#startracking AntePost RSA Chase
Wednesday February 10th 6.30pm
The 3m RSA Novices Chase, the second race on Wednesday is a race that some trainers are wary of because it can really bottom out a young horse but it didn’t stop the likes of Bobs Worth and Lord Windemere going on to win Gold Cups! I had in my mind that Grade 1 Drinmore winner No More Heroes was a good thing, a Final Furlong Podcast fuelled opinion and today was the first time I had a good look at the race.
Plenty of quality young staying chasers quoted but five, possibly six, make the shortlist.
The fifth, possibly sixth, are the Mullins pair Roi des Francs and Pont Alexandre who were first and second in the G2 3m Navan novice chase. The market suggests through Paddy Power that Roi des Francs will run here and not the NH 4m chase despite being in the same ownership as No More Heroes but despite being beaten Willie Mullins has plenty of faith in Pont Alexandre and that was just his second run after 998 days off. The trip was too short and the ground was a “gluepot” in the G1 Flogas and if he lines up in the RSA on Spring ground with Ruby Walsh on board I think he is a serious player.
There is not a lot of Blaklion but he’s all guts and tenacity. He’s a course and distance winner and has won at Grade 2 level but could just come up short in a Championship race but it won’t be for not trying! He was beaten at Cheltenham in the 2m 5f Dipper by Seeyouatmidnight whose 6th in last year’s World Hurdle reads well. He was a real small stable springer last year and outside of the top two he has the best credentials.
The favourite at a general 5/2 is No More Heroes who should have won the Alfred Bartlett Novice Hurdle last March but Bryan Cooper went for a gap after the last that didn’t exist up the Cheltenham hill! This season No More Heroes is unbeaten in three novice chases of which the last two have been at Grade 1 level but how strong is the form. Not one horse No More Heroes has beaten this season has gone on to win another race! Those two wins were on heavy, winter ground He needs some cut and the rain had got into Cheltenham by the Friday of last year and despite it all in his favour he still didn’t win a pretty poor “potato race”. It may have been jockey error but it’s likely it will be Bryan Cooper in the saddle again this year!
At the beginning of last season I backed MORE OF THAT to win the Gold Cup after his impressive beating of Annie Power in the 2014 World Hurdle, the world was his lobster (D.Trotter). However his first and only run of last season was a well beaten 3rd in the Long Distance hurdle at Newbury behind Cole Harden when he looked a shadow of his real self and he was off for almost a year but he has returned this season unbeaten in two novice chases including at Cheltenham. Indeed that 3rd at Newbury is his only defeat in an eight race career and includes four wins at Cheltenham, we know he acts on better ground, we know he gets the trip, we know he comes up that hill and in light of my concerns with the opposition and all the boxes he ticks MORE OF THAT is a four star**** selection @ 9/2 with William Hill and Ladbrokes. He is due to run this weekend probably Kempton on Friday or Newbury on Saturday and a decent winning display could easily see that price contract further.
#startrackingAntePost Update February 9th
#startracking Ante Post Cheltenham Fri. Feb. 5th
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.
#startracking Ante Post Cheltenham Sat. Feb. 6th
I feel I need to add another two horses to our Cheltenham Festival Ante Post portfolio.
SCEAU ROYAL You al know how much I admire Alan Kings slick jumping juvenile and having receivede the Pricewise stamp of approval midweek he is a one star selection for the Triumph Hurdle at 12/1 general. If Ivanovich Gorbatov happened to have a bad day at Leopardstown this price could tumble!
I wanted to put up Onenightinvienna for the 4mNH chase but connections have decided a 7yo novice is going to win the Grand National and he’s not even entered at Cheltenham!! So it will have to be the next best thing!
LOCAL SHOW Ben Pauling is an exciting young trainer who having studied under Mr Henderson should know what it takes to get a Festival winner and this horse jumped beautifully when just holding off Onenightinvienna at Kempton over 3m. Here’s what the trainer had to say about the 8yo son of Oscar, “I am very pleased with this lad and he went up 13lb for winning at Newbury. His jumping has improved dramatically and we will look at a novice chase at the end of the month and then possibly the four miler at Cheltenham.”
Three points about the 2016 4m NH chase. Firstly we want to take on favourite Black Hercules who has been beaten in the Bumper and the Alfred Bartlett at the past two Festivals. Secondly Ratings. As the wonderful Mike Gault points out “18 from last 24 win and place rated between 127 and 139. But not the last four winners at 146, 150, 146 and 151 respectively.” Local Show is OR147ch. Thirdly Age. Again Mike Gault tells us “ Tricky Trickster 2009 the first 6 yr old to win since ‘there’s only one’ Boraceva in ’89. 13 from last 16 aged 7 or 8.“ That raise doubts over leading fancies Native River and Southfield River.
