Cheltenham New Years Day 2020 Preview

 

Redford Road (right) (JTW Equine Images)

By Samantha


Happy New Year! We have a really exciting day of National Hunt Racing in store at Cheltenham on New Years Day and here’s my preview of the card. 

12:15- Ballymore Novices Hurdle (Listed)
There are a lot of races with this title raced at Cheltenham and this is a Listed event. Redford Road won a grade two over three miles at this course eighteen days ago and he’s dropping back to two miles four today. He’s a wonderfully consistent horse and has won over this trip a few times. He’s penalised for last time and could be more of an Albert Bartlett horse. IMPERIAL ALCAZAR won at Aintree in October and then was unlucky not to win last time. His last win was over this trip and his yard is particularly good at this track.

Cogry (left) (JTW Equine Images)

12:50- Markel Insurance Handicap Chase
COGRY is my selection in this race. He’s won four times at this course, including last time in a grade three. This is an overall easier contest and top weight won’t be a problem.

13:25 Paddy Power Broken Resolutions Already Dipper Novices Chase (Grade Two)
Lostintranslation won this race last year and CHAMP is my selection for 2020. The son of King’s Theatre has ran eleven times, won eight and came second three times. He made a winning fences debut at Newbury and then avoided going the wrong way at the elbow to win quite well at the same track, in a grade two. He had Deyrann de Carjac in third and this field don’t look up to his standard. Midnight Shadow is next best in the market but he’s yet to win over larger obstacles. He’s a very good hurdler as he’s won the Relkeel Hurdle and Scottish Champion Hurdle.

14:00- Paddy Power Handicap Chase
This is a good quality Handicap. Kalashnikov has top weight and he has been second on both runs this term. The latter of which was behind Oldgrangewood at Newbury and he only went down a short head. That was Oldgrangewood’s first win in exactly two years and he’s been put up 7lbs. Magic Saint won at that meeting after hanging on grimly against a challenge by Desert Orchid Chase winner Bun Doran. OK Corral ran in the Ladbrokes Trophy and never featured. He lost a shoe that day, which won’t have aided his cause, but he was convincingly beaten. Derek O’connor rode him when he was favourite for the National Hunt Chase but instead he partners Ex Patriot today.


The Ellmarie Holden trained Ex Patriot was second in a grade three Novices Chase and third in a grade two behind subsequent grade one winner Battleoverdoyen. Outlander was a grade one winner for Gigginstown before being sold to Richard Spencer. Going on twelve, it would be excellent if this horse ran a big race but he’s not won for a very long while.

Mister Whitaker (second from right) (JTW Equine Images)


Lalor has been performing to his best of late. He won a grade two a year ago, as a novice, but has lost his way since, being well-beaten. Mister Whitaker won a grade two at the backend of last season and makes his seasonal debut in this. He’s a high-class performer and if on song he will be bang there. Poker Play hasn’t been seen since coming fourth to Wholestone in a novices chase and this will be his third run over fences. Ballyhill has been highly tried, following in some useful horses, and won this in 2018 off a 4lbs lower mark. Saint Calvados won a grade three at Naas last season, beating Footpad, and he’s a classy horse. He won here in October but that was over two miles.


I’m staying loyal to my 20 To Watch horse CEPAGE. He ran a cracker off a long absence on seasonal reappearance behind Riders Onthestorm and he wasn’t beaten far to be fourth eighteen days ago. He could be a bit high in the weights but at least he doesn’t have top weight.

14:35- Paddy Power 69 Sleeps To Cheltenham Handicap Hurdle
This race is made very interesting by the inclusion of Might Bite. This gelding has won a King George and RSA and has a mark of 160 over the smaller obstacles. They’re using this as a confidence booster after unseating last time out but the weight looks huge when you consider that half the field have just 10st. His stablemate Beware The Bear is yet another good chaser reverting to hurdles. Number three THE JAM MAN is looking for a fifth win in a row and carries 10st10. He’s gone from a mark of 114 in June to 114 and is definitely a horse on the up. Connections have said they’d run him against Paisley Park so they must think a lot of him. Last time, he was an easy winner of a Grade B Hurdle at Navan and hasn’t reached his ceiling yet.

15:10- Relkeel Hurdle (Grade 2)
Six runners remain in the Relkeel Hurdle and it is a tight little contest. Nicky Henderson is responsible for two of those horses – Janika and William Henry. Janika’s owners won this two years ago with Wholestone and this seven year old isn’t very exposed in the UK. He was second at the Cheltenham Festival in the Stable Plate and was fourth in the Topham over the National fences. His first UK win was in the Haldon Gold Cup and then he was fourth in the Tingle Creek. He drops down to hurdles in this race because the racing manager suggested it. He has a valid chance. William Henry makes his seasonal reappearance in this. He is a very good handicap hurdler, having won the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. That is a grade three and he likes it around here. He was fourth in the Stayers at Aintree, behind Roksana, and, despite the fact that he’s nearly ten and carries top weight, he will be there at the finish.

Quel Destin (left) (JTW Equine Images)


Roughly half his age is Quel Destin. Paul Nicholls’ five year old won over two miles, in a race that has put up some decent horses, over this course on heavy going. He was eighth in the Greatwood last time and didn’t make much of an impression towards the end. He’s a grade one winner and steps up to two miles four for the first time. He’s has 11st3 on board. Roksana won the Mares Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival and was then second in the stayers grade one at Aintree. She’s a really willing mare and battled out her seasonal reappearance with Top Notch, who won, in a tidy little hurdle race. Last time, her run was very poor and I’m unsure why. The ground was quite tacky and she won’t want it very soft.


Summerville Boy won the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2018. He hasn’t won subsequently over hurdles but he’s followed in the likes of Buveur D’Air, Brain Power and Supasundae. He made his chasing debut at Uttoxeter in November but fell in behind Esprit Du Large in a grade one. If he can return to his Supreme form, he has a chance.


I’m going to go with EMITOM though. This six year old was unbeaten for all of his first five starts in lower grade contests and then he put up a good performance in the grade one Sefton Novices Hurdle behind Champ. He was beaten three lengths into second that day and it was expected that he would go chasing this season but he got injured. He has had a long absence but connections will have him on top form.


15:50- EBF Stallions & Cheltenham Pony Club NH Flat Race (Listed)
BELLE DE MANECH went from the back to win at Warwick in November and she was a bit green in the closing stages. Her yard has won this before and I think this filly should run a good race with a tongue-tie for the first time.

Preview of the final day of the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown

By Luke (@lukekeena1) and Killian ( @KillianBroderi1)

12:10- Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs.
Seventeen runners head to post for this ultra competitive Handicap. I like two runners in this competitive race. The Ted Walsh trained Roxboro Road, was last seen at Punchestown when he slipped on the bend. He won his beginners chase in March over course and distance. He then went on to win a handicap hurdle impressively at Fairyhouse. He is only six and relatively unexposed over fences. I think with luck in running he will go close with Simon Torrens in the saddle.

I also think Persian Wind will run a good race at a double figure price. He was last seen finishing third behind Fairly Legal and Shanroe Al C. He made several jumping mistakes and only has half a length to find with Shanroe Al C. If he can brush up his jumping I think he will go close at a double figure price.

