Monday, November 03, 2008

The winter game

With the onset of winter, the jumping stars are making a welcome return to action. Kauto Star put in an exhibition round at Down Royal on Saturday and goes to Haydock in three weeks time. Arkle winner Tidal Bay won at Carlisle on Sunday, easily beating the other three runners which included the Royal and Sun Alliance winner Albertas Run over a distance of two and a half mile miles. Connections of Tidal Bay haven't yet decided over which distance(s) they're going to campaign their star this season; a hint has been dropped that he may take on Master Minded in the Tingle Creek at Sandown - Paul Nicholls has picked this up and is quoted as saying Tidal Bay will have to improve some more to get close to his charge. Albertas Run looks to have the Hennessy at Newbury as his target.

Nicky Henderson's Afsoun started long odds-on for his chasing debut at Warwick earlier today; Barry Geraghty just managed to get his mount home after the partnership made a mistake four out. I always think Warwick is a tricky course for the inexeprienced novice - the fences come thick and fast down the back straight and jumping is at a premium.

Exeter host the Haldon Gold Cup tomorrow. Twist Magic is likely to start favourite but I won't be rushing to back him running at this stiff course over a trip just shy of two miles two furlongs with the going described as good to soft. Having just looked through his form of last season, I still harbour suspicions the horse is something of a short finisher. Finding the winner isn't easy nonetheless - Natal should be competitive using last season's Kerrygold Champion Chase as a guideline but he would prefer better ground while Howle Hill can often ruin his chance with one erratic jump. In a trappy affair I'm considering taking a chance on Mahogany Blaze, a young horse with potential, from a yard bang in form. I'll see what the market looks like in the morning.


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GeeDee said...

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