RaceCafe..#1...Tipsters Thread.... Share Your Fancies For Fun...Lets See Who The Best Tipsters Here Are.


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stodge last won the day on July 27 2023

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  1. For everyone else's benefit, this was the 1000 Guineas on yesterday's Meydan card: CINDERELLA'S DREAM went off 1/20 favourite in the UK which was a fair reflection of her superiority on paper and I think it was fortunate she had so much in hand of the others - if you look, Buick was in trouble on the home turn and could hardly ride a finish but she still won five and a half lengths. She is unbeaten in four, two in Meydan and won maidens aty Lingfield and Thirsk last summer. Yesterday's win has put her rating up to 98 but that's a very long way off classic standard at this time. Is she a lot better than she showed yesterday? Yes but she'll have to be. She's 10s with Sky Bet and 20s with Hills but she'll need to win one of the big trials such as the Nell Gwyn or the Fred Darling to become a leading figure. France might be an option or perhaps Germany. @Augustahas provided a nice lead in to the review of the Meydan card yesterday. Overall, despite a treble, a disappointing day for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin with a few fancied runners not running to expectations. Apart from CINDERELLA'S DREAM, Buick rode LEGEND OF TIME to a facile win in the 1400m Listed for the 3-y-o - he could be anything but again a notch below classic grade at this stage. The Group 2 City of Gold produced a 1-2 for Appleby but it was BOLD ACT who prevailed and in fairness was always travelling like the winner under Mikhael Barzalona who oozed confidence as he went on 300m out and in the end won a shade cosily from WARREN POINT. CASTLE WAY perhaps was undoen by his inexperience - he went a little keen early and looked rather one paced at the business end. BOLD ACT was a promising juvenile but lost his way a bit early last summer and returned gelded after a break and performed well in Group 3 races in France, America and in the Hampton Court at Ascot. I wonder if he'll be on his travels this summer. The other Group 2, the Al Maktoum Challenge over 1800m on the Dirt, saw MILITARY LAW roll back the years and overturn Group 1 form from a month ago by defeating WALK THE STARS and CLAPTON. For those with long memories, MILITARY LAW was placed in Group 1 company back in 2020 and got to within a length of BENBATL in the same campaign. He was rated 111 and now runs off 96 but the 9-y-o gelding showed the fire still burns and while I can't see him winning it, I suspect they'll let him take his chance in the Dubai World Cup. Finally, the 1000m Group 3 sprint saw hotpot STAR OF MYSTERY turned over at 4/9 by another sublime Barzalona ride on FROST AT NIGHT who has been campaigned at up to 1600m but it's clear on this evidence she's all speed and smashed the track record running the 1000m in 55.41 seconds. I'd love to see her run the 1000m at York or Goodwood on quick ground. To bring the wheel full circle, on her first run at Meydan she was third over 1400m beaten five lengths by a certain CINDERELLA'S DREAM. Both fillies have plenty of potential - strangely I think the sprinter might be the one to follow over the minimum trip and down the line a race like the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint looks ideal.
  2. Interesting to see mention of BALMERINO. He was one of the few who came to the northern hemisphere and held his form. He may not have won in his European campaign (he lost an Italian Group 1 in the stewards room) but he was second in the Eclipse and the Coronation Cup while his best run in Europe saw him chase home ALLEGED in the 1977 Arc de Triomphe. Unusually, the Arc that year was run on fast ground and Lester Piggott made every yard on the Leger runner up judging the 2400m pace brilliantly. BALMERINO, trained by John Dunlop and ridden by Australian jockey Ron Hutchinson, himself very much in the twilight of his career, ran second in front of the Jockey Club winner CRYSTAL PALACE, the 1977 English Leger winner DUNFERMLINE and the 1976 Leger winner CROW. ALLEGED was a stable mate of THE MINSTREL who had won the 1977 Derby and Irish Derby but by the latter part of the season ALLEGED had improved significantly to become the main Vincent O'Brien colt. After winning a second Arc in 1978. ALLEGED got a rating of 138 (for comparison, FRANKEL got 140). BALMERINO was perhaps unlucky to come up against such a talent but ran with great distinction and was himself given a rating of 133 by Timeform.
