QIPCO 2000 GUINEAS

Photo courstesy of Sporting Life
 
I can't believe how quickly the first classic has come upon us! The flat season really does start proper with the guineas weekend and then Chester and York coming up pretty quickly afterwards!this is why I love the flat at this time of year – its quality racing after quality racing. I'm resetting my competition with my dad today – in the NH season he beat me in terms of winning weeks but I had more profit than him. Honours even? Sit back and enjoy the racing today – I hope I've found a couple of big priced handicappers amongst an old favourite!
 
Here are my selections :
 
KINGSGATE NATIVE 1430 NEWMARKET (nap) (3rd – 8-1 = £5.00)
Old Father time is catching up with this guy but he remains a huge favourite of mine. He always runs a solid race and still has a touch of class. He runs off the same mark of OR107 as his last run and win and he has come second in this race for the last two years behind SOLE POWER. Two years ago off this mark too. There is nothing of SOLE POWER'S ability against him today and my guy will love the fast ground and he has a great record first time out with runs of 1,2,2,2.

DEEDS NOT WORDS 1525 GOODWOOD (nb) (unplacec = -£5.00)
A decent performer at best but he has dropped down to a handy mark and back to his last winning mark of OR88. He will appreciate the ground and the stablehave sent out an odd winner or two. He could surprise a few of these and run a big race at a big price
 
HIGHLAND COLORI 1450 GOODWOOD (treble) (3rd – 14-1 = £8.75)
I put this fella up on the blog a few weeks ago and despite being nicely positioned he faded at the end. He is still on avery appealing mark and the drop back to 7f will suit. I'm going to give him another go today, he has been far better than his mark suggests and I'm hoping for a revival. PASTORAL PLAYER is a horse I jumped off a cliff with but has been on a long losing run and I can't select him today but he is also on a hell of a mark.
 
CELESTIAL PATH 1545 NEWMARKET (unplaced = -£5.00)
I backed this horse when he won first time out at York last year and then he followed it up cosily in a Listed race at Haydock. He really does have a touch of class and will love this quicker ground. He has to improve on his Racing Post Trophy third but he hated the ground thst day and stillfinished third behind ELM PARK. Sir Mark Prescott knows how to get a handicapper ready but he hasn't had a 2000 Guineas runner ever! He wouldn't run himif he didnt think he was good enough thoughand I think he has a brilliant each way chance. I also think IVAWOOD could win this, he was class last season and despite an under par performance last time the run will have done him a world of good. He still has all the ability and will run a big race.
 
My Dad's selections are :
LUSTROUS 1415 GOODWOOD (unplaced = -£5.00)
ONLINE ALEXANDER 1430 NEWMARKET (unplaced = -£5.00)
IVAWOOD 1545 NEWMARKET (3rd 10-1 = £6.25)
RED REFRACTION 1450 GOODWOOD (unplaced = -£5.00)
 
Standings
Father 0-1 Son
Profit
Father -£8.75
Son £3.75
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Cheltenham Day One

It is here at last! The greatest week on Earth! Or so I think anyway! Time to sit back and watch a feast of racing over the next few days that will make you yearn for more once it's over! Whatever happens this week, lets hope all the horses return safe, jockeys too and we have a festival that will be talked about for years to come.
 
On to my selections :
 
Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle

What a race this is to kick the Festival off. I love this race as it signals the begininig of the week but it's also a bloody tough race to call the winner of. There are several of these that have really good chances. GILGAMBOA is an improver and he won the big Irish Handicap the other week and comes here as a horse that could really be anything, I'm not sure the ground will paly to his strengths though. VANITEUX has always been touted as a good thing but the thing that sticks in my mind is his defeat by AMORE ALATO, a reproduction of that would see him well beaten. I've backed WILDE BLUE YONDER every race this year and if he stays on four legs he has an each way sneak. VAUTOUR comes here with obvious credentials and looked good last time when defeated The Tullow Tank in the same race CHAMPAGNE FEVER won last year. My selection though has to be IRVING, he has been nothing but impressive in each race and looked very good last time when easing away with the race and having AMORE ALATO a distant second. He has form on better ground in Germany and for me looks to be a very decent horse. Hope he gets me off to a good start.
 
SELECTION – IRVING (nb) (unplaced)
DAD'S SELECTION – WICKLOW BRAVE (unplaced)

Racing Post Arkle Chase

God I love this race as well! I have had a few goods wins too, including CONTRABAND and of course who can forget the mighty TIDAL BAY trouncing NOLAND and the others in 2008. This is a tight little contest and a lot can be made for all the leading contenders. VALDEZ has impressed me with every run and he could run a big race at a decent price, he will surely go on to bigger things no matter what happens. We all saw what CHAMPAGNE FEVER did last year although his Boxing Day defeat sits badly with me and that's why I have written off his chances. For me TRIFOLIUM is the best Irish contender. He beat FELIX YONGER last time, on that horse's preferred ground and at level weights after previously being beaten by him giving him 4lbs. My selection also finished second behind DEFY LOGIC when they both beat CHAMPAGNE FEVER. DODGING BULLETS could run a big race with his Chletenham form in mind and he has really improved since the operation he had on his palate. I still havent mentioned ROCK ON RUBY who brings the best hurdle form to the table!! What a race, sit back and enjoy!
 
