#startracking Thursday December 10th 5pm

Cheltenham’s card tomorrow is full of interest and hopefully your trackers are telling you we have some runners.

Unfortunately both Fletchers Flyer and Onenightinvienna reoppose at 12noon with FF five pounds better off for a length and a quarter. The race is over three miles one furlong and the field is real quality completed by Blaklion, Vicente, Minella Rocco and Private Malone. In an ideal world I would like to see FF romp home and confirm the RSA as his spring target whilst OniV is outpaced four out before staying on really well up the hill and is pencilled in for the 4m NH chase.

Fletchers Flyer            2* bet @ 7/2 with Coral

Onenightinvienna       1* bet @ 5/1 with Paddy Power

Later in the afternoon at 2.55 Fingerontheswitch runs in the C2 3m handicap hurdle. Conditions look ideal and with Tom Scudamore riding at 10st 4lbs he should be very competitive. One Track Mind could be the best of these in time but is on season debut tomorrow and like Zeroeshadesofgrey 49SimpleSimonSays… had on the Master List but the latter returns to hurdling after just one go over the larger obstacles.

Fingerontheswitch      2* bet @ 6/1 general

Now to confuse everybody. By the time Some Buckle runs in the 1.10 hopefully you will have all found out that he is to be included in #startracking. Cost £180K, beaten just 4L in last season’s Imperial Cup off this mark, running in a C3 for Paul Nicholls, Sam Twiston-Davies on board. Looks good but I’m suggesting a watching brief. The yard is quiet, 5 from 42 in the last fortnight, the horse will almost certainly need the run, he runs in a tongue tie (does he need or has he had his wind “tweaked”?) and we want to see this 6yo chasing.

Some Buckle   Watching Brief @ 10/1 (Ladbrokes)

 

What a busy day with some smashing horses on show here and in the Emerald Island. Definitely seen a couple more to go in #startracking.

Meanwhile news aplenty on social media.

 

#startracking Ante post update

Johnson sides with Village Vic at Cheltenham By Andrew King 9:08AM 10 DEC 2015

“RICHARD JOHNSON has chosen to ride Village Vic in Saturday’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham. The runaway jockeys’ title leader had the option of partnering Philip Hobbs-trained stablemate Champagne West, who is priced two points shorter in the betting at 8-1 with Ladbrokes and William Hill. Hobbs said: “Dave Roberts [Johnson’s agent] informed me that Richard wanted to ride Village Vic on Saturday and that is what will happen. Champagne West will now be partnered by Tom O’Brien. They are both very good horses and we hope they go there with very good chances.” Village Vic has race fitness on his side, having won both starts – at Musselburgh and Wetherby – this season, while Champagne West, who has won twice at the track over fences, is set to return after a 315-day layoff. Stan James reacted by cutting Village Vic into 8-1 (from 10) for the Grade 3 handicap chase.”

I suppose it has to be a negative. However Tom O’Brien is no bad substitute, rode him here in the Dipper when 2nd to Ptit Zig, and CW is still 9/1 and could get bigger.

#startracking update

Dan Skelton targets Relkeel Hurdle for exciting Virgilio Racing UK news Thursday 10 December 2015

“Virgilio will test the waters in graded company in the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. The Dan Skelton-trained six-year-old turned what look a competitive handicap at Aintree on Saturday into a procession. He will now be stepped up in class, and a clash with World Hurdle winner Cole Harden is on the cards. “Virgilio will go to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day for the two-and-a-half-mile conditions race,” said Skelton. “We thought we may as well give it a try in that sort of race. He’s been put up 11lb by the handicapper to 149 so that is the reason and we’ll see how he gets on in graded company. We’d thought about going chasing with him, but those plans are on hold now.”

#startracking news

Skelton also was pleased to report Al Ferof had come through his Peterborough Chase exertions with flying colours.”Al Ferof is A1 and now all roads lead to Kempton for the King George,” he said.”

