Tag: Festival Going

Friday August 4th Goodwood

Posted: Thursday August 3rd 6.30pm

 After yesterday’s monsoon I thought the ground held up well although much depends on the jockeys judgement of pace, especially those at the front.

 GOING/TRACK Soft, Heavy in places (Going Stick: 5.8 on Thursday at 09:30)

Stalls: Straight course Stand side Round course Inside

WEATHER 49.2mm rain yesterday. Dry and windy since midnight. A dry windy day with sunny spells.

Going/Weather/Other last updated @Thu 03 Aug 9:42am

STOP PRESS  LATEST GOING REPORT

Blustery conditions made it testing for racegoers and horses, while the ‘soft, heavy in places’ going led to a number of potential runners being withdrawn, but the star acts proved that good horses go on any ground, and some fine racing took place.

Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley said: “There have been testing conditions and it’s been a testing time – last night I didn’t think we would have such a successful day ahead. The ground rode as described, and certainly on the slower side, and there were some very heavy patches out on the course that I was slightly worried about this morning, but the lads did a great job in forking, lifting and aerating to get some air into the turf, and that got rid of any water that was lying about. It was a great team effort and I cannot say how proud I am of the team. It didn’t stop the good horses winning, and we had a lovely fresh strip of ground on the far side. We brought the top bend in, which we don’t usually do until Saturday for the Qatar Nassau Stakes, but having moved the race we opted to do that in order to provide the best ground possible.

The weather forecast is for tomorrow to be dry, while Saturday may contain a late passing shower, but there’s no band of rain. I won’t change the going tonight, but will look at the ground tomorrow morning – I wouldn’t be surprised if we go to soft and even good to soft in places. I just had a walk down the straight for the final two furlongs and was pleased with what I saw.

Rails on the bottom two furlongs of the lower bend on the mile course are being moved back tonight to provide fresh ground.”

Fridays Lucky 15

Goodwood 1.50                     POETS WORD             3/1 PP 5/2 general

Goodwood 3.25                     BIRCHWOOD              20/1 PP 18/1 WH Coral + Lads 14/1!!

Goodwood 4.10                     GIFT IN TIME               6/1 PP 11/2 general

Goodwood 4.45                     TIMYRIS                      11/1 Coral + Lads 10/1 general

and here is why

Goodwood 1.50                     POETS WORD As all regular readers of this blog will know I fancied the horse for the G2 12F Hardwicke at Royal Ascot and I am not going to desert him now! Why? Every time I see a Newmarket gallops report he’s always ‘best’ or ‘impressive’. He won the 11F handicap at this meeting last year, his last run was a solid second to Deauville at Chester in a G3 over a shorter trip and I think he is a typical Stoute slow burner who is ready to open his Group account. The issue is the ground and from what I saw today I think if he handles it he’ll win.

Two star** win @ 3/1 PP 5/2 general

On his Coronation Cup second Frontiersman is thrown in but the horse isn’t the full picnic!

Goodwood 3.25                     BIRCHWOOD I hinted at it yesterday and I’m sticking with him.

“Now here is a disappointing 4yo! Won his first two races as a 2yo and David Armstrong sold him to Godolphin. He won the G2 Superlative over 7F at HQ and should have won the G2 Vintage here at Goodwood but William Buick had a nightmare, squeezed, hampered, ran on etc. Then third in the G1 National Stakes at the Curragh and third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf! To say he was disappointing as a 3yo would be an understatement. Highly tried but the only race he won was a 7F Listed race at Chester but it was on Soft ground and he had a first time visor! At this Goodwood meeting last year he was seventh of eight in the G2 7F Lennox Stakes at just 8/1! As a 4yo he has been midfield in two Listed races and the 6F Wokingham handicap where he wore first time blinkers. His handicap mark has come down from a heady OR114 to OR102. So is this a Musley Bank plot or the last roll of the dice? Fail here and surely it’s the unkindest cut of all!

However he is drawn in stall 2, which under normal circumstances be fantastic, and Jamie Spencer has been booked!

All season it’s been a case of “working well, we’re happy with him”! On course, dismal.

I’ve played each way at 33/1. Is it class will shine through or has he fallen out of love with racing? In Frank I trust!”

One star* each way @ 20/1 PP 18/1 WH Coral + Lads 14/1!!

Gutted but not surprised that El Vip has been taken out on account of the ground!

