End of day one and I’m well and truly licking the ante-post wounds. Irving ran no race at all and Champagne Fever got chinned on the line by the nutter that couldn’t win (and traded at 1000-1 in running). Midnight Prayer did the job for us in the four miler to get us back on track. Thoughts are very much with all the connections of Our Connor. A classy animal that will be sorely missed.
1.30 – Neptune Investment Management Novices´ Hurdle
Some nice types go to war in the Wednesday opener including the unbeaten Red Sherlock but very much like day one they may not see which way FAUGHEEN goes for the Mullins/Walsh combination. Admittedly we don’t know just how good he is just yet as he has been much too classy for all his rivals. His jumping to say the least at times has been sketchy but he looks like he’s got a real good engine too and that may well be plenty good enough here.
2.05 – RSA Chase (Grade 1) (CLASS 1) (5yo+)
A race that you can go round and round in and come up with several different answers. I want to be against Ballcasey really, although he is a fair enough favourite, I have my doubts about him at the top-level. I just think there will be one or two too quick for him at the business end! I am a big fan of SMAD PLACE. Third in the last two world hurdles, his jumping really warmed up as he went through the race at Newbury last time when beating Sam Winner (who jumped like a stag). They will both appreciate this better ground and are both very big players in my book. Carlingford Lough is also very interesting. He is all about stamina and would have gone very close to rustling up Ballycasey had he not been squeezed out at the last at Leopardstown in a tactical race that wouldn’t have suited. The likely strong gallop here will be right up his street and he is a big player. I have to also throw Black Thunder in the mix too. He has always looked a staying chaser to me and I think the make up of this race will suit him, he is definitely the each way value in the race.
1 pt each on Smad Place and Carlingford Lough with an each saver on Black Thunder
2.40 – Coral Cup (A Handicap Hurdle) Grade 3 (CLASS 1) (4yo+)
Some smart horses towards the top of the weights in a devilishly difficult handicap include Dunguib, Cotton Mill and Far West who all have bits and pieces of festival form. I respect all three of them hugely here. The four to concentrate on further down the list for me would be Dell’Arca, Vendor, Indevan and WAAHEB. I really like Dermot Weld’s seven year-old. He is a classy animal but is a bit of a thinker at the same time. I have no doubt in my mind that he is well handicapped off 142 and the fact that AP has chosen Get Me Out Of Here is no bad thing. Mark Walsh is very good and very patient. He is the perfect match for Waaheb and if he is on a going day he will go very close.The 18-1 about him this evening is much too big!
WAAHEB 1.5 pts each way at 18/1.
3.20 – BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase Grade 1
The feature race on day two and what looks to be an absolute cracking bet in the form of SIRE DE GRUGY. There will be plenty wanting to take him on on the basis of one thing….and that is his course form. Let’s strip that back. Two starts at Cheltenham, the first when being beaten by Captain Conan by two lengths on only his second start over fences. Then when being beaten here by Kid Cassidy when trying to give him 10lbs in a race that didn’t quite work out as planned (hit front too soon, then clouted the last two). The team have clearly now worked out to get him in front as late as possible and I’m sure Jamie will be patient. He has grown up enormously from his defeat by Captain Conan here back in 2012 and is a much better horse than him now.
Captain Conan is just too slow to win at this level and this has been an after thought. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Arvika Ligeonniere’s jumping and that will probably catch him out again. Bailey Green, Kid Kassidy and Module shouldn;t be good enough at this level and Sizing Europe bless him is probably too slow now. The main danger may well come in the unexposed form of Hinterland who has won both his starts to date over fences. He goes well fresh and will like the ground. Largely I just think that SDG is the absolute bet of the day in spades. Tonight there is some 3/1 about, he should be 6/4. That is value of epic proportions.
SIRE DE GRUGY – Nap of the day. 3/1 Generally.
4.00 – Glenfarclas Handicap Chase (A Cross Country Chase)
Not my favourite race of the week and I expect to see BIG SHU and BALTHAZAR KING fight out the finish. I love BK so hopes he can do the business!
4.40 – Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Grade 3
This is one race this week where you might struggle to beat the market. DAWALAN is a worthy favourite and looks like this test will suit down to the ground. I think Goodwood Mirage is potentially thrown in off 132 but his jumping will need to improve. The two I really like here though are ORGILGO BAY and KATGARY. The former has aqquited himself well in a couple of impossible races the last twice and potentially is on a really nice mark of 127. First time hood could bring about plenty of improvement and Mark Bolger takes off a handy 3lb. He is a big player, as is KATGARY who makes his British debut off a mark of 130 having impressed on his last two starts in France. Paul Nicholls took this race with a very similar type in Sanctuaire back in 2010 and he could be thrown in.
1 pt e/w Orgilgo Bay, 2 pts win Katgary
5.15 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Not a race I ever get too involved in. Willie Mullins usually wins it and comes here with a three-pronged attack, all of which are towards the head of the market. They all look smart in their own right. I am going to have a small interest though in EL NAMOOSE for John Ferguson. He has a lovely flat pedigree (authorized out of a gone west mare) and the yard now how to ready one for this test. He could be really classy and the 16/1 about him for the finale will do me nicely.
EL NAMOOSE 1 pt e/w
Best of luck on day two, hope you back a few winners!