Friday, December 18, 2009

The north wind doth blow...

...and we shall have snow. Saturday's cards at Ascot and Newcastle have already fallen to the weather while the meeting at Haydock is subject to an inspection at 8.00 tomorrow morning. The clerk of the course describes himself as 'quietly confident' but, given the predicted temperatures, I'm more cautious. Had Ascot gone ahead, the main attraction would have been the clash between Big Buck's and Diamond Harry in the Long Walk Hurdle. It would have been the first time the two market leaders had raced right-handed, and I'd come up with this cunning plan to bet Philip Hobbs' Fair Along at a big-looking 16/1. Never mind... The Long Walk Hurdle has now been rescheduled for Tuesday 29th December at Newbury.

Should Haydock get the green light, plenty will be looking to solve the feature, the Tommy Whittle Chase, in which fifteen go to post for the three mile event. Keith Reveley's Jass is a horse I like but I suspect this trip may be his absolute minimum - he stayed on well when fourth in the Rehearsal at Newcastle three weeks ago after losing his place three quarters of a mile out. I don't think this track will play to his strengths. One that would be of some interest at a price is Mark The Book. Still a novice, he has had his training problems and didn't race in 2008 due to a tendon injury; prior to that Philip Hobbs thought the horse could go to the top. He gets in here with a racing weight but does look a little short on experience with some battle-hardened opponents in the field. I'll probably watch from the sidelines.

The opener is worth noting, with Howard Johnson's Quwetwo trying fences for the first time. My Moment jumped well to win at Warwick the last time - the fences come thick and fast down the back straight at Warwick. If I play I'll chance Ferdy Murphy's Bedlam Boy. In a recent RP Stable Tour article, his handler said the horse had some wear and tear in the joints but 'a real engine'; he's a natural front-runner, a style that suits this track.

That mention of Warwick reminds me of an offer I saw on a flyer in our local paper. Two adult tickets for £20 to any of the following meets - New Year's Eve, Classic Chase day (Saturday 16th January) and Kingmaker Day (Saturday 13th February). If you want to take up this offer, ring the course (0844 579 3013) and quote the reference 'winterflyer'.

Earlier in the week Richard Johnson rode his 2,000th winner on Fighting Chance at Newbury. There have been several tributes - I liked this piece in Tuesday's Times, written the day before Johnson became only the second jockey to reach this landmark.

With the reduced racing on offer tomorrow, there's the distinct possibility I could get roped into Christmas shopping; I've come up with a cunning wheeze if Mrs T. suggests the unthinkable. Throughout the week I've been sending a daily tweet to My Winning Chance in an attempt to win free entry into a draw to win a racehorse. My name didn't come out of the hat, but I just started dreaming, as you do. Before I knew it, I was on the Allertons website, designing my own racing silks. Think I'm going to have to do a bit more work on that, rather than traipse round the overcrowded city centre shops...

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

The Morning Line reported from Haydock that the covers had done their job and racing was scheduled to start at 12.40. In the interim, the snow came and conditions deteriorated markedly; the card was abandoned just after midday.