Goodwood 4.10                     GIFT IN TIME Who ever does the buying for the Cool Silks Partnership is a shrewd cookie and certainly knows a swift 2yo when he sees one! This son of Society Rock out of a Cadeaux Genereux mare cost a tidy £75K and has had three runs which all suggest this could be his race. Third on debut on Soft ground to the now Black Type filly Darkanna, missed the break in the G2 Norfolk at Ascot and then won at Chester when having given up the outside to no one then “thundering home” to nail Ginbar on the line! Drawn 3 tomorrow, breeding suggests could improve for the ground, Luke Morris in the saddle are all plusses.

Two star** win @ 6/1 PP 11/2 general

Goodwood 4.45                     TIMYRIS Only six lengths off Winter in the G1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot having won a Soft ground Listed race at York, she is a talented 3yo filly who gets six pounds off her elders. I’ve no issue with the ground, trip or grade the problem is being drawn widest in sixteen! She’s been held up in her races to date so hopefully Atzeni can drop in then attack down the middle in the final furlong. More of the Breton Rock less of the Uae Prince!

One star* win @ 11/1 Coral + Lads 10/1 general

 

The Goodwood 2.25 is a terrific race with loads of notebook horses in. Beat the Bank, Bless Him, Forest Ranger, Make Time and Zainhom with La Rav a non-runner. Too hard to split them but I will try to profile this race next week as how they run here should determine their targets for the rest of the season.

 

Reaction at the Stewards Cup draw

After the near 50mm deluge of rain that fell on Wednesday, Thursday’s 9.00am reading on the Going Stick gave the ground as 5.8 overall and in the straight 5.5 on the stands’ side, 5.6 in the centre and 6.0 on the far side. Those able to get early selections, and so with all options open, tended to head to the rails on both sides – opinion split as to where the best ground might be come Saturday.

Alex Smith, a director of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, which also manages the Royal Ascot Racing Club horses, was responsible for choosing the draw for  Raucous (Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – Melbourne Syndicate) and  Projection (Royal Ascot Racing Club), the current 7/1 favourite. He chose high numbers for both – 26 for Raucous and 27 for Projection. Smith said: “I followed the instructions of both William [Haggas – Raucous] and Roger [Charlton – Projection] to go high. I was lucky to get such high numbers because I was quite late in the selection of stalls (16 and 19 respectively) and they are, of course, next to each other. The trainers were both keen to be on the stands’ side. Projection, third in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, likes to be up there with the pace but is untested on this sort of ground, while Raucous, last year’s third, will be held up and has some soft-ground form. The Melbourne Syndicate is a lucky one, as they have Raucous and Opposition, who have each won three races.”

Trainer Richard Fahey, who has three runners in the Stewards’ Cup, was represented at the draw by SkyBet’s Michael Shinners, the pair selecting low draws for all three runners. For  Growl, a 14/1 chance, Shinners picked stall eight, for  Eastern Impact (20/1) he went with 11, and for  Brian The Snail (20/1) the selection was stall two.

 “Richard’s had a bit of success when drawn low on soft ground previously, and he felt that with the new strip of ground [on the far side] and all the horses coming up the stands’ side yesterday and maybe today, there might still be fresh ground by Saturday on the far side so we went low, but who knows, it could change by then!” said Shinners, adding:  “Looking early at the pace,  Lancelot Du Lac (15) is an obvious pacemaker and  Stake Acclaim in 14 has also shown pace.  We’re in the middle, and obviously of Richard’s three Growl is the shortest priced, but they all go there with claims.”

Rosie Margarson, representing this week’s Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes-winning trainer Andrew Balding, selected draw 20 for  Donjuan Triumphant (16/1), said: “Andrew wanted an even number so the horse can go in the stalls later, and ideally wanted 14, but we were unable to get that. We want to come stands’ side in the hope for better ground, hence the selection of 20.”

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Thursday August 3rd Goodwood

Posted: Wednesday August 1st 5.30pm

 More Downs than Ups! No selections for Thursday for two reasons. Firstly with the ground going surely softer than soft, too many questions such as where will they race, who will act on it etc. etc. and the concern over non-runners and late withdrawls. Hopefully some fancies for Friday.

For what it’s worth in the 3.00 Richmond G2 6F for 2yo’s I had pencilled in Headway and Barraquero. In the Nassau Sobetsu and So Mi Dar to give Winter (?) a race. Tangled in the 7F Nursery at 4.00. My tracker has thrown up seven in the first! Euginio, Good Omen, Leaders Legacy, Addeybb, Archetype, Frontispiece and Society Red. All of them should pick up at least one race each before the season finishes!