  3. Final declarations are through for Saturday's races. At Kelso, the ground has dried to Good to Soft for the Grade 2 Premier Novices Hurdle over 3600m. 12 go to post but the quality isn't high - favourite JANGO BAIE is clear on the ratings but the form of the Henderson yard is a real concern and I wouldn't play at 6/4 even with @scooby3051's money. PERSONAL AMBITION is my idea of the winner and I've played at 11/2. He won well, albeit in a nothing race at Doncaster and while I'd be worried if the ground went really testing, he handles his surface well and this intermediate distance could be ideal. The Irish raider BRUCIO is a serious threat having won a Mares handicap hurdle at the Dublin Festival four weeks ago. This may be a notch stronger but she gets 4 lbs from my selection and 9 lbs from the favourite. NIne stand in the Group 2 City of Gold over the 2400m at Meydan and as said before the lightly raced CASTLE WAY looks very interesting against the likes of stable mate OTTOMAN FLEET and the veteran SOLID STONE AL MADHAR has been off the track 707 days but is worth a mention - he was fourth to HUKUM in this race in 2022 and then ran a decent third in the Dubai Gold Cup. The Al Maktoum Challenge over 1850m on the Dirt has the second, third and fourth from the Group 1 version of this race re-opposing. REMORSE is interesting - he was third in this last year and then ran down the field in both the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup but these are somewhat calmer waters. I quite like CLAPTON of those who finished behind KABIRKHAN last time but it's not a race in which to invest.
  4. An overdue review of last Saturday's jumps action in the UK. Kempton saw three Grade 2 races on ground deemed Soft, Heavy in places though the times suggested it was nearer the former then the latter. The Adonis for the juvenile hurdlers saw a fine duel between favourite KALIF DU BERLAIS and GIVEMEFIVE with the former just prevailing by half a length. The winner is a lovely jumping type and trainer Paul Nicholls is already thinking about his novice chase career later this year. He's a very interesting prospect and will miss Cheltenham. He might go to Fairyhouse over Easter but I wouldn't be surprised if they put him away - he looked a little unfurnished to my eye and a summer will bring on tremedously. The second ran very well but I suspect Aintree will be preferable especially after a hard race on slow ground. The Pendil over 4000m for the intermediate novice chasers went to favourite BLOW YOUR WAD with the runner up TAHMURAS once again not showing much willingness to battle. While I wouldn't go as far as to call him a dodgepot, he's thrown away more than his fair share of races - the talent is clearly there. I'm not sure if BLOW YOUR WAD will go for one of the handicaps at Cheltenham or whether they'll wait for Aintree. ARCLIGHT was another hugely disappointing runner from the Henderson stable which is struggling badly for form - she was well beaten when pulled up three out. The novice hurdlers went in the Dovecote and the Rossington Main form was confirmed with LUMP SUM again beating FIERCELY PROUD thought a shade more comfortably. The winner is in both the County Hurdle and the Conditional Jockeys Handicap at Cheltendham but I wouldn't rush to back him in either. I wonder if they'll consider the Imperial Cup at Sandown the weekend before Cheltenham but that may be too soon. At Southwell, the Group 3 Winter Derby went to MILITARY ORDER who relished the 2200m on the Tapeta which rides a bit slower and is more of a test of stamina than the Polytrack. MILITARY ORDER found plenty 400m out and was always holding LORD NORTH who ran okay but it'll be a big ask for him to follow up in the Dubai Turf on this evidence. The winner won the Lingfield Derby Trial last spring and I wonder if they'll campaign him at 2400m or even further this summer.
