Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cheltenham Open meeting - Sunday

The feature of the final day of the Open meeting is the Greatwood Hurdle which is due off at 2.20; the first two in the betting have won seven of the last ten renewals. This evening both horses set to carry 11st 12 lbs, Ashkazar and Blue Bajan, are declared 'doubtful'; given the testing conditions, it's hardly surprising. For those with any money left after the first two days, Pigeon Island is a tentative each-way suggestion.

I'll watch the opener without getting involved. Arkle favourite Tatenen looks the one to beat but Straw Bear's jumping is likely to come under close scutiny. Not being the biggest of animals, he may find jumping out of this sort of ground over these stiff fences difficult; this test is certainly likely to pose more questions than the obstacles at Exeter did on his chase debut. It's also worth remembering connections re-routed him here after withdrawing him from another Exeter engagement on account of the soft / heavy going. I wonder if they're considering withdrawing him again...

I was impressed by the victory of Hell's Bay in the Persian War at Chepstow three weeks ago. Several commentators have put up Diamond Harry for the 3.30, but I'm going to stick with the Paul Nicholls' inmate until he's beaten.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

A change in tactics saw Pigeon Island (14/1) make the running in the Greatwood. He stayed at the head of affairs until two out where he was swamped. Numide (5/1) just held Aigle D'Or (7/4f) a head at the line, the pair five lengths clear of the third. This was a stirling effort by the the runner-up, attempting to concede sixteen pounds to the winner; Pigeon Island faded to finish eighth.
Tatenen (8/13f) was quite buzzy beforehand but, allowed to bowl along in front, he jumped well in the main and won easily. Straw Bear (11/4) was twenty four lengths behind in second and does not look a natural over fences.
The money came for Diamond Harry (13/8f) and the market called this right, the favourtie beating Door Boy (13/2) seven lengths. Hell's Bay (11/4) was somewhat disappointing, making a hash of the second last and finding little thereafter. He finished fifth.