I’m was VERY HAPPY for Aidan O’Brien and his team after they completed a superb 1-2-3 in the Arc on Sunday. I have been lucky enough to interview the great man and his family a few times and to see how truly humble in victory he was, is a massive part of his wonderful make-up. Son Joseph is truly cut from the same cloth and is also one of the nicest people in our great sport; long may the Ballydoyle dynasty continue.
Okay let’s make no bones about it, we’ve all been waiting for the NH season to take flower (see my 10 to follow below) and Chepstow signals the true start of the winter game on Saturday. However, the dying remnants of the flat season take us to Newmarket this weekend.
I could throw St Michel or Starchitect (prefer the stable’s Ennistown) your way for the Cesarewitch at 4.10, but that simply isn’t my betting style so how about a small each-way shovel on old SEISMOS? An eye-catching seventh in the Northumberland Plate, this 2mile 2furlong stretch should suit him and there are worse 25/1 shot in this huge field.
The Totepool Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow is always an informative affair and a winner on last year’s card, TEA IN TRANSVAAL has a fitness advantage on her rivals and is preferred to Ballyoptic.
I prefer WATER SPRITE to likely favourite Swamp Fox in the Irish Cesarewtich at the Curragh on Sunday at 4.55 with the promising Sean Davis taking 7lbs off.
Paul Jacobs’ 10 To Follow
VIRGILIO (D. Skelton)
A smooth winner over the tough Warwick fences in May, trainer Dan Skelton told me: “He’s a fine prospect and a real athlete and we are looking towards the Rising Stars Chase for him (Wincanton early November) , he’s exciting.” Enough said!
OLD GUARD (P. Nicholls)
Loves Cheltenham and fences were made for him. I felt that Paul went to the well once too often with him last season. I have invested a small e/w hit on him at 33/1 for the Arkle and he has reportedly been schooling nicely.
ANTONY (G. Moore)
An inexperienced chaser, he was still very green when winning at Fontwell last week. Mark my words this is a young horse with a huge engine, he is crying out for a step up to three miles and should win a nice handicap this winter.
REIVERS LAD (N. Richards)
The Cumbrian handler has a lovely novice hurdler on his hands here and the five-year-old son of Alflora was far disgraced on his last start in a good Ayr bumper. Two and a half miles plus on winter ground will suit him perfectly.
PADDY’S FIELD (B. Pauling)
Just wasn’t strong enough to do himself justice last season, but still won a Market Rasen novice hurdle in impressive style. With another summer on his back and time to mature I know that the yard expect much better of him over fences this season.
KILCREA VALE (N. Henderson)
A lovely stamp of a horse, he was an above average novice hurdler (once regarded as a Neptune player) and once he sees a fence he could well take-off; an exciting prospect for Nicky Henderson if he stays sound.
ONENIGHTINVIENNA (P. Hobbs)
A lovely chasing sort too inexperienced to do himself justice in the Aintree National (badly hampered as well). He is a brilliant jumper of a fence and could mature into a top class staying handicapper this term.
AURILLAC (R. Curtis)
A tall, gangly sort last year, we should see a different horse this season to the one which won a maiden hurdle during the last campaign. He will be sent chasing this year and should make his mark in staying events and is well regarded by the yard.
WISHFULL DREAMING (P. Hobbs)
A full brother to the top class Wishfull Thinking, chasing will be his sphere in time. However, I fancy we will see this exciting youngster land a nice prize over timber off what looks a lenient mark of 123. (Won a 2m H’cap Hurdle at Chepstow convincingly @ 4/1 on Oct 9).
SUB LIEUTENANT (H De Bromhead)
Installed in his new home at Knockeen, I am going to go out on a limb and suggest this seven-year-old could be an Aintree National horse. He jumps, stays and is versatile as far as ground is concerned and has all the attributes needed to land a lung bursting chase. I’ve had a naughty poke at 150/1! (Cruised home at Limerick on Oct 9 @ 1/1f on first run for Henry de Bromhead).