 

GOING/TRACK Soft (GoingStick: 7.4 on Wednesday at 09:30)

Rails: Lower bend dolled out to the 3 furlong marker. 7f races increased by 15 yards

Stalls: Straight course Stand side Round course Inside

WEATHER 15mm rain to 2pm. Further rain for today. Tomorrow looks dry.

OTHER Fresh ground last 3.5 furlongs in the straight and the top bend

Going/Weather/Other last updated @Wed 02 Aug 2:06pm

 

What happened to Ribchester? Here’s what jockey William Buick told the stewards.

Race 4 – 3:35pm. THE QATAR SUSSEX STAKES (CLASS 1) (Group 1) (British Champions Series)

The Stewards held an enquiry to consider why William Buick, the rider of RIBCHESTER (IRE), placed second, had appeared to ease for a few strides approaching the final furlong. Having heard his evidence and viewed recordings of the race they noted his explanation that the gelding had lugged right-handed, and being mindful that he may run onto the heels of the winner, HERE COMES WHEN (IRE), he eased for a few strides before continuing to ride when the colt became re-balanced and ran straight again.”

A philosophical Fahey said of Ribchester: “William just felt he was dropping away there two down and then he came back again. It’s extreme conditions out there, I was very worried – it’s not for a Flat horse to be racing on, it’s National Hunt horses. But he’s run a mighty race and he showed good heart to nearly get back up. Maybe he was a bit lonely in front and half-pulled up a bit, but that’s racing, we live to fight another day. If you could back winners today you’d be a genius, that’s why bookmakers love conditions like this. They get results and they’ve got one today. I’m disappointed, you come here expecting to win and you don’t, so you are disappointed. It was a strange race, I’d like to see it again.”

 

BetFred Mile Friday 3.00 Goodwood

EL VIP                                  (Luca Cumani) Dettori rides and they are drawn in stall 12. Personally would have preferred Spencer and is 12 a good draw? Will they come to the stand rail? Fresh six metres on the far rail for Thursday but will it be cut up by Friday? I think it has all the makings of resembling Dodgems entering the home straight.

Earlier on this week on BetPrime website ”….Racing and Football Outlook and the Weekender newspapers, and this week Luca Cumani (gives the impression of a reserved character) talked at length and about his horses and made some very good points. For example when talking about EL Vip’s prospects for the Betfred Mile at Goodwood Cumani said: “He goes for the Betfred Mile next week and granted a decent draw he’d probably be my best chance of the meeting”.

BIRCHWOOD                  (#FantasticMrFahey) Now here is a disappointing 4yo! Won his first two races as a 2yo and David Armstrong sold him to Godolphin. He won the G2 Superlative over 7F at HQ and should have won the G2 Vintage here at Goodwood but William Buick had a nightmare, squeezed, hampered, ran on etc. Then third in the G1 National Stakes at the Curragh and third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf! To say he was disappointing as a 3yo would be an understatement. Highly tried but the only race he won was a 7F Listed race at Chester but it was on Soft ground and he had a first time visor! At this Goodwood meeting last year he was seventh of eight in the G2 7F Lennox Stakes at just 8/1! As a 4yo he has been midfield in two Listed races and the 6F Wokingham handicap where he wore first time blinkers. His handicap mark has come down from a heady OR114 to OR102. So is this a Musley Bank plot or the last roll of the dice? Fail here and surely it’s the unkindest cut of all!

However he is drawn in stall 2, which under normal circumstances be fantastic, and Jamie Spencer has been booked!

All season it’s been a case of “working well, we’re happy with him”! On course, dismal.

I’ve played each way at 33/1. Is it class will shine through or has he fallen out of love with racing? In Frank I trust!

Lucky 15 March 11th update Fail to Prepare and Prepare to Fail!

Saturday 2pm Hold the Front Page!

Racing Post David Carr 12:14PM, MAR 11 2017 Finian’s Oscar has become the latest high-profile casualty for next week’s Cheltenham Festival, and is another big absentee from Colin Tizzard’s team for the meeting. However, the Ann and Alan Potts-owned hurdler will not be at Cheltenham, though it is hoped he will run at Aintree next month. Colin Tizzard’s son and assistant Joe said on Saturday: “Unfortunately Finian’s Oscar will miss Cheltenham due to a minor setback. It’s only a minor issue and all being well he will run at Aintree.”

