Friday, February 12, 2010

Newbury and Warwick

The highlights at Newbury tomorrow include Denman and A P McCoy in the Aon at 2.30 and the current champion chaser Master Minded in the Game Spirit at 3.40. I'm not inclined to oppose Denman who should win to set up the much-anticipated Gold Cup clash with Kauto Star but I wouldn't be in a rush to back Master Minded in this, his first run after an operation on a fractured rib; co-incidentally one of tomorrow's rivals is named Fix The Rib - is that some sort of omen? Earlier in the week Paul Nicholls indicated Master Minded was roughly 80% ready and the vibes coming from the yard are positive enough. Alan King's Voy Por Ustedes is another likely to come on for the run so, for those brave enough to oppose, Fix The Rib from Gary Moore's in-form stable will be of interest. This one has plenty to find on official ratings and has a preference for better going but he likes to set off in front and had a refresher on the all-weather two and a half weeks ago after a fall in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas. The market leader has won three of the last eight renewals with the second favourite obliging on the other five occasions. This evening Fix The Rib is priced up at around the 8/1 mark -I'll take a chance.

Only four in the opener but it's far from straightforward. Diamond Harry, 6/1 joint second favourite for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, was impressive at Haydock the last time, looking to have the beating of Alan King's Bensalem when that one fell heavily three out; the race is half a mile further this time. Inchidaly Rock took a soft fall at Cheltenham a fortnight ago but on official ratings looks the one likely to give the favourite most to do. A fascinating contest with Diamond Harry the percentage call but only just - at the prices on offer I won't get involved.

No bet for me in the Totesport Trophy either with twenty four set to face the starter. If you can't resist temptation, the bookmakers offering each-way a quarter the odds the first five places are bet365, Skybet, totesport, Boylesports and Paddy Power, with several of those layers also offering best price guaranteed. Of the three Pipe runners I was impressed with Mamlook at Ascot but he hasn't won off this rating previously so perhaps Ronaldo Des Mottes is the stable's main chance.

Five go in the Kingmaker at Warwick where all eyes will be on Long Run, currently the other joint second favourite for the RSA. A precocious talent, Long Run went into many notebooks when winning the Feltham at Kempton over Christmas despite throwing in some novicey leaps at the obstacles; that race was over three miles but this is over the minimum trip. A school of thought has sprung up over the past week or so that goes something like this - Long Run could win here and then go for the Arkle (instead of the RSA) at the Festival. If you subscribed to that school of thought, then you will have considered taking an interest about the horse in that race (he's currently priced 8/1) as if he wins, that price is bound to contract. Today however trainer Nicky Henderson seems to have poured cold water on the theory by saying his charge is '99% certain' to run in the RSA. Two miles at Warwick takes some jumping with both King Edmund and Take The Breeze front-runners. At the prices on offer I'll chance Take The Breeze.

Finally some interesting contestants in the competitive-looking novices' hurdle at 3.55. Kennel Hill is one to be wary of while Aidan Coleman has said he'd expect a good run from Spit. The Giant Bolster won well at Market Rasen before being somewhat outclassed behind Duke of Lucca at Newbury. He carries a penatly here for his win but has had a break and will handle the ground; I'll consider a small each-way wager at a big price.


GeeDee said...

In a prescient interview before the Aon, Paul Barber, joint owner of Denman, said: 'You never know in racing...' How right that proved as Denman (1/6f) fluffed his lines badly with a mistake four out that put paid to his chance and then taking off far too early at the next, depositing McCoy unceremoniously on the turf. Afterwards the champion jockey said he'd been disappointed with the horse's running, pointing out that Niche Market was coming back with another challenge before the mishaps - in the Hennessy Denman had beaten that one over seven lengths conceding twenty six pounds - at level weights here you would have expected the favourite to have had that opponent covered. Tricky Trickster (8/1) beat Niche Market (25/1) a short head; Sky bet go 4/7 McCoy keeps the Denman ride in the Gold Cup.
The real Master Minded (8/13f) turned up in the Game Spirit with a scintillating display of spring-heeled leaps - until the last where he blundered badly and did well to stay on his feet. Ruby Walsh blamed himself for a 'seven pound claimer's error' but the horse is now odds on for the Champion Chase. Selection Fix The Rib (6/1) couldn't live with an on-form champion and was beaten into third by Mahogany Blaze.
Diamond Harry (4/6f) took the opener but didn't jump particularly well while Bensalem tended to jump out right and made a bad mistake at the cross fence so he did well to finish two lengths adrift at the line - for me, neither of these make much appeal for the RSA.
In the totesport Trophy I couldn't believe my eyes as Ronaldo Des Mottes (weak in the market, going off at 14/1) hit the front two out; he was collared by the winner Get Me Out Of Here (6/1) after the last - he looks one to note. There was plenty of money for Mamlook (11/2 jf) who finished fourth.
A flat run from Take The Breeze (4/1) in the Kingmaker who may not have fully recovered from his third behind An Cathaoir Mor at Leopardstown last month. Long Run (4/7f) put the race to bed in taking style up the short home straight but prior to that had jumped a bit novicey on occasions. I thought Rodi Greene rode a good race on King Edmund - the front runner jumped out right all the way round but he claimed the rail as they went down the back straight with the result that King Edmund carried the favourite out right with him as that one tried to get on terms. KE was still there rounding the home turn but faded from there.
Some small consolation with a decent effort from The Giant Bolster (25/1) who stayed on from the back to take second without ever threatening easy winner Peveril (7/2); the top weights finished first and second. As indicated, Kennel Hill (11/8f) doesn't look one to trust - there was plenty of money for him here but he refused to race.

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