Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sensational start to Festival week

Something of a sensation at the start to Festival week with Tuesday's Champion Hurdle favourite Binocular withdrawn from the race on the advice of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). Having received legitimate medication for the treatement of an allergy, Binocular continued to test positive for the substance over the weekend; connections were left with little choice but to withdraw their charge as it appears clear the horse would have tested positive for the banned substance had he defended his title in the Champion. This was probably the last thing trainer Nicky Henderson wanted following his three month ban and £40,000 fine, having being found guilty of administering an anti-bleeding drug to The Queen's hurdler, Moonlit Path, a year ago. The vet in that affair, James Main, was later struck off by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Several layers have agreed to refund ante-post bets on Binocular while Betfair has declared void bets struck on the horse between 0800 and 1000 on Sunday morning.

Revised Champion Hurdle betting this evening: Menorah 100/30 favourite (bet365), Hurricane Fly 7/2, PeddlersCross 4/1, Oscar Whisky 8/1, Khyber Kim 12/1, Mille Chief 14/1. Of the market leaders, the price about Mille Chief is the one that appears to have contracted the least. Spare a thought too for Paul Townend who has done nothing wrong in riding Hurricane Fly to victory three times this season but he finds himself riding Willie Mullins' second string Thousand Stars while Ruby Walsh takes over on Hurricane Fly.

Talking of Ruby Walsh, earlier in the week I received what appeared to be a letter from the man himself and this afternoon he actually rang me up! Of course, he competely ignored everything I said on the phone but insisted I took out a subscription to Racing UK and pointed out I could win my subscription back with RUK's 'Ruby Tuesday' promotion. It's that time of the racing year - more offers than you can shake a stick at.

Additional snippets...

Geraghty has chosen Spirit Son in the first race on the first day
McCoy picks up the ride on Sprinter Sacre in the same race
Aegean Dawn is now likely to run in Wednesday's Coral Cup
Imperial Cup winner Alarazi is favourite for Friday's County Hurdle (8/1 totesport)
Choc Thornton rides Neptune Collonges in the Gold Cup, Daryl Jacob What A Friend
Tranquil Sea misses Thursday's Ryanair after a bad scope
Paddy Power offers to refund losing bets on the first race if Cue Card wins
Sam Winner is set to run in Friday's Triumph Hurdle.

With 3mm rain last night, the going on the Old Course has been eased to good to soft, good in places. A drop of rain would enhance Khyber Kim's chance in Tuesday's Champion Hurdle according to connections speaking on Saturday's Morning Line.

As always in Festival week, I aim to post selections the night before racing. I'm going to Cheltenham on Wednesday this year so will post Thursday's picks on Thursday morning. Below - profit/loss figures for the blog's highlighed selections to a £1 level stake over the past four years (just to give you an idea what you might be letting yourself in for...):

2010 +£5.75
2009 +£7.50
2008 - £4.99
2007 +£6.45

Of course, past performance is no guide whatsoever to future performance...

And finally... The lead property for sale in the 'Bricks And Mortar' supplement of Friday's Times was A.P. McCoy's 'lavish home' Lodge Down House. Amongst other features the property boasts a games room, a family room, a boot room as well as TVs in two bathrooms. 'The McCoys are splitting the estate to build a house and racing stable complex and are selling Lodge Down House with ... the best 38 acres of land.' A.P. looking to the future and contemplating retirement from the saddle perhaps? The property comes with a £2.5 million price tag - I had booked an appointment with my mortgage adviser for tomorrow morning but unfortunately it appears I've been beaten to it - the property is already under offer.


Mulldog said...

A cracking read!

GeeDee said...

Thanks, Mully. Best of luck for the week ahead!