Friday, 25 October 2019

Showcase Meeting: Saturday 26th October 2019 - Moore Team To Knock Them Out in Feature

Day two of Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting looks like being one to remember, if not for outright quality then for those to keep on side with one eye on the near future.

Plenty in these seven fields are going the right way and many will be aimed ultimately at the festival in March, so it’s notebooks at the ready for sure.  Betting wise there is some good value out there on Saturday, with these being our choices: 

2.00 (3m1f Handicap Chase) – ROCKY’S TREASURE

We have some good old handicappers and some very familiar names on show for the opener, a staying handicap chase with £37,000 put up for the winner.

While full respect remains given to experienced types such as Rock The Kasbah, a big winner at last year’s November meeting, and The Young Master who won at the same meet, they may be usurped by one with a little more to give in the shape of Rocky’s Treasure.

Kim Bailey’s 8yo has a record of 4 wins, 2 seconds and a third in just eight chase races and now that he’s fresh from a break, we should see another lively performance likely better than his rating of 147 making him well-in.

2.35 (2m½f 4yo Hurdle) – TORPILLO

While it’s always difficult to assess these inexperienced 4yo’s, there are a few against the field with form enough to make very strong cases.

Soviet Pimpernel is two from two since September after a break, though even in receipt of weight he should struggle to get to Paul Nicholls’ Quel Destin.  The Ditcheat gelding had a very busy time between April 2018 and March 2019 so again we can expect more now he’s fresh, but a lot of improvement will need to be forthcoming for even him to beat the selection.

Torpillo is one who took a fair step forward from last season’s form when he landed a Chepstow handicap hurdle and, if anything, he should probably improve again for the greater test of going round here on rain-softened ground for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.

3.10 (2m Handicap Chase) – KNOCKNANUSS

A good, competitive handicap chase over the minimum distance and one in which several horses are hard for us to separate.

At varying prices Mcgroarty (Dr Richard Newland), Brelan D’As (Paul Nicholls) and Marracudja (Dan Skelton) will all offer fair value and should give backers a run for their money, but the one with so much potential after his 203 days off his Gary Moore’s Knocknanuss.

Having improved very satisfactorily between the autumns of 2017 and 2018, he floundered rather at the end of last season having been as short as 11/2 for the Irish Arkle when falling.  With that experience hopefully now out of his head, he appears to be very well handicapped indeed off a mark of 144 and could take some stopping.

3.45 (3m Handicap Hurdle) – THECLOCKISTICKING

A three-mile handicap hurdle that will take some getting, this is a tight heat and one we couldn’t offer a selection on with any great deal of confidence.

That said, despite not exactly looking clear of the field, the one who just could be better than what we’ve see thus far is Stuart Edmunds’ Theclockisticking, first time out after a wind operation.

He had been chasing before his op, but returning him to hurdles could be a smart move and he is tentatively taken to score ahead of Sunset Showdown, Captain Tommy and Neverbeen To Paris.

4.20 (3m Novices’ Hurdle) – RAMSES DE TEILLEE

Unsurprisingly in a race featuring some runners offering little do go on in the way of form, The Butcher Said looks sure to go off favourite having won each of his last four races, indeed he’s won four and finished second once since a receiving a wind operation and moving to Olly Murphy’s yard.

His out and out ability though arguably just doesn’t match up to David Pipe’s Ramses De Teille who reverts to novice hurdling now after going chasing and reaching a rating of 153.

A wind op of his own, as well as having that chasing experience, has been done since the last time he stepped over a hurdle and it’s safe to say he’s way better now than he was two years ago.  Some Chaos could be the one to complete the first three.

4.55 (2m4f Novices’ Chase) – SECRET INVESTOR

As expected this is a race full of contenders whose limits we as yet don’t know, but in the case of Secret Investor we reckon we’ve found one that has the most potential right at this part of the season, despite giving away weight to most.

Paul Nicholls’ 7yo is ready to pick up where he left off last season, the son of Kayf Tara having bagged form figures of 22411 in his first season as a chaser.  All his best work was done on good ground last term, but he’s run well on softer ground over hurdles before and this test should be to his liking.

The main challengers appear to be Ian Williams’ First Assignment and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Topofthecotswolds who each have solid place chances at very pair prices at the time of writing.

5.30 (2m½f National Hunt Flat Race) – BARBADOS BUCK’S

Very few in this line-up have done much in public so it goes without saying that any selection here has to be a tentative one, as such we recommend going in with small stakes.

The betting should be very telling in this contest, so watch out for big money coming for something late in the day, but without the benefit seeing that play out the choice is Paul Nicholls’ Barbados Buck’s.

An expensive pointing recruit, the 4yo was second when last seen out and should be fit enough to do himself justice on his British bumper debut.

A significant reduction in the odds for the likes of Butte Montana, The Newest One or Time Flies By would be interesting to say the least.