  5. NEW ENERGY is not to be underestimated. As a 3-y-o up here in 2022 he was very highly tried. After a couple of okay efforts in Listed company, he ran second in the Irish 2000 Guineas to NATIVE TRAIL (who had run second to the ill-fated CORROEBUS in the English version) and outran his 40/1 odds. They sent him to the St James's Palace at Ascot where, although finishing eighth of nine, was beaten barely three lengths in a bunch finish. He was then seventh in the Jean Prat beaten four lengths. After a break through the summer, he returned on soft ground at Doncaster over 1400m and was a length second to KINROSS in the Group 2 Park Stakes before running sixth to the same horse in the Foret. He didn't run so well in two outings in spring 2023 as a 4-y-o and has been gelded since. His European rating is 110 but he's been placed in a Group 1. He seems to go on all ground and it may be 1400-1600m will work for him. He's a very interesting type for Ciaran Maher to take on. BERKSHIRE SHADOW is a similar type but has run 15 times up here, often in the very best company. As a 2-y-o, he won the Coventry at Ascot and ran second in the Vintage at Goodwood and fourth in the Dewhurst. As a 3-y-o, he was fifth in the English 2000 Guineas and sixth (and a length or so in front of NEW ENERGY) in the St James's Palace. His remaining 3-y-o races weren't so good and I think he had a couple of tough races while still maturing. He was gelded that winter. As a 4-y-o, he won a couple of valuable races on the Tapeta before running third in the Lockinge which was a seriously good effort. He then ran a fine fifth in the Queen Anne. He ended up with a rating of 111 and his breeding also suggests 1600m would be ideal and he has form on quick ground. He could be the type to do very well in Australia.
  6. The big news here concerns Champion Hurdle favourite CONSTITUTION HILL who, along with a number of other Cheltenham hopefuls, attended a public gallop on Kempton's Polytrack this morning. In a gallop with SIR GINO and a handicapper, CONSTITUTION HILL trailed behind to the shock of owner Michael Buckley and trainer Nicky Henderson and the watching racing media. A scope was immediately sought which confirmed mucus (as we say up here, a "dirty" scope). This was the problem which ruled CONSTITUTION HILL out of a trial race at Sandown three weeks ago and has either re-surfaced or not gone away. This isn't what you need two weeks before the Champion Hurdle but there's time to administer antibiotics and I suspect we'll have a better idea by Friday where we are. Priced at 1/4 before the gallop, CONSTITUTION HILL is now 5/4 with STATE MAN now 4/7. LOSSIEMOUTH, who is 4/7 for the Mares Hurdle, is 5/1 third favourite currently. A third of a world away, the main meeting this Saturday isn't in England but at Meydan where what used to be called "Super Saturday" takes place. With alterations to the programme, there are no Group 1 races any longer and the two Group 2 races are the City of Gold over 2000m on the grass and the Al Maktoum Classic over 1850m on the Dirt. The former has attracted 11 runners with the two top rated SIMCA MILLE and SISFAHAN both looking beatable. CASTLE WAY is the choice of William Buick and his second to TOWER OF LONDON in a Group 3 at Newmarket last July looks even better with the latter's win at Riyadh last Saturday. CASTLE WAY was runner up in the Voltigeur at York but hasn't been seen since. In the Dirt race, those who finished second, third and fourth behind KABIRKHAN in the Group 1 version of this race, re-oppose. Very hard to split them as they finished in a bunch behind the winner who is an interesting contender for the World Cup and swerved the Saudi Cup last weekend. In Britain, understandably, the quality suffers in the run-up to Cheltenham. Kelso in the Scottish Borders stages its big Saturday jump meeting with a Grade 2 hurdle for the novices over 3800m. Early favourite, despite the stable's modest recent form, is JANGO BAIE from the Henderson yard but a strong Irish contingent is among the 23 entries.
  7. The absence of DUBAI HONOUR has weakened the British challenge, no question. I believe he was favourite for the Queen Elizabeth and having beaten ANAMOE last year he was well respected by the Aussie punters. POST IMPRESSIONIST is a 5-y-o gelding rated in the mid 90s. He was four lengths behind ABSURDE in the Ebor and won the Old Borough Cup at Haydock over 2800m. His best form is on Good ground - he's been beaten twice on quick ground and hasn't performed on slow ground but he finally came good late in the autumn after a moderate spring and summer campaign. I'm not sure I'd want to be on him first time up and making him favourite for a race like the Sydney Cup surprises me. MUJTABA is a different proposition - a 6-y-o gelding rated 114 which is Group 2 class over here. He only ran once last term and was second in the Group 2 Huxley at Chester to POINT LONSDALE who mixed it in top races like the Coronation, King George and Irish Champion though often as the Coolmore second or third string. The long absence would be a concern but if he brings 114-rated form to Australia he'll be a contender. He's won on Good and slow turf - never run on quick ground. He's by Marju out of a Redoute's Choice mare so an Australasian connection even though the dam hasn't produced much up here.
