Friday, February 08, 2013

Newbury's 'Super Saturday' card 2013

Five weeks today we'll know the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner so perhaps it's not surprising that Newbury's 'Super Saturday' isn't quite as super as we might have hoped for - Long Run misses the Denman Chase (2.25) to go straight to the Festival while stablemate Simonsig is the notable absentee from the Game Spirit (3.00).

Silviniaco Conti is the form pick for the Denman and is priced accordingly. The Giant Bolster, a fine second in last year's Gold Cup, ran an absolute stinker in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day; connections have let a couple of possible engagments slip by since then and will be keen to see an improved effort here - regular partner Tom Scudamore is back in the plate. Weird Al sports cheekpieces for the first time but looks a risky proposition these days while Menorah has never raced beyond two and a half miles. Tom George's Mail de Bievre races off a mark of 160 on his debut in this country and is interesting receiving weight from the field. The fact he hasn't run for 509 days is something of a negative and he's not guaranteed to stay; at just 8/1 the layers don't appear to be taking too many chances so I'm not really inclined to strike an each-way wager.

You have to go back to 2001 and Function Dream to find a horse older than eight to win the Game Spirit. If you're tempted to take that stat at face value, then Edgardo Sol has to be your selection as seven-year-old Majala has the Kingmaker at Warwick as his first preference. On ratings Shooters Wood has plenty to find with most in this field but the fact Walsh prefers this one to Edgardo should be noted.

The Betfair Hurdle (the 'Schweppes' to give the race its proper title) has 23 declared and is ultra competitive. Between them Henderson, Nicholls and Pipe account for more than half the field; the bottom six race from out of the handicap. Cotton Mill has his first run for 302 days and holds an entry in the Champion Hurdle while Ronaldo Des Mottes was second in the 2010 renewal of this race behind Get Me Out Of Here. Course and distance winner Claret Cloak (also holds a Champion Hurdle entry) would have been of interest if the stable had been in better form so David Pipe's unbeaten mare Swing Bowler (beautifully bred by Galileo out of Lady Cricket) is put up as the each-way selection - Ladbrokes offer 12/1.

Nicholls has a good record in the opener and connections have already talked of Lac Fontana as a Triumph Hurdle prospect which is why the gelding is priced up favourite ahead of Nicky Henderson's Chatterbox who beat My Tent Or Yours (market leader for the Betfair Hurdle at 3.35) readily over course and distance the last day but as a result has a penalty to carry.

Unioniste is the form horse for the novice chase (4.10) but both Hadrian's Approach (second in the Feltham behind Dynaste) and Our Father are useful. The last-named didn't appear to see the trip out on heavy ground at Cheltenham and it's interesting to note connections try a tongue-tie for the first time tomorrow.

The concluding bumper looks competitive. I saw Pure Science, owned by Mr Raymond Mould, win impressively at Warwick four weeks ago - the Festival bumper is clearly the target. Of course, the same can be said about a number of these including the top one Caledonia who will be ridden by ex jumps jock Graham Lee.

Quoted in today's Times, Lee says:

"All I've been told is that this is a good horse and they would like to run him in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. I've agreed to ride him if he goes there, and Saturday will tell us if he's good enough."

I was taken with the way Pure Science put that race to bed at Warwick - Pure Science is the selection.        

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Silviniaco Conti (8/11f) took the Denman, Wishfull Thinking (4/1) the Game Spirit.

21 made it to post for The Betfair Hurdle, worth over £86,000 to the winner. It's not very often the form book records 'easily' against the name of the winner of this handicap but that adverb appears next to the name My Tent Or Yours (5/1f) who was five lengths clear of Cotton Mill (9/1) at the line with selection Swing Bowler (8/1) running prominently throughout to claim third.

Chatterbox (5/4f) beat Lac Fontana (11/8) in the opener although the latter met with traffic problems two out.

Unioniste (4/5f) was all out to hold Hadrian's Approach a short head on the line while selection Pure Science (4/1) came home fourth in the bumper, having no answer to another easy winner Oscar Rock (11/4f); Caledonia (11/1) finished third.