Champagne West Here is most of what I put in the #startracking Ante post section earlier in the week.
“I’ve thought long and hard about this race and whether I should put forward a selection. All the statistics suggest that to find the winner your first port of call has to be the recent Paddy Power Gold Cup over course and distance. Well I was lucky enough to see that race in the flesh and I must put my hand up and admit I backed Generous Ransom who finished fifteenth of fifteen finishers! He is likely to run again as are Annacotty (1st), Buywise (2nd), Sound Investment (3rd), Irish Cavalier (5th), Art Mauresque (6th) and Johns Spirit (9th). Since then the handicapper has had his say and would once again expect a multiple dead heat! Concerning the first five home if you made a case for one to win you could make as big a case for the other four! So we are going to fly in the face of the two biggest trends, ran in that years Paddy Power and run in last 28 days and put forward CHAMPAGNE WEST as the selection. Course and distance form is crucial and Champagne West has won here twice. The horse has gone well fresh in the past, he will act on Soft ground, the yard is in fine fettle, jockey Richard Johnson is unstoppable and probably rides this track better than anyone in the weighing room and there is a distinct possibility that he could be a better horse than the 150 mark the handicapper currently has him on. So Champagne West is a three star nap at 9/1 with William Hill BUT we are putting in a couple of savers.
Returning to the Paddy Power there is a possibility that JOHNS SPIRIT needed that run as a confidence booster having been badly hampered by a faller in his previous run as he never seemed to be put in the race. He was second in the 2014 Paddy Power off a pound more and then campaigned at Grade 1 level. A three time course and distance winner he is the first one star saver at 14/1 with Coral or Betfred.
The second one star saver is ART MAURESQUE. On the book he has no chance of turning the form round on those who beat him in the Paddy Power. However he is only a 5yo, races off the same mark of 147 and if Sam Twiston-Davies opts for Sound Investment then regular partner Nick Schofield takes the ride (they have won four times together including C&D) and Team Ditcheat may find the necessary improvement. Currently on offer at 10/1 with Ladbrokes and BetFred.
Champagne West 3* @ 9/1 Johns Spirit 1* @ 14/1 Art Mauresque 1* @10/1
Friday Morning 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.
Friday Evening Update – Indeed Ladbrokes have gone 11/1, just had a small top up.
#startracking Yesterday (5* loss)
Onenightinvienna 2nd 11/2 Always there or thereabouts, jumped fine but Blaklion did him for toe on the run from the last. Still a strong fancy for the Festival NH 4miler. Interesting if connections mention RSA. Hope not.
Fletchers Flyer 3rd 3/1 (7/2 early) Led for most of the race but outsped and outstayed from the last. Jumped well and how about the Kim Muir off about 143 with Mr M Legg on board? Slight doubt about him getting more than 3m?
Some Buckle 6th 13/2 OMG they’ve backed it from 8’s into 6’s despite the Nicholls comments in the post AND the observations of #startracking!! My notes say “Tall and leggy. False start. Midfield, pushed to three out, travelling to 2 out, found nothing when race unfolded but kept on, to the horse’s credit.” Needed run and probably the ubiquitous wind op!
Fingerontheswitch 9th 5/1 (6/1 early) Looked quite simply that he didn’t stay the 3m, well not in this grade. Tom Scudamore had him amongst horses most of the way and wasn’t exactly swinging off the bridle. We’ll stick with the horse.
Poor fields at Cheltenham for a Saturday. More watching than punting although Next Sensation in the 1.15 may be an e/w bet. Ben Linfoot has put him up as a Value bet, will Pricewise follow him in?
Doncaster has plenty to keep an eye on. Two I saw a fortnight ago, Holly Bush Henry in the 11.50 (Won well, trainer and jockey won with their last three runners, I like 120 rated horses in 120 races, C & D winner) and then Off The Ground in the 12.20 (Course, distance, going all in its favour and may have bumped into one last time, Fry’s Voix D’Eau, don’t know the claimer but has ridden for Longsdon before).
Generous Ransom runs in the 1.30 over a flat 3 miles. Ran a stinker when my selection for the Paddy Power at Cheltenham. Nick Gifford’s yard is soooooo out of form (ignore winner on Tuesday, leader fell at last and only 2 finished!!) but horse may enjoy the better ground and Harry Skelton rides.
For the 2.05 here’s what Catching Pigeons had to say about Robertstown last Friday, “The juvenile hurdle scene needs a bit of livening up on this side of the Irish Sea, and one man to be relied upon to deliver some potent ammunition into the breach is John Ferguson. Word reaches us that the former Jim Bolger-trained Robertstown has been put through his paces on the schooling grounds at Newmarket, and this very useful middle-distance performer will be making his debut in the near future.”
The 2.40 is a cracking 3m C1 Grade 2 novice chase. I’ll be watching It’s a Close Call and Smooth Stepper, both were on the 49SimpleSimonSays Master List. The former could be a star, a bit Denman-esque?
Finally in the lucky last at 3.15 Forest Bihan was given a “very considerate” ride and is a horse Mark Howard (One Jump Ahead) has flagged up and that’s good enough for me! Got to rush its 12/1 with Betfred!!