in the Graduation Chase.
Leo's Lucky Star (7/2) weakened two out to finish a well-beaten fifth behind impressive front-running winner Golan Way (8/1).
Razor Royal (2/1) put up a disappointing show and was beaten some way out. This performance reminded me somewhat of several of his hurdle performances last year; on balance, he looks one to oppose rather than support. Even money favourite Herecomesthetruth ran out when disputing the lead at the last, leaving 8/1 shot Shining Gale to collect the spoils.