Friday, October 19, 2012

Cheltenham Showcase meeting 2012 - Saturday

Both Frankel and Willie Carson bow out tomorrow. Everyone will be sad to see Frankel disappear but the same comment wouldn't necessarily apply to Carson; nonetheless Matthew Norman's piece in today's Daily Telegraph strikes a rather querulous tone which in my opinion does not reflect particularly well on the author. Of course, at the time of writing, I haven't seen Carson's farewell interview...

Cheltenham racecourse managing director Edward Gillespie is another to enter into retirement after tomorrow's action; he's been at the job for 32 years and the opener marks the occasion in appropriate fashion, being named the 'Edward Gillespie Hands Over The Reins Novices' Hurdle'.

The card looks anything but easy with two 20 runner chases on offer as well as a handicap hurdle in which 24 are set to face the starter; just 17 contest the concluding bumper. Nigel Twiston-Davies and Paul Nicholls both recorded doubles at the track earlier today, the former with The New One (even money favourite) and Hunters Lodge (7/2f) and the latter with Sire Collonges (4/1) and Dark Lover (9/2f).

Rated 137, Talkonthestreet sets a decent standard in the opener. Rendl Beach has two bumpers and a maiden hurdle to his name and could have a fitness edge having won at Fontwell 15 days ago but a couple of his leaps at the Sussex track were less than fluent. Talkonthestreet came home third behind Ambion Wood at Perth in April where the three mile trip seemed to bring out some improvement; the Philip Hobbs team is in decent form at the moment so at 3/1 Talkonthestreet rates a play against the favourite Rendl Beach and gets the vote.

Only five go to post in the 3.05 - it looks to concern Dodging Bullets, Baby Mix and High Note. Captain Sharpe was withdrawn from the Free Handicap at Chepstow last Saturday on account of the ground. The conditions of the race favour Dodging Bullets who finished fourth in the Triumph in April and he is currently priced up at even money. I like Tom George's course and distance winner Baby Mix (ninth in the Triumph) but he looks to face a stiff task giving weight to all his rivals. The filly High Note receives her weight allowance and may be sharper than the other two market principals having won as she liked at Stratford 22 days ago. Dodging Bullets is the form choice and the selection.

The novice chase at 4.55 is trappy; Third Intention is likely to be near the head of the market but this rates a stiff introduction to chasing. Normally I wouldn't entertain backing a four-year-old in a contest such as this but His Excellency has more experience over the larger obstacles than several in the field - he ran 15th in the Galway Plate when trained by Gordon Elliott. He has two runs for the Pipe yard under his belt now and, although he has shown some attitude in the past, a comment from Tom Scudamore in a post on Exeter Racecourse's blog makes me think connections may be making some progress. Rated 142, His Excellency is the tentative suggestion at 6/1 or bigger.

I'll give both handicap chases a miss. For those who can't resist, Tim Vaughan has been quite bullish about Tartak in the build-up to the 2.30; the handler says he thinks the horse goes there 'with a winning chance' in this week's Weekender. The horse was never the easiest to catch when with Tom George but I believe he shows his best form on good ground so tomorrow should not be a problem. Three of the past five winners have carried 11-10 or more to victory so at 16/1 (BetVictor) some may think he's an each-way play...

In the 3.40 Philip Hobbs' course and distance winner Balthazar King usually goes well fresh and likes top of the ground.

Finally, with all the Frankel stories likely to take top-billling, it would be all too easy to overlook Kempton's jumps card this Sunday. In particular the 3.20 should prove useful for future reference - I'll be interested to see how Spirit Of Shankly fares. In the finale I still haven't quite given up the ghost on Colin Tizzard's Xaarcet - around this time last year the handler described his charge as 'our best unraced horse for the season'.   


GeeDee said...

A lively betting market in the opener with money coming for Our Vinnie who was sent off 9/4 favourite; Talkonthestreet was returned at 5/2, Rendl Beach 11/4. They were all beaten by 6/1 chance According To Trev who foiled the gamble on the favourite by a head with Rendl Beach a further 11 lengths back in third. Selection Talkonthestreet made a mistake three out and was outpaced thereafter coming home fourth.

Dodging Bullets (10/11f) won in the manner expected and I was pleasantly surprised to see His Excellency take the spoils at 7/1. There was a distinctive 'swish of the tail' at the last but the selection stayed on well to beat 13/8 favourite Third Intention one and a quarter lengths.

In the handicap chases, Tartak ran out of petrol three from home finishing sixth behind Nadiya De La Vega while Balthazar King (9/1) showed plenty of courage to come home ahead of Galaxy Rock.

TO said...

Made me smile with the Willie Carson comment. Great to see Frankel finish his career in style.

GeeDee said...


Yes, Frankel probably the best we'll see for a very long time.

This Christmas, thought I'd ask for a share in the great horse...