Friday, 13 March 2015

The Triskaidekaphobia Seagull & Sandwich Gold Cup Blog

Triskaidekaphobia is not just a retired racehorse!  

Since this week so far I've had about as much luck as a sandwich at a seagull convention, the fact that it's Friday the 13th holds no fear for me today. 

13:30 Triumph Hurdle
Hargam is my selection for this first race to give AP another Festival win.  Peace and Co is the  antepost and SP favourite but only 2 have won in the past 10 years and AP riding for Nicky Henderson this year has resulted in 10 wins from 14 runs.  Hargam is a CD winners on good to soft and (naturally being McManus owned) AP was up for both his GB wins.  Such strong stats cannot be ignored and at the current 7/1, this is a super each way bet

14:05  Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle
This race tends to go to an Irish trained winner (there's a surprise!) and it is quite possible that we might see a McManus 1-2-3 over the line here.  Princely Conn (AP) probably could have done without the rain but otherwise would be a very strong contender.  The second McManus runner, Waxies Dargle loves rain but his fall last time out isn't what you want to see before a Cheltenham race as his confidence may well have take a knock.  Sort It Out is my selection.  If anything, he'd like more rain still and has an abundance of stamina to tackle the hill with ......and he sneaks in at the bottom of the weights.

14:40  Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle (aka the potato race!)
I've looked for a progressive horse for my selection in this race (highest RPR on the last two starts) and plenty of proven stamina.  My shortlist comprises of Black Hercules, Caracci Apache, Martello Tower and Thomas Brown.  All four will be perfectly happy on the ground.  Thomas Brown is probably not classy enough when the chips are down.  Martello Tower looks to be short on grit in a finish and possibly needs 2-3lb off before winning again.  Caracci Apache was doing his best work at the finish when winning his trial at Doncaster and showed he is as game as you like to win that.  Black Hercules has been targeted for this and Ruby will likely ride him like he stole him and if he can handle the 11-7 has the best chance here.  The big Q is if he can handle the extra 7lb so I'm hedging here with Black Hercules to win and Carraci Apache each way.

15:20 Gold Cup
My best boy Silviniaco Conti is mature enough this year to do himself justice.  I saw him run at Haydock beating Long Run in the 2012 Betfair Chase and immediately marked him down as a Gold Cup horse.  I think he will win!  However, the stats say that the chances of a horse losing one year then going on the win the next is rare so I have taken a look aroundy for insurance. It would be a dream result for AP to win aboard Carlingford Lough but he isn't the most natural jumper which is doesn't help here! Many Clouds and Road To Riches both have decent claims with some graded race wins under their belts.  So if Silviniaco Conti doesn't do himself justice today then Many Clouds with his course form slightly edges it for me 

16:00  Foxhunter Chase
The amateur riders Gold Cup!  
Ex Paul Nicholls horse Current Event is my selection for his race.  He's a 8yo who was rated 141 at his peak and has been running around the country collection P2P wins recently.  Bryony Frost (Hadden's sister and Jimmy's daughter) is an accomplished and experienced rider so it would be wonderful to see a female jockey win this cup.


16:40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle
The stats suggest looking for a 5 or 6 year old carrying 11-2 or a relatively inexperienced horse as well as rider!  That man Mullins has won this twice in the past four years and he runs three in this race - two for Gigginstown.  I am bypassing Roi Des Frances (fav) in favour of Grade 1 winner McKinley who has far classier credentials and is apparently happy on any ground.

17:15 A.P. McCoy Grand Annual Chase
I think AP has chosen wrong here!  There was some chat earlier in the week that he may jump ship and get on Eastlake.  AP has ridden hold up horse Ned Buntline four times and the best he could get out of him was a couple of 3rds.  Paul Carberry who is an excellent hold up rider is riding Eastlake who needs to be ridden prominently. Makes no sense!  
Meanwhile, course form is hugely important at this distance and Triumph winner Grumeti certainly has that.  It's a big ask for such a young horse but he has taken to chasing and Alan King will have made certain of plenty of schooling after his iffy jumping at Sandown in January.  The first time blinkers can help long time partner Wayne Hutchinson over the line in front.

Same time next year folks and be lucky x


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Waynes World & Goodbye Ruby Tuesday Blog