Sunday @ Navan        Bellshill could face up to 11 rivals as he looks to make it two from two over obstacles in Sunday’s Navan Novice Hurdle. Winner of the Champion Bumper at last season’s Punchestown Festival, the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old made an impressive start to his career over hurdles at Cork last month and is set to test the water at Grade Two level this weekend. Mullins has also entered Bleu Et Rouge, also a maiden hurdle winner on the same Cork card, as well as Gowran scorer Stone Hard.

Other contenders include the Noel Meade-trained Disko, Christy Roche’s Naas winner Chesterfieldavenue and Gordon Elliott’s trio Cogryhill, Jetstream Jack and Tycoon Prince.

Mullins’ dual bumper winner Balko Des Flos is one of a host of interesting entries in the Irish Stallion Owners European Breeders Fund Maiden Hurdle.

The champion trainer’s Tell Us More could make his debut over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Beginners Chase, a race that also features the high-class Fine Article from Paul Nolan’s yard.

The ‘Future Champions’ INH Flat Race is a fascinating finale, with Dermot Weld’s Don’t Tell No One and Jessica Harrington’s stunning Punchestown winner Our Duke among the possibles.

 

Michael Looby ‏@michaellooby2 Thursday 1pm

Balko Des Flos, Burgas, Black Hercules, Tell Us More and Killultagh Vic all entered at Navan on Monday

 

Fallout from Min’s victory at Punchestown – David Baxter Racing Post

Last season the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was won by Douvan, and there are plenty of parallels between the two, with both sired by Walk In The Park and purchased by the same connections from France. Douvan is a two-time winner at Punchestown, with his first win the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle, a race that now looks the next logical option for Min. Mullins confirmed it could be on Min’s agenda, as he said: “That was two miles two furlongs and looking at him, he would have no problem at two miles or going up to two and a half. He has stamina and plenty of gears. He took off with Ruby at halfway but he jumped very, very well. Christmas will come a bit soon but he could come back here in January.”

Having started prominently in fourth, Ruby Walsh took up the running as the field went past the stands for the first time, and it was a lead that never looked in danger. Double Island, second in the betting at 7-2, came on the premises before three out, but had no answer when the 4-11 favourite quickened at the final flights. A ready burst of acceleration between the final two hurdles put the race beyond doubt, and a sharp jump at the last was an emphatic stamp on a 14-length victory. Walsh said: “He did it well. He raced a bit keenly but he had some experience in France so his jumping was very good. He quickened up nicely in the straight to win well in the end. It was only a maiden so you will never know how good he is. We won’t know how good he is until all these novices start to meet.”Last season the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was won by Douvan, and there are plenty of parallels between the two, with both sired by Walk In The Park and purchased by the same connections from France.

Douvan is a two-time winner at Punchestown, with his first win the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle, a race that now looks the next logical option for Min.

Mullins confirmed it could be on Min’s agenda, as he said: “That was two miles two furlongs and looking at him, he would have no problem at two miles or going up to two and a half.  He has stamina and plenty of gears. He took off with Ruby at halfway but he jumped very, very well. Christmas will come a bit soon but he could come back here in January.”

Job done

Having started prominently in fourth, Ruby Walsh took up the running as the field went past the stands for the first time, and it was a lead that never looked in danger.

Double Island, second in the betting at 7-2, came on the premises before three out, but had no answer when the 4-11 favourite quickened at the final flights.

A ready burst of acceleration between the final two hurdles put the race beyond doubt, and a sharp jump at the last was an emphatic stamp on a 14-length victory.

Walsh said: “He did it well. He raced a bit keenly but he had some experience in France so his jumping was very good. He quickened up nicely in the straight to win well in the end. It was only a maiden so you will never know how good he is. We won’t know how good he is until all these novices start to meet.”

 

Going @CheltenhamRaces International Meeting:

TurfTrax@TurfTrax

Going Int Meeting:

C&H:Soft, Gd to Sft in pls CC:Gd to Sft GS: C&H 6.9, CC 7.4 on Thursday 16:00

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