Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cheltenham on New Year's Day

I always like to start the new year off with a winner but, more often than not, I fail miserably. Still, I'm not going to let that small point of order prevent me from trying my luck in 2009. If Cheltenham manages to beat the predicted frost, I'll take a chance with Tartak against Kicks For Free in the Dipper Novices' Chase at 1.40. Tartak was beaten by Gone To Lunch last time out; that one franked the form by winning again at Newbury on Monday - the step back in trip here shouldn't prove too much of a problem for the selection. Although it's a small field, it would be unwise to see this as a two horse affair. You can expect Calgary Bay to improve following his first run of the season while Howard Johnson's Kealshore Boy is highly-regarded and comes from a stable that's in excellent form. This contest should give us some pointers for the future.

Likely favourite Franchoek has struggled a little this term and is worth taking on in the 3.20; I'll be doing so with the top-rated No Refuge who put up a decent performance on his seasonal debut behind Pettifour at Wetherby. Maidstone Mixture and Lough Derg should ensure there's some early pace in the race.

Alexanderthegreat is getting on a little these days but has been in decent form recently for the Venetia Williams operation; he could repay each-way support in the Cheltenham Annual Pony Club Raceday Handicap Chase at 1.05.

On New Year's Eve, congratulations go to Hayley Turner who became the first woman jockey to ride a hundred winners in Britain in the course of a year. For future reference, the name of the beast on which she reached the landmark was Mullitovermaurice. With that, may I take this opportunity to wish all readers of this humble blog a happy and prosperous new year.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

I'm afraid Tartak (5/2) proved a long way short of what was required. Racing from the front and gradually increasing the pace on the final circuit, he was unable to shake off the attentions of Kicks For Free or Calgary Bay. Off the home turn, the two latter-named quickened away in fine style with Calgary Bay (11/4) just under three lengths ahead of Kicks For Free (11/8f) at the line and Tatak a further ten lengths adrift in third. It should be noted that Kealshore Boy jumped poorly throughout.
A fantastic finish to the 3.20 although it wasn't the result I wanted. Lough Derg (7/1) made most but looked beaten going to the last as McCoy sent Franchoek (15/8f) on to win his race. The Alan King inmate started to run out of petrol and was passed by No Refuge (11/4) racing up the hill only for Tom Scudamore to conjure a late run from Lough Derg next to the rail and get up by a neck on the line. A decent effort from No Refuge after looking slightly outpaced racing round the top turn - close but no cigar, as the saying goes. One thing that can be said for certain - Franchoek doesn't stay this trip on this ground. His trainer had talked about the horse as a possible World Hurdle entry earlier in the season but I'd imagine that won't be a route they'll go down now.
Yesterday's early tissues had Alexanderthegreat priced at around 10/1 for this competitive chase; I certainly didn't expect to see him go off favourite but he did - 4/1 was the price. Leading from three out, he was headed in the final 100 yards by Rambling Minster (13/2) - a decent effort nonetheless.