Local Show is a one star* win selection for the 4mNH chase.
So our outstanding #startracker Ante Post portfolio is currently
Betfair Hurdle Newbury Sat. Feb. 13th
STERNRUBIN 2 stars** each way @ 16/1 (1/4 odds 1,2,3,4) Current Price 10/1 general
ZARIB 1 star* each way @ 20/1 (1/4 odds 1,2,3,4)
Current Price 20/1 general
MODUS 1 star* win @ 8/1
Current Price 6/1 general
Cheltenham Tuesday 15th March 4.40 4m NH chase
LOCAL SHOW 1 star* win @ 16/1
Current Price 16/1 WH + Skybet only
Cheltenham Friday 18th March 1.30 Triumph Hurdle
SCEAU ROYAL 1 star* win @ 16/1
Current Price 8/1 Coral+WH
Cheltenham Friday 18th March 3.20 Gold Cup
VAUTOUR 3 star*** win @ 10/1
Current Price 9/2 PP
Cheltenham Friday 18th March 3.20 Gold Cup
ROAD TO RICHES 1 star* each way @ 12/1 (1/4 odds 1,2,3 NRNB)Current Price 16/1 general
Aintree Grand National Sat. April 9th
DON POLI 2 star** win @ 25/1
Current Price 25/1 general
#startrackingAntePost Leopardstown Sunday January 17th
Posted Wednesday 6th January
#startrackers get your coat on and hotfoot in down to Paddy Power ASAP or stay indoors, download their App, open an account De Name Escapes Me is in the Coral.ie Hurdle (used to be the Boylesports) and PP have him at an industry best 14/1!! He is a strong three star*** each way selection.
He was our three star*** bet for Sunday December 27th when I wrote ““If the handicapper puts him up say 10lb at worse he could be interesting in one of the 2m Christmas handicaps..” WELL the handicapper has put him up 11lbs but he IS in a Christmas handicap! The jockey who has had the most rides and winners for Noel Meade this season is Ger Fox and he can claim 3lbs. This could be our Christmas Cracker!!” but no wonder he has been kept for this 60K euros Grade B event.
In Noel Meade’s ATR Stable Tour on October 8th his trainer said “The first day we ran him he just took a hell of a strong hold and was too free to give himself a chance of getting home. It was two-and-a-half miles that day, so we’ll drop him back to two miles next time and hopefully that will suit him better. I think he’ll appreciate soft ground, maybe not heavy ground, but I do like him and I think he will do well.” After his last win I found this on Twitter “Irishracing.com Live @IrishRacing365 · Nov 28 “Likes soft ground but I think he’s better over 2m. Plenty of boot” Noel Meade.
The Grade A 60K euros 2m 5f Coral.ie Chase on the same day has a great field and one caught my eye instantly. An old friend of 49SimpleSimonSays…MasterList Fine Rightly, he has always looked classy, has kept strong company and I was interested in what his shrewd trainer had to say in Dave Keena’s Talking Trainers article on 27th November 2015 “He ran at the weekend and I thought he’d run better than he did but he was very fresh in himself. That run might knock the freshness off him so he’ll go back over fences at Navan in a couple of weeks’ time. I had thought about the Paddy Power, but I’ll aim him instead at the Leopardstown Chase in January. He does stay well but he isn’t a slow horse and I thought two miles and five around Leopardstown might suit him better. I’d still be very hopeful that there is a good race to be won with him.” I love a man with a plan, they tend to line up, trained to the minute and with the right bloke in the saddle! He is a 2 star** win selection at a top price 10/1 (Boylesports, Yippee Barry and SkyBet) We may go in again nearer the race for the each way.
#startracking Ante Post Tuesday December 29th 12noon
The 2015 editions of the King George and Lexus chases were billed as “semi-finals” for the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Well they weren’t.
The King George over Kempton’s punishing flat right handed three miles was as good a race as I’ve seen in many a year in terms of quality, quantity, depth and excitement and it answered lots of questions in my mind whilst leaving a couple of imponderables. So let’s start with the easy bits.
Silviniaco Conti’s days at the top table have gone for this flat track bully. He could still be an interesting wildcard in the Grand National but he’s a no-no for the Gold Cup.
