Friday, January 27, 2017

Brief notes on Cheltenham Trials Day 2017

There are nine races on tomorrow's Cheltenham Trials Day card; the re-arranged Clarence House Chase is scheduled for 1.45 while the first is due off at 12.00.

I've always been wary of Trials Day. There will be Festival clues aplenty and they will be scrutinised in some detail but the main targets for many of tomorrow's participants take place in six and a half weeks' time.

There are some short-priced favourites on the card I'm not particularly inclined to oppose: Un De Sceaux, 1/2 for the Clarence House at 1.45; Thistlecrack, 2/5 for the Cotswold Chase at 2.15 (although no favourite has obliged in this race for the past ten years) and Unowhatimeanharry, even money for the Cleeve Hurdle at 4.00.

Earlier in the week I started to plan a cunning Baldrick-like plot that involved Thomas Crapper in the Hugo's Restaurant Barbados Trophy Handicap Chase at 1.10 but Paul Kealy flushed that one straight down the pan by highlighting the chance of Robin Dickin's course and distance winner on the front page of the Weekender. Thomas Crapper has had a wind issue in the past but sneaks in at the bottom with 10-1; he wouldn't want the ground a bog and is quoted 6/1 second favourite in the tissue.

A number of the usual suspects are amongst the declarations including Annacotty, Tenor Nivernais, Buywise, Aso and Saphir Du Rheu; the latter is habitually priced up market leader for similar events yet in my opinion struggles to jump well enough in a big field.

Get Involved, a 66/1 chance, runs from out of the handicap in a hot novice chase at 12.35. I'll watch with interest; this one was well thought of when I visited Dickin's yard in the autumn.

At that time the gelding was recovering from an infection and had been on the easy list for roughly three weeks. At Sandown in December his jumping looked particularly laboured; hampered by a loose horse, Charlie Poste was unseated at the eighth when any chance had long gone.

The gelding is reportedly on better terms with himself now but got no further than the second at Newbury ten days ago... His second behind Solstice Son over three miles one last April reads well; a clear round would help inform.

The Neptune at 3.25 looks open. William Henry and Wholestone head the market but I'll have a small each-way wager on course and distance winner Coo Star Sivola who has yet to finish out of the places on five runs in this country; his third in the Fred Winter last March reads well.

Returning from a long layoff William Henry was beaten a length by Pingshou over two miles here in December. Subsequently, in receipt of ten pounds, Coo beat Pingshou twelve lengths over two and a half miles here on New Year's Day. Nicky Henderson's charge steps up in trip for the first time tomorrow but the trainer feels the extra mile half will suit.

There are plenty in with chances but at 14/1 with Paddy Power Coo Star Sivola appeals as an each-way chance.

I've opposed Unowhatimeanharry this season and have the burnt fingers to prove it. West Approach was in the process of running a big race before coming to grief in the Long Walk; Ruby Walsh rides Colin Tizzard's charge in the Cleeve tomorrow. I'm just saying...

Finally a quick footnote on Johnny Og who was pulled up in a five runner chase at Taunton earlier today. Wearing cheekpieces for the first time, Johnny was led in at the start but was unable to dominate his field. He lost his place from the sixth and was pulled up before three out.


Anonymous said...

I think a mark of 142 looks about right for Singlefarmpayment in what looks to me an open race and the money for the favourite has possibly created value elsewhere in the market so perhaps you should ‘Get Involved’ at 66/1 given Jamie Bargary’s useful 3lb claim. Potters Legend has drifted to 25/1 and that is big enough for me to be tempted in; he needs to brush up a bit on his jumping but the overnight rain is a plus, he will be staying on up the hill and has a decent chance of a mark of 139.

Of the short-priced horses on the card I’m keen to take on Un De Sceaux at such skinny odds with Top Gamble who has ran really well in two races this year and might just get his head in front today. I’ve also taken an interest in Buywise who, if he can get around without error, looks sure to be involved in the finish.

Coo Star Sivola looks to have a solid e-way chance (again overnight rain looks a plus) and I may be tempted in as the afternoon progresses so best of luck with the selection.


GeeDee said...

Decent effort from Potters Legend in second (SP 11/1), TW.

Good luck with the remainder of your selections!

GeeDee said...

The finish to the Neptune was fought out between the two market leaders with 11/4 favourite Wholestone holding William Henry (5/1) three lengths. I was disappointed with Coo Star Sivola (8/1); the gelding tracked the leaders but started to struggle half a mile out and weakened up the hill eventually finishing sixth, beaten over thirty lengths.

Un De Sceaux and Unowhatimeanharry won their respective races but the ill-fated Many Clouds pipped Thistlecrack a head in the Cotswolds Chase before collapsing after passing the line. Veterinary staff were unable to save Oliver Sherwood's Grand National winner - what a terribly sad footnote to the race, the whole meeting.