Cheltenham approaches and I have a few potential runners, but it brings a few dilemmas. Currently I have both Mon Michel and Prince Ary declared for the Imperial Cup on Saturday and the County Hurdle on the Friday of Cheltenham, and they could both run in both races. I also have King’s Head and Hope Road declared in the same race at Stratford on Monday, although Hope Road is declared in another race on the same card and King’s Head may not get in so a clash is fairly unlikely. Hope Road is also in the Fred Winter (albeit unlikely to get in) and Mon Michel is still in the Supreme Novices. We have some decisions to make.
All the horses are well. Mon Michel has been well all season, but he may appreciate the current ground more than the ground he has been running on so far this year. Prince Ary has had a long break, partly because he had been on the go for such a long time but also to give him a minor wind op. He is well and may have benefited from the break. King’s Head has had a variety of problems – we hope he has put all of that behind him and can now progress into a useful hurdler. Hope Road is a decent hurdling prospect who will improve for experience and should be seen to better effect in a bigger field.
The big call I have to make is the Mon Michel / Prince Ary one. If Mon Michel runs in the Imperial Cup he can’t really go for the Supreme Novice as there isn’t enough time to recover, but he could go for the County and there is a nice bonus to be had if he wins both races. Prince Ary could go for the same double, but he is 20-1 for the Imperial whereas Mon Michel is 9-1. The odds on PA are not a fair reflection – he’s better than that if he runs. I own PA outright but own MM 50-50 with Rodger – Rodger’s hardly going to be happy if MM comes second to PA, although perhaps that’s unlikely.
I figure (on the basis of previous years) that MM has to run to 23lb above his mark to win the Supreme Novice and 10lb above to win the County, although it’s not as simple as that. The Supreme is on the old course and the County is on the new – he might prefer the new but he’s a decent jumper and that could give him an edge on the tougher old course against less experienced novices.
I’m meeting with Gary and Rodger tomorrow at Fontwell to hammer it all out. Gary runs Trigger Guard in the 4:30 ridden by his son Josh, claiming 5lb. Josh is younger brother to Ryan and Jamie – he has a lot to live up to.