With just three days to go to this seasons Cheltenham Festival the excitement is cranked up a level but are you ready? How does the Ante Post portfolio look? Do you have one? This time of the year always reminds me of blokes Christmas shopping. Not a clue and panic is starting to set in! Well for what it’s worth this blog is all about Cheltenham 2017 and how I see it right now. Hopefully give you some food for thought.

 

Tuesday

1.30 Supreme Nov Hurd          Positives (+) Ballyandy, Moon Racer, River Wylde. Negatives (-) Melon

2.10 Arkle Nov Ch                       Forest Bihan e/w in the without Altior market.

2.50 Ultima Hcp Ch                     Positives (+) Noble Endeavour, Holywell, The Druids Nephew (Lucky 15)

3.30 Champion Hurd                         Positives (+) Brain Power, Buveur D’Air (Lucky 15) Negatives (-) Yanworth, Vroum Vroum Mag

4.10 Mares Hurd                    No firm opinion.

4.50 4m NH Ch                       Positives (+) Beware the Bear (Lucky 15), Haymount

5.30 Close Bros Nov Hcp Ch  Positives (+) Value at Risk (Lucky 15), It’s a Freebie

 

Wednesday

1.30 Neptune Nov Hurd          No firm opinion. Negatives (-) Finians Oscar

2.10 RSA Nov Ch                          No firm opinion.

2.50 Coral Cup Hcp Hurd        Positives (+) Peregrine Run, Runfordave, Supasundae (Lucky 15) Negatives (-) Modus

3.30 Champion Ch                 No firm opinion.

4.10 Cross Country                Positives (+) Cause of Causes (Lucky 15)

4.50 Fred Winter 4yo Hcp Hurd Positives (+) Prospectus (Lucky 15), Dreamcatching, Fidux

5.30 Champion Bumper        Positives (+) Someday (Lucky 15) Negatives (-) Carter Mackay

 

Thursday

1.30 JLT Nov Ch                             Positives (+) Top Notch, Disko (Lucky 15) Negatives (-) Yorkhill

2.10 Pertemps Hcp Hurd         Positives (+) Presenting Percy, Rocklander (Lucky 15) Negatives (-) ToBeFair

2.50 RyanAir Chase                     Positives (+) Empire of Dirt

3.30 Stayers Hurd                  Positives (+) Unowhatimeanharry (lumpy single)

4.10 Brown Plate Hcp Ch      No firm opinion. Positives (+) Bouvreuil (Lucky 15)

4.50 Mares Nov. Hurd           Positives (+) La Bague Au Roi (Lucky 15)

5.30 Kim Muir Hcp Ch                       Positives (+) Potters Legend (Lucky 15) Negatives (-) Carter Mackay

 

Friday

1.30 Triumph 4yo Hurd            No firm opinion.

2.10 County Hurdle                  No firm opinion.

2.50 Alf Bart Nov Hurd             Positives (+) Death Duty (lumpy single) The Worlds End (sneaky e/w)

3.30 Gold Cup                        Positives (+) Djakadam (Lucky 15) Negatives (-) Cue Card

4.10 Foxhunters                     No firm opinion.

4.50 Martin Pipe Hcp. Hurd Positives (+) Thomas Campbell, The Storyteller (Lucky 15)

5.30 Grand Annual Hcp Hurd           No firm opinion

 

There are blogs on simplesimonsays49.wordpress.com covering the Supreme Novice hurdle (Tuesday 1.30pm), the Champion Hurdle (Tuesday 4.10) and the JLT (Thursday 1.30pm).

 

Cheltenham News starts right here!

GRAHAM WYLIE ON HIS CHELTENHAM RUNNERS:

AUGUSTA KATEShe goes in the Albert Bartlett and we think she’s all about stamina. Ruby is convinced she would have beaten Death Duty on that last day, so we’re happy to re-oppose. Her schooling has been great and she’s been jumping fine – I think she’s got a really big run in her because she just keeps trying.”

BATTLEFORD “He was runner-up in both Festival bumpers last year, but to be honest, he’s disappointed a bit this season. His form hasn’t been great and he hasn’t really sparkled yet, but as a result of that, he’s on a good mark. He’s in the Neptune and the Albert Bartlett, but if he gets in, he’ll probably run in the Martin Pipe. He could be really interesting in that race.”