Killian’s Selection:

I think a mark of 119 is very fair for Best Behaviour’s handicap debut. He unseated in his first two runs over fences. I thought he was an eye-catcher last time, when staying on under a gentle ride to finish fifth in a decent beginners chase. Best Behaviour won a 2m 3f EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle on heavy ground quite nicely in February 2018 at Naas. His next run was his stand out piece of form. In a rated novice hurdle he managed to beat Minella Fair to second and finish 7 lengths behind Uradel. A reproduction of his hurdle should see him go close in this contest. Barry Browne also claims 2 pounds to make his task a bit easier.

12:45- Pigsbank.com Maiden Hurdle over two miles and a half.
Cobbler’s Way ran a nice hurdle debut finishing behind Andy Dufresne with Alpine Cobra a further five and a half lengths back in third. Andy Dufresne was since second in a Grade Two. Alpine Cobra also boosted the form when finishing second in a Grade Three at Cork. I think Cobbler’s Way will improve for the run and go close with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle.

1:20- Advent Insurance Irish EBF Mares Hurdle.
Elfile won nicely on seasonal reappearance at Thurles. Her best run came at Fairyhouse when she finished second behind Honeysuckle over two miles and four furlongs. She will enjoy the return to the trip and I think she will go close with Robbie Power in the saddle.

1:55 – Nevills Hotel Novice Chase over three miles.
Battleoverdoyen is the worthy favourite after two good runs over fences. He was a work man like winner of the Florida Pearl Chase at Punchestown last time out over just short of three miles. He bet the 150 rated Any Second Now by five lengths. The further he went the better he got.

IMG_7821Battleoverdoyen

For the same team that won the race two seasons ago with Monalee, Minella Indo makes his second start over fences. He made his chase debut at Gowran last month. He finished second to Laurina over a trip short of his best. It was a lovely introduction to fences. He was a top class hurdler winning two Grade Ones last season. He won the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham and also won a Grade One at Punchestown at the end of the season. He is made for chasing and I think he will be the one to beat for the in from combination of Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore.

Carefully Selected and Champagne Classic seem like two strong stayers. Before Carefully Selected made his chase debut at Fairyhouse I thought he would win the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham and I think that will be his main aim. I think if one if the first two in the market dont win I would be disappointed.

IMG_7820Champagne Classic

Selection- Minella Indo

2:30- Matheson Hurdle over two miles.
Klassical Dream was beaten on seasonal reappearance when he could only manage to finish third behind Saldier. I think he doesn’t jump quick enough to be a champion hurdler. He put in some big jumps at Punchestown that look great but aren’t economical and wastes time in the air. If he is to be a champion hurdle winner he has to win this.

IMG_7823Klassical Dream

I like Coeur Subline who had a bloodless victory at Down Royal first time out. He won by fifteen lengths beating Coko Beach. He was second in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham behind Pentland Hills. He is an improving four year who I think will go close with Davy Russell in the saddle.

At a double figure price I think Petit Mouchoir will run a good race. He finished second in the Morgiana behind Saldier. That was a return to form. He enjoyed making the running and fought hard when briefly dropped to third but regained second before the line. He won this race three years ago . At a double figure price I think he could run a good race.

IMG_7822Petit Mouchoir

Selection- Coeur Sublime and Petit Mouchoir e/w

3:05 – Irish Stallions EBF Novice Handicap Hurdle

Killian’s Selections

It often pays to follow Gavin Cromwell in handicap hurdles, especially if one of his runners is well backed. I was at Cork when Flooring Porter won with plenty up his sleeve over 3 miles. The handicapper has raised him 13 pounds for that. I’m not sure that will stop this rapidly improving Yeats gelding. A slight concern is the drop back to 2m 4f, but there should be a strong gallop and stamina will be needed. Cavalry Master is a danger from the in form Henry De Bromhead yard

Preview of Day Three of the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown

By Luke (@lukekeena1)

The feature race of the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown is the Grade one  Savills Chase  over three miles. Nine runners head to post for this ultra competitive race. Kemboy was in the headlines for the wrong reasons earlier in the season, but thankfully the issue was resolved and he is able to take part in this race. As a result of the issues with the Supreme Racing Club he missed his early season target of the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal in November. I would worry that the lack of race fitness might catch him out.

Road To Respect won the aforementioned Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal. He bet Clan Des Obeaux by four lengths. Clan Des Obeaux has since won the King George at Kempton impressively. Road To Respect came out on the losing side of a great battle in the Irish Gold Cup last year. He fought out the finish with Bellshill, and lost by a short head. He has never been out of the first three at Leopardstown. He won this race two seasons ago when getting the better of Balko Des Flos in the closing stages. He will enjoy returning to Leopardstown and should go close.

Delta Work was disappointing last time out when finishing fourth behind Road To Respect beaten fifteen lengths. I don’t think that was his true running. Coming into this season he was as exciting as any novice stepping into open Grade ones. He was very impressive at the back end of last season winning at Punchestown. Beating Discorama by twelve lengths and it was a further two lengths back to A Plus Tard. I think if he bounces back to his best he will be in the mix.

Presenting Percy had the world at his feet after winning the RSA in 2018. The good weather last year hindered his preparation for the Gold Cup when he didn’t run his race and came back lame. He made a very nice reappearance in Punchestown over an inadequate trip. He finished a close third behind the talented Min. He is a horse I really like and I think he will go very close with Davy Russell in the saddle.

The aforementioned Bellshill was last years Irish Gold Cup winner. Since then he ran below par in the Gold Cup when pulled up after some bad jumping mistakes. He then disappointed at Punchestown when finishing fourth behind Kemboy. He is better going left handed and Leopardstown plays to his strength. He comes into this race without a recent run. He finished fourth in this race last year behind Kemboy. I think he will struggle to do better this year.

IMG_7818.JPG
Bellshill

Monalee finished runner up in this race twelve months ago behind Kemboy. He then went on to finish fourth in the Ryanair at the Cheltenham Festival in March before disappointing at Punchestown. He made his seasonal reappearance at Clonmel finishing third behind Douvan beaten a long way. I’m a big fan of the horse but that was disappointing. He will need to come on a lot for the run to be involved. He runs for the inform combination of Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did.

If Balko Des Flos was to bounce back to his form of two years ago his price of 50/1 could be silly. That season he won the Ryanair at Cheltenham and was a close second in this race behind Road To Respect. He is only eight and is also trained by Henry De Bromhead. He has been disappointing this season but a return to his best would see him run well with Mark Walsh in the saddle.

Anibale Fly was beaten by a wide margin at Puchestown last time. His best form seems to come at Cheltenham in the stamina test that is the Gold Cup. He has also got form in the National at Aintree, I think he needs a stronger stamina test than this to get involved.

Selections:

Luke- Presenting Percy/ Balko Des Flos ew

Killian- Presenting Percy

Samantha- Road To Respect/ Kemboy

Lois- Kemboy

The other Grade One on the card is the Frank Ward Memorial Hurdle over three miles. Seven runners head to post for this interesting contest.

