6.00pm The quicker JP and Sir AP get back from Barbados the better! More twists in the Champion Hurdle than the average Stoppard play and we’ve still got six weeks to go!!
David Carr (Racing Post) 12:39PM 1 FEB 2017 YANWORTH will not run in Saturday’s Listed Contenders Hurdle at Sandown after trainer Alan King reported his Stan James Champion Hurdle hope had met with a minor setback.The seven-year-old had been odds-on to win the Betfred-sponsored race but will miss out, King revealed. “He has a slight tweak on the rear hind quarters,” he said. “He needs a few easy days, so he won’t be able to run at Sandown on Saturday. I’m expecting him to be all right in a few days and if that is the case we would seriously consider the Kingwell Hurdle – we have Sceau Royal in that but they have different owners,” King added. “Or he could go straight to Cheltenham, we will have to see.”
JAMES BURN (Racing Post) 4:48PM 1 FEB 2017 BUVEUR D’AIR, switched down the Stan James Champion Hurdle route on Tuesday, will have an immediate chance to prove connections were correct by running in Saturday’s Betfred-backed Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old was due to make an appearance at the track over fences in the Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, but it was revealed on Tuesday he would revert back to hurdles this season and warm up for the Cheltenham Festival by running in the Timeform Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso on February 16.
However, after the news Alan King’s inmate Yanworth, who like Buveur D’Air is owned by JP McManus, would miss the Contenders Hurdle after suffering a minor setback, the son of Crillon will step up the plate. Henderson said on Wednesday: “If they want to go to Kelso with Yanworth we can switch them around. Buveur D’Air was [originally] going to run in the Scilly Isles so we’ve not had to do anything differently. Brain Power is going to run in the Contenders Hurdle as well. It’s a pity running two against each other, but there are only three races left. There’s this, the Morebattle and the Kingwell at Wincanton.”
Conditions are set to be testing at Sandown on Saturday and Henderson added: “Buveur D’Air ceratinly handles some soft ground. I’m not so sure about Brain Power but he’s got to run in it.”
Thursday Lucky 15
Clonmel 2.25 MONALEE 11/8 PP & WH
Wincanton 3.10 COPAIN DE CLASSE 9/4 general
Wincanton 3.45 FLAMING CHARMER 5/1 general
Towcester 3.55 CHEAT THE CHEATER 6/1 general
and here’s why
Clonmel 2.25 MONALEE Beat The Storyteller and second to Death Duty. That’s rock solid Irish novice form. Price is skinny but with reason. Simply he wins for Henry de Bromhead and David Mullins.
David Mullins Racing FX blog Jan 30th 2017 MONALEE will be at Clonmel on Thursday, after skipping Leopardstown because the ground was too quick, so he’ll run in the Grade Three Novices Hurdle instead. He’s very well thought of at the yard and will take a lot of beating. I’ve had two spins on him before and felt great both days, so I’d be expecting the same when I ride him on Thursday.
Wincanton 3.10 COPAIN DE CLASSE It’s the weight he receives in this rain softened ground that swings it for me. River Frost was fortunate to do us a favour recently and although he may enjoy the step up in trip he has gone up 10lbs for his success. The selection won well last time at Chepstow and I expect Team Ditcheat, Nicholls and STD, to muster further improvement. Philip Hobbs’s maiden Clondaw Shane has shaped with promise but probably wants further.
Wincanton3.45 FLAMING CHARMER A really competitive Class 3 2m 4f handicap chase with a particularily dodgy moniker! I like Richard Johnson riding for Colin Tizzard, he has ridden Flaming Charmer in his last two outings. Ground, grade and trip are fine and his form is strong. He won two runs back and his last time second to Bishops Court has been franked. Plenty of old boys and professional bridesmaids in opposition and the main danger could be Dusky Lark who has his first run for Robert Walford since leaving…… Colin Tizzard!
Towcester 2.55 CHEAT THE CHEATER Two days ago I wrote “The ground is heavy tomorrow and this race will be slow motion. The selection has winning form in the mud, won over the course and trip, won under today’s pilot, champion jockey Brendan Powell and is down to his last winning mark. That’ll do!” He was a non-runner. Why? Non Runner CHEAT THE CHEATER (IRE), trained by Claire Dyson. Travel (Horsebox broken down) Let’s hope for better luck this time!
Wednesday Lucky 15
One winner @ 4/1, one ran out of puff and two nightmares!
Leicester 3.10 KING COOL 16/1 general (expect 25p in £ Rule 4) UR first flight! 6/1
Backed off the boards he propped at the first, unseated and didn’t get two hundred yards!!
