Michel Ma Belle

At last!!  I’ve been saying for a long time that Mon Michel is a decent result waiting to happen, and it’s gratifying to finally have a decent win to prove the case.  I thought he ran an excellent race, finding just a little extra at the end when asked, which is something he hasn’t really done before.

He isn’t the biggest in NH terms, and we think he’d struggle a little under a big weight.  He’s got an engine but with a slightly questionable attitude and a shorter stride than some he needs to come off a good pace.  He is best in in a good handicap with a light weight as he proved on Saturday – he would probably have been better on better ground, but the late shower may have eased the top of the ground (making it less sticky) which may have been enough to swing it for him.  The RP gave the run 120 – 5lb better than his previous best – which is on the low side perhaps but not unreasonable.  We will try to get him into the Ladbroke next.

I think there is a lot of science around racing weights, and Denman was perhaps the other end of this scale.  Paul Nicholls said before the race that he was perhaps 20lb heavier than ideal, which is on average what he was giving most of the remainder in the race.  He’s a massive strong horse though, and a few extra kilos may make little difference to him.  He’ll be better off top weight, and I’m inclined to downgrade his performance a little.  The RP go 180+, which is Kauto Star level form.  I still need to be convinced – he’s clearly enormously powerful but Kauto looks more of an athlete and may have more speed (and don’t rule out Exotic Dancer).  A positive for Denman in the Gold Cup is that they all carry 11st 10lb, which plays into the hands of the big strong types.  I don’t agree with this – I think 11st would be fairer and every jockey around can make this weight.

I’ve a couple of possible runners this week.  Ours goes tomorrow at Folkestone in what may be his final hurdle race.  He’ll have a definite chance in this weaker grade – he may like the softer ground and he’ll be ridden less prominently to give him a chance of getting home.  He’s a chaser in the making and is always going to be exposed to smaller faster types over hurdles.  Ollie Fliptrik is down to run on Friday – the long awaited debut of a horse who has had a few problems.  I haven’t spoken to the Coles – at this stage I’m not expecting much.