The best place to start is with the favourite Bacardys who was impressive on seasonal reappearance when beating Apple’s Jade at Navan in November. In the Hatton’s Grace he was no match for Honeysuckle with Apple’s Jade four lengths behind him. He is a worthy favourite

IMG_7815.JPG
Bacardys

For some unknown reason Apple’s Jade has been running below her best this season. She has been behind Bacardys twice this season and not shown her old spark. She won the last two running of this race. Winning in a thrilling finish in 2017 fighting back gamely to beat Supasundae. She has not shown anything near that form this year. She will need to bounce back to her best but if she does she will go close.

IMG_7819
Apple’s Jade

Penhill finished sixth on seasonal debut after over a year and a half off the track so he was entitled to need the run. He is a dual Cheltenham Festival winner. He won the Albert Bartlet and the Stayer Hurdle. He is a high class performer on his day and I think he will go very close with Robbie Power in the saddle

IMG_7816
Penhill

Selection- Penhill

Tote Supporting Leopardstown Maiden Hurdle- 12:15

At one stage Jon Snow was this unknown horse for Willie Mullins that headed the Supreme market before even hitting the track. He made his eagerly anticipated debut and finished third in a good maiden hurdle at Cork. Front View won that race and has form that ties in with Envoi Allen. Uhtred was an impressive winner of a bumper race at Navan earlier this month. Jon Snow steps up in trip and I think he will take a lot of beating.

Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle-12:50

Ronald Pump returns to hurdles after running two good race over fences. He won his Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse and was a distant second in the Grade One Drinmore at Fairyhouse last time out. Last season he done nothing but improve rising from a mark of 102 up to his current handicap mark of 145. He likes to sit out the back and creep his way through the field. I think the race will set up nicely for him and he can go close at a double figure price.

Ballymaloe Foods Beginners Chase- 1:25

Allaho makes his chase debut after a nice Novice Hurdle campaign. He was placed in Grade ones at Punchestown and Cheltenham behind Minella Indo on both occasions. He looks like he will be better again over fences which could bring him to the top. He will relish the trip and I think he will be hard to beat with Paul Townend in the saddle.

Irish Daily Star Christmas Hurdle- 2:35

The Church Gate made his seasonal reappearance at Navan when he finished a decent fourth, a nice prep run for this race. He won this race last year off an eleven pound lower mark. He will relish the conditions and I think he will go close with Keith Donoghue in the saddle.

 

Preview of Day Two of the Christmas festival at Leopardstown

By Luke 

The feature race on Day two is the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase over two miles. Chacun Pour Soi is a warm favourite and will be hard to beat. This lightly raced seven year old was very impressive when winning at Punchestown, beating subsequent Tingle Creek winner Defi Du Seuil. On that form he will be hard to beat. The one I think will follow him home is A Plus Tard for the inform Henry De Bromhead yard. He made his seasonal reappearance at Navan when he finished second behind Ballyoisin. On that occasion Hardline was a further eleven lengths back. I think he will come on for the run and give Chacun Pour Soi something to think about.

Race two is the Paddy Power Beginners Chase over two miles. City Island makes his eagerly anticipated chase debut. He won his maiden hurdle at this festival last year over two miles. His best run over hurdles came at Cheltenham when he got the better of Champ in the Ballymore. If the drop back to two miles isn’t an inconvenience he will be very hard to beat.

Race four is the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle over two miles. Abracadabras (main picture) brings the best form into the race after finishing second to Envoi Allen at Fairyhouse earlier this month. He looked to be traveling the better of the two before Envoi Allen stayed on strongly to win by one length and a half. I think Abracadabras will win this race and win the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Race five is the Paddy Power Games Handicap Hurdle over two miles. Moon Over Germany makes a return to hurdles for the first time since 2016 when rated 135. He runs off 134 in this contest. Since then he has improved and enjoyed going over fences. His finest performance came at the tail end of last season at Aintree when he won impressively.

IMG_7813
Moon Over Germany chases home Notebook

He was last seen finishing second to Notebook. Notebook has since won the Grade one Novice Chase at Leopardstown. I think he will run a good race off his lower hurdle rating.

Race six is the Paddy Power Chase over three miles. Class Conti could be overpriced at around 28/1. This half brother to Silviniaco Conti has had three runs for Willie Mullins to date. He won on Irish debut very impressively at Tramore in April. He then ran below par at Punchestown when scoping dirty. He finished fifth last time out. I think he will come on a lot for the run. I think he could outrun his big odds.

Another horse in the Paddy Power Chase i like is Fitzhenry for Paul Nolan and Barry Geraghty. He was last seen finishing second in the Troytown behind the very impressive winner Chris’s Dream. Fitzhenry pulled seven lengths clear of the third Portmore Lough. I think with luck in running these two can run good races.

The final race on the card is the Paddy Power Games INH Flat Race over two miles and four furlongs. Ragnar Lodbrok cought my eye at Fairyhouse when running on strongly behind two good bumper horses. It didn’t look like he would be anywhere near the first three home before he stayed on strongly. The extra four furlongs will be a great help to him. I think this son of Fame and Glory will be a very good horse in time.

IMG_7811
Ragnar Lodbrok

King George VI Chase Preview 2019

King George VI Chase Preview 2019

Lostintranslation (JTW Equine Images)


By Samantha (@sam_angelina22)


The King George VI Chase has captured the minds and hearts of the racing public for generations.


Families cosy up in front of the TV, after eating Christmas dinner leftovers and whilst nibbling at various assortments of sweet delights, to watch the likes of Arkle, Wayward Lad, Desert Orchid, One Man, Best Mate, Kauto Star and more recently Silviniaco Conti and Cue Card storm to victory along the famous Kempton straight.


This year, six horses take their chances to win this elusive prize and stamp their names into the history books. To me, this appears a ‘changing of the guard kind of race. Three up and coming seven year olds go against three more exposed runners. There’s no Might Bite, Native River or Tea For Two (retired) this season. The runners are…


Aso (Charlie Deutsch and Venetia Williams)
Clan Des Obeaux (Sam Twiston-Davies and Paul Nicholls)
Cyrname (Harry Cobden and Paul Nicholls)
Footpad (Barry Geraghty and Willie Mullins)
Lostintranslation (Robbie Power and Colin Tizzard)
Thistlecrack (Tom Scudamore and Colin Tizzard)

One jockey who will have had a headache in the lead up to Christmas is Harry Cobden. Paul Nicholls’ stable jockey had the tough decision to pick between Cyrname and Clan Des Obeaux. It is not a bad conundrum to have – Cyrname is the highest rated chaser in the country and Cobden partnered Clan Des Obeaux to win the race twelve months ago. Cyrname has been decided as the mount of Cobden – much to the disgust of ITV’s Matt Chapman. Controversy in the media was inevitable – if he’d picked Clan Des Obeaux, people would’ve said he was silly not to have picked the highest rated chaser and various people are still doubting the ability of Cyrname.


Last month, we were lucky enough to witness the clash discussed to great length over the summer in the Christy Chase. Cyrname Vs Altior. Altior was looking for his twentieth straight victory and Cyrname was the ‘new kid on the block’ after cruising to a seventeen length domination in the grade one Ascot Chase that previous season. Cyrname made all, with Harry Cobden giving him a peach of a ride. He kept Altior close, jumping boldly in front, before turning the screw and lengthening away from his multiple grade one winning opponent over the two miles five trip. He ran on readily and it appeared to me as if he could stay the three mile trip of this prestigious grade one. He enjoys going right handed and I’d assume connections will have him pop out in front and see if he can keep going.

