Monday 6.00pm Main activity on the Cheltenham front being the JP jockey bookings, the videos of Willie Mullins Leopardstown workout, Tombstone getting smashed in the Coral Cup and a run on Neon Wolf for the Supreme!
Eventually Betfred, Coral and Ladbrokes have gone NRNB which means there is absolutely no value in the market! I want declared runners now with all the extras.
I’m afraid tomorrow’s cards are mediocre at very best but we will give the Lucky 15 a go as we have a few quid in the kitty from last week!
Saturday Lucky 15
Exeter 2.20 MIDNIGHT REQUEST 7/2 Lads 3/1 general
Exeter 3.50 LOWER HOPE DANDY 13/8 general
Newcastle 4.10 WITNESS TIME 4/1 general
Exeter 4.50 MISTER BIG 5/2 BF 9/4 general
and here’s why
Exeter 2.20 MIDNIGHT REQUEST The yard of Nigel Hawke is in rude form and he sent Midnight Request on the long journey to Carlisle a fortnight ago and he hacked up really enjoying 3m back over hurdles. The handicapper put him up 9lb, 7lb of which is negated by Robert Hawkers 7lb claim and let’s strike while the irons hot! Nigel Hawke the trainer has been a project on my to-do list for a fortnight and I have added my research below these reasonings.
Exeter 3.50 LOWER HOPE DANDY Let’s stick with the “in-form” trainer theme. When the muds flying “who yer gonna call?” Venetia Williams of course! Lower Hope Dandy may be 10yo and this may only be his second chase but he has very few miles on the clock considering. His recent form is OK but if he recaptured any of his past glories he could lap these!
Newcastle 4.10 WITNESS TIME Interesting combination of connections here! Trainer is Rose Dobbin, who with husband Tony, seems to have her string in good form, the Owner is Trevor Hemmings who loves his staying chasers, how he must miss Many Clouds, and the jockey is the irrepressible Brian Harding. This son of Witness Box has very little to beat and after two promising midfield runs could step up here.
Exeter 4.50 MISTER BIG Lives up to his name. Will be a decent chaser when he grows into his frame but still has enough ability for Philip Hobbs to provide Robert Hawker with his second winner of the day! Bet that young man doesn’t sleep much tonight!
NIGEL HAWKE – TRAINER When somebody who I have limited knowledge of and rather pigeon holed as a jobbing West Country trainer starts having a rash of winners and plenty going close. They have had just 15 winners since May 2016 but 6 in the last five weeks. It is time for some further research! He did of course win a Grand National, as Wikipedia reminded me, on Seagram for David Barons who was one of racing pioneers in bringing horses to this country from New Zealand which became trendy before the French rather took over!
So here are some edited highlights from the trainer’s website. nigelhawkethornefarmracing.co.uk
“A WARM WELCOME TO OUR WEBSITE FROM NIGEL HAWKE AND THE TEAM AT THORNE FARM RACING
Thorne Farm is situated in its own picturesque valley in mid Devon being only 10 minutes from the historic market town of Tiverton. The farms natural topography forms an essential ingredient to our brand new training facilities and combined with our professional team we are already producing fantastic results. The farm is 220 acres in total so we have enormous flexibility now and in the future. We have spent the last two years developing the farm and in particular the racing facilities to very high standards and our ability to think outside the box has produced a wonderful platform to train both young and experienced race horses to a variety of winning levels.
Our philosophy at Thorne Farm Racing of plenty of fresh air, paddock turnout, open windows, routine exercise and specialised feeding regimes all produce a contented and thriving horse. We have also constructed an isolation unit for when new horses arrive to the yard, where they will spend ten days before joining the main yard, this facility is also used for horses feeling a bit under the weather if the situation arises.
Eddie Buckley (Assistant Trainer) – Eddie started with us in February 2015 and comes with 25 years experience in racing having previously been head lad to Martin and David Pipe. Eddie rode 50 winners as a jockey and also worked for Jim Bolger in Ireland.
Poul Andersen (Head lad) – Poul has over 40 years experience with horses and has worked in many disciplines. He arrived from Denmark over 20 years ago and worked for champion trainer Mr Martin Pipe as assistant head lad at Sunnyside yard for over 19 years.
Tom Scudamore (Jockey) – Tom is a great asset to the yard, he is a top class jockey and rides the majority of my horses as often as possible on the racetrack. His input on the horses in the yard is invaluable as he generally rides out as frequently as he can.
James Best (Jockey) – One of our regular jockeys who has successfully ridden many winners.
Ciaran Gethings (Jockey) – One of our regular jockeys who has successfully ridden many winners”
All intriguing and could explain why perhaps the Pipe’s and Pond House aren’t the powerhouse of old!!
Saturday Lucky 15
Hope you all got on early as we made a few quid at BOG prices advertised, about £28 (£43 return), or just shy of a tenner at SP.
Newbury 1.30 HELLO GEORGE 1st 5/2F advised at 6/1 general
Always in the right place tanking along. Took it up after two out and hacked up.
Newbury 3.15 OLDGRANGEWOOD PU 3/1 general
“Harry Skelton, the rider of OLDGRANGEWOOD, which was pulled up, reported that the gelding stopped quickly.” BHA Stewards. I’m hoping that it was just the ground which many described as “tacky”.
Doncaster 3.35 DEFINITLY RED 1st 7/2 10/3 WH 3/1 general
Doing alright with these long distance staying chasers, One for Arthur, Vieux Lion Rouge, 2nd and 3rd in the Eider and now this fellow romps in. All players in the Grand National, good ground could be an issue.
Newbury 4.25 GALA BALL 2nd 7/4 general
Connections are blaming the ground but boy is he clumsy at his fences.
Cheltenham News starts right here!
FESTIVAL GOING Clerk of the course Simon Claisse does not expect any significant changes to ground conditions with the Cheltenham Festival now just over a week away. The going is currently described as good to soft on the Old Course, which is used on the Tuesday and Wednesday, and good to soft, good in places on the New Course for Thursday and Friday. Claisse said: “The forecast remains unsettled, with bits and pieces of rain coming in during the course of the next week amounting to somewhere between nine and 11 millimetres. I wouldn’t expect much change in the going between now and the start of the Festival. For Festival week we’re looking at temperatures of around 10C with little bits of rain here and there. But as I’ve said before, the weather has been so volatile this winter and forecasts change every day, so there is uncertainty, but nothing of concern. I haven’t changed the ground from Sunday, so it’s good to soft on the Old Course and good to soft, good in places on the New Course and the cross-country course. We’re very happy with where we are. The course looks in fantastic shape.”
JP McManus riding arrangements:- Mark Walsh to ride More Of That, Jezki, Yanworth, Uxizandre. Aidan Coleman partners My Tent Or Yours in the Stan James Champion Hurdle and Minella Rocco in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. Noel Fehily will be riding; Buveur D’Air, Unowhatimeanharry. Fair to say Mr Fehily may have got the best of that deal!!
Someday for Jessica Harrington is the wrong price @20/1 in the bumper according to Ruby Walsh on Paddy Power’s in shop preview. That’s twice we’ve heard that!!