Tuesday 6pm Grand National weights tonight and hopefully some of the trainers may give us quotes for the Haydock National trial, the Eider and the Betbright. Hoping to write an Ante Post on the three. Two mediocre midweek cards at Newcastle and Towcester. On Heavy ground are both going to take some getting so I’m looking for horses with deep ground or course form or both!
Wednesday Lucky 15
Newcastle 2.20 THISONETIME 5/4 general
Towcester 2.40 WHAT A MARE 4/1 general
Towcester 3.10 YANMARE 9/4 general
Newcastle 4.20 CLAN LEGEND 9/2 general
and here’s why
Newcastle 2.20 THISONETIME Had all three runs on heavy ground. Won his bumper at Warwick, disappointing on hurdling debut at Uttoxeter when sent off Even money favourite but was too green. Then had a tongue tie fitted and was a solid second to Multiculture back over C&D. Second favourite was placed at Musselburgh on Good ground and next in the market is on hurdling debut. The Skeltons head north to Newcastle and I think it’s for this one.
Towcester 2.40 WHAT A MARE Up in grade and up 7lbs but she is improving and last time out was a C&D winner on Heavy ground. The Bowens are a regular winning combination.
Towcester 3.10 YANMARE Another course winner who the handicapper might have caught up with but wears cheek-pieces for the first time, handles the ground, nothing wrong with the Twiston-Davies form and with the talented James Bargary taking 3lbs off so Yanmare gets 21lb from his market rival Krakatoa King.
Newcastle 4.20 CLAN LEGEND Won twice at Ayr over hurdles including on heavy ground and won on chasing debut at Kelso on heavy and it is the jockey booking of a buzzing Will Kennedy for the Alexanders that swings it for me.
Tuesday Lucky 15
Not bad at all for what looked a trappy Tuesday, two winners, a second and a non runner. To the £1 unit (£15 staked) at SP paid £71, to those on last night £92 and if with William Hill a delightful £113!!
Fontwell 3.00 THE GEEGEEZ GEEGEE 1st 2/1 11/4 general
Tucked in throughout, pushed to challenge three out, led two, idled close home! Great ride from the now claimless Harry Cobden and Paul Nicholls has three telented young jockeys his Ditcheat operation can call on in Sam Twiston-Davies, Sean Bowen and Harry Cobden.
Ayr 3.20 OSCARS PROSPECT 2nd 4/1 2/1 PP 15/8 general
Pushed in rear, progress turning for home, kept on one pace but never troubled winner.
Fontwell 3.30 CASH AGAIN Non Runner 3/1 general
Ayr 4.20 NO NO MAC 1st 7/1 10/1 WH 8/1 general
Led, joined 8 out, headed 6 out, kept going, got back up at last and saw it out well. Jockey Derek Fox is another who I have no concerns backing. If the horse is good enough etc. etc. Genuine horseman.
Excellent first hand Harry Fry info from www.jumpsracing.co.uk
Attention at this time of year inevitably turns to the major spring Festivals, and Fry will hopefully be sending his strongest team to-date to Cheltenham next month. Don’t expect an army heading to Prestburty Park though with around 6-10 horses set to make the trip for the biggest four days in the sport. Harry gives us the lowdown on some of his stable stars…
Unowhatimeanharry “We dreamt last summer that he might turn into a top 3m hurdler but to make the leap he has done this season has been extraordinary. He cantered down the hill in the Cleeve last time out. He has been A1 since the Cleeve which is fantastic and we hope we can get him there (to the Stayers’ Hurdle) in similar sort of form to he has been showing in his last few races. The old saying is “that good horses go on any ground” and he seems to cope with anything thrown at him. We are enjoying the journey with him. There is a certain amount of pressure as favourite for a big race, but he has already far exceeded any expectations we had with him, so it’s been fantastic.”
Neon Wolf “We loved him since he first arrived but it wasn’t until we took him away for a gallop that he really came alive. The more racing he’s had, the more he has come alive. He’s showing a good turn of foot at home and the Haydock win gives us plenty of options to consider. Cheltenham might not be the be-all-and-end-all for him this season, but at the same time he is an exciting horse who you would like to take. The ground is the key and we won’t make a final decision until the week before. We can then weigh up whether he goes to the Supreme or the Neptune, depending on opposition, but he goes chasing next season, and he will be looked after with the future in mind.”
American “American is such a fragile horse and he needs plenty of time in between his races. It really is one day at a time with him but if we can get him there, and the ground is soft enough, the RSA Chase would be the target. It’s frustrating he is as fragile as he is but when he runs, we have to make sure everything is in his favour.”
Fletchers Flyer “Fletchers Flyer is entered at Ascot on Saturday but we have made no secret of the fact that Irish Grand National is his main target in the spring. A tilt at the National Hunt Chase remains possible for him but that will depend on how he goes this weekend. He could go straight to Fairyhouse. His owners have loved going to Punchestown and the Irish National has been the 100% target ever since he crossed the line at that Festival last season. His best form all seems to have been going right handed.”
Hell’s Kitchen “Had a hold up over Christmas and still isn’t quite right, he is out of training at the moment. He’s a lovely big horse but isn’t going anywhere at the moment.”
Any Drama “The Racing Post rated him 150 after his win at Market Rasen but he didn’t jump well enough that day, which was frustrating. The plan is to give him another run, possibly at Exeter next Friday, with a view to seeing some improvement in his jumping. He could well go to the Albert Bartlett, but he has taken a while to come to himself.”
Wotzizname “He’s an out and out stayer and his last run at Musselburgh turned into a bit of a sprint. He qualified for the Pertemps Final finishing 4th, and he will get in off 140 so he will go there. We are back over hurdles with him as we want to preserve his novice status over fences until next season.”
Acting Lass “A big horse who will be better again after another summer. He’s entered this Saturday at Ascot and that will tell us plenty more about him. He has Neptune and Albert Bartlett entries but he is a big baby who is going to be a cracking chaser next season, so we will see how this weekend goes.”
Bags Groove “He got stuck in the mud at Huntingdon the other day, and he won’t be going down the novice route at Cheltenham. They might be a handicap for him at the Festival, but he might drop back to an ordinary novice under a penalty and maybe look at Aintree instead”
Henryville “He will be entered in a couple of the handicap chases at the Festival, but he is being trained with the Topham Chase in mind over the National fences. He has had a bit of break but he is a top of the ground horse and he could easily line up in the Plate at Cheltenham on the way to Aintree.”