Tag Archives: King George

Cheltenham 2020: Friday Preview

Winner!

Oh Melon…. right before the line and after the line in front but not on the line – where it mattered. Tough to take. This year really tests my mental strengths. It’s the second tight finish this week (Abacadabras) that went against my horse. Kilfilum Cross was another runner-up, albeit fair and square beaten.

Final day of the Festival. Even though it went decent enough so far, I really could do with a big winner. On a different note: how Cheltenham can go on while every other sporting event worldwide is cancelled due to COVID-19 is hard to understand.

I mean don’t get me wrong: I’m home bound, so happy it’s on. But from a pure risk management perspective this looks wrong.

………

1.30 Triumph Hurdle, 2m 1f

This is a wide open race as the betting suggests. The completely unexposed Solo is probably the one most likely to be a superstar. If he finds this a bit too much, though, there is anything up for grabs.

The one that looks completely overpriced is the JP owned Cerberus. If not for idling when seemingly having won the Spring Juvenile Hurdle, he’d be a Grade 1 winner and much shorter today.

He’s jumping generally fine and economically, has run as fast on the ratings front to suggest he belongs here and is much closer matched to Allmankind that the bare Chepstow form would suggest.

Re-watch the race and you’ll see the field gifted the eventual winner an easy lead, and while Cerberus made nice progress at the latter stages, Robby Power was taking a bit pull before approaching the last, which meant the ground made up was lost in an instant. He was pretty kind on the gelding in the finish, is fair to say.

The 5 place offer with William Hill looks attractive. I firmly believe he’ll be in the money. But the win odds on the exchange are much bigger and even better value.

Selection:
10pts win – Cerberus @ 24/1 MB

……..

2.10 County Hurdle, 2m 1f

Oakley ticks a lot of boxes trend wise but also form wise. I really liked his most recent effort in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury when pretty much all went against him that could.

Good ground was certainly not what he wants, a standing start didn’t help with finding a good position early on, and then being hampered by fallers at the last was still not enough to see him finishing strongly, resulting in an eye-catching performance that also looks good rating wise.

He’s one of few in the field who has already proven to be able to run as fast as his handicap mark warrants. Oakley has performed with plenty of credit this season, including course form, including a neck beaten runner-up effort over this CD.

Selection:
10pts win – Oakley @ 29/1 MB

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2.50 Albert Bartlett, 3 miles

Experience can count for a lot here, so does stamina. With that in mind Ramses De Teillee should have a tremendous chance to be in the shake-up at the very least.

He’s reverted back to hurdling, although he was quite a good staying chaser, actually. A runner-up in the Welsh Grand National, he also achieved a topspeed rating of 149, which is the highest in this field and manifests his status as a graded horse.

Ramses De Teillee has won his last two starts, so comes here in fine form and is sure to stay every inch of the uphill finish to the line.

Selection:
10pts win – Ramses De Teillee @ 14/1 MB

……..

3.30 Gold Cup, 3m2½f

After landing the big pot twelve months ago as a 22/1 longshot (and I backed him!), Al Boum Photo holds a special place in my heart. Emotions aside, he looks the type capable of doing the seemingly impossible: defending his crown!

Part of the reason why I believe he has quite a decent chance is simply down to the opposition. Make no mistake this is a good and deep Gold Cup field – but without any true superstar to beat, other than ABP himself. That may change post race; as of now Al Boum Photo looks the clear favourite in my book.

The other reason to believe he can do it is the ideal preparation the 8-year-old enjoyed. He went down the same route as last year, he comes here fresh on the back of a fine effort at Tramore. Since Cheltenham he only ran twice: the aforementioned January race and a fair runner-up effort behind Kemboy at Punchestown.

ABP is still relatively low mileage and even though he may not improve any further, he doesn’t have to: an effort as good as twelve months ago will see him probably hard to beat.

The one thing that does potentially speak against him is the fact that last year he got pretty much a dream run through the race. Everything worked to perfection. That may not be the case this time.

Nonetheless it’s reasonable to attest that 10/3 is at the very least a fair price – potentially even too big. Still, I feel there is better value in the field for the fact that I do want to have an improving horse on my side.

I don’t think Delta Work is good enough. He’s a contender but a silly price for all what he has done so far. Particularly if leaving naked form aside – which can mislead – and look what’s under the hood, it becomes clear he simply hasn’t ran particularly fast yet. He may well be capable of doing so, but fact remains in 17 starts over fences or hurdles he never bettered a 132 topspeed rating. That’s not up to scratch for a proper Gold Cup horse.

Granted these ratings are to be taken with a pinch of salt and Al Boum Photo didn’t achieve that either before his Gold Cup victory. He had, though, less chances to do so and you could make a reasonable case to believe why he might be able to step up to the required form, plus he was a much bigger price, than Delta Work is today. Not to forget ABP ran to a 177 TS rating in the Gold Cup eventually.

Kemboy has been disappointing this season. His jumping makes him vulnerable. If he gets his act together he is a live chance, nonetheless, and a far better one than Delta Work.

Presenting Percy had enough opportunities to prove he is a top class staying chaser. He hasn’t quite delivered the goods as many would have hoped he would at this stage last year. He has place claims if at his best.

As impressive as Clan Des Obeaux is at Kempton, he will likely struggle here once more. Bristol De Mai can run his race and could be an interesting each-way candidate at massive odds.

That leaves the two potential improvers. Santini and Lostintranslation.