BELLSHILLHe’s in the RSA. He was a very good jumper first and second time out, but things didn’t really go to script in the next race. He clouted the first, and was beaten by the time he was trying to get back into the race. We’ve run him in the wrong races at the last two Festivals, but this is the right race for him this time. He’s a three-mile horse and things should be in his favour for once.”

CRACK MOMEHe’ll run in the Supreme. He’s been first and second this year, and it would have been two firsts if he hadn’t bunny-hopped the last. I think he prefers good ground, and I think he’ll like the strongly-run nature of the Supreme. It looks a really hot race this year with some really good horses in it, but I wouldn’t put anyone off an each-way interest in him.”

INVITATION ONLY “A week ago, he was off the team. He was third to Death Duty and Monalee, and Ruby just said he didn’t sparkle. He didn’t feel like the same horse he was last season, but in his last two or three training runs, the sparkle has returned. We still don’t know what to do, but if he turns up at Cheltenham, it’s because he’s ready to run. If he runs anywhere, it’ll probably be in the Neptune.”

IVAN GROZNYHe’s going to carry top weight in the County Hurdle, and that’s a big ask. He’s very high in the handicap because he’s won two graded races, but is just not quite at the level where you’d look to run him in a championship race. He’s been the victim of his own success really, but he has to run somewhere and if he has to carry top weight, so be it.”

NICHOLS CANYON “He was being campaigned as a two miler, but he wasn’t really able to land a blow on Petit Mouchoir, and that made us have a bit of a rethink. He’s in the Stayers Hurdle. At the start of the season, we wouldn’t have expected him to be there, but I can’t see stamina being a problem. He’s got seven Grade One victories and I think that sometimes gets ignored. He could give Uknowwhatimeanharry something to think about.”

SHANESHILLHe goes in the Stayers Hurdle too. He’s been second in a bumper, second in a Supreme and second in an RSA so we know he loves Cheltenham to bits. I keep telling people that he’s been second three times now, and he’s probably going to finish second again. Hopefully, that’s not the case. Of all my horses, he’s the one that deserves a moment in the limelight.”

SURE REEFHe’s 50-50. We thought a lot of him, but then he got injured. To be totally honest, he’s not been showing quite what he was before he got injured, but he could be waiting for the better ground and that could make a difference. He’s in the Coral Cup and the Martin Pipe. If he runs, it’ll be because he’s ready.”

YORKHILL “He has to be my best chance of a winner. If you watched him in his schooling session last week, he was a bit novicey at the first two jumps, and then he stood off the next one a mile. That seemed to frighten him, and he was effortless after that. Ruby was saying he was hurting his hands he was pulling so much – he couldn’t hold him back. I think if he jumps, he wins. His Neptune form from last year looks rock solid and I can’t wait to see him run.”

 

Stable Talk with Neil Mulholland The Cheltenham Festival is just a few days away, and as you would expect the whole yard is looking forward to it. It is always an exciting build-up, and that is certainly the case this year with our team in great form at home. All the trainers will be keeping their fingers crossed for a winner next week, and we are of course no different. We were lucky enough to pick up a Festival winner two years ago, with The Druids Nephew, and it would be lovely to think we can add to that tally. We have been having a brilliant season so far, and we will go to Cheltenham with our strongest team yet. We have several promising contenders in the handicap races, and we are hopeful that we will see a number of them perform very well…

Baltimore Rock Baltimore Rock has disappointed over fences this season so we are sending him back over hurdles for the County Hurdle. He has been looking good at home so hopefully we can see him return to form over the smaller obstacles.

Hygrove Percy Holds an entry for the Fred Winter but goes to Sandown this weekend, and we will see how he performs there before making a final decision on his participation.

Impulsive Star Three wins from four this season, and the form of his only defeat at Cheltenham has worked out well. He has improved with every run, and we are very happy with him ahead of the Pertemps Final.

Indian Stream Indian Stream has been off since October but she is in great order at the minute, and goes to the Mares’ Hurdle on day one. It will obviously be a tough race but this has been the plan for a while, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she nicked some place money.

Kalondra The Coral Cup looks as competitive as ever but Kalondra has been excellent this season, and should have some sort of chance. He has gone up 11lbs for his last win which is a big ask, but good ground will help him and Noel will take the ride.

Pass The Time Pass The Time has finished 6th and 4th in the Mares’ Hurdle in the last couple of years, and she is likely to be going back for a 3rd attempt. Her performances at Cheltenham are always strong, and her form at the Festival has been rock solid.

