Not a great start to the week. I ended up with two large bets – one on Distant Thunder and one on Straw Bear.
The Bear was going like a good ‘un when he burst a blood vessel – he trotted in after the race with blood pouring from his nose. I was with Nick in the early afternoon and I said I’d call him after the race but I left it – he will be devastated.
Distant Thunder ran a great race – he traded 1.11 in running and looked like the winner everywhere but the line, when suddenly he came third. The rest of my selections did nothing.
The most interesting aspect of the day yesterday was the ground. The race times clearly indicated that it was good ground, despite the official verdict of soft/good to soft. They are calling it good to soft today, but it is probably pretty decent ground. The ground has been heavy across the country for the last three months – this form can be thrown out the window. The better ground will bring the smaller flat bred types back into the picture.
I’ve less time today as I’ve got to get to the course. Some quick comments;
Race 1 – the Novice Hurdle. Aran Concerto is a banker for many. I’ll pass, looking for better value – I’ll go win and place on Imperial Commander from the Twiston-Davies yard, who may be very decent and may appreciate this ground more than some.
Race 2 – The Sun Alliance Chase. Harry Findlay will be looking for a big run from Denman, and not being the shy retiring type he may have a tilt at the ring. He’s a lovely horses and has won 8 of his 9 starts, only meeting defeat at Cheltenham last year when outsped by Nicanor. There is a lot of quality up against him, including the talented Cailinn Alainn. I like Denman but can’t bring myself to back him at the price – no bet for me.
Race 3 – The Queen Mother. Well Chief is back and is the third short priced favourite of the day. I love this horse and he may run a big race. I hope he wins, but for money I’ll be taking him on with last year’s winner, New Mill. Conditions are right for New Mill and he is sure to go well.
Race 4 – The Coral Cup. The normal massive entry, and no short priced favourite here – I’ll have a bet for a bit of interest but no more. Rodger Sargent runs Dusky Warbler, who may go well. Nick Gifford told me yesterday that he quietly fancied Dusky Lord. There are some things in life that I just can’t resist, and the Dusky forecast is one of those.
Race 5 – the Kim Muir. I don’t normally like this race, but I’m a big fan of Lord of Illusion and I may have a decent bet on him. He seems to have lost his form but the ground has come right for him and maybe he can start out on the comeback trail.
Race 6 – the Champion Bumper. Not a race for me, although I have picked the winner many times over the years through luck rather than judgement. I’d favour the flat breds today on account of the ground – Cork All Star and Sergheyev are a couple of possibles.