Hereford 3.30 GOODTOKNOW 11/4 PP & Coral 5/2 general 1st 4/1
Always in the box seat. A class act, well prepared, well ridden by Jake Greenall, travelled, jumped and saw it out well.
Leicester 3.40 SOMEARELUCKY 9/2 WH 4/1 general 3rd 4/1
Every chance, led three out just didn’t stay the trip in the ground.
Leicester 4.10 REIGNING SUPREME 15/8 general some 2/1 online 5th Evs
Just didn’t pick up in the home straight. Sensibly looked after.
BHA Stewards report David Mullins, the rider of REIGNING SUPREME (IRE), placed fourth, reported that the gelding was never travelling. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of REIGNING SUPREME (IRE) during routine testing failed to reveal any abnormalities, however it had lost a right fore shoe.
If you’ve got your notebook handy here’s a few to pop in it!!
General HorseTrader News Posted by Gary Nutting on 30 Jan 2017
Hobbs has a big Saturday ahead of him at Sandown this week, with Rock The Kasbah arguably his most interesting runner after the gelding was taken out of last weekend’s Skybet Chase because of the forecast quick ground at Doncaster. “As it happened the rain they had in the few hours before the race would have made the ground ok for him,” he said. “He’ll definitely get the ease in the ground he needs at Sandown where the 3m handicap chase is his likely target, though we’ll consider the Scilly Isles if it looks like cutting up.”
Also in line to make the trip from Minehead to Esher are Garde La Victoire (2m h’cap chase) and Rolling Dylan (3m h’cap hurdle), the latter bidding to give the stable its third win in the last four renewals following Kilcrea Kim and Saddlers Encore.
Ben Linfoot sportinglife.com puts Melon into context! January 30 2017, 16:14
You’re twisting my Melon, man – The top end of the Sky Bet Supreme market has been stagnant for a while with long-time favourite Moon Racer not having run since November, but there is a new jolly sitting atop the betting now in the shape of Willie Mullins’ Melon. He was impressive on his hurdling debut at Leopardstown on Sunday, bar a slight lunge for the last obstacle, but 9/2 favourite for the Supreme, and as short as 3/1 in a place, is bordering on the ridiculous. All of Mullins’ recent Supreme winners – Champagne Fever, Vautour and Douvan – all came into Cheltenham with graded-race experience to their name and, in the case of the last two, with impressive victories to boot. Melon could have that under his belt by the time they’re off for the Festival opener as well, but the feeling from Mullins in the aftermath of Sunday’s contest was that he’d be going straight to Cheltenham. The Supreme is a big ask for a horse with one maiden hurdle win to their name, and, while Mullins’ number one challenger for this race will never be underestimated, the odds look to have gone too far the other way in this instance. Moon Racer, Charli Parcs, Neon Wolf, Any Second Now and Consul De Thaix were all just as impressive last time, or have stronger form to their name, and though some have other options, some have ground requirements and some haven’t been seen recently, that’s no reason to chop up the Melon to such short odds.He might well be the real deal, but we’ve no evidence of it yet. Not enough to justify the general 9/2 quotes in any case.
Backed up by Ben Aitken @Narrowing-The-Field The stats tell us that MELON has an uphill task in the Supreme…
It was unusual that by Cheltenham trials weekend Willie Mullins didn’t have a red-hot favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. In the shape of Melon, however, he now does. The 5yo Medician gelding strolled away with a Leopardstown maiden on Sunday by a commanding 10L and suddenly found himself at the head of the Supreme market, with prices ranging from 3/1 – 5/1. There’s no doubt he was impressive on his hurdling debut and he’s clearly a very talented animal in the making but can he take the Supreme Novices’ off just the one hurdle outing?
The stats say it’s unlikely, highly unlikely.
The last 19 Supreme’s have seen 34 horses try and win the race off the back of only ONE previous hurdle start. They have returned the following figures… 0/34 | 0% S/R | -£34.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 1/34 | 3% S/R
Only ONE even PLACED!
Melon has to buck that trend if he is to land the opener at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival as Mullins has hinted they are going to try and get him ready for the G1 at home, without taking in another race.
The stats say that’s not a wise move…
SkyBet News John Quinn has Musselburgh Project Bluebook for Sky Bet Supreme Trial 31/01/17 10:30am
John Quinn has yet to decide if Project Bluebook runs in the Sky Bet Supreme Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle or one of his other Musselburgh options on Sunday. Project Bluebook has been purchased by J P McManus after producing a smooth two and a half-length victory in a class three handicap hurdle over the course and distance on January 20. The four-year-old was runner-up on his hurdling debut at Catterick in December before taking a juvenile hurdle at Musselburgh on January 1.