Peter The Mayo Man If he goes to Cheltenham he will go for the Martin Pipe on the final day. He stays galloping in his races so we are expecting the step up in trip to suit, and there is no reason why he can’t put in a strong display.

Pilgrims Bay Provided he gets in, Pilgrims Bay will go to the Ultima Handicap Chase on day one. The way the race is likely to be played out should suit him well with a guaranteed big field, and he will be ridden in the same fashion he was last time, with James Best back on-board.

Pinkie Brown Pinkie Brown is another one in top order and he goes to the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase. It looks like an ultra competitive race but we are hopeful that he is continuing to improve, and his jumping has been impressive at home.

Shantou Village Unfortunately, Shantou Village is one that won’t be going to the Festival. He is just a couple of weeks behind which means we will aim him at races later in the spring.

Sleep Easy Impressive winner last time out and he looks set to go to the Martin Pipe race on the final day, along with Peter The Mayo Man. He has been in good form since that recent success so hopefully he makes the cut.

Southfield Royale We are very pleased with Southfield Royale, and we are keeping our fingers crossed he has a good chance in the Kim Muir. Preparations have been going well since his comeback run, and it looks as though James King will take the ride. Along with The Druids Nephew, our best chance of the week.

Solomn Grundy Won his Pertemps qualifier at Newbury in November and the Final has been the aim ever since. He has been schooling well ahead of this which is pleasing, and he goes into the race fresh and well.

The Druids Nephew The Druids Nephew goes to the Ultima on day one and it is all systems go. He won this race off the same mark (146) two years ago so we are hopeful of another big run, with Noel booked for the ride.

The Young Master The Grand National remains the main aim for The Young Master but he finished 3rd in the Ultima Handicap last season, and there is no reason why he can’t run well in the same race once again.

 

FESTIVAL GOING Good to soft (GoingStick: 6.7 on Tuesday at 13:00) Last updated @Fri 10 Mar 3:23pm

RP Lee Mottershead 5:13PM, MAR 10 2017 Cheltenham’s weather forecaster John Kettley believes Simon Claisse may have to water over the coming days but the man himself insists it is too soon to be making irrigation predictions. Former BBC regular Kettley is employed by Jockey Club Racecourses, whose flagship jumps venue remained good to soft on Friday on the Old and New Courses with the cross-country track additionally having some good places. Kettley said: “There should be a little rain on Sunday but not much. Realistically, we should now only have small amounts of rain prior to the meeting. I would have thought for that reason Simon must be thinking of having to turn on the taps. There is a batch of rain coming in on Thursday night into Friday. I’ve told Simon at this stage we could be looking at 5mm to 6mm, so that would be ground-changing, especially if they have watered. Friday looks like being the wettest day of the week.” Asked about watering, Claisse said it is “too far out to be making any predictions”, adding: “Nothing has changed today. We’ve had a dry, overcast day, one that was cooler than Thursday, and the going description remains the same.”

Claisse revealed Jonjo O’Neill was out on the track on Friday and supported the good to soft description.

 

Lucky 15 March 10th

Friday 6.00pm I hope you are all enjoying reading the Cheltenham Festival blogs as much as I am researching and writing them. Don Poli out for the season is the latest headline but on a personal note I was more disappointed that Harry Fry hadn’t left Wotzizname in the Pertemps final on Thursday! A well handicapped horse.

Back to the day job and hopefully we’ve found four for Saturday. Don’t go crazy we need all the ammunition we can muster for next week. Typical that the three selections that Paul Kealy and I agreed upon today didn’t get a sniff but the fourth leg of my un-posted Lucky 15 wins by 22L at 11/10!

Saturday Lucky 15

Sandown 3.00                                    KAYF BLANCO                        11/1 PP 10/1 general

Ayr 3.55                                  ONE FOR HARRY                    10/3 standout Betfred 5/2 PP!!

Hereford 4.00                         SIRABAD                                 5/2 general

Hereford 5.10                         ROLLING DYLAN                     6/4 general

 and here’s why

 Sandown 3.00            KAYF BLANCO The Betfair hurdle represents smart 2m handicap hurdle and the selection was a “couldn’t quite go through with it from two out” fifth behind two smart Cheltenham bound novices in Ballyandy and Movewiththetimes. In this slimmed down version of the Imperial Cup that run is standout. Kayf Blanco was already on my hit list  after his third to Brain Power over C&D in December and with the McPherson/Woods combo in good form looks a solid each way bet even as an 8yo towards the top of the weights.

