It was a great day yesterday with a double at the Paddy Power Open meeting (Dynaste 7/4, Swing Bill 14/1) and I’m hoping for more of the same today.
I’ve decided to let Our Father (1.20) take his chance in the novice chase on Saturday. He was a real talking horse last season but just wasn’t street-wise enough for Cheltenham and Aintree where he disappointed. Hopefully he can get back to the sort of form he showed early last season and chasing was always going to be his game.
He prefers the ground on the softer side but this seems like as good a place as any to start.
We’re double-handed in the (1.55) with Problema Tic who’s in good form, will like the ground and we’re hoping he’ll be competitive. Ashkazar has been a grand old servant but is quirky. Has won three times around Cheltenham and definitely needs this long-distance races these days.
You should all know my thoughts on Grands Crus in the Paddy Power Gold Cup (2.35) by now. I think he’s well handicapped and ready to run a big race where Paddy Power are paying 1/4 the odds the first 5 home.
He’s stronger since his summer break and is coming into his prime now. He’s won three times at Cheltenham and his only disappointing run was in the RSA Chase where he travelled well but Tom Scudamore wasn’t happy a long way from home.
The real thrill last season was the Feltham Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day where he destroyed them on the far side and the time was better than Kauto Star’s in the King George.
The King George looks an ideal race for him but we’ll get Saturday out-of-the-way first.
Al Ferof, Calgary Bay and Walkon are the three I fear. Hunt Ball could continue to improve but I think it’s a big ask for him to keep doing it again and again.
We’ll need a little bit of luck in running to come through the 20-odd runners at the end of the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday.
But I’m hopeful Grands Crus will take all the beating.
I’ll let Goulanes take his chance in the handicap hurdle (3.05). This one was brought over from point-to-points in Ireland and won his first and only start for us at Newbury last season. Looks an out-and-out stayer and we’re happy with his progress.
Tanerko Emery (3.40) won at Stratford last time out but he probably didn’t beat very much. He races keenly so we’ll be looking for them to go a good gallop all the way to bring out the best in him.