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13th April 2024 8:58 am

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

Sloshing around at Cheltenham for the final day of The Open

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R

It is one thing to call the weather spot on, but jeepers the TV pictures by the time 4:00 pm arrived were enough to make me reach for a plate of toasted crumpets and a pot of the Earl Grey. It looked thoroughly miserable, but as Nanny used to irritatingly say; “There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” She was of course absolutely right and she would have perhaps been more impactful had she not got pneumonia from wearing a light summer frock to the 1987 Gold Cup, won by Analogues Daughter. She had taken up with a Greengrocer who told her that he always took a box, and had a great view of the finish. You might imagine her dismay when she discovered it was a wooden cabbage box, placed on the opposite side of the track to the comfort of the course.

In the future, I suspect we are all going to have to get used to meeting up with our friends outside and having a gluhwein or punsch, standing around in a warm coat, beside a glowing brazier and perhaps nibbling some properly grilled bangers. In fact, doing exactly what many Europeans do, especially in Vienna, as the snows fall, and/or the temperature plummets. They don’t skulk at home, they get out and about; but sadly, of course, it won’t be inappropriate clothing that lets us down. It will be Snodgrass from the Council who feels the brazier might be an issue, that drinking on the street is unhealthy, and that the H&S issues are of a similar magnitude to the Titanic’s lifeboat situation.

In H&S terms, Tiger Roll is back home and rugged up, and will be scanned, scoped and blooded properly after the weekend, after which Ryan O’Airly will decide his future. By the time we know that, we shall also know how the Master went at Augusta. Be still my beating heart… we might actually have a squeak of a chance.

Talking of heartache, here are my very brief selections for the final day.

1:15 CHELTENHAM Nov’ Chs Cl2 (5yo+) 3m½f

THE BIG BREAKAWAY ran 4th in the Ballymore Hurdle after a good start to his hurdling career. I came away thinking he didn’t look as though he enjoyed the race – which might have been the ground, distance or the course. This might be his distance. He is joint highest rated over hurdles but…. nope, couldn’t find anything wrong.


1:50 CHELTENHAM Planteur At Chapel Stud Hcap Chs (G3) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m3½f


2:10 PUNCHESTOWN Unibet Morgiana Hdl (G1) (4yo+) 2m

Between ST ROI and ABACADABRAS. On trends, I favour the latter.


2:25 CHELTENHAM Shloer Chs (Registered As The Cheltenham Chs) (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m

Between DEFI DU SEUL and ROUGE VIF. I don’t think the latter will like this amount of cut – I say this as though I am personally standing hock deep in water. Anyone who read the first sentence knows this is unlikely, but even I can stick my head out of a window and see how wet it is. Please, as an additional request, don’t point out that RV won in Soft in Newcastle in January 2019 – 22 months ago. All I will say is the 15 animals who raced in that have, excluding ROUGE VIF have racked up 6 victories between them, over some 70-odd races, such is the strength of the form line. I could have won it in galoshes and a DJ.


3:00 CHELTENHAM Unibet Greatwood Hcap Hdl (G3) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f

EDWARDSTONE’s trainer, Alan King, has won two of the last three renewals of this and many think this will be his third win from four. 6th in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, he needs to learn to settle. I suspect he is better than his mark of 142. TEGEREK Jonjo O’Neill’s Tegerek was backed big before taking a conditional jockeys’ 0-140 at the October meeting and has been given a probably insufficent 8lbs – especially with his winning partner still claiming 7lbs. Young Kevin Brogan has talent. STRONG GLANCE has some appeal on the ground and his 2nd LTO at Aintree was more a question of timing. BALLINSKER I think needs better ground than he’ll get, otherwise I might have had a small lunge. He made his seasonal debut at Ffos Las last month, finishing 2nd to Milkwood, who a week later came 4th to Sceau Royal, Ballyandy and Buzz in the Welsh Champion Hurdle from a 9lb higher mark. His trainer, Evan Williams had a winner today with Coole Cody today. I might back him at SP if he lines up.


3:15 FONTWELL Paddy Power Southern National Hcap Chs Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 3m3½f

I haven’t been sleeping terribly welll recently as I concern myself over the plight of young, defenceless Carrie among the beasts of No 10, as she repleaces all those who even understand the meaning of the words Super Injunction. Poor Lamb. Sadly this meant that wrote quite a lot about CHRISTMAS IN PERIL. It should of course have been CHRISTMAS IN APRIL, the favourite for this race. I wrote that he was progressive in staying chases last season winning three, mostly named after minor counties. However, I’m not sure he’s value and I’d rather have DIASBLE DE SIVOLA who has had a wind-op and who has shown promise in the past. In a sven runner race I can’t advise him – but Charlie Mann’s runner, MORNEY WING, has been given a great chance by the handicapper and is getting 3lbs from the decent claimer. 20/1 as a I write, if you could get 14s for 3 places I’d have a punt.


3:35 CHELTENHAM Sky Bet Supreme Trial Nov’ Hdl (Registered As The Sharp Nov’ Hdl) (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f


4:05 CHELTENHAM High Sheriff Of Gloucestershire Bumper (Listed Race) Cl1 (4-6yo) 2m½f RTV

I shall be very surprised if Hendo’s FIRESTEP stays in, as I think the ground will have turned against him. He has carried a lot of wentries and it is interesting that ths is where he has been aimed, given this is probably the best bumper of the year to date. All that being equal lock in a price ASAP, preferably BOG, as the market will change. WESEEKHIMHERE is a very good Gordon Elliott bumper with solid form to date, reflected in his price of around 5/4. However the horse I fancy with proper bottomless ground form is GRANDEUR D’AME. This could be a proper Oliver Sherwood horse of which he quite wrongly has been sent too few.

GRANDEUR D’AME Win (Take 11/4 if poss)



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