Last week I was quite annoyed with the ride given to William Hunter in the November Handicap at Doncaster. All his best performances have come when tracking the leaders, but despite a moderate pace, Hollie Doyle was determined to fight her partner and restrain him.
Such tactics resulted in him being caught flat footed when the field quickened three furlongs out and he then ran up a blind alleyway on the inside. Yes he managed to land me some each-way money in fourth spot at an SP of 12/1, but it could and should have been so much better!
And I was even MORE ANNOYED that Fox Norton was taken away from Neil Mulholland after bolting up at Cheltenham last month. Dear Mr and Mrs Potts it is your prerogative as owners to do so, BUT it could have a negative effect on my ante-post each-way Champion Chase tip!
I love the artist formerly known as the Paddy Power Gold Cup and year in year out the challenge is finding a horse that is lurking on a good mark, but more, much more than that, one that has a good record at Cheltenham.
I don’t care what anyone says, Prestbury Park is a specialist track, a rhythm track. If you belt one fence the likelihood is your stride pattern goes to pot and the prize becomes out of reach. (Unless of course your name is Wichita Lineman and your partner is a Knight of the Realm and a bloody genius glued to the leather).
I am hoping that the forecast rain does arrive as I know that Venetia Williams is desperate to run ASO.
Ever since he landed a Grade Two novice hurdle at Haydock in January 2015, this six-year-old has struck me as a classy chaser in the making.
He was highly-tried over fences in his novice year, seeing off Ballyalton at Market Rasen, before finishing fifth of 7 in the Arkle Chase at the Festival before ending last season with a comprehensive victory over Fourth Act in soft ground over 2m 5f at Newbury. The second has cemented that form since with a highly promising staying on fourth to Anthony in the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot.
With Aso off a mark of 144, only rated a pound lower over hurdles, he could be well handicapped and he’s already been backed each-way at 16s in Paddy Power’s early list.
And to help with the ground conditions it was wonderful to hear that Simon Claisse and the team had watered the track before 14mm fell on Tuesday night with the promise of more to come.
I shall also be having more than a wedge on former World Hurdle winner MORE OF THAT who is currently the 4/1 fav for Saturday’s contest.
Jonjo’s charge is best first time out with some juice in the ground. If he is to be considered a genuine Gold Cup horse next March, as Dawn Run’s former pilot suggests, then HE HAS TO WIN THIS OFF A MARK OF 154. Simple as!
By the way, if the heavens do open again on Saturday morning then do not miss out on ANOTHER HERO in the 3m 3f chase at Cheltenham 1.50pm.
Jonjo’s team have not been in great form, but he simply aims his horses for the big meetings and this youngster is an out and out stayer I have earmarked to win a nice prize this year.
Let the Light In
In the Greatwood Hurdle on Sunday, SONG LIGHT interests me greatly. He ran a cracker when fifth in The Ladbroke last year after which he had a suspensory problem, but that has now been sorted.
Trainer Seamus Mullins told me:
This has always been the plan and if the ground is still decent on Sunday he has a lovely weight to race off. We were going to wait for Ascot again, but he is so well in himself we thought about going here as he just sneaks into the weights proper.
Can’t say fairer than that for an each-way poke at a massive price.