Monday, March 23, 2009

Odds 'n' ends

The Flat turf season starts this weekend with Doncaster's two-day meeting - the highlight is Saturday's William Hill Lincoln Handicap which is run over a mile. John Gosden's Expresso Star is as low as 4/1 in places; yesterday Teletext indicated the trainer thought reports of the colt's well-being had maybe got a little out of hand... Saturday is also World Cup day in Dubai with live coverage scheduled on Channel Four.

Those who prefer the jumping game will be looking forward to the Aintree three-day meeting which starts the following Thursday and culminates in the Grand National on Saturday April 4th. My Will's fifth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup has seen him come in for plenty of support for this four and half mile marathon - he's currently 10/1 favourite. Kim Muir winner Character Building looks to have a leading chance; Teletext report this evening that connections have received several offers for the horse from interested parties. If a sale is agreed, there is a stipulation that the horse will remain with current trainer John Quinn. I thought last year's winner Comply Or Die showed his first form this season when running a decent trial in the William Hill Chase at Cheltenham to finish seventh; he wouldn't want the ground too quick and is currently priced around the 20/1 mark. Tom George has booked Graham Lee for Kilbeggan Blade who is another that prefers cut (and, quite possibly, right-handed tracks).

One jockey who won't be riding in this year's National is Seamus Durack who led over the first but then took the wrong course and completely missed the second (the water jump) on Maree Hall at Stratford on Saturday. The infamous Huntingdon five (Graham Lee, Henry Oliver, Jamie Moore, Michael O'Connell and Danny Cook) all committed a similar indiscretion on Sunday but their bans will start after the big race.

Finally, a little music to finish off with, I think... The Ballad of Ruby Walsh by Irish singer Christy Moore. Enjoy.

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