Friday, December 13, 2019

Caspian Caviar Gold Cup 2019

The going down my local polling station yesterday was officially recorded by the returning officer as good to soft, soft in places, changing to soft, good to soft in places after 11.15. Queues were reported at several stations around the country, most of them selling petrol; as I went to cast my vote, I encountered fellow citizens strung out like a field at the end of three and a half mile handicap chase.

Potential polling day picks included Good News (2.25 Warwick); Defuture Is Bright (2.35 Taunton); Speak Of The Devil (1.10 Newcastle); I'm To Blame (2.10 Newcastle); and Jeremy Sunshine (non runner - found lame). In the end We'llcwhathappens (3.40 Taunton) got the nod and he was beaten a short-head by 13/8 favourite Layerthorpe.

If Jeremy Corbyn is feeling brassed off with Brexit this evening he should spare a thought for Nigel Twiston-Davies' secretary who mistakenly withdrew ante-post favourite Riders Onthe Storm from tomorrow's Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham (1.55). Nigel phoned telling the lady in question to withdraw Rocco from a three mile chase at Bangor but she misheard and withdrew Riders Onthe Storm instead; the race is worth £73,151 to the winner.

Let's forget about the politics.

Here's an 'oven-ready' preview of tomorrow's Cheltenham race where fourteen are set to face the starter and the going is soft, good to soft in places.

Four weeks ago Brelan D'As was held a neck here by Happy Diva in the BetVictor Gold Cup (Warthog third, Spiritofthegames pulled up). That race was run on the Old Course over two miles four furlongs whereas tomorrow's is run over two miles four and a half furlongs on the New Course which is generally considered to be slightly stiffer.

Paul Nicholls holds a strong hand this year with Brelan D'As' stablemate Secret Investor currently priced up favourite. This one competes in a handicap for the first time but was well beaten at Down Royal the last day; the balance of his form suggest he may prefer better ground.

Five weeks ago Cepage had no answer to Riders Ofthe Storm at Aintree. Venetia Williams' charge was second behind Frodon in this race last year off a mark of 143; he is now rated 155.

On a line through Belami Des Pictons (creditable fourth in the BetVictor Gold Cup after being hampered by the fall of Eamon An Cnoic - runs in preceding race at 1.20) Williams should have a decent idea of where she lies with Cepage.

Not That Fuisse doesn't have that much experience over the larger obstacles while Good Man Pat has had jumping issues in the past but ran well the last day at Ascot. The step back in trip here should help his cause, he's one of three sharing the Racing Post top-rated spot and he's tipped up in a couple of places.

Clondaw Castle tries this trip for the first time - he wouldn't be guaranteed to last home and the same comment applies to Knocknanuss.

Gary Moore's other runner Benatar is of more interest and has some reasonable form to his name (beat Keeper Hill nine lengths in a Plumpton novice two years ago). He hasn't seen a racecourse since finishing well beaten behind Cyrname in January and is tried in a hood for the first time.

In The Weekender 16-20.01.19 Moore said:

"Don't ask me why but he just seems to need his first run or two now..." 

Spiritofthegames disappointed badly in the BetVictor Gold Cup where he jumped left at times and then was never travelling at Newbury - he has something to prove and I'm just beginning to wonder whether he is better suited to hurdling.

Willie Mullins sends over Robin Des Foret, James Bowen up. This one has a current rating of 145 in Ireland, has won off mark of 140 and races off 148 here. Make of that what you will, as I'll freely admit I'm struggling.

Generous Day looks to have something to find on the book but Warthog is of interest on the back of his third in the BetVictor Gold Cup. David Pipe's grey jumped well that day and he's generally rated a 12/1 shot. 

The market clearly thinks Imperial Presence is there to make up the numbers.

Philip Hobbs' charge likes to front run and perhaps went off too quickly over a shorter trip at Ascot three weeks ago; the handicapper has dropped him two pounds for that effort.