  8. They used the UK's top commentator, Richard Hoiles, to call the races and Racing UK sent a strong team to cover the card. No coverage on terrestrial free-to air television.
  9. Starting the review of the weekend in Riyadh at the Saudi Cup meeting. Before dealing with the big race, I'll round up the supporting events. The Group 2 1351 Turf Sprint over 1351m saw British trainer Michael Appleby grab by far his most valuable win as 11/1 shot ANNAF scooped the £945,000 first prize. MATILDA PICOTTE set the fractions from the outise berth while Rossa Ryan stayed on the rail on the eventual winner. In a raide reminscent of those of Ryan Moore in the Breeders Cup, Ryan forced ANNAF through on the inside of the weakening leader and by virtue of having covered less ground than the rest of the field, was just able to hold on. A remarkable performance by a horse beaten in a 1200m Listed at Lingfield three weeks ago. LA LA CHRISTINE, a Group 2 performer in Japan, was third while BYLINE, who this time last year was running down the field in the Neom Cup (of which more anon) finished third outrunning his 33/1 odds. Hot favourite MYSTERIOUS NIGHT got a little crowded at the start but was well beaten while the likely best of the Japanese, AGURI, looked threatening 300m out but didn't quite get home and was sixth. The Neom Cup over 2050m saw the top notcher LUXEMBOURG go off odds on favourite in the UK - he had been runner up in the likes of Prince of Wales and the Irish Champion which is serious form. The problem for Ryan Moore on the favourite was the draw - out in the car park in stall 14. To get over meant using vital energy early and while Moore got the horse rolling and got the position, the effort told in the final 150m as LUXEMBOURG couldn't keep up the speed and in the end faded to fourth. Another remarkable win for a smaller British trainer as Richard Fahey's SPIRIT DANCER (owned by, among others, the former Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson) followed up his Bahrain Trophy success with an excellent win here. Held up and going well in midfield, Oisin Orr brought the winner through with a well times effort to prevail and boost his win and place earnings to £1.7 million. His fourth in the Jebel Hatta was also a very decent effort and I wonder if he'll take his chance in the Dubai Turf. On an evening where outsiders outran their odds, the 33/1 second and 66/1 third shouldn't have come as any surprise. I'm sure we'll see LUXEMBOURG in all the top 2000m races in the UK and Ireland on the back of this effort. THE FOXES was a disappointment - I thought he was in a good position on the home turn but found nothing in the straight and was eased to come home last. Normal service was resumed in the £1.2 million Red Sea Handicap with Ryan Moore on TOWER OF LONDON just holding off the late challenge of ENEMY with GIAVELLOTTO a close third and the three nicely clear of the others. All three could be interesting contenders in the stayers division this coming summer in the UK and Ireland. @Black Kirrama has already posted a video of the Saudi Cup which I won't repost. An extraordinary race in which the leaders went too hard - I don't think the Riyadh Dirt is like typical American Dirt. It seems to put a greater premium on stamina and an unconfirmed stayer like WHITE ABARRIO was found out. Both SENOR BUSCADOR and USHBA TESORO came from a mile off the early gallop. The winner had run home well in both the Breeders Cup Classic and the Pegasus without quite getting to the leaders - the Dubai World Cup and a rematch with last year's winner, the runner up here, looks an exciting prospect. SAUDI CROWN tried to make all and was beaten barely a length - I suspect we'll see him at Meydan at the end of next month as well. Speaking of Meydan, just a quick note on last Friday's main races. A 1-2 for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby in the Balanchine but as I suspected, ENGLISH ROSE was able to upset her more experienced and better fancied stable mate SAPPHIRE ANGEL. ENGLISH ROSE has few miles on the clock and I look forward to seeing her campaigned in Europe this summer. Dewhurst sixth NAVAL POWER continued his return to form with a good win in the Singspiel beating SAN DONATO and SEAN. The winner was once very highly thought of and he wouldn't be the first promising juvenile to return to the top after an extended period in the wilderness. I wonder if he'll be Godolphin's top miler in the UK this summer.
