Sunday, October 17, 2010

Racing briefs

The last running of the Champion Stakes at Newmarket brought an emotional win for Henry Cecil's Twice Over; thirty five minutes earlier the same trainer had taken the other Group One race on the card, the Dewhurst, with the precociously talented Frankel. Frankel is now a best-priced 5/4 to win next year's 2000 Guineas; both Coral and William Hill bet odds-on at 4/5!

Cheltenham's Saturday Showcase threw up a surprise or two, with the victory of 14/1 chance Clerk's Choice in the hurdle very impressive. Well-fancied pair Royal Mix and Barizan were over 21 lengths adrift so trainer Michael Banks clearly has something to go war with this winter. Colin Tizzard's Kilmurry jumped well to take the Kleinwort Benson Novices' Chase; the horse prefers decent ground and the plan appears to be to return for the Festival in March.

Quick ground at Kempton today saw a number of races cut up badly; Medermit (seventh in the Champion Hurdle), Cue Card (Cheltenham bumper winner), Menorah (winner of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle), Lidar and Captain Chris all missed potential engagements. The latter-named retains his novice status until the end of the month and could be rerouted to Chepstow on Saturday for the Persian War Novices' Hurdle. Trainer Philip Hobbs in a recent Racing Post stable tour article said of his charge, "I sincerely hope, and believe, he could turn out very, very good." Menorah is likely to go straight to the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham's Open meeting next month.

That talk of Kempton reminds me that Robert 'Choc' Thornton is currently employed as the face of racing at the south London track. I recently received a flyer from the course with a picture of the jock in racing silks and a rather sturdy-looking hedgetrimmer ready to shave at least an inch off the top of one of the steeplechase obstacles. Choc may be out of the saddle recovering from injury at the moment but he's certainly keeping himself busy as he's also writing a column for the Racing Post.

Finally a possible longshot I'll keep an eye out for this week is John Harris' Tom Wade - this one holds an entry in the opening juvenile hurdle at Ludlow on Thursday. Sent off at odds of 66/1 on his debut at the track a couple of weeks ago, the gelding was disputing second when unseating seven pound claimer Kyle James three out in a race won by Akula (who in turn had finished fifth behind one of the best juveniles seen so far this season, Architrave). Charlie Poste has been booked for the ride.

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