A curious Saturday’s racing. Leopardstown is class with loads of Festival fancies on show. Sandown is competitive and the Grade 1 novice chase is a six runner affair headed by Tea For Two and four of his five rivals failed to get round last time out! Ffos Las holds it’s big day of the year but how can you have a serious bet on that bottomless ground? The Welsh “Champion” hurdle is a 2m4f handicap and Rebecca Curtis trains four of the seven runners in the West Wales Grand National. The two novices Mystical Knight and Semper Invicta may need watching.
The Saturday Four!!
Leopardstown 1.55 TOMBSTONE
Sandown 3.00 DONNA’S DELIGHT
Sandown 3.30 LE REVE
Leopardstown 2.30 PONT ALEXANDRE
On Sunday there is an excellent card at Musselburgh that is due to be run on GOOD ground (really). Henderson has sent a bus full and the likes of Geraghty and Richard Johnson are riding, meanwhile the card at Naas has a Listed mares chase, a couple of maiden hurdles and a bumper to keep an eye on. (Both to be covered in Saturdays blog)
Leopardstown 1.55 TOMBSTONE With only five runners in the G1 Deloitte hurdle Bryan Cooper will hopefully a) be able to find some cover and b) not get boxed in!! This horse has gears and I’m hoping for a performance that will move him into single figures in the Supreme market behind Min. He is a three star*** win selection @ 7/4 except for you lucky bunnies who can get 2/1 with an unconvinced Boylesports.
Leopardstown 1.55 BLEU ET ROUGE I put this horse in the #startracker as I think he may appear in a Festival handicap. It has to be a watching brief here.
Leopardstown 1.55 PETIT MOUCHOIR Likewise I put this horse in the #startracker as I think he may appear in a Festival handicap. He wasn’t far off Tombstone last time having taken a scenic route. The 7/1 with William Hill is too big and he is a one star* win selection.
Leopardstown 3.40 ROAD TO RICHES A major player in Noel Meade’s absent army? I wrote “Multiple grade 1 winner but I’m not sure he gets a yard over three miles. As a 9yo if he’s ready to go you would have to imagine 2016 would be his last real go at a Festival big one.” I can’t recommend him at odds-on although he would seem the most likely winner. The recent vibes have been very positive from the struggling Meade camp and just in case he does something special we will put him up as a one star* each way Ante Post selection for the Cheltenham Gold Cup @ 12/1 general NRNB ¼ odds 1,2,3.
Wetherby 2.10 BRONCO BILLY Don’t know where we are with this expensive purchase. Promising first time out, he was then dreadful at Leicester. Better ground should help and Jonjo O’Neill is running a few more horses? At a generous 5/2 with Ladbrokes he is a tentative one star win* selection.
Sandown 3.00 DONNA’S DELIGHT Chris Grant sending one from County Durham to Sandown caught my attention. On the plus side three miles on winter ground for this 7yo son of Cloudings with just 10st 6lb on his back should be ideal for this last time winner and I think the price is attractive, he is a one star* each way selection @ 14/1 general. The downside is he is jocked up for the Pertemps Qualifier at Musselburgh on Sunday! This race would be more winnable and I suspect he wouldn’t be an each way price.
Sandown 3.30 LE REVE Loads to like about this selection. Sandown, three miles, soft ground, down another 3lbs since the New Year, Harry Skeltons only ride of the day (?), in form Lucy Wadham all makes Le Reve a two star** win selection @ an outstanding 11/2 with Ladbrokes.
Leopardstown 2.30 PONT ALEXANDRE Time I got on a bandwagon! So here’s a Mullins/Walsh/Ricci beast that I think Ruby looked after on his second run back after almost two years off. I think we may see the real deal here and if fully recovered Pont Alexandre is top drawer. At 5/2 general he is a two star** win selection.
STILLETTO Fell 6/1 Our two star** win selection had just tanked into the lead and was galloping all over his field when he paid scant attention to the third last and down he came. Much gnashing of teeth!! This horse just needs to grow up!!
Tony McFadden Racing Post 7:33AM 5 FEB 2016 THE Alan King-trained juvenile Gibralfaro has been earmarked as a likely starter in the Adonis Hurdle, set to be staged at Kempton on Saturday February 27, en route to a crack at the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. King, who has won the Triumph Hurdle twice this century with Penzance and future Champion Hurdle winner Katchit, said: “Sceau Royal and Who Dares Wins will go straight for the Triumph, and Gibralfaro will run first in the Adonis.”