Friday, January 27, 2012

Harry's trial and the Festival Trials

You know, it's a week for trials...

On Thursday Harry Redknapp was reported to have said  'I have never written a letter in my life' yet I'm sure I can recall the Tottenham manager having written the occasional column for the Racing Post in the past. Harry also claimed his English wasn't up to scratch and he couldn't spell for toffee but he certainly appears a bit better at Maths as he allegedly asked for a 10% cut of the £3 million profit cleared when England striker Peter Crouch moved from Portsmouth. Hmmm, I'm sure the judge will get to the bottom of it all.

From one trial with its tribulations to several...

The decision of connections to withdraw Grand Crus from the Argento Chase, the feature at Cheltenham's Festival Trials Day, has changed the look of the race completely. I fancied Midnight Chase, fifth in last year's Gold Cup, to offer some each-way value at around 9/1 but this evening he's just 6s, with Ladbrokes going noticeably shorter at 9/2. On ratings the three to concentrate on are Captain Chris, Diamond Harry and Tidal Bay. Captain Chris has done most of his racing over shorter distances but looked to stay the trip when third behind Kauto Star in the King George; I've tipped Diamond Harry a couple of times to date but this talented, notoriously fragile individual has twice been withdrawn on the morning of a big race; and Tidal Bay is something of an enigma. Discussing this race with a colleague, he felt Midnight Chase had seen his best days - I'm not convinced and I feel he shows his best form on good ground but Diamond Harry is the suggestion.

The Triumph Hurdle Trial should prove informative and to my mind looks more comepttive than the market would have us believe. Hinterland (runs in the handicap hurdle at 4.15) looks a useful benchmark - Paul Nicholls' charge beat Hollow Tree three lengths giving that runner-up four pounds but was subsequently beaten seven lengths (conceding seven pounds) by Baby Mix. As a play against likely favourite Grumeti I slightly prefer Tom George's course and distance winner Baby Mix to Nicholls runner Pearl Swan.

I considered Hell's Bay each-way (16/1) in the 2.05 but recent stable form is off-putting.

In the Cleeve Hurdle (3.40) Big Buck's bids for his fifteenth consecutive win but it would be worth remembering he won't be fully wound up for this - the World Hurdle in March being the main target. Connections opted to run here last weekend; the general view is Big Buck's will be some 10 pounds off his best which may give connections of Mourad cause for hope although Willie Mullins' charge also has the World Hurdle as his aim....

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

At the moment I'd pick the wrong horse in a two runner field.

Midnight Chase (11/2) made all from the front to win the Argento with Tidal Bay second; selection Diamond Harry (100/30jf) was close enough if good enough half a mile from home but he just wasn't, being comprehensively outpaced from two out - this run was similar to his performance in the Betfair Chase at Haydock and I just wondered if fitness / lack of a recent run proved his undoing.

Drama in the Triumph Trial with Pearl Swan (8/1) beating Grumeti (7/4jf) a short head at the post but the placings were reversed in the stewards' room, as Pearl Swan had carried the favourite right on the run to the line. Selection Baby Mix (7/4jf) ran far too freely for his own good, Paddy Brennan having to take a pull at several of the flights. He lost his hind legs at the second last flight, recovered, but then faded tamely to finish last of the six.