  10. The Americans just about saw off the Japanese but both the strongest fancied horses from each country disappointed. USHBA TESORO came close to pulling off the Dubai World Cup/Saudi Cup double which I don't think has been done. He's earned his connections nearly £11 million in win and place money.
  11. The deluge arrived on time up here and Fontwell's Sunday meeting featuring the National Spirit Hurdle, has already been abandoned. The ground at Kempton has gone Soft, Heavy in places which is unusual for one of the best draining courses in the country - it's a gravel and sandstone surface. The Group 2 races now have their final declarations - the Adonis has six runners. KALIF DU BERLAIS is now 5/6 favourite and I think his main threat could be his stable companion, SWIFT HAWK, who won well on hurdling debut at Taunton and is proven on soft ground on the flat. To be fair, GIVEMEFIVE looked good at Warwick on soft ground last month and could be anything. Six also go in the Pendil over 4000m for the intermediate chasers and this is a trappy little heat. LE PATRON is top rated and won the Tingle Creek on heavy ground before Christmas for which he carries a 5 lb penalty. The Scilly Isles run was poor albeit on much quicker ground. Nicholls runs TAHMURAS and if the ground does dry a little he has claims. BLOW YOUR WAD is disputing favouritism but LE PATRON beat him 10 lengths when they last met and a 5 lb pull doesn't look enough to reverse places. The interesting runner is NIcky Henderson's ARCLIGHT who gets 11 lbs from LE PATRON but leaves mares races to take on the geldings. She's my idea of a bit of an interest and is now 7/2 having been 10s at entries. The Dovecote has just seven runners - the second and third from the Rossington Main at Doncaster re-oppose and I think LUMP SUM will prefer the slower ground. Six have been confirmed for the Group 3 Winter Derby at Southwell and LORD NORTH still looks the one over MILITARY ORDER. Off to Riyadh where wet ground isn't going to be an issue and the USD 20 million Saudi Cup has drawn the best Dirt performers. WHITE ABARRIO won the Breeders Cup Classic having looked imperious in the Whitney at Saratoga. He's not been seen for nearly four months and that's a concern. The top Japanese runner is LEMON DROP who won the Champions Cup at Chukyo in early December - I don't really know the form but it's a serious race with a pot of £775,000. The Pegasus winner NATIONAL TREASURE bids to emulate the likes of ARROGATE and he's my idea of the winner while DERMA SOTOGAKE chased home WHITE ABARRIO in the Breeders Cup Classic and USHBA TESORO, despite only finishing fifth at Santa Anita, did win the Dubai World Cup last year. LUXEMBOURG is 4/5 to win the Group 2 Neom Turf Cup over 2050m. LUXEMBOURG danced in most of the big dances last summer and was runner up in the Prince of Wales, the Irish Champion and the Hong Kong Cup. A strongly run 2000m looks ideal for this type. SPIRIT DANCER won a big pot in Bahrain but looks to have it to do against LUXEMBOURG while THE FOXES was fifth in the English Derby and fourth in the Juddmonte. The 1351 Turf Sprint is run pretty much over 1351m. MYSTERIOUS NIGHT is an improving Godolphin type who won the Al Fahidi Fort last time. MATILDA PICOTTE is an Irish filly who improved in the autumn ending up winning the Challenge at Newmarket but her form is all on soft ground. AGURI looks the best of the Japanese but he's a handicapper and this isn't a strong Group 2 but even so I think he has it to do.
