Day one I think was as good as we were all expecting. Superb performances by Hurricane Fly and Quevega going down in history were the highlights for me. I thought TOUR DES CHAMPS ran well and he has a big handicap in him on better ground and I was a bit disappointed by how KENTFORD GREY LADY petered out after moving very menacingly close home. Overall though I was happy with the blog throwing up JEZKI placed and wins for CHAMPAGNE FEVER and HURRICANE FLY. I still think Jezki would have been a bit closer but for that poor jump at the last!
On to day two and here are my selections for Wednesday.
1.30 John Oaksey National Hunt Chase
With this likely to turn into a slog the battling qualities and sound jumping ability of BACK IN FOCUS (WON 9-4) give him a real chance, he is an out and out stayer and that may be needed tomorrow. My one question mark over him is whether or not the ground will be soft enough. I will have a little bit on him, but fancy RIVAL D'ESTRUVAL (FELL) to possibly get the better of him. This one is another sound jumper who should relish the conditions, which judged on the times, are good to soft. He ran very well behind PACHA DU POLDER at Ayr last year and that form could be strong enough.
2.05 Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle
PONT ALEXANDRE (treble) (3rd – 6-4) is a potential superstar! The stable have been exceptionally positive about his chances and his rock solid form. He is the form selection and will have a wedge of my money. I will also be having an each way saver on CHATTERBOX (unplaced) who has been really impressive this year and has done nothing wrong. He defeated MY TENT OR YOURS and then followed that up by defeating LAC FONTANA giving buckets of weight away. What a cracking race this is, and I haven't even mentioned the form and abilIty of THE NEW ONE (WON and how wrong was I!!!!), but I think these two will hold that one up the hill. Sit back and enjoy a cracker.
2.40 RSA Chase
This is an entriguing race and BOSTON BOB appears to have the credentials and character for this, he should certainly appreciate the step up in trip. UNIONISTE was very impressive last time but I reckon the ground brought out the best in him that day. So my money is on Jim Culloty's progressive LORD WINDERMERE (WON 8-1). He is another one who looks like he will relish the step up in trip and if anything that was evident when he was defeated by BOSTON BOB by only half a length after nearly destroying a fence in his round of jumping! A great price too for me!
3.20 SportingBet Queen Mother Champion Chase
If there was ever a horse racing banker it surely has to be SPRINTER SACRE. He is a joy to watch and I can't wait to see him in action again tomorrow. So, with him to win no questions asked, who is getting place money and finishing second? My each way selection is SANCTUAIRE (unplaced) If he is ridden positively as in previous races I can't see any other of the field getting close to him other than the Aeroplane. I'm staggered that he is 25-1, yes, SS has stuffed him on every occasion but are the others such as WISHFUL THINKING and SIZING EUROPE really that better than him? I beg to differ!
4.00 Coral Cup
If you can pick the winner of this, you are either damn good, or having a lucky day! The latter for most. Competitive as hell as always and a case can be made for lots of them! I am putting my each way money on two of them. It sides at times to stick with quality horses at the top of the handicap. I was encouraged to see CRACK AWAY JACK (unplaced) run somewhere near his best when behind TIDAL BAY at Wetherby, and then followed that up with a decent second here behind OSCAR WHISKY. That form is strong and a drop back to 2m5f may help again. My second option is slightly stronger for me. CASH AND GO (nb) (unplaced) is a bit of a forgotten animal. His second here in the Racing Post Hurdle behind OLOFI is impressive and this step up should suit him. He had PROSPECT WELLS way behind that day too. The drying ground will help and he ran pretty well at Newbury last time and I think this extra distance and stiff track will suit.
4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle
I'm putting my money on a decent priced outsider here. MILORD (4th – 16-1) hails from a top yard and one who knows how to pick a race for a horse. He ran well behind CHATTERBOX and LAC FONTANA last time and a return of that effort will see him have a chance and is pretty well weighted. He is one of those handicap hunches I get from time to time as he fits the progressive profile needed to win this and he has a similar profile to WHAT A CHARM when he won a few years ago. I'm also having a saver on BORDONI (unplaced) who looked good at Market Rasen last time and was a decent horse on the flat who apears to have taken well to hurdles.
5.15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper
There are times when you watch a horse for the first time and think wow! I remember watching a clip of GOLANTILLA (nap) (3rd – 9-1) winning the race at Cork and thinking he was special. He is out of GOLAN and destroyed some good horses that day and I have been waiting for him to run in this. I think he will run really well.
All the best on day two everyone. A summary of my bets are below
1.30 RIVAL D'ESTRUVAL (FELL)
2.05 PONT ALEXANDRE (win) (treble) (3rd 6-4) CHATTERBOX (ew) (unplaced)
2.40 LORD WINDERMERE (WON 8-1)
3.20 SANCTUAIRE (ew) (unplaced)
4.00 CASH AND GO (win) (nb) (unplaced) CRACK AWAY JACK (ew) (unplaced)
4.40 MILORD (ew) (4th – 16-1)
5.15 GOLANTILLA (win) (nap) (3rd – 9-1)