Cyrname (JTW Equine Images)


The Christy Chase was an incredible edge-of-your-seat clash and it was very game of both sets of connections to run them against each other so early in the season. However, there would have been another layer to the King George if they’d waited until this race for their duel. It is a bit disappointing as now it means that Altior will not take part in this. The reason was that he hadn’t schooled well enough but, not to fear, he is set to run in the Desert Orchid Chase on Friday.

Clan Des Obeaux (left) (JTW Equine Images)


Sam Twiston-Davies picks up a brilliant spare ride on Clan Des Obeaux, a horse who he has won on twice before. He rode Politologue last season when Clan Des Obeaux won at 12/1, in which he beat Thistlecrack. After that, victory, he won the grade two Denman Chase and then came fifth in the Gold Cup. He didn’t make much of an impression, coming second to Kemboy at Aintree on the final start of his campaign. Despite recent issues with his ownership, Kemboy has an entry in the Savills Chase on Saturday. At this time of the year, we don’t get many Irish runners in these races as there is some brilliant racing on offer at Leopardstown. Clan Des Obeaux ran at Down Royal on reappearance in a grade one but only came second to Road To Respect. I’d like to have seen the Gigginstown-owned gelding run in this race as I think a lot of him. Clan Des Obeaux needed that run and, after leaving the position of first jockey to Paul Nicholls, Sam Twiston-Davies has been riding out of his skin.


However, we do have one Irish runner in the race – Footpad. This gelding comes over from the Willie Mullins yard. He burst onto the scene when winning a juvenile grade one and then coming third in the Triumph. He won twice over that summer at Auteuil but, like a lot of horses who gave had a successful juvenile campaign, he lost his way until he went chasing. In the 2017/2018 season, he went unbeaten for all of his five starts. As part of that winning run, he passed the post first in the Racing Post Novices Chase (G1), Irish Arkle (G1), Cheltenham Arkle (G1) and the Ryanair Novices Chase at Punchestown. However, last season, he fell, when 4/9, in a grade three and was second to Simply Ned in a grade one. He stepped up to two miles four in the Ryanair but could only manage eighth. This season, connections gave him an easy, confidence-boosting task to begin his campaign. They used the Boomerang Chase (Listed) at Thurles and he won it easily. That was over two miles six, the longest trip he’s ever faced. He probably has more speed than some of these and he jumps well normally but, for me, he is on a retrieval mission. Barry Geraghty takes over the reins from injured Daryl Jacob.


The second horse two have won this race before is Thistlecrack. This horse went unbeaten from the 28th of November 2015 until his winning run in this in December 2016, as a novice. Next time out, he battled out a finish with Many Clouds, who passed away after the race, but was second. After that, in comparison to previous form, he has lost his way. In 2017, he came fourth in this race; during the next season, he was third in the Betfair and second in this to Clan Des Obeaux and then he pulled up in the Gold Cup. Last time, he was staying on to only be denied a length by ultra-talented Paisley Park, over hurdles. That day, it appeared to be as if he has his spark back. He’s the oldest of the runners aged eleven and connections have said that he schooled well. He always travels so powerfully but occasionally puts in big, slow jumps which waste time. Connections could’ve ran him in last weekend’s Long Walk Hurdle, which cut up dramatically on the day, and he’d have probably won that as Paisley Park was a non-runner. They must think he’s still as good a chaser or they wouldn’t have ran him.


Colin Tizzard also trains the up-and-coming superstar Lostintranslation. This Fleminsfirth seven year old was a decent hurdler, following in the likes of Dynamite Dollars, First Flow, Summerville Boy in the Supreme and Black Op in the Mersey Novices. On his first two chase starts, he was second to La Bague Au Roi and then third to the aforementioned mare, who was in this race until the final stage, and Talkischeap. In January, he finally got off the mark over fences, beating Defi Du Seuil, over two miles four. Then, they contended the Scilly Isles and Defi came out on top. Lostintranslation couldn’t handle the pace of this horse. The same happened at the Cheltenham Festival in the JLT. Lostintranslation seized the opportunity at Ian Tree, with no Defi Du Seuil in sight, and won the Mildmay Novices Chase, fully relishing the step to three miles. Subsequently, Defi Du Seuil has been dropped back to two miles and has won the Shloer Chase and the Tingle Creek. Lostintranslation just didn’t have the speed to keep up with him when push came to shove over the shorter trip but he is most definitely more comfortable at three miles. He kicked off his season with an oh-so-easy win at Carlisle, jumping incredibly, and then he ran in the Betfair Chase. Four runners (him, Bristol De Mai, Ballyoptic and Frodon) took their chances. Robbie Power held him up and rode him Patiently until threep out when he jumped up to challenge Bristol De Mai. Power shook him up and he led from the last onwards, staying on well, and foiling Bristol De Mai’s gallant bid at a third win in that race.

Lostintranslation (JTW Equine Images)


The Betfair Chase is the first leg of the Triple Crown and there have been whispers of this horse following in the footsteps of Kauto Star and by winning the King George and the Gold Cup too. If he was go win this, those whispers would become shouts. If I was riding him, I would sit just behind Cyrname, who will pop out and make the running, and wait until you see the warning from Cyrname because Lostintranslation has something we are unsure that Cyrname has – the ability to stay. Lostintranslation has never ran at Kempton before but he has ran twice on a right-handed track, once at Sandown (2nd) and once at Carlisle (1st). Kempton is quite a flat track but he’s won around Aintree which is also flat.


The last horse to mention is Aso, who will be the outsider of the party. It has been recent that Aso has burst into this grade. He won a handicap after a 397 day break last November and, next time out, he won a handicap chase at Cheltenham, beating subsequent Bet Victor Gold Cup winner Happy Diva. After that, he was sixth, beaten 29 lengths by Cyrname in the grade one Ascot Chase. At the Cheltenham Festival, he was a gutsy second to Frodon in the Ryanair, finishing ahead of Road To Respect, who beat Clan Des Obeaux last time. On seasonal reappearance, he came third to Ballyoptic in the Charlie Hall and then he ran in the Peterborough Chase, finishing fifth. That was a really below par run and the trainer Venetia Williams has said that he does have off days. Her yard is in excellent form – they have had nine winners form her last fifteen runners (60%). I have a small feeling that this horse could run well but he has a lot to find on the strength of his recent form.


Surrounding Cyrname lately has been the talk of his official rating. The handicapper put him as the highest rated chaser in the country, which fuelled the Cyrname/Altior clash, alat season and it is now the horses opportunity to show whether he is worthy of his title. If this race was ran on official ratings, the result would be this…


• 1st Cyrname (177)
• 2nd Lostintranslation (173)
• 3rd Clan Des Obeaux (169)
• 4th Thistlecrack (167)
• 5th Aso (166)
• 6th Footpad (165)


Lostintranslation shot up 12lbs for his victory at Haydock and Cyrname was raised 1lbs for his domination of Altior. Thistlecrack got a mark of 171 after his King George victory three years ago and Clan Des Obeaux got 173. Aso is on a career high mark and Footpad peaked at 166.