  12. In my rush to preview the Saudi Cup meeting this weekend, I neglected the Meydan card on Friday in Dubai. Not of the samr standard certainly but a couple of Group 2 races to consider. The Balanchine over 1800m on the grass is for the fillies and mares. Godolphin are well represented as always and SAPPHIRE SEA is the mount of William Buick. The filly improved steadily in the UK last summer moving through handicap company and ending up winning a Listed race. She's clearly got scope for further improvement. Her stable companion ENGLISH ROSE looks a big threat. This will be her fourth outing and having won on turf and on Polytrack in the UK was sent off 4/7 to win the Group 2 Cape Verdi last time only to go down a neck. My recollection of the race was her inexperience got her beaten so this time she'll know more and rates a real threat. STENTON GLIDER and MYSTIC PEARL are held on that form but I expect a better run from the latter. 14 go in the Singspiel over 1800m on the grass. This looks wide open - the Group 1 Jebel Hatta gets a workout with second placed OTTOMAN PRONCE (the selected of the Godolphin entries by Buick) and third placed SAN DONATO re-opposing. There's very little between them - only half a length last time. NAVAL POWER is a fascinating contender - off for 392 days since winning a Listed event over course and distance early last year, he was once sixth in a Dewhurst behind a subsequent 2000 Guineas winner. ALFAREEQ was second in this and went on to win the Jebel Hatta (it was run in March in 2023 and the programme changed this season). He was then seventh in the Dubai Turf but hasn't done so much this year and I think time may be catching up. SEAN is another of interest - an ex-Italian galloper, he's done well since moving to Jamie Osborne's yard and was fourth to SAN DONATO in the Zabeel Mile before a second in Group 3 company last time.
  13. Another busy weekend coming up. A deluge of rain is forecast to hit the three Saturday meetings at Kempton, Chepstow and Newcastle. The ground is currently Soft, Good to Soft in places at Kempton where three Grade 2 races are effectively the final Cheltenham trial races in their respective divisions. The Adonis over 3200m for the 4-y-o hurdlers has eight entries and Paul Nicholls has the unbeaten KALIF DU BERLAIS who did it very well over the course and distance in mid January but this will be a better race but if you think he's 14s for the Triumph he ought to be winning a race like this. The 4000m Pendil sees the exuberant NICKLE BACK bid to follow up his Scilly Isles success at Sandown. If he takes as well to the fences at Sunbury as he did at Esher, he'll win but Nicky Henderson's unbeaten chaser ARCLIGHT won't make life easy for the Ditcheat horse. 11 have been entered for the Dovecote over 3200m for the older novice hurdlers. This doesn't look a strong renewal on paper - LUMP SUM and FIERCELY PROUD were second and third to a Henderson runner at Doncaster at the end of last month and I'm more interested in the course and distance winner SECRET SQUIRREL. For the first time, the Group 3 Winter Derby is being run at Southwell in Nottinghamshire. It's been moved up from 2000m to 2200m but old favourite LORD NORTH is 7/4 favourite. He's an 8-y-o who won this last year when it was run at Lingfield and then went on to win the Dubai Turf at Meydan. On that form, he'll win this and last year's runner up TYRRHENIAN SEA looks to have plenty on to reverse places. MILITARY ORDER won the Lingfield Derby Trial and was my idea of the English Derby winner but he ran a shocker behind AUGUSTE RODIN. He was second in the Derby Trial over course and distance and that run should leave him spot on for this. BOTOX HAS, who won the Rendlesham at Haydock last Saturday, is one of seven entries for the Grade 2 National Spirit at Fontwell which is likely to be run on desperate ground if at all. Further afield, it's the Saudi Cup meeting at Riyadh on Saturday. The prize money, as you might expect, is stupendous with the Group 2 Turf Sprint going for USD 2 million. The European challenge includes ANNAF, ART POWER and JUMBY but the Japanese have a powerful entry as well. The Bahrain Trophy winner SPIRIT DANCER goes in the Group 2 Neom Turf Cup over 2000m. The Group 1 Saudi Cup has a first prize of USD 20 million (so slightly more than a R65 in New Zealand). Over 1800m on the Dirt, this has attracted some serious entries from America and Japan including NATIONAL TREASURE. The locals will do well to live with these top Dirt gallopers. I'll talk about the weekend's action more in the coming days.