Showcase Meeting: Friday 25th October 2019 - Fergal O’Brien the Man to Follow as Cheltenham Gets Underway

The long wait for a return to jumping action at Cheltenham comes to an end this week as the Showcase Meeting gets underway.

Saturday features a little more quality of course and we’ll have information on all seven races on that card soon, but Friday’s meeting is a great way to kick off for the year and there could be a few juicy bets to be had too.

2.00 (2m5f Novices’ Hurdle) – CHAMPAGNE WELL

The ever-popular Fergal O’Brien could be on for a very good day here, and we are sweet on his 6yo gelding Champagne Well in the first.

Progressing nicely in five hurdle runs, Paddy Brennan’s mount hasn’t yet won over obstacles but there’s no doubt his time is coming and despite having run in behind thus far, his form here looks good enough to see him heavily involved.

Irish raiders Doctor Duffy and Braid Blue will no doubt prove to be popular in the ring, but both may have some way to go to catch the selection in these conditions.

2.35 (2m Novices’ Chase) – GETAWAY TRUMP

All things considered this is a virtual match race between Al Dancer and Getaway Trump, the latter being favoured now that they go chasing.

With just 4lbs between them on official ratings there’s not much to separate these two from their hurdling careers, Al Dancer’s position of being favoured in the market probably emanating from the fact he has run less and is seen as having more to come, allied with the fact that he comfortably beat the selection home in the Betfair Hurdle having carried 1lb more.

In fact, Getaway Trump has gone on to improve plenty since that event, takes his racing really well and will probably relish the challenge of this course a little more than Al Dancer and so at a likely better price, he gets the call.

3.10 (2m5f Handicap Hurdle) – LIOSDUIN BHEARNA

A very tricky handicap to start our season off for sure, one in which the likes of The Big Galloper and Smarty Wild are bound to be popular, however that man Fergal O’Brien has an interesting runner once again in the shape of this Liosduin Bhearna.

With a record of 2211 in his four hurdle races to date, this 6yo has proven to be consistent but more importantly, he’s going the right way.

After holding on gamely at Ayr in February on his handicap debut he took his form to a new level when following up at Chepstow, an easy nine-length win that saw him go up significantly in the handicap.  He can defy that rise now he’s had a break though and carry on his ascent of the rankings.

3.45 (3m½f Novices’ Chase) – MULCAHYS HILL

Once again these early novice chasers are difficult to assess, but we could be on for a right good bit of value in this race to smallish stakes with Warren Greatrex’s Mulcahys Hill.

The principles, especially Dinons and Boyhood, are priced-up all wrong in our opinion although likely favourite Wholestone is liable to be the big danger.

Mulcahys Hill, it mustn’t be forgotten, was second in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle in 2017 and went off favourite for a Grade 2 here on trials day in 2018, form which if he can get back to a similar level over fences and after a break marks him out as a cut above.

4.20 (2m½f Maiden Hurdle) – GETARIVER

A fairly interesting maiden hurdle, one in which a couple of French recruits will command a lot of attention and a fair bit of the money changing hands in the ring.

Those two though, namely Fred for Nicky Henderson and Cap Du Mathan for Paul Nicholls, are likely to have to step up significantly from what they achieved over the Channel and that leaves the door open for something else.

Master Debonair, after five good bumper runs and a wind operation, should make a successful transition to hurdling but one with experience, a good level of form, the benefit of a wind op and receiving weight is Dan Skelton’s mare Getariver.

Her experience comes from age of course, not in terms of mileage on the track, but what she did in a bumper at Newbury alone gives her an outstanding chance here and she’s priced generously.

4.55 (3m1f Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase) – GARRANE

Another competitive handicap, one in which we may be going 5/1 the field, and while it is a tough one to call for obvious reasons it seems this 7yo Garrane has as good a chance as any for trainer Jeremy Scott and jockey Martin McIntyre at a fair price.

While many will prefer to back one of the seven or so runners here who have had a recent turn, coming off a break is no bad thing for the selection and in fact it would appear he really needed it after six chase starts last season.

It can be expected now fresh that’s he’s improved a fair bit since making his fourth chase start in January, though he remains on the same handicap mark and he appears to stay this distance and beyond very well.

5.30 (2m½f Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle) – BENNY’S BRIDGE

There’s one last chance for Fergal O’Brien to land us another win here in the shape of the underestimated and potentially overpriced Benny’s Bridge.

This horse is another who, having had seven hurdle races between October and April, probably just finished last season a little flat and so he’s best judged on the middle part of his campaign.

After winning a handicap hurdle over near enough this course and distance in January he was rated 134 and considered a leading light for the Imperial Cup where he went off at 8/1.  Not only has he not risen further, but in fact he races here off a mark of 127 and so is of obvious appeal at the weights.