Posted Monday December 7th 6pm
The more I look at this race the more I am convinced that JOLLY’S CRACKED IT has to run a big race in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot a week on Saturday.
I love a man with a plan and Harry Fry flagged up this race a month ago.
Will he go on the ground? He has won on soft and good and only heavy ground would be a concern.
Will he appreciate the trip? A stiff two miles in a strongly run race is what he wants. When tried over 2m 4f in the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham he didn’t get home. He has won three times, twice at Ascot over the 2m trip, the other at Wincanton, another right handed track.
Is the horse in form? Last time out he was third to Nabucco beaten ¾ length in a similar event over course and distance only just failing to get up which was understandable on his first run of the year. He was been put up 3lb which I think is fair, so yes.
Is the yard in form? Since November 1st Harry Fry has had 14 winners from 49 runners, 7 from his last 18, that’s hot!
What about the jockey? Heard these words before “let’s hope Noel Fehily is booked to ride”? That would be ideal but Nick Schofield would be an OK substitute but I could get really excited if Fry chose to put up the yards claimer, Liam McKenna, and take off 7lb. I am a big fan of this young man, he seems a good horseman, and he doesn’t panic. Even if Mr M Legg (7) was put up I wouldn’t worry but he has the “have saddle, will travel” policy and I feel he is an unlikely booking.
What about the opposition? Nicky Henderson always does well and could field the likes of Sign of a Victory, the improving novice Altior or the talented 4yo Hargam but Henderson just isn’t the all-conquering force he was. Someone who is though is Willie Mullins and he has Rennetti, Sempre Medici and Noble Inn entered. The former worries me most but he keeps giving ten lengths away at the start but rattles home. My “mate”, Philip Hobbs, has an interesting pair entered in Cheltenian, who is a fixture in these events, and the 4yo Sternrubin who I have pencilled in for the County Hurdle at the Festival. Alan King’s Winner Massagot could be a handicap blot but not at that price for me.
So is the price value? I went in e/w last week at 14/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4), I’ve talked myself to going in again today to win at 14/1 and I have every intention of going in for a third time on the morning of the race if I can get five places and 8/1-ish.
I’m putting JOLLY’S CRACKED IT up as a three star each way selection @ 14/1.