Not a great weekend. Heavy going in more ways than one!!
Weekend Review and weeks entries out tomorrow.
NORTH HILL HARVEY 2nd 11/4 Both are likeable novices and this is a decent Listed 2m 4f contest. It is difficult to see a betting angle as they are both 9/4 as is Ma de Fou so it’s a watching brief and we will see where they go next time. Decent run but couldn’t get past Ma Du Fou. OR140h+ is an interesting Festival handicap mark. Martin Pipe, even Coral Cup?
MINELLA REWARDS 5th 13/8 Fav. Both are likeable novices and this is a decent Listed 2m 4f contest. It is difficult to see a betting angle as they are both 9/4 as is Ma de Fou so it’s a watching brief and we will see where they go next time. Well backed but a desperate run. “The Stewards considered the running of MINELLA AWARDS (IRE), ridden by Noel Fehily and trained by Nicky Henderson, which finished fifth. The Stewards noted that the rider reported that the gelding was beaten at an early stage. They further noted that the trainer could offer no explanation for the gelding’s performance. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding during post-race testing failed to reveal any abnormalities.”
TOP GAMBLE 1st 11/10F (9/2 early Rule 4 15p in £= 3.825/1) Great price Friday night. Right race at the right time. Dodging Bullets drifted like the proverbial barge and ran accordingly. Trainer Kerry Lee said afterwards. “He is entered in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, having finished third over that course and distance in a Grade 3 Handicap on New Year’s Day. However, Lee is wary about heading to Prestbury Park next month and instead may wait for the Punchestown Festival later in the spring when conditions may be more suitable. Aintree might well suit him, but Punchestown might be his course,” Lee told Racing UK. “He is more likely to get soft ground there, so we might go for the Festival there instead. We’ve got to keep our options wide open. I wouldn’t be nailed on for the Ryanair as I’m not mad about taking on Mr Mullins, with all due respect. It’s different for me as I’ve only got one or two flagship horses like this and I’ve got to be super careful where I send them.”
DICOSIMO Fell 16/1 0.5 star @ 20/1 Tanking along but fell halfway down the back.
IVAN GROZNY 16th 40/1 0.5 star @ 40/1 Prominent for a long way but faded in the home straight. Convinced on better ground he is being primed for the County Hurdle!
WAXIES DARGLE 5th 33/1 0.5 star @ 40/1 Has run well but the feeling is the handicapper has him, in this country at least.
OPEN EAGLE 1st 4/7F Watching brief. Outsprinted and outclassed a mediocre field. 138h
“It was straightforward enough. It’s what we hoped he’d do,” Townend told Racing UK. “He picked up nicely off the bend. He jumped well on the whole, fiddled the last. I didn’t want to do anything stupid at that stage. He came here and did it. We didn’t learn any more than we knew, but he was impressive, I thought. He was a stayer on the Flat and he stays over hurdles as well. He settled, which is a big help as well. He’s a nice horse.”
Open Eagle was slashed to 14-1 from 33-1 by Paddy Power for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
FOX NORTON 3rd 13/2 Watching brief. Never competitive. Where does he go with an OR148? Can’t see a race at Cheltenham. Aintree perhaps?
SCOOP THE POT PU 5/2F Two star ** win selection. Forgettable! Jockey Barry Geraghty said in his At the Races blog “Conditions were very testing at Exeter on Sunday, and neither BRELAN D’AS nor SCOOP THE POT handled them. You can put a line through these runs for both horses. There should be other days for them.”
“Race 3 – 3:10pm THE PERTEMPS NETWORK HANDICAP HURDLE RACE (SERIES QUALIFIER) (CLASS 2) The Stewards considered the running of SCOOP THE POT (IRE), ridden by Barry Geraghty, and trained by Philip Hobbs, which started favourite and pulled up entering the home straight. They noted the trainer could offer no explanation for the gelding’s performance. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding, during routine testing, failed to reveal any abnormalities.” BHA
NOBLE ENDEAVOUR 2nd 6/1 Would have been third if Black Hercules hadn’t capsized at the last. OR140+ch Will he get in the Novices handicap or the Kim Muir?
#startracking Ante Post Results
Race 5 – 3:35pm THE BETFAIR HURDLE RACE (HANDICAP) (CLASS 1) (Grade 3)
Never got a run for our money with the exception of perhaps Waxies Dargle who threatened two out but couldn’t go through with it. So the big question is why? It has to be the going. There is a lot of difference from Soft to Heavy. The standing start didn’t help. Timeform suggests the leaders went too quick for the first mile making it hard to come from the back and the race was won by prominent stayers. The winner ticked plenty of trends boxes but his win was a C3 novice at Aintree and he was a stuffed third in the Tolworth behind Yorkhill and OO Seven. The third home at Aintree was third here!!
STERNRUBIN PU 8/1 two star** e/w selection @ 16/1 Gutted. Never in a rhythm and he was beaten turning for home. Make a mental note the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot just before Christmas hasn’t provided the winner of this race since 2001! Richard Johnson in his blog Monday – “Sternrubin headscratcher
The big disappointment was Sternrubin’s no show in the feature and Philip told me that he seemed fine on Sunday morning which is a real headscratcher. He just never fired and whereas I’m usually trying to restrain him early on, I only managed to get him to the lead on sufferance. He was beaten far too early for it to be the ground and I suppose we’ll just have to put a line through the run. I’m sure he’ll head to the County Hurdle now and if the same horse that ran at Ascot shows up he’ll go well.”
ZARIB 11th 16/1 one star* e/w selection @ 20/1 Always about but one paced.
MODUS 13th 8/1 one star* win selection @ 8/1 Hated the ground and not helped by the fall of Dicosimo in front of him.
BHA Stewards “Following the false start in this race the Starters reviewed the start, and were satisfied that no rider was in breach of the Starting Procedures. Nick Scholfield, the rider of MODUS, unplaced, reported that the gelding was hampered by a faller at the third hurdle in the back straight. Richard Johnson, the rider of STERNRUBIN (GER), which was pulled up, reported that the gelding was never travelling. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding, during routine testing, failed to reveal any abnormalities.”
Willie tells it straight – “My horses at Newbury ran like hairy goats!” Mullins told At The Races.
“THREE MUSKETEERS will go straight to the JLT. It was a bad run last time at Cheltenham and he did have a few problems afterwards which transpired during the race. One thing I did take out of the race, though, was that he jumped very well. The JLT is not all of a sudden an uncompetitive race just because Killultagh Vic is out as Bristol De Mai is in there and he is no idiot winning all these graded races left, right and centre.”
Skelton also provided an update on BORN SURVIVOR, who looked the part on his hurdling debut at Warwick in December but failed to fire on his next appearance at the same track last month. “He has no entries at Cheltenham and we might go to the Premier Hurdle at Kelso on March 5,” said the trainer. “His second run at Warwick was a disaster but ours weren’t right then and were under a bit of a cloud but at the end of the day he got beat. I am confident I can have him better than that, though.”
“Interestingly, Sarah Hobbs, wife of Village Vic’s in-form trainer Philip, revealed stable companion Champagne West – second to that horse at Cheltenham in December – might not run again until the Festival. This could suggest a handicap, rather than the Ryanair, is on the agenda for him, perhaps over the three miles his trainer has long maintained he needs.” Lydia Hislop 6th Jan. 2016