Quinn also has Master Of Irony, a decent horse on the Flat for trainer Ralph Beckett, as an option for the race. He’s made a good start to his hurdling career, with two victories from three starts in novices’ hurdles at Catterick and Market Rasen respectively. Quinn, who trains from two yards around Malton, North Yorkshire, said: “Project Bluebook is in good shape. He is in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial and also has entries in the Scottish County Hurdle and the Triumph trial. We will have a good look at all the races, speak with connections and then go from there. We were very pleased with his performance the other week. He travelled well off a good gallop and came through nicely at the end. He jumps well and seems to be heading the right way.
Master Of Irony also has the option of the Scottish County Hurdle. I wouldn’t like to run them in the same race so I will try to keep them apart. He has made a pretty good start over hurdles. He does everything professionally and is one to look forward to. The drop back in trip should not be a problem.”
Project Bluebook is a 7/2 chance for the race with the sponsors, with Master Of Irony 14/1.
Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson also has two contenders in Lough Derg Spirit (6/1), who was fourth in Ascot’s G2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial won by Capitaine in December, and River Wylde, (2/1 favourite) an easy winner of his last two starts at Ludlow. The 11 entries for the Sky Bet Supreme Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle also include Peter The Mayo Man (Neil Mulholland, 4/1) who could have his first start since an impressive success in handicap company at Newbury in November. Irish raider Labaik (Gordon Elliott IRE, 12/1) showed a good turn of foot when capturing a G3 novice hurdle at Navan in November but has refused to race on his last two starts. The other notable entries are recent Taunton scorer High Secret (Paul Nicholls, 5/1) and Stipulate (Brian Ellison, 10/1), a dual Listed winner on the Flat and runner-up over the course and distance last time out.
Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager at Sky Bet, said: “Sunday’s Sky Bet Supreme Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle has several unexposed types among the 11 entries. The two runnings so far have thrown up two high-class winners and hopefully 2017 will continue that trend.”
Sky Bet Supreme Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle, Sky Bet betting: 2/1 River Wylde; 7/2 Project Bluebook; 4/1 Peter The Mayo Man; 5/1 High Secret; 6/1 Lough Derg Spirit; 10/1 Stipulate; 12/1 Labaik; 14/1 Master Of Irony; 20/1 London Prize; 25/1 Lycidas; 50/1 Optima Petamus
Supreme Festival Plans Coming Together Wed 1st Feb 2017, 10:59
The Supreme Horse Racing Club-owned five-year-old Kemboy made a successful start to his jumping career with Willie Mullins at Limerick in early December and was stepped up to Grade Two level on Irish Champion Hurdle day. While he proved no match for streetwise stable companion Let’s Dance, there was a lot to like about the way Kemboy came home to finish a clear second and connections feel he deserves to be part of the Mullins army destined for Prestbury Park in March.
Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners, said: “We were delighted with how he ran on Sunday. It was only his second run over hurdles, whereas Let’s Dance was having her ninth run and is a second-season novice with plenty of big-race experience, having run in races like the Triumph Hurdle. Our horse made a couple of mistakes, but was right in contention coming to the second-last where he made a blunder and lost momentum. He was a little bit green at the top of the straight, but finished off his race really well and you have to be pleased with finishing second in a Grade Two on just your second run. Hopefully he’s done enough to book his ticket across the water. Willie’s initial thoughts were to step up to three miles in the Albert Bartlett, but he’s also been entered in the Neptune. I’m sure no decision will be made until much nearer the time, but he’s a horse we think a lot of and he should have learnt plenty from his run the other day.”
Kemboy could be part of a strong team of runners for the burgeoning syndicate at Cheltenham.
Heading the squad is unbeaten novice Airlie Beach, who has been entered in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Neptune. However, the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, for which she heads the market, remains her likely target.
Bunk Off Early, an impressive winner on his hurdling debut at Leopardstown over Christmas, is also in the Supreme and the Neptune and could test his Festival credentials in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday week. “He’s a really nice horse and he was really good at Leopardstown,” said Massey. “He’s going to have to step up in grade now and we’ll learn out a bit more about him when he does. The Deloitte is one of a few possible options for him.”