Smad Place can’t hack it at the very top and I would still be concerned about him in the RyanAir. His figures in Class 1 Grade 1 read 303UR2332844 and I was amazed how many respected judges put him forward as a king George winner.
Al Ferof would be a world beater if there was a 2m 6f championship race. Shrewdly campaigned by the Skeltons to pick up third but wouldn’t stay the Gold Cup trip in a horsebox!
Cue Card has to be a player in the Gold Cup because £1million says he will be there, even on three legs!! If you take Cue Card on this seasons form as he is now a fit, healthy, happy nine year old back to his scintillating Bumper winning best he has to be favourite.
Don Cossack is the highest rated staying chaser currently in training but he was under the pump fully a mile out before capsizing two out under the hapless Bryan Cooper. Don Cossacks Cheltenham CV is a fall in the RSA and a third to Uxizandre in the RyanAir. Aintree yes, Punchestown yes but I can’t have him at Cheltenham.
Which brings me to VAUTOUR. I think the bookmaking fraternity have got this very wrong and been too quick to earmark him a non-stayer. He was a 6yo novice having his first run at three miles in the very best company and he is beaten a head by a race fit, in form rival who was hit eighteen times in order to get up. In this race alone if Ruby had really kicked two out it would have been race over (something he has since said), if he had a real cut at the last two fences (jumping is his forte) it would have been race over. Add to this Vautour is a spring horse who has whizzed up that hill twice before in Grade One level company.
Now for the controversial bit. I don’t think Vautour will need to stay to win the Gold Cup. If you had asked me two weeks ago I would have been concerned about the trip but since then Smad Place couldn’t even get to the front, Silviniaco Conti led him for a mile and most importantly Conrygree is out for the season which completely changes the complexion of the race. The horse most likely to set the fractions is Vautour ridden by master tactician Ruby Walsh and if he kicked from the final ditch I believe Richard Hoiles will be saying “..the pack are closing but they are not going to get near the new king of Cheltenham, Vautour”.
At a general 10/1 he has to be a three star*** selection. I see the 12/1 with PP has gone! But what about Djakadam I hear you say? Well if Ruby has the choice of rides I am convinced he would pick Vautour. What about Don Poli? He ground out victory in horrible ground in the Lexus and if Coneygree was still in the Gold Cup I would have him down as the one most likely to have picked him up.
In his last two races Don Poli has beaten the winners of the Boylesports Chase, The Grand National, the Hennessey, 3rd in the Hennessey, all handicaps. Don Poli has stamina in abundance, is an efficient fencer who does nothing flashy but beats handicappers albeit good ones! So who can think of a 4mile handicap that will take some jumping?
Exactly. At 25/1 he has to be a two star** selection for the Grand National.
#startracking Ante Post Sunday December 27th
Posted Tuesday 22nd December 11am
GOING FOR GOLD!
Sunday December 27th Chepstow 2.35 Welsh National 3m 6f
The going is currently Heavy (Soft in places) and looking at the forecasts I can’t see it changing too much. So we will need a horse proven in the ground, whose middle name is stamina, has possibly run at the course before and from a yard in form.
I’ve always believed two factors will get you through heavy ground. The first is a natural ability to run on it and the second is class. So the first horse to be considered has to be the classiest one and that is O Faolains Boy. Here’s what the Racing Post reported, “The Gold Cup is certainly in the thoughts of Curtis, although a quick return to action over Christmas is not being ruled out either. “He’s back to his best, hopefully,” said Curtis. “He should come on again for that considering it was his first run back – you can forget Ascot. After the RSA we hoped he’d be a Gold Cup horse so we can go down that route, although I think he’s on a nice mark for the Welsh National. If he happened to be very fresh next week we’d think about that, then there’s the Denman [Chase] back here and he’ll definitely get a National entry – his jumping was very good.” He could run and jump these silly or he could bounce. I think this tough race is too soon and I think the Classic at Warwick or the Denman at Newbury would be a better fit.
Top British trainer of staying chasers is Paul Nicholls although they are just not firing this season. He has two entries, top weight Black Thunder who was running well behind Sausalito Sunrise at Cheltenham when an error two out put paid to his chances and he broke a blood vessel the race before? The other is Benvolio. Off the same mark he was beaten just a short head in this race last year by Emperors Choice when first time blinkers were key, they haven’t had the same effect since. His conqueror that day is 10lb higher and was impressive winning at Haydock on his only start this season and has plenty going for him.
