Monday, November 17, 2008

Open review

Controvesy reigned on the opening day of the Open meeting with Hoopy's amateur jockey Mr J. P. McKeown 'borrowing' another rider's whip to galvanise his mount to victory in the first, and then Davy Russell legitimately cutting a corner on the cross country course as his mount Dix Villez took the spoils by three lengths from heavily-backed favourite Garde Champetre.

On Saturday Imperial Commander won a most competitive Paddy Power Gold Cup in fine style; jockey Paddy Brennan subsequently described the horse as the best he had sat on. Immediately after the race connections talked of going to Newbury for the Hennessy in a fortnight's time but now the possibility has been raised of returning to Cheltenham for the Boylesports Gold Cup on December 13th.

Ruby Walsh took a crashing fall from Pride Of Dulcote who was travelling like the winner in the three mile handicap hurdle. Walsh was taken to Cheltenham General Hospital and later had an operation to remove his spleen. He's likely to be out of action for a while.

Sunnyhillboy's victory in Saturday's finale meant the bumper Scoop6 pot wasn't won. Spare a thought for the holder of the ticket who had selected 66/1 chance Maneki Neko; the horse took up the running at the second last only to be headed by the eventual winner at the final flight. £2,037,527 is carried forward to Saturday. With the credit crunch biting hard, I hear Alastair Darling is set to try a few lines this weekend - the goverment needs all the money it can get its hands on.

On Sunday the Greatwood saw Aigle D'Or (7/4f) narrowly fail to give sixteen pounds to Numide (5/1), going down a head on the line. This was a sterling weight-carrying effort.

Weight will stop a train, or so they say, but the most impressive performance of the whole meeting was Punchestowns winning 'on the bit' while carrying top weight in the Intermediate Hurdle. I wonder if the World Hurdle is now on his agenda.

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