Sunday, January 02, 2011

Noted this new year

Oscar Whisky's odds for the Champion Hurdle shortened markedly after yesterday's emphatic victory in the Cheltenham & Three Counties Race Club Hurdle; William Hill go 12s, Blue Square 16s about Nicky Henderson's six-year-old.

The father and son combination of Colin and Joe Tizzard experienced the highs and lows of the jumping game in the space of thirty minutes at Cheltenham yesterday. Stable stalwart Joe Lively had to be put down after breaking a leg when hampered at the twelfth in the Raceodds Handicap Chase. Half an hour later Hell's Bay brought some consolation to the yard by holding Medermit to take the Dipper Novices' Chase.

Flat trainer Roger Charlton is looking to have his first runner at the Cheltenham Festival in March after Keys held Cinders And Ashes a short-head in the concluding bumper. A stewards' inquiry followed but the placings remained unaltered - both horses are 16/1 with Victor Chandler for the Weatherby's Champion Bumper in March.

Over at Exeter three pound claimer Danny Cook had an interesting time aboard David Pipe's even money favourite Spanish Cruise in the 3.25. The rider was almost unseated at the start, losing his irons until after the first in the process. Spanish Cruise then went to the head of affairs but looked in trouble two out when pecking on landing and forfeiting the lead to 7/1 chance Sea Saffron. Cook perservered with a strong challenge and managed to get his mount back in front in the shadow of the post - the winning distance was recorded as half a length.

For reasons I won't go into, just before Christmas I needed a blagger's guide to classical music - Stephen Fry's Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music was a recommendation that came my way. This work I found rather hard work - I ended up spending too much time trying to separate the wheat from the chaff (bit rich that, coming from me, I know, but what the hell!) Fortunately, Santa brought me Ruby: The Autobiography - altogether a much easier and much better read all round.

To conclude, two other books to look out for in the January sales... The Horse: A Celebration of Horses in Art by Rachel Barnes and Simon Barnes is a big book (43.4 cms x 36.6 cms) that will require a big coffee table while Dominic Prince's Jumbo to Jockey: Fasting to the Finishing Post could prove a source of inspiration to those who, like me, need help in the dieting department following the over-indulgences of the Christmas period.

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