My selection also ran in this race last year and carries 4lb less this time around. Shotgun Paddy ticks a lot of boxes. I backed him in this race last year when he somehow gave them all a start, then clouted the 2nd fence and was never involved (“after the nightmare at Chepstow with him missing the break and then galloping into the second fence” Emma Lavelle) and he carried my money in the 2014 4m NH chase when he was 2nd to Midnight Prayer, another who has to be a player. For Shotgun Paddy the ground, the trip, the trainer, his official rating are all plusses. He’s a clumsy horse but IF he puts in a clear round he must go close.
Ante Post- Shotgun Paddy one star* @ 10/1 (general)
I have every intention of going in again on Shotgun Paddy Sunday morning looking for five places with one star*e/w at top odds.
Sunday December 27th Leopardstown 2.55 Paddy Power Chase 3m
Two types of runners here. Firstly, those who have done it before, got the T-shirt and the weight to go with it. These include Gilgamboa, First Lieutenant, Grand Jesture, Living Next Door etc. I would prefer to look at the second group and that is the improvers. Those that have got a racing weight and the possibility they have 10lbs in hand. I am going to put up two who I think could find that improvement but for two very different reasons.
Sizing Gold is an 8yo but with very little mileage on the clock as he was off the course for nineteen months and he showed enough on his recent return when third to Sumos Nuvios and Empire of Dirt at Punchestown. He had classy Graded form before his injury and if the astute Henry de Bromhead can conjure up improvement for the run and the extra two furlongs, off 135 he could be thrown in.
The second selection is Minella Foru trained by Eddie Harty for JP McManus who will no doubt be mob handed but there does seem to have been market interest in this one. The improvement will supposedly come from the 4f step up in trip and does have the profile of a bit of a plot. Currently off 138 he should get a racing weight come Sunday.
Both of these horses have been four points shorter with Paddy Power than the rest of the bookies for the past week and now the market has evened out to PP’s position. I’m taking the hint!
Ante Post- Sizing Gold one star* @ 10/1 (general) Minella Foru one star* @12/1 (general)
I have every intention of going in again on Sizing Gold Sunday morning looking for five places with one star*e/w at top odds.
#startracking Ante Post
Caspian Caviar December Gold Cup Sat. Dec. 12th 1.50 Cheltenham 2m 5f Class 1 Grade 3 Chase
Go West No.1!
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
#startracking Ante Post Ladbroke Hurdle 3.35pm Dec. 19th 2015
Posted Monday December 7th 6pm
The more I look at this race the more I am convinced that JOLLY’S CRACKED IT has to run a big race in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot a week on Saturday.
I love a man with a plan and Harry Fry flagged up this race a month ago.
Will he go on the ground? He has won on soft and good and only heavy ground would be a concern.
Will he appreciate the trip? A stiff two miles in a strongly run race is what he wants. When tried over 2m 4f in the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham he didn’t get home. He has won three times, twice at Ascot over the 2m trip, the other at Wincanton, another right handed track.
Is the horse in form? Last time out he was third to Nabucco beaten ¾ length in a similar event over course and distance only just failing to get up which was understandable on his first run of the year. He was been put up 3lb which I think is fair, so yes.
Is the yard in form? Since November 1st Harry Fry has had 14 winners from 49 runners, 7 from his last 18, that’s hot!
What about the jockey? Heard these words before “let’s hope Noel Fehily is booked to ride”? That would be ideal but Nick Schofield would be an OK substitute but I could get really excited if Fry chose to put up the yards claimer, Liam McKenna, and take off 7lb. I am a big fan of this young man, he seems a good horseman, and he doesn’t panic. Even if Mr M Legg (7) was put up I wouldn’t worry but he has the “have saddle, will travel” policy and I feel he is an unlikely booking.
What about the opposition? Nicky Henderson always does well and could field the likes of Sign of a Victory, the improving novice Altior or the talented 4yo Hargam but Henderson just isn’t the all-conquering force he was. Someone who is though is Willie Mullins and he has Rennetti, Sempre Medici and Noble Inn entered. The former worries me most but he keeps giving ten lengths away at the start but rattles home. My “mate”, Philip Hobbs, has an interesting pair entered in Cheltenian, who is a fixture in these events, and the 4yo Sternrubin who I have pencilled in for the County Hurdle at the Festival. Alan King’s Winner Massagot could be a handicap blot but not at that price for me.
So is the price value? I went in e/w last week at 14/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4), I’ve talked myself to going in again today to win at 14/1 and I have every intention of going in for a third time on the morning of the race if I can get five places and 8/1-ish.
I’m putting JOLLY’S CRACKED IT up as a three star each way selection @ 14/1.