It’s the TTF time of the year, and I enter a local competition alongside a number of Betfair guys. The overall winner collects the cash, the loser within Betfair has to pay for a team curry – I bought the curry last year, largely because I had the only list that didn’t include Kauto Star. That was an oversight – I’ve taken more care this year.
Afsoun – somehow it’s easy to ignore this soft ground performer as he’s always found one or two better at the top level, but as a 5yo he may still have room to progress and he may do better over a longer trip. Henderson says he will stay over hurdles this year, which is a plus point wise.
Altilhar – I asked Gary for a horse for my list and he liked this one and Heathcote. Heathcote is perhaps on a better mark, but I’ll go with Altilhar, who Gary said would have “won a minute” under a more forceful ride at Cheltenham last year.
Denman – Harry Findlay spent ten minutes in the Betfair tent last year telling us why Denman would win the SunAlliance and why he was value at the short odds. He was right, and he won it well. He won’t run against Kauto Star until Cheltenham so he ought to be booked for a few points at least, and he is a lovely horse – I had a decent look at him when I went to Paul Nicholls’ stable to present Clive Smith (Kauto’s owner) with his million pound cheque.
Katchit – I’ve never backed him and he’s surprised me time and time again. He seems to be resilient and he seems to have a great attitude.
Kauto Star – absolutely top class animal, would only leave him out of the list if I was feeling particularly contrarian.
L’Antartique – impressive winner of the Jewson and highly rated by his canny trainer – may deliver early points this weekend.
Osana – I called up David Pipe and we came up with this as the best prospect for a point tally. He ummed and aahed through a few horses – Abragante, Acambo, some others. Osana could be my Arkle hope.
Straw Bear – I love this horse. I called Nick up for an opinion – he didn’t know if the horse would be hurdling or chasing by the end of the year, but he thinks the world of him and is hoping for another good season.
Twist Magic – very talented youngster with an engine, and the early jt fav for the Champion Chase. Needs to improve to score at the top level, but may have the scope to do it.
Wichita Lineman – looks a true stayer and may still be on the upgrade. My one for the stayers.