Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend snippets

Festival clues aplenty at Leopardstown today where Willie Mullins won the Irish Champion Hurdle with Hurricane Fly as well as the opening maiden hurdle with Day Of A Lifetime. This evening Paddy Power offer 5/1 about Hurricane Fly for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March while Day Of A Lifetime will be entered in both the Supreme Novices' and the Neptune - Coral go 20/1 about the gelding for the opening race of the Festival.

Mullins' grey Flat Out looked set to be involved in the finish of the Arkle Novice Chase but came to grief two out when in the lead; Realt Dubh and Noble Prince fought out a ding-dong battle to the line with the former prevailing by a short-head. Best prices about these for the Cheltenham showpiece in seven weeks' time - Realt Dubh 14/1 (William Hill), Noble Prince 20/1 (Stan James), Flat Out 16/1 (Coral).

At Ascot yesterday Master Minded didn't jump with his usual zest when taking the Victor Chandler by a short-head from the fast-finishing Somersby; as a result Paul Nicholls' charge is out to 5/2 for the Queen Mother Chase while Somersby is generally a 10/1 chance. In the post-race interview McCoy implied he hadn't given his mount the best of rides by sending him to the front too soon on the testing ground. The hard luck story was Kalahari King who was all but carried out by the riderless Petit Robin but then stayed on well to take fourth. Connections had been bullish before the race and now go straight to Cheltenham for the Ryanair - totesport's 16/1 looks tempting given the likely better ground will suit Ferdy Murphy's charge.

One that sluiced up at this meeting was Grandouet who is now as low as 6/1 with some firms for the Triumph. Although the gelding won without a bother, the second, Brendan Powell's game filly Two Kisses, could be considered a useful enough yardstick but nothing more. Connections aim to go to Kempton for the Adonis before Cheltenham which should prove informative. The Triumph is a rough enough race at the best of times - 6/1 Grandouet makes no appeal whatsoever.

Pat Rodford's mare Sparky May caused something of an upset by beating even money favourite Carole's Legacy four lengths in the mares' hurdle. Sparky May is now quoted 8/1 for the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle while Carole's Legacy is out to 16/1. Willie Mullins' Quevega has won the past two runnings of the race and is just 5/4 to complete the hat-trick.

More clues to ponder over next weekend when Cheltenham hosts the Festival Trials Day...

In the meantime, three quick points to finish with...

1. Keep an eye out for the revamped Morning Line next Saturday;
2. Check out the triple dead-heat at Romford dogs last Wednesday;
3. Spare a thought for Mischief the horse who recently got stuck in a neighbour's swimming pool.

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