My good friend Ben Linfoot at sportinglife.com thinks it’s value too! “The Betfair Hurdle has been a good guide in recent years, though. Both the last two winners of the Imperial Cup, Flying Angel and Ebony Express, came out of the Betfair and there’s no doubt this year’s renewal, featuring two novices that have sound claims in the Sky Bet Supreme, was a good one. That leads me to think KAYF BLANCO’S effort in fifth was good, particularly as he went into the race on the back of a kicking from Lord Of The Island at Exeter, an incident that required stitches. He travelled well on the inside in the Betfair Hurdle and only Ballyandy and Movewiththetimes were going as well as him three out. At two out he got a bit outpaced as the leaders turned the screw, but he stayed on nicely enough into fifth after that. It wasn’t a performance that suggested he was thrown in off a mark in the mid-130s by any means, but it was a very solid effort in the context of this Saturday’s race. The handicapper has also dropped him 1lb – every little helps – and trainer Graeme McPherson reaches for the hood and tongue-tie in a bid to squeeze out a bit more improvement.

We’re not certain to get a good gallop here but there is hope that Bigmartre and Fix Le Kap, both of which like to race prominently, ensure a sound enough tempo. That would suit Kayf Blanco as he can be a little keen and he’s gone well in big-field handicaps like the County Hurdle. He goes well at Sandown, too, and he ran a cracker when third behind Champion Hurdle hopeful Brain Power and his stablemate Consul De Thaix here in December. There isn’t a horse of that calibre in Saturday’s line-up and the softer ground will help Kayf Blanco as well. He’s a solid, consistent horse with good course form and the general 10s (you might get bigger at Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook) probably underestimates his chance a little.”

Ayr 3.55 ONE FOR HARRY Second last time to Cyrius Darius in the C2 Morebattle hurdle at Kelso should be good enough to see off this moderate bunch of C3 handicappers. Ryan Day taking off 5lbs is a plus on both counts. Obvious danger is the progressive Tomkevi but that was an ordinary C4 Sedgefield handicap he won last time.

Hereford 4.00 SIRABAD Class should tell and Sirabad carries top weight for a reason, he has the best form in the book. Not been seen since a solid second to Knockgraffon at Newbury back in November but Sean bowen should be able to dictate from the front and collect this decent £15K Hereford pot.

Hereford 5.10 ROLLING DYLAN Got stuck in the mud last time at Sandown when sent off 5/1 favourite for a G3 handicap but prior to that had an upwardly mobile profile. Has plenty going for him here. He drops to a C4 novice hurdle, better ground, a step up in trip to beyond three miles and the services of Richard Johnson and supposedly this ride is the main reason the champion hasn’t gone to the days big meeting at Sandown.

Thursday Lucky 15

Absolutely pitiful set of results!

Carlisle 2.35                            MASSINI’S LADY                                 7th 5/1  

Couldn’t go the pace, jumped fine and looked like staying on turning for home. Looked a schooling run.

Wincanton 2.55                     SARTORIAL ELEGANCE                      3rd 6/4F

Spooked at the start giving away ground. Jumped left. Never competitive.

Carlisle 3.45                            DARTFORD WARBLER                                    3rd 6/4F

Spooked at the start giving away ground. Jumped left. Never competitive.

Thurles 4.55                            PLAIN TALKING                                  10th 14/1

Never competitive, beaten three out, tailed off!!

 Cheltenham News starts right here!

Racing Post David Jennings 1:09PM, MAR 10 2017 While admitting to be “awfully disappointed” with the mark Presenting Percy has been given for the Pertemps Final, owner Philip Reynolds has confirmed his promising six-year-old will definitely run in the race. Reynolds and Galway-based trainer Pat Kelly teamed up to win the same contest 12 months ago with Mall Dini and there are plenty who believe lightning will strike twice, with Presenting Percy vying for favouritism with Tobefair at around 6-1.

Kelly likened himself to a “raging bull” when learning last week the British handicapper had given Presenting Percy a mark of 146 – 6lb higher than in Ireland. The horse had run off 130 when winning last time at Fairyhouse. “I was awfully disappointed with the mark he got,” said Reynolds. “To get a hike of 16lb for his win at Fairyhouse is very severe, but we think he’s a very nice horse and the plan is to run. It’s not often you have a chance of winning a race at Cheltenham, so we have to take our chance. He’ll have to try to win the race off a 7lb higher mark than Mall Dini did, and that is a tough ask.”

