What a great first day of the festival that was. Thrills and spills a plenty! I was staggered to read on twitter that people were questioning Ruby Walsh's ability and also that there may be some wrong doings going on due to Annie Power and Arctic Fire falling at the last. I was flabbergasted to be honest, how can anyone who follows racing think that anyone would make a horse fall on purpose and risk the lives of the jockeys and horses, please! Give us a break and stop talking through your pocket! It's the name of the game and sometimes horses fall! It put a sour taste in my mouth after a great first day! That's enough of that now, it's off my chest and done…we move on. It was a decent day on the blog with CLARCAM (5-1) winning, photo above courtesy of Fran (@Riosrider2) and then some good runs for HOLYWELL, PACHA DU POLDER and ROCK ON RUBY. I called the lifeguards out to come and get me when I fell off the cliff with KATGARY in the last!!
On to today, ladies day and god knows what sights we'll see!! Some cracking racing again though and I'm down to three for the big one tomorrow – MON PARRAIN, ROCKY CREEK and FIRST LIEUTENANT. Whatever you're on today good luck!
Alder Hey Children's Charity Hurdle 1340
Another cracking handicap to try and solve on day two. THEINVAL won very well last time and despit a 10lb rise I'm sure he will be there again. I have put a few shillings on DELL' ARCA this year but he just hasn't just got going properly, if he does he has a chance. PEARL SWAN has been well supported and Nicholls continues to persevere with him. I'm opting for MIJHAAR (treble) (Unplaced) though, he ran well here over course and distance and got caught a little wide at Cheltenham. This flatter track and better ground will brimg out his falt racing attributes and he has been dropped another 2lbs to a mark of OR137. He has to run well today!
E-Lites Top Novices Hurdle 1415
Now this is a cracking contest. You can make a strong arguement for a lot of these. CARDINAL WATER has looked very good so far and was only geaten by QEWY but he was giving him 6lbs that day, level weights today so I can see those two switching order and despite QEWY bringing possibly the best form to the race I don't think either will win. GLINGERBURN has done nothing but improve this year, he beat BRISTOL DE MAI easily last time and he ran well yesterday. He's fresh and could run a big race. I'm opting for VAGO COLLONGES (nap)(2nd – 7-1) though, this looked his optimum trip last time and he has run consistently well all year. He will be suited by a strongly run race to come from off the pace and he will surely get that today. The better ground will also be in his favour to. I expect a big run and to come and swoop late after the last.
Mildmay Novices Chase 1450
This is not the best renewal in my eyes. Firstly SAPHIR DU RHEU is a smart staying hurdler and if he jumps, which there are doubts about, he will win. He is very short though. Jumping needs to be a premium in this and at the pace it will be run. I'm opting for CAROLE'S DESTRIER (unplaced) to win. He has some pretty solid form coming into this and was raised 10lbs for a good win in Listed company at Ascot. He since went out and won without breaking sweat and is a progressive sort who should be thereabouts.
MELLING CHASE 1525
Now this is more like it! What a fantastic race this is on paper! SIRE DE GRUGY (Fell) hasn't shown his best yet this year but there were signs of him coming back at Cheltenham. I really think this extended trip for him willnow be his distance and he may not be able to go with the young guns over two miles. He has bags of class and I think he'll show that today and take this. AL FEROF is a real danger and goes so well fresh, he was very impressive last time and he has the ability to kick on. If BALDER SUCCES turns up he also has a sniff. Sit back and enjoy the best race of the day!
Topham Chase 1605
The warm up for the big one! It's always run at a hectic pace and as we saw yesterday some of them go too quick and fall at the first, plus you need that bit of luck. HUNT BALL will love this and he has slipped to a pretty decent mark and should run well. BENNY'S MIST really impressed me with his jumping last time when just getting collared by SOUND INVESTMENT and a repeat of that gives him a chance. I'm selecting RUBEN COTTER (unplaced) though, he was very good last time after a mamoth lay off and cruised to the front. He has been raised 10lbs for that but he had heaps in hand that day and Nicholls has trained him for this and is very bullish about his chances. I expect another big run, he could make a mockery out of this.
Doom Bar Sefton Novices Hurdle 1640
THOMAS BROWN (nb) (unplaced) really disappointed me at Cheltenham. He has sime superb form in the book. He beat VAGO COLLONGES at Exeter in November and then followed that up by a close second to OUT SAM and he had TEA FOR TWO behind that day who destroyed the field in the Lanzarote. Before his festival disappointment he beat ROBINSFIRTH at Cheltenham and had AS DE MEE miles behind him. This trip is still an unknown but he's git bags of ability I think and something could have been amiss last time. I'm willing to give him another go based on this smart form. This flatter track may well suit too. MINELLA ROCCO has been ultra impressive so far and he could be anything, I'm happy to watch him in this contest today at his price, but he's one for the future. BLAKLION has a chance if he returns to earlier form he has shown.
Weatherby's NH Flat Race 1715
I don't really follow these races much. I'm opting for Mullins' best placed horse from the festival BELLSHILL (2nd – 7-1) to run a little closer today.