I always think Richard Johnson rides a good race from the front, particularly around Cheltenham, and, on top of all that, I just happen to like a front runner. And how often can you get 50/1 about a horse with the champion jockey on top?

With both Sky Bet and Paddy Power offering 50/1 and paying one fifth the odds five places, Imperial Presence is the each-way suggestion.


Anonymous said...

A band of rain passing over Cheltenham this morning is likely to keep the going at Soft, Good to Soft (places). Lalor is a non-runner (going).

The 2019 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup 2019 looks, as suggested by the market, a competitive renewal and I struggled to find an edge. I hope Imperial Presence runs well, I put a line through him because of my three strikes rule and that mark of 146 still looked a tad high.

They say only a fool makes the same mistake twice. Alas my betting has fallen into this category more times than I’d care to share, and I may add to that tally today.

Midnightreferendum [Alan King, Alexander Thorne…you can see the trap I’m falling in to] may not be the best mare in this field but she is only 2lbs behind the top rated on Racing Post ratings so certainly not the worst either. She perhaps has not been the most consistent performer but has a few nice pieces of form. Her Warwick win last April reads well with several winners coming out of the race and most posting an improved subsequent rating. Her defeat at Taunton in February when sent off joint favourite looks, at face value, disappointing but the 3 that finished in front of her that day have between them won 5 of their next 10 starts. Her second in the mares bumper at the 2018 Aintree Festival also reads quite well. She disappointed first time of this term but she did the same last year and then went out and won her next start so perhaps not too much of a worry.

But the clinching factor is, again, the yards conditional jockey. On my system Alexander Thorne is, on recent rides, the best jockey in this race! The system utilises this and apportions part of his claim [a whopping 6lbs in this instance] to Midnightrefernedum’s rating. This results in the mare rocketing up the ratings, the system derived fair odds plummeting and suddenly the 33/1 available last night looks huge value.

Exactly what happened with Praeceps yesterday and we know how that ended…

Good luck!


GeeDee said...


A topical, political selection; I like it.

Solely for the sake of completeness, you understand, and following on from yesterday's excitement, I once again reproduce Alan King's comments from the Weekender:

"This may be a bit hot for Midnightreferendum but she'll be all the better for her comeback run at Wincanton - she always needs a run - and will be suited by returning to two and a half miles."

Generally 25s now.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Cracking effort by your 50/1 shot Imperial Presence, well done.

Perhaps another one for your ‘watch list’. Handicapper drops him another couple of lbs, Philip Hobbs pops Ben Jones on his back with a 5lb claim, smaller field handicap with an expected uncontested lead, place bet and wait to be paid out. If only it were so easy!


GeeDee said...

A respectable effort from Imperial Presence (33/1) who, as expected, took over the front-running role from Warthog (7/1) after the third and was still at the head of affairs three from home. The principals kicked on off the home bend with Warthog, Spiritofthegames (40/1) and Robin Des Foret (16/1) fighting out the finish. Bridget Andrews must have thought she had the spoils in the bag as she sent her charge on after the last but Warthog - known as a weak finisher - found something from somewhere to claw back the ground and win by a head with Robin Des Foret third.

Cepage (5/1jf) and Imperial Presence jumped the last together but the joint favourite stayed on better to claim fourth with the selection fifth, beaten five and a quarter lengths with a further 19 lengths back to Not That Fuisse (7/1) in sixth.

A fine effort too by TW's pick in the finale. Midnightreferendum (20/1) made her ground at the business end of the race to claim third spot behind Dame De Compagnie (2/1f) and Indefatigable (11/2).

Anonymous said...

Memo to self: -

A 1 point Each Way double on Imperial Presence and Midnightreferendum [assuming win to win, place to place, 5 places and 1/5 odds] would have shown a 36-point profit at SP and an 81.6-point profit at best early odds.

Either would have helped offset the post-Christmas Credit Card Bill!