SELECTION – TRIFOLIUM (nap) (3rd – 11-4)
DAD'S SELECTION – ROCK ON RUBY (unplaced)
Baylis and Harding Handicap Chase

Jesus wept! This is a right old handicap with several horses close to my heart! This is what NH racing is all about, finding the winning horse in a race like this!
HOLYWELL, my star horse of last year, that I napped at 25-1 to win the Pertemps goes. I've got to put a little on him but I don't think he has the expereicne of a big, classy chase like this yet. He's getting better but will be one for next season for me. MA FILLEULE I backed last time when she won at Kempton, she is a decent horse and was due a race like that, however a 6lb rise and the slightly better grpound put me off her. Over recent years horses aged 8 or 7 have had a great record in this, and also horses with a light weight! I'm hoping my horse beats the weight voodoo. My selection is one of the horses I follow and for me two things make me opt for him. The better ground and a great record when fresh. My selection is PACHA DU POLDER, he's always had a bit of class, and finally showed it when winning at Newbury last year. He has rran over 3 miles before and that was on soft ground which he hated and he finished second. The extra distance I think will improve him further. He will bowl along near the front and with being fresh will be up with the pace and will hopefully stay up the hill. 33-1 is huge and Paul Nicholls reported him to have had an eye catching racecourse gallop! He could be my big handicap winner this year!
 
SELECTION – PACHA DU POLDER (unplaced)
DAD'S SELECTION – HOLYWELL (WON 10-1)
 
Stan James Champion Hurdle

These races just keep getting better and better! Right, I may get egg on my face but I'm saying the Fly will lose! Firstly no 10 year old has won this race since SEA PIGEON in 1980, secondly I think THE NEW ONE, MELODIC RENDEZVOUS and MYTENTORYOURS will run him out of it. I would be placing all of my money on MELODIC RENDEZVOUS if the ground were softer and despite his jockey claiming it won't matter, I think it will, especially when the other contenders will enjoy it more! MYTENTORYOURS is my selection and I thought he was impressive when beating THE NEW ONE at Kempton and despite everyone saying TNO will be better I don't think he will reverse the placings. I even think he may take this race after the last flight and up the run in, coming off the bridle neaer the finish! Although, that may be a fairytale! Regardless though it will be a cracker and I can't wait!
 
SELECTION – MYTENTORYOURS (2nd – 3-1)
DAD'S SELECTION – THE NEW ONE (3rd – 100/30)

OLBG Mares Hurdle

QUEVEGA has made a mockery of this over the past few years and there is strong evidence she may do it again! However, I'm going for an upset. HIGHLAND RETREAT may have what it takes to finally knock her off her perch! She has done nothing wrong this year and while she has not knocked any trees down she has gone about her business in a very classy way. Not much more to be said, QUEVEGA is the best mare on show but she may get turned over, hopefully by my selection.
 
SELECTION – HIGHLAND RETREAT (unplaced)
 
Terry Biddlecombe Amateur Rider Chase

Old Terry will be looking down ansd be honoured to have this race named afer him and I'm sure the amateurs will give him a good show! If the ground were softer I would be all over MERLIN'S WISH, unfortunately I think it's dried out too much for him. My selection is BEEVES he gave SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR 5lbs at Aintree in October for a 1/2 length defeat and then finished a gallant second to ELY BROWN at Leicester in December. He is now 8lbs lower in the ratings than that 1/2 length defeat and with better ground and level weights, he may well run a cracker!
 
SELECTION – BEEVES (unplaced)

Rewards4Racing Novice Chase

The first comes to a close with another cracker! PENDRA will probably be all the rage and rightly so judged on previous form. ERICHT has been put up as a big chance for the Henderson team by a few shrewdies. However, the way AHYAKNOWYERSELF won a Market Rasen in the summer really caught my eye, he then ran well in behind MELODIC RENDEZVOUS at Wincanton and that is smart form. He has doen pretty well over the bigger obstacles and he is effectively 5lb well in judged on his last suucess when beaing BIN END at Leicester. He's my main option in the race but I also have to have a little on GRANDADS HORSE, who will enjoy the better ground and you cannot rule out BABY MIX either.
 
SELECTION – AHYAKNOWYERSELF (4th – 33-1)