However, my choice in this race is LOSTINTRANSLATION. He has everything going for him – he’s a bold scopey horse who looks like his very purpose on this earth was to jump a fence. He is trained by a maestro in Colin Tizzard and ridden by one of the greats Robbie Power. Cyrname is my second choice but I don’t think he will last home against my selection. Thistlecrack will come cruising at the home turn and run a big race.


Kepp an eye out on my twitter page (@sam_angelina22) on Boxing Day for my selections for the full Kempton card, including a big price selection for the Christmas Hurdle.
Merry Christmas!!

Preview of racing in Ireland on St Stephen’s Day

By Luke

Racing over the festive period gets underway on Thursday with three race meeting in Ireland. Laurina and Fakir D’oudairies clash in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown. Twenty minutes later at Limerick Samcro and Faugheen will lock horns in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase over two and a half miles.

Racing Post Novice Chase (Leopardstown 2:20)

Fakir D’oudairies has taken to fences very impresively this season. He built on his Juvenile Hurdle form and surpassed it to date. He was last seen winning the Drinmore at Fairyhouse. He put in a perfect round of jumping and won by twenty two lengths after Samcro came down two out.

Fakir D'oudairies
Fakir D’oudairies

Laurina was also an impressive winner last time out at Gowran Park. She bet Minella Indo by an effortless eight lengths. Minella Indo was a dual Grade one winner over hurdles and will be better over longer trips. Laurina was a high class hurdler and I think she will be better again over fences.

IMG_7808
Notebook (blue cap)

Notebook was impressive last time out at Punchestown. He bet Moon Over Germany very convincingly over two miles. He is an immaculate jumper and will enjoy conditions. He has left his hurdles form far behind him and should run a good race.

Selection – Laurina

Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase (Limerick 2:40)

Twenty minutes later at Limerick Faugheen and Samcro clash over two miles and four furlongs. Samcro was last seen at Fairyhouse in the Drinmore when he fell two from home. He was travelling very well and I thought he would have won easy. Prior to that he was flawless at Down Royal when winning by seventeen lengths. I think he is the best Novice chaser in training and will be hard to beat.

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Faugheen

The legend Faugheen lines up here at the age of eleven. He was an impressive winner of his Beginners Chase at Punchestown. He made a very bad mistake at the eight fence and was lucky to maintain the partnership with Paul Townend. Patrick Mullins gets the leg up almost seven year after winning his bumper on him in Punchestown.

Of the others in the race Off You Go and Castlebroo, look the most appealing.  Castlebrook has taken to fences very well while Off You Go hasn’t been as convincing. Off You Go came down at the last at Fairyhouse when looking like running a decent race. Castlebrook has won over fences and was a good third behind Getabird and Paloma Blue last time out. Two decent horses to look out for later on in the season but I’d be surprised if they got involved here.

Selection- Samcro

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Samcro

Bet With Tote Maiden Hurdle (Leopardstown 12:10)

Arthurian Fame ran a nice debut over hurdles at Cork. He finished second behind Tiger Voice over two miles on soft to heavy ground. He will enjoy the slightly better ground at Leopardstown. He was a high rated horse on the flat, once rated one hundred. I think with the benefit of the run he will go close for Joseph O’Brien. 

Thorntons Recycling Maiden Hurdle (Leopardstown 12:40)

Entoucas has two promising runs this season under his belt. He was last seen finishing a close second to Thatsy at Navan a month ago. Prior to that he finished behind Envoi Allen and Front View. Both have since boosted the form. I think he will be able to build on his runs this season and get his head infront with Mark Walsh in the saddle.

Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle (Leopardstown 1:10)

A Wave Of The Sea was last seen finishing second to Cerberus at Fairyhouse giving him four pounds. His jumping let him down at times as well as giving away weight contributed to him being bet. A stiffer test of stamina that Leopardstown presents will see him to better effect. He has plenty of experience and I think it could be an opening treble for the Joseph O’Brien yard.

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A Wave Of The Sea

 

O’Kelly Brothers Demolition Mares Handicap Hurdle (Limerick 2:05)

Bay Ambition appeared to be travelling very well when taking a heavy fall two out at Navan last time out. Prior to that she won her Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick in October. If the fall has no effect on her I think she be be hard to beat.

 

Ascot Christmas Raceday Preview

Paisley Park (JTW Equine Images)

By Samantha

Ascot’s meeting this Saturday is the feature card on show on ITV Racing. This raceday acts as a appetizer to the main course on Boxing Day where the best-of-the-best face off in a scintillating King George VI Chase.

However, the Ascot card has some great races to look forward to and my main focus is on two hurdle races – The Long Walk and Betfair Exchange Trophy. There was a six race card on Friday with Angels Breath and Master Debonair stealing the show in the two grade two contests. I’ve heard mixed reports in regard to the ground but it definitely will be very testing for the runners and is predicted to be soft/heavy. An inspection will take place at 8am.

On another note, the Rein It In Racing Team would like to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year . 🙂

12:40 – Foundation Development Novices Handicap Hurdle

MISTER TICKLE was leading at the last over three miles one furlong and just faded close home to be denied a neck. This is the best trip for him and he’s from a good yard.

13:15 – Betfair Exchange Graduation Chase

This race is a really interesting contest. My selection is RIDERS ON THE STORM because he looked like a really smart horse last time in a handicap. He jumps and travels well. Double Shuffle is a grand horse who has ran in Gold Cups and King Georges. Gordon Elliott send over Paloma Blue, whose always been well thought of. On The Blind Side was fancied for the Ladbrokes but flopped and Mont Des Avaloirs pulled up last time.

Paisley Park (JTW Equine Images)

14:25 – Marsh Hurdle (Long Walk Hurdle) (Grade One)

Six runners got to post for this grade one over three miles for the Stayers. The standout horse in the race is PAISLEY PARK. He won the race last year before going on to win the Cleeve Hurdle and the pinnacle Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. This season, he returned with a win in the grade two Long Distance Hurdle. He’s been unbeaten for his last six runs and no horse has got close to him recently. The ground is going to be so testing.

The Worlds End won at Wetherby in a grade two at the beginning of the season and was third to Paisley Park at Newbury last time. He led that day and set a good pace. He lacked the finishing kick to out-run the aforementioned horse and Thistlecrack, who is on course for the King George. He has place claims in this race.

The Worlds End (JTW Equine Images)

It is absolutely wonderful to see L’Ami Serge back on a racecourse after an injury caused him to be off for 580 days. When last seen, he was seventh in a grade one at Auteuil. Before that, he won the grade one Aintree Hurdle and he has won six times over hurdles and won his first two chasers. He may need this comeback run.

Davy Russell is a really interesting jockey booking for the Nick-Williams trainer Agrapart. The 145 rated Martaline gelding hasn’t won over hurdles since winning the Cleeve Hurdle by three lengths, with The Worlds End in fourth, in 2018. He won on the flat in May and has had two outings so far this season, both at Auteuil. He was fourth both times and I think he has a bit to find with Paisley Park.

Tobefair was an extremely impressive winner at Cheltenham in late October on heavy ground in a class two. Last time, he was a creditable third off 11st12, a whole stone higher than any rival, in a listed handicap. Connections don’t have many opportunities in handicap company anymore because of his mark. He is rated higher than Agrapart, The Worlds End and Papagana so deserves his place in the race.

