Brass Monkeys

Good morning all,

The car scraper is back in action as temperatures got down to -4 around here last night, and the weather is going to play havoc with the racing for a day or two at least. It might well scupper a planned trip to Ffos Las tomorrow, which would have been my first to the Welsh venue, and will almost certainly claim at least one meeting today, possibly both.

After the weekend’s action I’ve been having another look at the main Gold Cup contenders to see if there’s any ante-post value. My thoughts on that, and today’s selection, on the main piece.

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Victor’s Monday Musings

Morning all,

Tizzard Walking in a Newbury Wonderland

What a Saturday for trainer Colin Tizzard with a Newbury treble courtesy of Thistlecrack, Ultragold and of course taking the day’s big horse race the Hennessey Gold Cup, with Native River, which sadly is likely to be the last race to be run as the Hennessey Gold Cup with the owners of the brand looking to end their sponsorship of this historic handicap chase. Such a decision will bring to an end British horse racing’s longest commercial sponsorship.

Back to the ‘Hennessey” itself what a finish it was as Native River clung on to hold the strong finishing Carole’s Destrier at the line. Always up with the pace as expected he took up the running five from home and although he looked like he might be vulnerable when headed three out, he was back in the lead two out and from then on wasn’t for catching, he was slightly idling on the run in but he found enough for a worthy win under super ride by Richard Johnson who was actually winning his first Hennessey and most likely his last if the sponsorship news proves correct. He deserves to look toward the Cheltenham Gold Cup now and who knows he could be part of a Tizzard 123 at the Festival come March.Continue Reading

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Hennessy Pinstickers

Good morning all,

I say good, as the post-mortem into what went wrong at Newbury with One Track Mind continues (have woken up to two more texts) but safe to say that was not the start Andy and Mark were looking for. He basically scared himself when taking off too early for the first and landed in the middle of the fence, and decided to look after himself after that, ballooning most of the fences. The comical sight of him jumping the water, which could have been three times higher and he’d have cleared it, was the final straw and Gavin decided to hunt him round to try and reach him something. He’s come back, unsurprisingly, a fresh as paint and Wareen is going to try and find him something next weekend of early the week after. I think we’ll have more of an idea what his season might look like after that.

The amount of abuse the lads (and trainer) got afterwards was unwarranted – theses things happen, and if anyone thought he’d been put into a Grade 2 first time up to embarass himself like that was done on purpose, I suggest horse racing might not be for you!

For today, I’ve done a Pinstickers guide to today’s big race, the Hennessy, although it’ll be Doncaster for me later on.

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One Track Friday

Good morning all,

Forget Black Friday, today’s all about One Track Friday as One Track Mind takes his first steps over fences for my good friends Andy Weller and Mark Cutmore. They’ve always had high hopes for him over fences and in that old cliche everything he did over hurdles was a bonus, so to have already won a Grade 1 with him at Punchestown was beyond what they could have hoped for.

He’s been schooling well, with the latest video being sent to us just half an hour ago (he’s been popped over a few this morning, Mark has gone to watch the schooling session – got up at half five to go and watch him, there’s dedication for you) and we’re hopeful he can get off to a decent start this afternoon. (Although Andy is being his usual pessimistic self at the moment.)

Would I back him at the price? I think I’d have a small bet at 9-4, yes – I thought anything around the 7-4 mark was fair, given the opposition and the fact it’s his first time over fences, but on hurdles ratings he’s every chance, despite giving the 4-y-o’s a bit of weight. Fingers crossed for a safe round first and foremost.

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