Friday, February 24, 2012

Kempton, Adonis and other assorted offerings to the gods of racing...

Kempton's opener tomorrow is the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle. According to Greek mythology Aphrodite fell in love with Adonis, the god of beauty and desire, and entrusted the beautiful youth to Persephone, queen of the underworld. Persephone was also somewhat taken with Adonis and, when asked, refused to give him back to Aphrodite which resulted in something of a barney between the two goddesses. The compromise reached saw Adonis spend a third of the year with each goddess while he chose with which goddess to spend the final third - he chose Aphrodite but in the end, beautiful or not, he still managed to himself get slain by a wild boar. What has all this got to do with Kempton? Well, the Adonis is looking all Greek to me. Course and distance winner Sadler's Risk has been well-touted but is a jolly short price and the Hobbs yard isn't firing at present. The world and his wife knows about coughing in Paul Nicholls' yard but three winners from four runners at Sandown earlier today (Bold Chief 7/2, Toubab 8/11f and Sky Watch 7/2) would suggest Dildar offers value. Nicky Henderson's filly Une Artiste took the Victor Ludorum on heavy ground at Haydock last week while Baby Mix could easily bounce back from a disappointing effort behind Grumeti; Tom George has his team in fine form at the moment but the concession of weight to all rivals may prove the undoing of Baby Mix. Favourites have obliged on five occasions in the past ten years but I'll chance Dildar (7/2 with BetVictor) and I have to take a small each-way interest in Orthodox Lad at 40/1 (William Hill)  who may have improvement to come on better ground.

Adonis, Aphrodite, beauty and love are all very well but there's no love lost between the Racing Post and rival publication Racing Plus. In the feature Racing Plus Chase, a race previously associated with the Racing Post but this year sponsored by Racing Plus, I'll stick with Nacarat, mainly for old times sake. In my opinion this horse shows his very best form on good ground - he won the 2009 renewal - but at 11 it's probable one or two will prove a bit too quick at the business end.

All eyes will be on Grumeti in the Dovecote (3.40) - Choc Thornton takes his first ride in public on Alan King's charge who is quoted as low as 7/1 for the Triumph Hurdle. On paper this doesn't look a complete walk in the park with Keys (blinkers fitted for the first time over hurdles), Terre Du Vent (placed behind Kasbah Bliss in France) and well-touted newcomer Dodging Bullets in the field.

On ratings Cristal Bonus is the one to beat in the Pendil (4.10) but he makes little appeal as a bettng proposition.

The tissue for the concluding bumper has the only previous winner in the field third in the market. I saw Starvin Marvin win at Warwick seven weeks ago and he did it well enough at odds of 14/1, overturning well-backed favourite Le Bec from the Emma Lavelle yard by two lengths. Earlier today Le Bec was sent off joint-favourite in the Sandown bumper but again failed to oblige, beaten four and a quarter lengths into third. Colin Tizzard's Virginia Ash will be the likely favourite tomorrow on the back of his third in a listed Cheltenham event where he was seen staying on to good effect but to these eyes Starvin Marvin put his race to bed quickly enough at Warwick and this flat track could suit - I'll consider a wager if the tissue price of 9/2 becomes available on the day.

Finally one tentative Eider suggestion offered to the gods of the Tyne - Peter Niven's mare Posh Bird is weighted to turn around recent form with Mister Marker (two pounds for half a length over three miles one at Ayr) and she may appreciate drying ground more than a number of her rivals.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

The selections in the Adonis proved on a par with a Greek tragedy as Dildar (9/2) unseated Ruby Walsh at the last when well beaten in fourth while Orthodox Lad (25/1) was tailed off in sixth. Baby Mix (4/1) beat Philip Hobbs' hotpot Sadler's Risk (11/10f) two lengths and is now as low as 9/2 (Coral) for the Triumph Hurdle; whilst undoubtedly possessing talent, BM didn't look the easiest of rides yesterday and is of no interest at that price.

Nacarat (9/2) looked beat in the Racing Plus Chase as Hector's Choice (15/2) went past on the turn for home but that effort took its toll and the old grey regained the lead three out as HC ran out of petrol - a fine performance.

The same cannot be said of Starvin Marvin (7/2) who was left for dead four from home, trailling home last; Virginia Ash (11/10f) took the spoils...

In the Eider at Newcastle Posh Bird (9/1) jumped the last in the lead but was passed on the run-in by the gamble of the race Portrait King (11/4), going down three lengths. Gutted!