Papagana gets a 7lbs allowance from the boys and she has won her last two races. One was in March in a three mile listed and the other was in a similar race at Kempton. She thoroughly stays the trip and is an interesting runner.

15:00 Ascot – Plymouth Gin Handicap Chase

FIRST FLOW is one of my 20 To Watch and I’ve always thought he’d be a good chaser. He finally got off the mark at Hereford seven days ago. That was so easy it wasn’t even a proper race. Before that, he’d been behind Summerville Boy and Angels Breath, who won a grade two recently.

Monsieur Lecoq (JTW Equine Images)

15:35 – Betfair Exchange Trophy

The Greatwood Hurdle could be a good form line into this race. Harambe won the race by a neck. Before that, he followed in Thyme Hill and Getaway Trump, which is good form. His victory last time was the biggest win of his career and he’s been put up 6lbs. Monsieur Lecoq came third and, seven days ago, he ran in the International Hurdle and was a very fast finishing fourth. He’s still a five year old and quite lightly raced. However, he has the burden of top weight.

Quoi De Neuf came fourth. He was in the lead turning in and made a bold bid but he was just held. For that effort, he was raised 4lbs. Despite this, he has the third lowest weight. Piloting him will be Adam Wedge. The jockey had a good day on the seventh, winning a grade one, but he was one of the ‘Sandown Seven’ in the final race on the card. Him and six other jockeys were handed seven day suspensions in the final race for ‘ignoring’ stop signals and finishing the race after the tragic death of Houblon Des Obeaux. In a hearing on Tuesday, the jockeys’ bans were quashed and they are free to ride over the Christmas period.

Zanza finished sixth, one place behind Dame De Compagnie who was a convincing winner at Cheltenham last Saturday. He hit the last, which didn’t aid his cause, but he still been put up 2lbs to a career high mark. Crooks Peak is also trained by Phillip Hobbs and Richard Johnson rides. He’s ran three times since May and, on all occasions, he has been fourth. One of those was behind Epatante in a listed race. In second that day was French Crusader.

French Crusader is one of two for Nicky Henderson with the other contender being Countister, who was seventh in the Greatwood. French Crusader has remarkable form figures – 1521212. Last time was his first run for well over a year and before that he’d won at Newbury. He’s never raced on ground this soft before but he’s still only six. In 2018, Countister came fifth in the Mares Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and she was third in this year’s County Hurdle, beaten one and three quarter lengths. She usually needs her comeback run.

Mohaayed won this race last season and, in the March, he won the County Hurdle, with Remiluc in second. Since then, he has been beaten a long way, including coming ninth in the Greatwood. Before that, he was last in the Welsh Champion Hurdle behind Monsieur Lecoq. He’s dropped back to 145 and, for a change, he doesn’t have top weight. Remiluc hasn’t been seen for 629 days, when unseating at Plumpton next time out. He’s four from twenty six but he’s 5lbs higher than his last winning mark and will probably need this.

Whoshotthesherriff began his career with Gordon Elliott. He won on the fifth time of asking, then came second before finally being sold to Phillip Kirby. The gelding won his first two starts for them. He fell when travelling extremely well at Cheltenham at the beginning of the season. Next time, he led and just didn’t have enough to give to get past Bold Plan. He’s going to appreciate the drop back to two miles.

Paul Nicholls has two runners – Scaramanga and Tamaroc Du Mathan. Both of these are four year olds but Scaramanga has ran significantly more. He was average for James Fanshawe on the flat in 2018 before making his hurdles debut for Nicholls in January 2019. He won a maiden on his third try and then he came second in a competitive handicap in late March. He ran in a good four year old hurdle at Chepstow before winning well at Wincanton. He’s the second choice on jockey bookings as Brian Carver rides. Harry Cobden rides Tamaroc Du Mathan. The Poligote gelding won over hurdles in April 2018 in France and made his debut Paul Nicholls less than a month ago, when he was second to Master Debonair. This is really strong form as that horse has just hacked up in a grade two. He’s really unexposed.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has Sir Valentine. He ran six times for Alan King before moving to his current yard to go hurdling. This six year old fell when holding a decent chance on hurdles bow then won a novice hurdle at Newbury. Last time, he was second to Ribble Valley, who was an eight length second to Master Debonair. On collateral form, Tamaroc Du Mathan is a little bit ahead of Sir Valentine.

Irish raider Turnpike Trip was a good horse on the flat for Henry Candy before moving to Charles Byrnes in Ireland. He won first time out for the shrewd trainer and then came second in a Listed race. He won at Listowel and Tipperary before coming fourth at Fairyhouse in a grade one to Envoi Allen, only beaten eight lengths. Because of this, he’s got second top weight of 11st8 but he’s a smart individual. He’s never tackled ground of this nature.

Umbrigado achieved a treble on his first three starts for David Pipe and he was thought good enough to run in the grade one Mersey Novices Hurdle behind Reserve Tank. On reappearance, connections tried him over three miles but he didn’t really enjoy that, coming fifth. Two miles is his cup of tea. He’s another who has never tackled this type of ground.

I’m going to go for NOT SO SLEEPY in this race. Not So Sleepy has bottom weight and is a high-level flat performer. He won the Dee Stakes at Chester during his three year old campaign. This seven year old won a novice hurdle in February. Also, last time, he won a competitive handicap by two lengths. He’s a interesting horse and could be well handicapped. He is also a winner on this ground.

Cheltenham 14/12/19 Preview

Elixir De Nutz (Copyright JTW EQUINE IMAGES)

By Samantha

This Saturday’s card at Cheltenham looks really interesting and there are lots of good races to light up this winter afternoon!

Race One-

JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle

BOTOX HAS ran once in France before moving to Gary Moore. He won on debut for them by a whopping eighteen lengths. Last time, he was second over course and distance to the smart Allmankind and one place ahead of Repetitio, who won on the Friday of this meeting. He seems a really exciting horse. Dan Skelton trains Allmankind and has Langer Dan in this race. He won at Ludlow on debut and then defied running green to win a listed race easily. He’s a threat.

Race Two-

Ryman Novices’ Chase

This is a decent little race. One of my 20 To Watch, BEAKSTOWN, runs in this race. I always thought that he was made to be a chaser but he’s followed in Sam Spinner and Champ on his two tries over fences. You definitely can’t discount him. Nigel Twiston-Davies has two representatives- Topofthecotswolds and Good Boy Bobby. The latter is preferred as Sam Twiston-Davies is on board. He won very convincingly last time. Nicky Henderson has Mister Fisher and Champagne Platinum. The former was second to Torpillo on chasing bow and Champagne Platinum is having just his fourth start and first run over fences. Nestor Park and Garo De Juilley are outsiders.

Race Three-

Cheltenham Club Handicap Chase

Top weight is the Dan Skelton trained six year old DESTRIER. This horse won at Ayr on good to soft in January and then he came third in a grade one novices’ chase at Aintree. On seasonal reappearance, he came third in the Haldon Gold Cup and that was a good run. He seems to have a bit of class about him. Ballywood ran creditably at Ascot last time and Croco Bay won at the Cheltenham Festival in March. He’s not been seen since coming third in a Grade B Chase at Punchestown.

