Friday, October 15, 2010

Cheltenham Showcase and Newmarket Champions

Nostalagia will be the order of the day with the last running of the Champion Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow; the race will be run at Ascot next year. On a top class card Frankel's clash with Dream Ahead in the Dewhurst will be one to savour; earlier this week Frankel was reported to have beaten his lead horse twenty five lengths on the gallops - naturally the layers have taken this into account and make Henry Cecil's colt an odds-on favourite (8/11) this evening. On ratings Dream Ahead is the one to beat - priced up at 3/1 in a six runner race, he will make some appeal for those brave enough to oppose but I'll watch from the sidelines. Thirty two runners face the starter in the Cesarewitch due off at 3.40. Horses that have been running over the sticks have a good record in this. If you leave out Caracciola (won at odds of 50/1 in 2008) the longest priced winner in the past decade was sent off at 16/1; two favourites have won in that time, Darley Sun and Detroit City, both sent off at 9/2. Nicky Henderson's Sentry Duty goes well after a break and has been talked up during the week but I feel is often better with plenty of cut underfoot. For those who must have a bet, My Arch (has form over hurdles) is the suggestion. Kieren Fallon rides Deauville Flyer in the race but the jock has a quiet word for Ollie Pears' charge in his column in the Weekender; Coral offer 14/1 this evening.

At Cheltenham I'm looking forward to the return of Barizan in the hurdle. This horse attempted to make all in the Triumph here in March and went down one and a quarter lengths to Soldatino. He was then beaten by Orsippus (40/1 that day) at Aintree before gaining his revenge over that opponent at Punchestown two weeks later. The top two have to give the rest of the field eight pounds which, on official ratings, makes Paul Nicholls' Royal Mix the top rated animal. I can't oppose Barizan; trainer Evan Williams has had four winners from 21 runners in the past fortnight, a strike rate of 19.05%. Wayne Hutchinson reports that Gilded Age is likely to come on for the run.

In the opener I've never been convinced by Aiteen Thirtythree after he finished a well-beaten third behind Reve De Sivola in the Persian War Novices' Hurdle on soft ground at Chepstow last year. In a recent stable tour article Nicholls described the Old Vic gelding as 'immature mentally' last term but is now 'coming along nicely'. Connections state they intend to go novice chasing after this run. Tim Vaughan describes the five-year-old Old Vic mare Pure Anticipation as 'a nice prospect for staying novice hurdles' while Acey is of interest on his first run for the Twiston-Davies team. Pure Anticipation, priced up at 8/1 in this evening's tissue, looks an each-way play against likely favourite Aiteen Thirtythree.

With regard to the novice chase at 3.50, Philip Hobbs' Balthazar King kept on gamely exactly one week ago to overturn the Nicholls hotpot Watamu Bay at Chepstow. Watamu Bay jumped markedly right on that occasion and was only beaten half a length in the end so you'd expect something to beat the Hobbs horse here. Paul Nicholls will think his entry, Picture This, is the horse to do just that. Quoting the champion trainer on his charge: "He is one I can't wait to send chasing this season." I've always thought Billy Magern the poor relation compared to Ollie [Magern] but the gelding looks progressive nonetheless while Ian Williams' Wayward Prince is another to consider. In my book the percentage call is Picture This who would be worth an interest if tonight's tissue price of 7/2 is freely available on the day. I haven't completely disregarded Hell's Bay. The gelding has his own ideas about the game but is not without ability. He was formerly with Paul Nicholls but the champion trainer had obviously had enough. This one looks the type that could benefit from moving to a smaller establishment and Colin Tizzard must have done something right as the horse trotted up at Newton Abbot on his first outing for connections. Tizzard isn't one to to take a charge to Cheltenham on the off-chance so I'd be tempted into a small each-way wager on Hell's Bay at tonight's tissue price of 16/1. [Incidentally, can't wait to see the yard's Cue Card this season. Had an entry in the 5.10 at Kempton on Sunday but that option hasn't been taken up.]

The concluding bumper has entries that catch my eye (and probably nobody else's) including Nicky Henderson's Lets Get Serious (will the layers offer 4/1? Probably not!) and Richard Johnson's mount Sir Benfro.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Frankel (4/6f) won the Dewhurst although Dream Ahead ran no race at all. My Arch came in a respectable eighth of the 32 runners in the Cearewitch; well done to the Racing Post's Pricewise who tipped the winner Aaim To Prosper (16/1).

Something of a turn up in the Hurdle with Clerk's Choice winning as he pleased at odds of 14/1. Selection Barizan (6/4f) set off in front as is his style but on his seasonal debut the hurdling was far from perfect, particularly down the back; a poor leap at the final obstacle allowed Royal Mix to go on and claim second spot.

With the withdrawal of Ian Williams' Wayward Prince, Picture This was sent off ridiculously short (6/5f). He made a mistake at the seventh and had no answer to Chicago Grey (13/2) who was also far from foot perfect. Hell's Bay (14/1) finished fifth. He made a couple of errors but was disputing second until weakening between the final two flights; he didn't look to quite get the trip here.

Aiteen Thirtythree (even money) took the spoils even though headed by Supercede (9/1) after the last. I'm sure connections will feel this big horse will make a better chaser. A mistake four from home by Pure Anticpation (12/1) put paid to her chance - she came home a poor fourth.

In the bumper Let's Get Serious was allowed to go off at 4/1 and showed a nice turn of foot to beat 2/1 joint favourites Dark Lover and Sybarite. Sir Benfro was a non-runner.