  14. On then to the past weekend in the UK and the feature race at Ascot was the Grade 1 Ascot Chase over 4200m which saw Gold Cup hope L'HOMME PRESSE go up against perennial Ascot specialist PIC D'ORHY. Last year, in this race, PIC D'ORHY had been beaten by SHISHKIN and was second favourite behind L'HOMME PRESSE in the betting going off at 7/4 (I got 5/2 on Thursday).. You could certainly argue this race was won and lost at the start as Harry Cobden poached a five length lead on PIC D'ORHY but this was still an impressive round of galloping and jumping by a horse enjoying optimum conditions - the ground had dried to Good to Soft, Good in places. Cobden kept plenty in the tank off the home turn and in truth was never seriously threatened. L'HOMME PRESSE did his usual party trick of jumping slightly left and Ascot isn't the place to do that. He finished well enough and the Gold Cup trip of 5200m round the left-handed track of Cheltenham will play much more to his strengths but can I see him bothering GALOPIN DES CHAMPS on this evidence? Not really. This was PIC D'ORHY's Gold Cup and he atoned for defeat in the Silvinaico Conti at Kempton where he couldn't give 3 lbs to the very useful BANBRIDGE. On this better ground, he was imperious but he won't go to Cheltenham. Trainer Paul Nicholls intends to run him at Aintree - if he were mine, I'd be looking at Punchestown which would be ideal as the horse relishes a stiff right hand track on decent ground. Nicholls did opine the King George might be an option next season and the prospect of PIC D'ORHY and IL EST FRANCAIS going over the fences on Boxing Day is already making me look forward to Christmas. The Reynoldstown was a competitive 4800m novice chase but HENRY'S FRIEND was just a better jumper than KILBEG KING and prevailed by a head in a driving finish. APPLE AWAY was held in third and as at Wetherby I think forcing the pace proved her undoing. Up at Haydock, conditions were in marked contrast to Ascot with driving rain and Heavy ground. BOTOX HAS earned a 20/1 quote for the stayers at Cheltenham with a commanding nine length win - BUTCH made the pace but BOTOX HAS was always travelling sweetly and picked up the leader easily between the last two. Gary Moore, the trainer and father of champion flat rider Ryan, said BOTOX HAS might make a quick re-appearance in the National Spirit at Fontwell this Sunday. The Albert Bartlett proved a horrendous slog in desperate conditions and only half the ten runners completed. On a good day for Irish trainer Gavin Cromwell, who had previously won the Grand National Trial with YEAH MAN, the double was completed with NOW IS THE HOUR who relished the slog to win by 17 lengths but isn't even entered for Cheltenham. Heavy ground also at Wincanton where NEMEAN LION earned a 50/1 quote for the Champion Hurdle with a workmanlike success in the Grade 2 KIngwell. He won't get anywhere near the likes of CONSTITUTION HILL and STATE MAN and in my view he's much more likely to win the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr in mid April.
  15. I'm going to disagree with you here. First, I was saddened to read of VERRY ELLEEGANT's passing this morning (and of course her foal) - the Racing Post reported as follows: 'She was a special one' - Melbourne Cup heroine Verry Elleegant dies after complications giving birth | Racing Post Her 2021 Melbourne Cup win was well recognised up here - she beat SPANISH MISSION four and a half lengths and he was mixing it with the likes of STRADIVARIUS and SUBJECTIVIST at a rating of 117. Her battles with ADDEYBB also brought her to recognition in the UK - he was rated 121 having won the 2020 Champion Stakes and was a seriously good horse on slow ground. I just wonder if she should have been retired after the 2021 Melbourne Cup. Her form after that in both Australia and Europe was never so good - she was turned over in the 2022 Ranvet when 1/4 up here. I'll be honest - there aren't many 7-y-o mares racing at the top level over 2000m or further in Europe - it's another the younger colts or fillies or the older geldings. Her third in the Foy to IRESINE was decent - he went on to win the Royal Oak and the Ganay in the spring of last year and is a versatile type on soft ground from 2000 to 3000m. She didn't make the Arc and was only beaten four lengths in the Royallieu which was run on ground softer than anything sh'd have experienced in Australia or New Zealand. A number of the fillies and mares from that race fetched up to the Champions Day Fillies & Mares at Ascot and again she wasn't beaten far - reversing Longchamp form with SEA LA ROSA and matching it with EMILY DICKENSON after which she was given a European rating of 113 - her Australian rating based on the Melbourne Cup win was 123 so she ran 10 lbs below her best in Europe and I'd argue similar to her Autumn (March-April with you) 2022 form at Randwick and Rosehill. I'd have loved to have seen her in Europe at her very best - she'd have been competitive in races from 2400-4000m. A race like the Irish St Leger would have been perfect for her. It's ironic we lost her on the day the 2022 Arc heroine ALPENISTA successfully delivered her first foal, a Dubawi filly.