Race Four-

Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase

This race lost some of its depth when recent emphatic winner Riders Onthe Storm was mistakenly deemed a non-runner. This, though, plays into the hands of one of my 20 To Watch, Cepage. This horse followed in Frodon on his sole start of last season and was second to Riders Onthe Storm, running a brilliant race. When the initial weights came out, I was pleased because Kalashnikov kept Cepage‘s weight low but that horse is out so Cepage has top weight of 11st10.

The weights of Clondaw Castle and Knocknauss caught my eye. The former has 11st1 and he was last seen coming second to Diego Du Charmil in that controversial race. He ran gamely to the line but he’s having his first try past two miles. Knocknauss carries 1lbs more. He is an extremely free-going sort but he came fifth in the Arkle and fifth in a grade one at Aintree. He took a keen hold the last twice but I know there’s a good prize in him at one point. Benatar is making his seasonal reappearance. He was last seen coming seventh to Cyrname in January and he’s not won since he won a grade two in December 2017.

Secret Investor (Copyright JTW EQUINE IMAGES)

Secret Investor is a previous Persian War winner and he went chasing straight after that. He ran into the smart Bags Groove at Wincanton and Kempton in good races. Sandwiched between that, I saw him come second at Warwick to Ok Corral. He won in March and April and, on seasonal reappearance, they sent him to Ireland, where he came second in a grade two. He’s one of the favourites.

Brelan D’As and Not That Fuisse are also well-fancied. Brelan D’As is Secret Investor‘s stablemate. This horse was third in the Grand Annual but was well beaten at Aintree. He unseated on his first try out this season but only got beaten a neck in the Bet Victor Gold Cup. Warthog and Spiritofthegames also ran in that. Warthog made a bold bid from the front and this lovely grey only weakened on the flat. The ground may have been the problem that day.

Not That Fuisse (Copyright JTW EQUINE IMAGES)

Not That Fuisse and Spiritofthegames are stablemates. Harry Skelton rides Not That Fuisse. The bottoms weight, he has ran three times over fences – second to Erick Le Rouge, second to Al Dancer and fourth to Torpillo. His jumping is decent but he’s very unexposed. Spiritofthegames was third at the Cheltenham Festival and fifth in a grade one novice chase last season. He pulled up on debut this season and then came eleventh at Newbury on Ladbrokes Trophy day.

Keeper Hill has second top weight. He won at Warwick in January over three miles and a furlong and was then well-beaten in decent races, including the Stayers Hurdle. He came third at Aintree over hurdles but ran an absolute blinder to win at 18/1 in a graduation chase at Haydock. Connections like him a lot and he deserves his place here. He hasn’t been running over fences much lately though.

Robin Des Foret has been sent over by Willie Mullins from Ireland. The 9-year-old hasn’t been seen since coming second at Limerick in a grade 3 in March and he has followed in some good horses. His jumping may come under pressure. The same can be said for Good Man Pat. His jumping was horrendous in the Close Brothers at Cheltenham. Generous Day stayed on well over this trip at Kempton at 33/1 last time out but he likes good going. Imperial Presence is a huge price.

In conclusion, I am going with CEPAGE to defy the weight.

Spiritofthegames (left) (Copyright JTW EQUINE IMAGES)

Race Five-

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade Two)

This is a good little contest for this grade two prize. Valtor and Igor one on the same day at Ascot. The former beat Redford Road over two miles five and he’s a lot older than the rest aged 10. Igor won by seven lengths in the later two miles three furlongs race. I’d be more inclined to prefer the latter as he has more scope. Redford Road is the second string Nigel Twiston-Davies but Sam said that it was a tough decision to pick between him and Mossy Fen. This horse fell and won in points but is now two from two over hurdles. He won over this trip first time and one well last time. I slightly prefer CHAMPAGNE WELL. He won well over this course on seasonal debut and then he came second over the same course and distance last time, behind Thyme Hill. The yard is flying so he should go well. Kiltealy Briggs could run a good race but Saint Xavier and The Mulcair are outsiders.

Race Six-

Unibet International Hurdle

This Grade Two contest, worth £140,000, has attracted a good field with a few grade one performers taking their chances.

One of those is Pentland Hills. This gelding has took the Owners Group to the top. An ex flat horse, he won at Plumpton in February by fourteen lengths and then won by three lengths in the grade one Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Next time, he won the Aintree equivalent, beating multiple subsequent chase winner Fakir D’Oudairies. He is a really smart individual and will inevitably be a Champion Hurdle challenger for a yard who’ve recently had to rule out Buveur D’Air for the season.

Nicky Henderson also has Call Me Lord. James Bowen takes over the ride from Daryl Jacob who is side-lined until after Christmas. He was one of the seven jockeys who received ten day bans for ignoring a stop flag at Sandown last week. This will open up a lot of good rides over the coming weeks. Call Me Lord came third in the Imperial Cup, with Monsieur Lecoq in second, and then, on seasonal reappearance, he battled out a good finish with If The Cap Fits at Ascot in the Coral Hurdle but came out worse to be second. He’s a previous grade two winner.

Monsieur Lecoq runs in this race as well and goes off level weights, despite the fact that he is rated 10lbs inferior. After coming tenth in the County Hurdle, he won the Welsh Champion Hurdle and then came third in the Greatwood, one place behind Gumball. He’s no mug and he beat Le Prezien. Before that second, Gumball was given a peach by Ben Jones at Ascot to win a listed race. He was a smart juvenile, coming second in a grade one and two. After that, he lost his way over obstacles but won on the flat three times. He is meant to be ridden by Richard Johnson but he had a crashing fall from Stoney Mountain on Friday. Both if these horses are stepping up from handicap company.

Gumball is the second string of Terry Warner. The first string is Elixir De Nutz. This horse is part of my 20 To Watch and he was second on debut for the Tizzard yard to Olly Murphy’s Supreme second Thomas Darby. Next time, he won the grade two Supreme Trial, then a novice hurdle and finally the Unibet Tolworth Hurdle. I was all over him for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Sadly, he missed that race due to an injury. He is better now and it is really exciting to see him back out. He has a long absence to overcome but he’s a classy individual.

Ch’tibello hasn’t been seen since coming third to Supasundae and Buveur D’Air in the grade one Aintree Hurdle. He won the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but his record fresh isn’t great. He’s a Scottish Champion Hurdle winner though. La Patriote completed a three timer from November to May. Last time, he was fourth in the Coral Hurdle, behind Call Me Lord, so he has a bit to find. Ballyandy was sixth at Chepstow in October and he then came fourth in a grade two behind The Worlds End. He’s one of the outsiders.

My selection for the race is ELIXIR DE NUTZ as he is a really smart horse and hopefully can pickup where he left off last season.

Race Seven-

Park Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

This race is just for the mares and seventeen take their chances. Lust for Glory is a good mare and she ran a decent race on reappearance to come second at Ascot. She’s trying two miles and four furlongs for the first time but I think she’ll stay Vision De Puy was behind Lady Buttons last time but her fellow JP McManus own rival is preferred. DAME DE COMPAGNIE came off a long absence to run in the Greatwood and she finished fifth, staying on. Two miles four is her ideal trip.