High-class mare Listen Dear has won her last six starts, most recently landing a Grade Three at Cork in emphatic style. She is entered in the Mares’ Hurdle and the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham. Massey added: “She’s in good form and the plan is for her to run in a Listed mares’ chase at Naas a week on Saturday (February 11). We’ll see how she gets on there before deciding whether she could run at the Festival.”
Rich Ricci’s Cheltenham Countdown Column BetBright Updated Tuesday, 31 Jan 2017 22:04
As spells of bad news goes, these few days have been pretty concentrated to say the least. It was tough, it’s part of the game – we all know that – but it doesn’t make it any easier. Wednesday’s news about Annie Power’s injury was the deepest cut, for sure. Min will be fine, Faugheen, touch wood, will be fine, but Annie Power is a tough one.
You could argue she has provided two of the most memorable days in Cheltenham history – one for all the right reasons and one for all the wrong ones! But it will be weird without her this year because there has been so much buzz about her over the past three seasons. Would she have won if she ran in the Champion in 2014…falling at the last in the mares in 2015…and then that extraordinary day last March. So that’s a very hard one to take and while it would be great if she was back for Punchestown, we’ll just have to see. We talked about retiring her last year after the season was over but we have no preconceived notions, we’ll just play it by ear. So that was Annie down but we still had a big weekend to look forward to, or so we thought.
The Frank Ward Solicitors Irish Arkle at Leopardstown on Sunday would have been the ideal prep race for Cheltenham for Min so that was the most disappointing thing about his little knock. I don’t know if we can fit another run in for him between now and Cheltenham – but it would be nice to go there with three chase runs rather than just the two. It was a silly thing, a nothing injury really, and these things happen all the time. He starts riding back out this week and he’ll be absolutely fine. And if he doesn’t get a run, there’s no better man to have him primed for Cheltenham than Willie Mullins.
That was Friday, so when I saw Willie’s name pop up on my phone on Saturday morning I thought it was to talk about Min but instead it was to tell me that Faugheen wasn’t right and wouldn’t run in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle. That was a right shock because we hadn’t seen him race in a year and he had been working so well, much like Annie Power. And with all that anticipation and excitement – finally – we were going to see him on the track, but then it turns into immense frustration. This doesn’t appear to be a serious thing but with him you can’t chance it, with him it’s all about Cheltenham.
Injuries and setbacks are all part of the game but it doesn’t make the hurt any less, and it doesn’t make the frustration any less. It doesn’t make it any cheaper either because this is an expensive game to be in. Training fees have to be paid, staff have to be employed, and we’re in the entertainment business as well, so people have to be entertained.
But my philosophy in business is that it’s always about the next trade. If you lose money on a trade, look to the next trade and that’s the way it has to be in the racing game too or you’ll pull your hair out. Or what’s left of it anyway.
There wasn’t much respite at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon when Vroum Vroum Mag won despite not being herself. She was so brave to stick her head down and win, but it clearly wasn’t her true running and we have her back home now where she’ll be tested to see what’s at her. This time of the year it’s easy to pick up the occasional bug, especially if you’re travelling, and there are no bigger issues at play with her, no leg issues or anything to worry about. She’ll be absolutely fine for Cheltenham, but it’s too early to say what race she’ll head to.
I’ve always thought the Mares Hurdle trip of 2m4f is her trip, but she has gotten 3m too, so you’d have to see how the Stayers race shapes up. She’ll be entered all over the place and it’ll be the week before Cheltenham, I’d imagine, before we decide exactly where she’ll head.
It wasn’t all bad news. Let’s Dance won the Grade 2 and she was brilliant. That is her trip I think, 2m4f, but she has a few options at Cheltenham. I think the Mares Novice Race over 2m is probably a bit short, so it looks the Neptune or the Albert Bartlett to me, though as we know the 3m can be a pretty attritional race. She was very good on Sunday and continues to improve, she’s rated 147 now and has booked her trip to Cheltenham, we just got to find the race for her now. That’s a lofty rating, especially when you throw in the mares allowance, and if the ratings are to be believed, she’ll be bang there.
And then Royal Caviar in the Irish Arkle! Well, what can you say? That horse has been snake-bit! He has finished second so many times. They always told me chasing was going to be his game but he’s nine-years-old now and isn’t the youngest of things. So he comes there at the last, just has to pop it to win, all his Christmases have come at once and what does he do? Ploughs into the fence and goes right through it. But you know what, it was a very symmetrical end to the week, an appropriate end to it!
There’s a fun element to racehorse ownership, of course there is, I’m hardly in it for the money and I love it so much.
