Friday, December 12, 2008

Cheltenham - Saturday's Boylesports meeting

Unsurprisingly Imperial Commander is favourite for the day's feature race, the Boylesports Gold Cup, on the back of his impressive victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup over course and distance a month ago. The Twiston-Davies inmate is my idea of the winner but everybody else has the same idea with the result he's no real value in the market. Some commentators oppose with Silverburn but, as I've said before on this blog, I'm not particularly keen - he has disappointed on a number of occasions so, in search of some value, I'll chance Tom Taaffe's Finger Onthe Pulse who's priced up at around 7/1.

From a betting point of view the International at 3.05 is much more interesting. Current champion hurdle favourite Binocular heads this market but there are some classy opponents in the field including the current champion hurdler. In the past ten renewals the jolly has won five times but on the other occasions a relatively unfancied horse has taken the prize; I remember backing Geos at 14/1 to win this when it was known as the Bula. The game mare Chomba Womba beat Crack Away Jack last time out at Ascot and the pair reoppose on similar terms here; on balance I think Crack Away Jack will reverse the form and that view is taken by the bookies who make the chestnut gelding a 4/1 shot while the mare is 6/1. Those who have opposed Katchit this season have be on good terms with themselves but trainer Alan King issued an upbeat update during the week with the result that the champion's price for this has shortened to 9/2 in places. At the time of writing Hills still go 5/1 Katchit - at that price he has to be worth an interest.

Anyone who saw Punchestowns win here last month will know why the horse is set to be sent off a short-priced favourite for the Relkeel Hurdle at 1.20. Having said that, I'm going to take a chance with Peter Bowen's Serabad. This horse won at Aintree three weeks ago when thought to be in need of the run. The trainer reports his charge has made plenty of improvement since but, using official ratings as a guide, he will need every ounce of that improvement to be competitive against this favourite. The softer the ground, the better it will suit the selection.

On official ratings Starluck is the one to beat in the opener while the finale appears between Massasoit and Diamond Harry. Both horses have yet to race over three miles in public; Massasoit is top-rated and gets the vote.

Addendum - I've just noticed that Henry Daly runs Pop in the 12.30 at Doncaster. Last time out this horse was in the process of giving Shining Gale a run for his money in a beginners' chase at Ludlow when coming to grief four out. Since then Shining Gale has gone on to win a Class 2 novice chase at Cheltenham by over twenty lengths. If his price is in double figures tomorrow morning, I'll consider an each-way interest.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

A top-class card at Cheltenham was lost after the waterlogged course failed a morning inspection.

Over at Doncaster Pop was sent off at just 4/1 but he obliged in style on a surface that wouldn't necessarily suit. He beat decent yardstick Greenbridge by five lengths and looks one for the notebook.