Santini has been touted a Gold Cup horse for a while and to his credit he has answered the calls when landing the Cotswold Chase this season. A breathing operation has clearly helped. He has the right profile and looks to have talent in abundance, with more to come.

The same can be said about Lostintranslation. However his star has faded a little bit since the King George where was pulled up. He had a wind OP in the meantime, though.

You have to believe that procedure has helped to rectify the issues he clearly had in December. If it has and you ignore the King George, you see a progressive staying chaser who was a fine winner of the Haydock Betfair Chase, which made him a short price for the King George in first place.

What I appreciate most about Lostintranslation: he is not a pure stayer but has proven speed. He has both: speed and stamina. That is the magic combination for a true Gold Cup contender.

Therefore, at given prices I have to side with him. He ticks nearly all the right boxes. Only the King George and recent wind operation are question marks; hence he isn’t 3/1 but rather 11/1, which is over the top and the fair price is probably somewhere in the middle.

Selection:
10pt win – Lostintranslation @ 11/1 WH

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4.10 Foxhunter Hunters’ Chase, 3m2½f

The drift is a worry, but at this price, particularly each/way, too good to let go. Alcala has ran well to qualify for this race with two efforts within two weeks last month. That may have left a mark and possibly is a reason for the drift.

Hard to know. If he is fine, and one hopes he is if allowed to run, then Alcala must have a better chance to make the frame than 50/1 would suggest.

He’s a decent chaser who has won over this trip in the past and he’ll enjoy the drying ground. In an open contest he can outrun his price tag.

Selection:
5pts e/w (5pl) – Alcala @ 50/1 Bet365

Tuesday Selections: December 26th 2017

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

It was a nice little Christmas present on Saturday when Crystal Deauville ran home strongly to land the seller at Lingfield (4/1 advised). Short-priced favourite Yogi’s Girl didn’t even finish in the money, in the end.

The King George looms large today, a cracking renewal on hand – can Thistecrack find back to his best and defend the crown he grabbed so impressively with both hands twelve months ago? Or are the new kids on the block the ones who triumph?

Well, we find out soon. My eyes, nonetheless, crave more for a betting opportunity on Wolverhampton’s tapeta:

3.25 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 7f 

Top weight Mr. Christopher blew his chances the other day over CD when he made too much too early from a wide draw. He raced keenly throughout and had nothing left in the tank when it mattered.

However he ran an almighty race at Southwell weeks earlier when an agonizingly close runner-up, proving that on his day he can be a force to reckon.

Mr. Christopher drops in class today and runs from only 3lb above his last winning mark – he enjoys this course and distance, is a 3x CD winner with a 50% place rate and with a decent draw to start from today he has every chance to run a big race.

Selection: 
10pts win – Mr. Christopher @ 10/1 VC

Preview – King George VI

Ascot Grand Stand, by Florian Christoph

Will Golden Horn run? We don’t know yet. The ground is soft, and despite the fact that the sun is out, it won’t help to dry quickly enough. I suspect that the hot favourite won’t take up his chance here. But regardless of whether he is in or not, it should be an intriguing affair as not too many are suited by the conditions.

Well, Clever Cookie surely is. He’ll love every drop of rain in the ground. He is in top form, won two on the bounce and should have things the way he likes it. I think he is potentially overpriced, but also feel he may be tactically disadvantaged with his usual running style – he simply might get going too late. It could be difficult to peg back some others who are attempting more aggressive tactics.

I believe Snow Sky is a major runner here today, with or without Golden Horn. He stays further than 12 furlongs and might be actually better over two additional furlongs, but he proved his class in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot over this trip when he was very impressive to land it from the front.

He may not get the lead this time, but will surely be prominent nonetheless. That will enable him to kick on 3f out, turning for home. He has a bit of a change of gear, so may be able to put some lengths into the rest of the field at this stage. And one thing is assured – he’ll stay.

This Nayef son is a typical Sir Michael improver, he’s blooming this year. The ground of course is a question mark. His best performances came on a quick surface. However he used to win his maiden on bottomless ground with ease, so he is probably fine.

There aren’t too many others who appeal to me. Flintshire is a quality runner, but he’ll hate the ground. Eagle Top isn’t sure to enjoy it either. While Postponed remains one with potential but has never encountered these conditions before. Romsdal has yet to win on turf, though the filly Madame Chiang has course and distance form on soft ground as she was victorious at British Champions Day last year.

She is an intriguing contender. Track, trip and ground will suit. Her seasonal comeback run over shorter 10f in the Middleton Stakes wasn’t all that bad, however she hasn’t been seen since, which is a concern.

And what about Golden Horn – if he runs? Of course he’s the one to beat. His record speaks for itself and he has the vital weight for age allowance on his side. But the ground is a major worry. Yes, he won his maiden on good to soft, but he looked so exceptional on a fast surface – I’m worried.

Verdict: I’m prepared to take on Golden Horn in these conditions ans believe Snow Sky has a major chance. He shouldn’t mind the ground and tactically the race could pan out to perfection for him. He’s a big price.

Snow Sky @ 15/2 Betfred – 5pts Win

Happy Birthday “King” Kauto Star

Kauto Star

Happy Birthday KAUTO STAR – a true racing legend! A winner of 5 King George’s and 2 Cheltenham Gold Cup’s, he is a horse for the ages! I only saw him once in flesh, which was last year at the Festival when he took part in a parade.

Personally I’m not entirely sure if the dressage thing is really what he wants, but on the other hand it is great to see him having a fulfilled post-racing-life with purpose and exercise.