Becher Chase Preview 2019

Ballyoptic (JTWEQUINEIMAGES)

By Samantha

The Becher Chase is the first time in a season where we get to see the infamous Grand National Fences. Raced over three miles and a furlong, we have two previous winners as part of the field of eighteen taking their chances in 2019.

In 2018, the race was won by Walk In The Mill with Vieux Lion Rouge in second. Walk In The Mill won this and then ran in two hurdles before a tilt at the Grand National. He came a very good fourth in that race but pulled up in the Badger Ales. He comes alive over these fences and is only 4lbs higher than last year. Vieux Lion Rouge has ran seven times over these obstacles, winning one of those in this race in 2016. He’s 1lbs lower than his highest winning mark.

Ballyoptic and Regal Flow failed to complete last year’s renewal. Ballyoptic fell at the eleventh and also in the actual Grand National too. There would be questions about his liking for the fences. However, he’s been in very good form this season, winning a handicap chase at Chepstow and then the Charlie Hall Chase. Last time, he was last in the Betfair Chase and this is more his grade. Regal Flow last won in March 2018 in the Midland’s Grand National. On his second start of the next campaign, he unseated James Bowen in this race at the famous Foinavon fence. Today, he’s a long way out the bottom of the handicap and is 2lbs lower then his last winning mark.

As well as Walk In The Mill, Vieux Lion Rouge and Ballyoptic running in the 2019 Grand National, One For Arthur and Vintage Clouds took their chances in the greatest steeplechase of them all. One For Arthur won the 2017 Grand National but then wasn’t seen until the eighth of December 2018 when he unseated behind Definitely Red. Next time out, he unseated again in the Peter Marsh when Ballydine was third. He came sixth at Aintree and, on seasonal reappearance, came fourth to Mysteree at Kelso. He definitely has the ability to win this and he’s not that overly exposed. Vintage Clouds was second at the Cheltenham Festival and then fell at the first in the Grand National. A week later, he came sixth in the Scottish Grand National. He also used the aforementioned Kelso race as his seasonal debut but he finished fifth, one place behind One For Arthur. He will be partnered by Henry Brooke, who is fresh from Grade One glory at Newcastle last week.

Vintage Clouds (JTW EQUINE IMAGES)

Vintage Clouds‘ regular partner is Danny Cook but he rides old pal Definitely Red. This horse won on this card last year in the Many Clouds Chase and, before that, in the Charlie Hall. Since then, he got beat in a match, brought down in the Gold Cup and fifth in the Punchestown Gold Cup. Last time, he came fourth in the Charlie Hall behind Ballyoptic. He ran in One For Arthur’s National and that was his only try over these fences.

Mysteree ended a long losing run after scoring at Kelso when last seen, beating One For Arthur and Vintage Clouds. When previously seen, he’d been second to Crosspark in the Eider over four miles so stamina is assured. Kimberlite Candy was fifth that day . Mysteree stays well and jumps well too. This will be his first try over these fences. I’m sure the National is a long-term option. Kimberlite Candy ran once after that Newcastle run – in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. He was pulled up at the 16th and that may have been due to his stamina. He’s one of the more fancied runners as he’s five from sixteen and Richie McLernon is in excellent form.

Alpha Des Obeaux (JTW EQUINE IMAGES)

Ballydine is making his seasonal debut. He was last seen pulled up in the Midlands National. He’s very unexposed as he’s only ran thirteen times. He won a chase at Sandown in February 2018 and he’s 8lbs higher than that winning mark. Abolitionist was with Ellmarie Holden in Ireland when he won the Leinster National. He came off a long absence to win on debut for the Richard Newman’s yard but was then well-beaten on his three subsequent starts. Alpha Des Obeaux is the sole Irish runner. He comes from the Gordon Elliott yard and Richard Johnson rides. He’s ran twice this season, coming second to Jett in a grade three and then was a good third to Road To Respect and Clan Des Obeaux in a grade one at Down Royal. He’s very consistent but fell in the 2017 National.

As De Mee is a six time winner and has won over this trip before. Last time, he was coming off a 630 day lay off when finishing seventh in a hurdles race at Cheltenham, when Vieux Lion Rouge was ninth. Minellacelebration won at Uttoxeter in 2018 the at Aintree in June after a break. He unseated at Ffos Las then came sixth to Wandrin Star at Wincanton. Wandrin Star rallied well that day to eventually win by a half length. This eight year old won’t want it too soft and he’s only ran fourteen times. He’s is one of interest. However, he was behind Like The Sound at Wincanton in January. That horse pulled up and unseated on his next two starts. After that, he won at Taunton before finishing for the season. He was ninth of nine on reappearance so is a 33/1 shot.

Le Breuil (JTW EQUINE IMAGES)

Le Breuil was the winner of the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, under Jamie Codd, on his last start of the 2018/19 campaign. That race was horrific and just four tired horses finished. He seems to now be taking the logical steps towards the Grand National, as he stays. He pulled up in a grade two hurdle on seasonal reappearance and connections are probably using this as a prep for the big race in April.

My selection is Mulcahys Hill. It’s quite obvious to see my love for this racehorse if you follow me on Twitter/Instagram or even know me in person. He’s so lovable and battled out an extremely willing victory at Cheltenham last time, beating Wholestone, who has subsequently won very well. He ran over fences last season without winning (but kept good company) and fell in the National Hunt Chase. I have been informed that he schooled well over the Lambourn Aintree fences so I’m confident in his chances. All I want is for him (and all the other runners) to get round safely. I wish the McNeill Family, Adrian Heskin and the team at Warren all the luck in the world.

As well as Mully, I think, if taking to the fences, Mysteree could run well but it will demand his best. One For Arthur seems to be clambering back to his old level of form. Walk In The Mill loves the fences.

Rest Of The Team Selections

Luke – Alpha Des Obeaux

Lois – Mysteree (EW)

Killian – Vintage Clouds

ITV Races

13:30 Aintree – Mulcahys Hill (One Of My 20 To Watch)

13:50 Sandown – Torpillo

Some really good horses have won this recently. This horse is only four so gets weight-for-age and is already a dual Chase winner. Fakir D’Oudairies, who’s only four, won a grade one chase in Ireland over the weekend.

14:05 Aintree – Break The Rules

This horse was a short head second to Midnight’s Gift, who also contests this race, at Fakenham last time and it will be between these two again. The Martin Smith team deserve to have a nice horse and this filly definitely could be smart.

14:25 Sandown – Smarty Wild

He’s four from five and I’m not sure what happened on his penultimate start to warrant such a poor performance but he ran very well to win last time so I think that start can be overlooked.

14:40 Aintree – Native River

This looks a good opportunity to get this horse’s head in front again. He won the Gold Cup beating Might Bite and has finished ahead of that horse a few times.

15:00 Sandown – Defi Du Seuil

Made easy work of Politologue at Cheltenham in the Shloer Chase. He looks like he could be the dominant horse in this division as it seems Altior is going up in trip. He beat Lostintranslation at Cheltenham and we all know how good he seems to be!

15:15 Aintree – Ultragold

This horse is a proper chaser. He loves these fences. He’s only been beaten a handful of times over these fences and he just comes alive over them.

15:35 Sandown – Sharp Response

He won at Catterick in January and was a decent second in a good race last time. Live contender.

MULCAHYS HILL