#startracking Thursday February 11th 12noon

#startracking Ante post Update

Final declarations for the Betfair Hurdle on Saturday nicely summed up by sportinglife.com

The heavily-backed Blazer features among 22 horses declared for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday. Representing the formidable combination of trainer Willie Mullins and owner JP McManus, the five-year-old turns out just seven days after impressing at Leopardstown and carries a 5lb penalty for that success, meaning he is officially 7lb ‘well-in’ at the weights. Blazer is one of five runners for Mullins, with Dicosimo, Kalkir, Ivan Grozny and Buiseness Sivola also travelling from County Carlow. McManus also has a strong hand, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Modus challenging Blazer for favouritism. Barry Geraghty will partner Blazer, with Nick Scholfield aboard Modus, the horse who Blazer has recently deposed as favourite. Noel Meade’s Waxies Dargle and Jonjo O’Neill’s pair of Champagne At Tara and Matorico also carry the famous green and gold silks. Philip Hobbs runs top-weight Cheltenian, War Sound – who will be ridden again by conditional Ciaran Gethings – and Sternrubin. Other obvious contenders include Harry Whittington’s Affaire D’Honneur, the Dan Skelton-trained Zarib and Starchitect from David Pipe’s yard.”

#startracking’s Ivan Grozny and Waxies Dargle are both declared runners. The former is I think being set up for Cheltenham and the latter would be of interest only if the going is soft/heavy as although he has the good 5lb claimer, Jonathon Moore, on board he is 7lbs better off in Ireland. Both are currently 33/1 or better.

#startracking Updates

Good news. Gordon Elliott has outlined plans for exciting novice hurdler Tombstone in his latest BoyleSports Blog, and the Gigginstown-owned gelding will drop back in trip on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival next month. The Skybet Supreme Novices Hurdle is the target for the son of Robin Des Champs after only weakening in the closing stages when runner-up to Bleu Et Rouge in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown last Saturday.

On Tombstone’s three lengths defeat in the 2m2f Grade 1, the County Meath trainer said “No big excuses really, just got beaten by a better horse on the day. Last weekend just proved that no matter what price a horse is in a race, a lot of things can happen from flag fall to finish.” Tombstone is available at 14/1 with BoyleSports for the Festival opener, with the Willie Mullins-trained Min the red-hot 5/4 favourite.

No Complaints. MORE OF THAT, second favourite for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, will miss his intended prep race at Newbury on Saturday due to the testing ground at the Berkshire course. The Jonjo O’Neill-trained eight-year-old was being lined up for the 2m7f novice chase on the Betfair Hurdle card but that plan has been scrapped by connections. O’Neill said: “After discussing the matter with owner JP McManus’s racing manager Frank Berry and regular rider Barry Geraghty it has been decided that More Of That will miss Newbury as conditions are likely to be very testing.” Racing Post Andrew King 10:25AM 11 FEB 2016

#startracking News

Killultagh Vic out for season with suspensory injury. I didn’t know what that was, so thanks to the Horse and Hound Ligaments attach bones to each other and act as supports. The suspensory ligament in the horse is a strong, broad, fibrous anatomical structure that attaches to the back of the cannon bone just below the knee — the origin of the ligament. About two-thirds of the way down the cannon bone, the ligament divides into two branches which attach to the inside and outside sesamoid bones, on the back of the fetlock. In the upper third of the cannon region, the suspensory ligament lies between the large “heads” of the splint bones. This means it is impossible to feel the ligament, or apply pressure directly to it, so diagnosis of damage is difficult.

Love it!! Paddy Power have opened betting on the going description at next month’s Cheltenham Festival. A prolonged spell of wet weather has led to testing ground conditions over the past few months but Power make heavy ground for the opening race of the Festival a 33/1 chance. The four-day meeting gets underway in less than five weeks (March 15-18), and the regular going description of good to soft is again hot favourite. Paddy Power said, “Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course says he ‘wouldn’t have a clue right now’ about five weeks’ time, but we’re pretty sure it will come up Good to Soft.” Power’s full betting on the going for the first race (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle) of the Cheltenham Festival: 2/5 Good to Soft, 15/8 Soft, 7/1 Good, 33/1 Heavy.” You’re welcome!

 

Victoria Pendleton to ride Pacha Du Polder in Hunter Chase at Fakenham on Friday February 19th en route to Cheltenham. I really hope this venture has a happy, positive ending! Bad news would be nearer the front page than the back!

 

£1million pound gamble blah blah blah damp squib blah blah blah Barney Curley blah blah blah Slow news day!

 

Excellent Q & A with Paul Nicholls on Racing Post blog Weds. Feb. 10th. Here are some of the most informative exchanges, #startracking horses in larger font.

  1. I was very impressed with Anatol earlier in the season, especially his Jumping, do you have any spring plans.
  2. Unfortunately he’s sustained a small injury and will be out until next season
  3. How is Arpege d’Alene and are we likely to see him again this season? Or Urubu D’Irlande?
  4. He’s fine and I’m going to try and qualify him for the Pertemps Hurdle. Unfortunately Urubu D’Irlande has sustained a fatal injury a few months back
  5. What are you’re plans for Mr Mix and Zubayr ..best wishes for the festival
  6. The plan has always been to try and have Zubayr ready for the Adonis and do a bit of a ‘Zarkandar’ with him. Mr Mix could go for the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham or the EBF Final at Sandown
  7. What one horse that hasn’t ran yet this season are you excited about running?
  8. I’ve got three nice youngsters in Pilansberg, Zubayr and Peak To Peak that I’m really looking forward to running. Another to look out for is Diego Du Charmil
  9. any reason for Qualando being below par this season?
  10. He likes nice spring ground and he’s due to run in the Martin Pipe, it’s just been the ground that’s been stopping me running him
  11. Is Vicente on target for the 4-miler? Thanks.
  12. Yes he’s on target for the 4-miler and the plan is for Will Biddick to ride him
  13. will the county hurdle now be the aim for Some Plan?
  14. Yes and he’s in good form. Needs better ground again
  15. What is the plan for Stilletto? Cheltenham handicap? Which race if so? Thanks #RPQA
  16. he obviously fell last week when travelling nicely. He’s due to go to Wincanton a week on Saturday and will have a Cheltehanm handicap entry
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