Tag Archives: Sire De Grugy

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL PREVIEW – DAY 2/Part I

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It’s been a spectacular opening day of the Cheltenham Festival! Willie Mullins was utterly dominant, as many did expect. Well, he didn’t quite made it a four-timer though, as Annie Power crashed through the last fence when she looked a sure winner. The bookies probably cried tears of joy that moment. A Mullins four-timer would have cost them millions. Nonetheless it was the Mullins Show on day one. It all kicked off with Douvan in the Supreme, half an hour later Un De Sceaux stamped his authority on his rivals in the Arkle, and Faugheen duly lived up to the hype in the Champion Hurdle – with Artic Fire and Hurricane Fly producing a one-two-three for the all conquering Irish trainer.

One a side-note: Our selections produced a whopping near 40pts profit on the day! Can be continue like that on day two? Well, let’s try. Part I of my preview for Wednesdays action is below – short and snappy once again.


Neptune Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

Wide open race. Question marks all over the runners. Parlour Games is an improving sort, usually very strongly travelling. Should go close with good course form. If Nichols Canyon gets the trip, he rates a big danger. Will his jumping hold up, though? Windsor Park is an all improving sort as well, but looks short enough for what he showed so far. Vyta Du Roc may enjoy this test and can progress as well.
Hard to distinguish the better fancied horses. Looking for value, I like to think Ordo Ab Chao is overpriced. Won a trial over course and distance and seemed to enjoy the hill. Has obviously a bit too find and will have to improve to feature, but has the right profile and could well be the one to spoil the party.

Ordo Ab Chao @ 14/1 Coral – 2.5pts EW

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RSA Chase (Grade 1 Novices’ Chase)

Don’t pretend to be smart here – Don Poli looks the real deal and has the best form in the book. He won at the Festival last year, but looks a stayer through and through. Reportedly lazy, he never shows too much but once asked for all, he usually finds plenty. His most recent Leopardstown win over 3m is the strongest form any horse has to offer here and he looks to be a class above the rest.

Don Poli @ 2/1 Bet365 – 10pts win

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Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)

This looks as open as it gets and it evolves around the winners of the last two renewals. If either Sire De Grugy or Sprinter Sacre can run to something close of their brilliant best, they are hard to beat. Consistent Champagne Fever and Dodging Bullets could capitalize on any flaws in the big two’s performance. It would not be totally out of the world to see a big price going well approaching the last either. It’s very tough to call what happens here but even though I don’t fancy him to win, I believe he’ll run a fair race for a very big price…

Talking about old boy Sizing Europe. Key to him seems to be to bring him fresh to a race. He won all his last starts when off for more than 100 days. That’s the case here. He goes well at Cheltenham, and retains some ability as he won over 2m5f this season on his seasonal debut. His legs may not be quick enough and he may get outpaced, but I can see him staying on for a place.

Sizing Europe @ 50/1 VC – 2.5pts EW

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Saturday Highlights

It’s been a busy Saturday racing wise. Top class National Hunt in the UK, rounded up by excellent Graded action over in the US during the night – can a racing fan ask for more? Well, I don’t think so! But hey, let’s quickly reflect on the key points from yesterday…

Coneygree could win a Gold Cup – sooner or later!

You will have seen my preview of the Denman Chase (I hope!) – a really exciting renewal of this Grade 1 at Newbury yesterday. It shaped to be a cracker beforehand, and it turned out to be quite a noteworthy race in the end, indeed! However, none could have foreseen what really happened.

As I stated in my preview, I was extremely sweet on the chance of Novice Coneygree. Lightly raced, a smart hurdler, taking extremely well to fences. An exciting prospect, that is was he was and after yesterday certainly is. He was so impressive at Kempton, such a good, relentless galloper with big potential, when winning the Kauto Star Novice Chase. But yesterday, he brought it to another level. Taking on some really talented, tough & experienced chasers, he jumped off in front and literally ran them into the ground. Turning for home he had the whole bunch sitting in his neck. They were all poised to take him on. Waiting for him to tire and fade. It was the ultimate real test for his class. What would he have left to offer in the home straight? Well, an awful lot, it turned out! He prevailed. Easily. Jumping well, not slowing down, just galloping strongly to the line. It was a demolition job and resulted in a breathtaking seven lengths success in the end. Coneygree has the “WOW factor”! So question is now: Arkle or Gold Cup – what’s next?

Grugy’s return a jumping error

Staying with jump racing for the moment: Saturday was the day we saw last years Champion Chaser Sire De Grugy back after his long injury absence. He clearly didn’t look his old best unfortunately, his jumping wasn’t good, he blundered badly at the fourth last and jumped the third last even worse, eventually unseating jockey Jamie Moore. That says the Champion Chase is up for grabs now. Grugy disappointed, so did Sprinter Sacre on his respective seasonal debut. Will both improve towards Cheltenham? Sure, they will. Will they be ever as good and dominant as they used to be in the past? Unlikely.  Un De Sceaux. it’s all yours – if you want…

Dortmund plays it well in California

Over to the US and a brilliant card at Santa Anita. Usually at this time of the year, we have to start talking about the Derby – the Kentucky Derby I mean! And I do really wonder: Have we seen the Derby winner at Santa Anita yesterday? Because there is this extremely good looking colt, called Dortmund (how appropriately named, knowing how poorly the once famous German football club of the same named town is playing in the Bundesliga at the moment), who started into his classic season the same way as he ended the last year: with a gutsy performance, landing the Robert B. Lewis Stakes with a late surge! This should be a stepping stone for him towards the Derby. Admittedly, I was already mightily impressed with his attitude, presence and long stride when getting up late in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity Stakes in December. A son of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, he should have the right pedigree and the way he races suggests the Derby trip will suit. He’s currently trading as the 10/1 ante-post favourite….

Not quite #TheRematch

Shared Belief made it look easy in the end, when effectively eased down before crossing the line as the clear winner of what was branded as ‪#‎TheRematch‬. He beat California Chrome by 1 1/2 lengths in the San Antonio Invitational. Shared Belief got a perfect start this time – unlike in the Breeders Cup Classic – tracked Chrome’s every move, and Mike Smith was probably rubbing his hands when Espinoza let Chrome lose – a bit too early I thought actually. That played into the hands of Shared Belief, who, once looming alongside Chrome in the home straight, went easily past him. Bob Baffert’s Hoppertunity ran a fine 3rd, but was never really able to challenge the two big guns. Reflecting on this race, I believe both, Shared Belief and California Chrome will come on for this run. Chrome is going to Dubai and will do well there. He has a chance to win the Dubai World Cup. But only if Shared Belief doesn’t go down the same route. Chrome could then be heading for Europe and some of the good turf races in England. Surly it would be interesting to see how he fares over here.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Oh before I forget: It’s nice to have a bit of punting success lately again. Coneygree went off a 15/8 favourite. If you followed me, you would have got 7/2, which turned out to be a huge price, as we know now. Also Shared Belief went off the evens favourite, I got him at 7/4 as advised. It wasn’t quite 3/3 yesterday. Ballista ran a cracker at Lingfield, made all, and would the winning post come a couple of yards earlier, he would have won. A narrowly denied third is what he ended up.

What’s on the tab today

Well, I could write a long essay about what all the great racing today. But I believe, sometimes an image can speak for thousand words. So just look at this below – I don’t think I need to say more!

hennessy