A decision on whether Mall Dini bids to become a dual festival winner in the Kim Muir was due to be made on Friday night.  “Mall Dini was a bit sore after Gowran Park, where he clattered the second-last, so he missed a bit of work,” said Reynolds. “There’s the Irish Grand National to think about but, to reiterate, having a fancied horse for a race at Cheltenham doesn’t happen often, so hopefully he’s able to run.”

Reynolds could have a third runner at the festival in the shape of the Willie Mullins-trained Tin Soldier, who is unbeaten since being purchased from France and could go for the Martin Pipe on Friday. The owner added: “Tin Soldier is a nice horse with a good attitude who stays well, so the Martin Pipe could really suit him as it’s usually won by horse who comes from off the pace. They tend to go very quick and it suits stayers.”

 

Five Festival Chances for the Butler Sherborn sponsored Ben Pauling Racing

HighBridge – Supreme Novice Hurdle, 2 miles Tuesday. He has won his three starts over hurdles this season and is going there in great form. He appears to have plenty of speed so should travel well through the race. He also stays well which is important as they go very quickly in this race, especially as it is the first race of the whole meeting and the jockeys are normally a little over excited!

A Hare Breath – Arkle Novice Chase, 2 miles Tuesday. He has a very big task ahead of him, as Altior, the favourite in the race, is most people’s idea of the banker of the meeting. I couldn’t be happier with A Hare Breath and Richard Johnson has been booked to ride him. He won his first chase this season and then was third in a grade 2 at Doncaster, but the race didn’t work out in our favour at all with it being a slow early gallop. He wants a fast end to end gallop as he stays well and he has very good course form, which is always a big plus. If we ran into a place we would be thrilled.

Willoughby Court – Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle, 2m5f Wednesday. I have never had this horse in better form, and he goes there as probably my best chance of the week. His real strengths are his jumping and that he is a strong stayer. He won the Grade 2 Leamington Spa novice hurdle at Warwick last time out by 8 lengths, and that form alone is as good as any in the race. There are a few very nice types in the race but I think he could be a tough nut to crack.

Leoncavallo – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle, 2m5f Wednesday. He is a horse that has been a bit in and out form wise this year, but is now back down to a good mark, and is in good form at home. Alex Ferguson will take 7lbs off his back, which will be a big help. He should stay the 2m5f and has course form, having been fifth in the Triumph hurdle last season.

Dolatulo – Foxhunters Steeple Chase, 3m2f Friday. This is an amateur Hunters Chase that is normally very fast and ferocious, as it is seen as the Amateurs’ Gold Cup. Dolatulo ran very well at Kelso to finish second, and won at Ffos Las on his third outing. He is a lovely horse, and if the ground came soft, he could just have a good each way shout. I would be worried if the ground went a bit quick though by the end of the week. Dougie Gittins rides him for his mother, Nicky White, and will be very much looking forward to it. Let’s hope the ground doesn’t get too quick towards the end of the week.

FESTIVAL GOING Good to soft (GoingStick: 6.7 on Tuesday at 13:00) Last updated @Fri 10 Mar 3:23pm

RP Lee Mottershead 5:13PM, MAR 10 2017 Cheltenham’s weather forecaster John Kettley believes Simon Claisse may have to water over the coming days but the man himself insists it is too soon to be making irrigation predictions. Former BBC regular Kettley is employed by Jockey Club Racecourses, whose flagship jumps venue remained good to soft on Friday on the Old and New Courses with the cross-country track additionally having some good places. Kettley said: “There should be a little rain on Sunday but not much. Realistically, we should now only have small amounts of rain prior to the meeting. I would have thought for that reason Simon must be thinking of having to turn on the taps. There is a batch of rain coming in on Thursday night into Friday. I’ve told Simon at this stage we could be looking at 5mm to 6mm, so that would be ground-changing, especially if they have watered. Friday looks like being the wettest day of the week.” Asked about watering, Claisse said it is “too far out to be making any predictions”, adding: “Nothing has changed today. We’ve had a dry, overcast day, one that was cooler than Thursday, and the going description remains the same.”

Claisse revealed Jonjo O’Neill was out on the track on Friday and supported the good to soft description.