Ruby was unable to add to Tuesday's tally of winning rides yesterday (which is why a certain bookie was offering 3/1 for him to ride any winner) but he should be kicking off today with a win on Vautour.  
The ground is still described as having soft in the description today but listening to one or two of the jockeys and trainers, I find that hard to believe!
Thoughts are with Patrick McCann, the RP photographer who was incredibly unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when the French horse spoiled our selection's chance (Quantatitiveeasing) by carrying him through the running rail and clouting Patrick on his way.  He has a badly broken leg so perhaps he may think he's incredibly lucky as it could have been so much worse.
JLT Novices’ chase 2m 4f Class 1 Grade 1
Each Way
Irish Saint
Supreme Novice winner Vautour has taken to chasing like a duck to water and is the class act for an unquestionably in-form stable  Irish Saint woudl probably prefer more juice in the ground although he has won on good.  He appears to be the stable second string here but place chance is a definite possibility at a big enough price.
Pertemps network hurdle final 3m class 1 listed
Next Best
Join The Clan
Each Way
Run Ructions Run
Dawalan stays well and has been progressing nicely with this target in mind.  I do like Join The Clan though - Patrick Cowley has ridden him for 2 of his 3 wins and takes off a very useful 10lb today. Run Ructions Run is another who may prefer softer ground but if Paul Carberry can keep him our of trouble, he might pick up the pieces at the end. 
Ryanair chase 2m 5f class 1 grade 1
Balder Succes
Next Best
Ma Filleule
Each Way
Wishfull Thinking
Balder Succes has beaten Ma Filleule last time out in the Betfair Chase at Ascot and there is no reason (and no weight difference) for me to think that the form should be reversed today.  Wishfull Thinking is a pensioner now but I think he still has a big run left in him and would love to see him place.
world hurdle 3m class 1 grade 1
Next Best
Zarakander has been targeted for this and loves it here.  Whisper is a big price because he was turned over at 2/5 last outing at Exeter - I think he just doesn't like going right handed!
Brown advisory & merriebelle stable (festival) plate 2m 5f class 1 grade 3
Next Best
Each Way
Hollow Penny
I like Monetaire but I don't like favourites in this race so previous CD winner Buywise can take him on if he decides to jump! Hollow Penny is an enormous price at 40/1 and being a Spring/Summer horse, he will love the drying ground.  He was 2nd to Irish Saint who runs in the first race (JLT) today so it'll be interesting to see how that form works out.  
Benbane Head
Next Best
Grand Vision
Benbane Head was a Grade 3 winner here in December and I'd like to think that the combination of soft round and longer distance was the reason (excuse?) last time at Warwick.  He will go off in front and fingers crossed Mr T Weston gives him the ride of his life.   Grand Vision has first time cheekpieces today and looks to me as if he'll benefit greatly from this step up in trip.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

My Champions Day at Cheltenham with OLBG & Annie Springsteen

As a member of OLBG online sports betting community, I was lucky enough to receive a ticket for the first day of the Festival in one of their many ticket giveaways

that they have alongside the numerous free to enter competitions.  With the ticket offer came an invitation to join other members and staff in the box for the OLBG Mares Hurdle.

On my journey down to Cheltenham, I knew I was in for a good day when cruising along the outside lane at 80mph (I jest of course!!) I spotted some silly BMW motorist had left his red Christmas fairy lights in place behind his radiator. These had caught the sunlight as the car was setting off from the hard shoulder. Naturally, at this point I slowed down and changed lanes so the two men in suits could have a good look at what a Cheltenham race-goer looks like as they drove past!

I can't say I'm a religious person at all but the view of Cheltenham racecourse in the sun does tend to make you ponder the thought that if He exists then he must love horse racing to have created such a space as this:

I walked into the grounds behind Katy Walsh (feeling a little like Miranda Hart walking behind tiny Kylie) and located box 4052 which was next door to the Gigginstown House Stud EasyBox.  

On arrivaI,I was welcomed by Darren with a drink and yummy lunch while swapping thoughts and tips with the other like-minded members and staff.  As we now know, Willie and Ruby won the first two races with Ruby going on to win another one and Willie another two.  Definitely a day for the Irish and not for the bookies! 

At 3.50pm, we followed the leader down to the paddock for the Mares Hurdle .....I never did find out who the leader was so we just followed the OLBG scarves ahead of us.  I was one of a number invited into the paddock with the owners and trainers and was totally and utterly delighted to be asked to choose the best turned out in the Mares Hurdle (Polly Peachum) and to present the envelope to the lad who looks after her.  

I then dashed course side in anticipation of watching my best girl Annie Power win and quite literally bumped into Rick Ricci on his way to the owner & trainers viewing area - having met him a Doncaster, he quite possible now thinks he has the worlds clumsiest stalker.  I watched the race with my heart in my mouth as Annie Power always seems to fluff the last hurdle in her races and this time was no different except she threw in her best Bruce Springsteen impression and slid on her knees before crumpling over.  Disaster!

At this point my eyes were squeezed shut so I didn't her get to her feet and canter off or L'Unique come down behind her and stay down.  I watched in fear as I saw the green screens put up around the stricken 'Annie' then the crowd cheered as the mare rose to her feet.  Thankfully both horses and jockeys were unhurt and a fellow OLBG-er put me right on who was who.

Back to the paddock then to watch the winner Glen's Melody come back into the winners enclosure.  I got to shake Willie Mullins handand congratulate him on the day and finally meet Twitter buddy @RiosRider2 Fran who was taking a far better photographs than these of mine.  A double whammy!  


After a glass of champagne with the delighted owners, we all watched the remaining two races back in box 4052.  J P McManus finally got his 64th birthday win with Cause Of Causes but I'm still waiting for my McManus 2nd string theory to be proved right!  Thankfully my day's poor selecting was somewhat offset by backing a couple that I liked the looks of on the way to post (The Druids Nephew to win and Arctic Fire each way). 

I have to say that whoever came up with the OLBG colour scheme did a sterling job as it really stands out.  Next move must surely be horse ownership to carry those colours?

I said my thank you's and goodbyes and joined the queue in the field car park to set off home, passing a line of 4 merry racegoers 'watering' the hedge (no photo of that or I might have been arrested or thumped!).  

I was entertained on the journey home with the thought  that even my TomTom is a OLBG fan with the same colours..see?

 Many thanks for all involved in a fantastic day out and I hope that anyone reading this who may have been unsure about joining the friendly OLBG community (no £££ is requested or extracted, it's just given away!) or applying for free members' race tickets shouldn't hesitate for a second