But with all of the various things that have happened over the past three or four years – the highs and the lows, the victories and the injuries – I don’t mind admitting: it is hard to enjoy it all, all of the time. That being said, you have to try and force yourself to because we’re very lucky to have all this fantastic horses. And if they all get there, it should be some festival. We always thought that if we got them all there in one piece, we could have some hell of a run.
Cheltenham Festival Pointers – ‘Jonjo Joy’ a Festival Feature by Nigel Keeling Ist Feb 2017 http://www.geegeez.co.uk
Holywell has the look of a Jonjo plot, with a handicap mark almost back to the festival winning level of 2014. Expect him to run in the opening day Grade 3 handicap chase. He won it in 2014, and finished runner-up 12 months ago. A pair of 10-year-olds have won the race in the past decade, he could be the third.
He may well line-up against stable companion Beg To Differ, who was last seen running a cracker in the Welsh National. His last run at Cheltenham was poor, but he was second at the track in January 2016, and is on a competitive handicap mark. Still only a seven-year-old, he looks a progressive sort.
Another young chaser who looks to be heading in the right direction, is the JP McManus owned Another Hero. He’s a dour stayer, and was last seen finishing third in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. He came down in the Irish National last March, and may well be one for the Scottish version in April. If he arrives at Cheltenham, the Fulke Walwyn Handicap Chase looks a possibility, a race the yard won with Sunnyhillboy in 2012. Jonjo had three in the race last year, with Upswing the best of the finishers.
Doesyourdogbite was a little disappointing last time in the Lanzarote at Kempton. He was sent off favourite for the race, but never looked like winning, staying on late for a sixth-place finish. He’s won three of his four hurdle starts, and may well still prove competitive off his current mark, if taking his chance at The Festival. Two and a half miles with a stiff finish may be ideal.
Finally, the horse that maintained Jonjo’s impressive festival record a year ago. Minella Rocco looks set to test his Gold Cup credentials when he goes to Leopardstown in a couple of weeks. He’s fancied to go well in the Irish version, though this will be only his third outing of the winter, following his fall at Aintree behind the ill-fated Many Clouds in December. He won the National Hunt Chase at last year’s festival, beating Native River in the process. That form looks a lot stronger now. I’ve watched that race several times since, and it’s noticeable just how powerfully he travels into contention. He could be a real contender in March, assuming he jumps well enough.
It’s been a tough season to date for Jonjo and his team, with a current strike-rate of just 10%. Don’t be too surprised however, should the master of Jackdaws Castle be stood in the winners’ enclosure during the biggest four days of the Jump racing calendar.
I like all three of these!
Bumper News – Most of them seem to be being bought by JP!
Johnny Ward Irish Independent – MARTIN BRASSIL is to train Dr Wallace, which Mags Mullins rates extremely highly, and he will run in new owner JP McManus’ colours. The Flemensfirth gelding is a full brother to Backspin, which died at only six years of age after winning the Grade One Challow Hurdle for McManus and Jonjo O’Neill. Dr Wallace was the subject of major market support on debut when winning a Navan bumper easily under Patrick Mullins in December. The rider would describe him as “a little bit different” on unsaddling. Mags Mullins said afterwards that the horse had “only been on the grass once before” the run and was quite green. And the sale to McManus has been confirmed to the Irish Independent. Frank Berry, his racing manager, said: “He’s a fine, big horse we’ll soon go hurdling with and he will join Martin Brassil.”
Antepost Racing @AntepostRacing Jan 30 Impressive bumper winner RED JACK, been brought by JP McManus.
Last Minute Man Looks Smart In Bumper Tue 31st Jan 2017, 16:43
Gordon Elliott notched a double in the concluding Dark Horse Wine Bar At Down Royal Flat Race when Last Minute Man made a successful debut. The fine looking Yeats gelding, carrying the colours of Paul & Clare Rooney came with a late surge inside the final furlong to land the spoils. The 3/1 shot was pulling away at the line, under Jamie Codd, to record a three-length success.< Last Minute Man is out of Ella Watson (won a hurdle and bumper) and cost €125,000 at the Tattersalls Derby Sale in 2015. “He’s a lovely horse – a gorgeous horse. We think he’s a real good horse,” said Elliott. “He’s still a big weak baby and we might not even run him again this season. He’s big and just hasn’t been straight-forward. He’ll be a nice horse to go jumping down the line but I’d say we might not see much more of him this season. He just found it hard the whole way there but he’ll be a nice horse with a summer’s grass.”