Is 2019 The Year of The Clan?
Well my holiday already seems far away, but I had a very relaxing time and the break was definitely needed.
I returned from Mexico on Boxing Day, and just managed to see the action from Kempton, and what great racing it was too.
The King George VI provided a bit of a shock winner in the shape of Clan Des Obeaux, who gave trainer Paul Nicholls a 1Oth win in this race. I have to confess I couldn’t really fancy him myself, but he’s clearly an improving chaser. Indeed, there was no fluke about his win, and he probably won with a bit more in hand than final 1 ½ length margin suggests. Maybe the 6-year-old hit the front to soon, as he’s the sort of horse who doesn’t do much when he hits the front. He had clearly improved from his seasonal reappearance when 4th in the Betfair Chase.
Is the winner a Gold Cup Contender? Yes, given his win has blown the race apart then he has to be considered a possible winner of jump racing’s ‘blue riband’ contest. If he improves again for this run, he will be tough to beat come March. However, he still hasn’t as yet caught my imagination, but anyone who grabbed the 16/1 available after the race will be happy ante-post punters.
Runner-up, Thistlecrack, was staying on well enough after the last, but he uses too much energy jumping fences to be considered a Gold Cup winner.
Native River was another staying on well at the finish to take 3rd. The three miles around a track like Kempton was always going to be too much of a speed test for last year’s Gold Cup winner, and so it proved.
Politologue, also trained by Paul Nicholls, ran well enough but his stamina ran out, two out, and he finished a well beaten 4th.
It’s a shame we didn’t get to see how Waiting Patiently and Bristol De Mai would have got on. The former fell at the 9th and badly hampered Waiting Patiently, who unseated his rider at the same fence. It was a fair way out, but the reaction of jockey Brian Hughes after he came off the horse indicated to me that he had really fancied his chances, and the horse had been well backed in the morning to bring the prize back to Yorkshire. Hopefully neither of the horses will be the worse for their mishaps.
Boxing Day Surprises
The disappointment of the race had to be the favourite Might Bite. He ran poorly in the Betfair Chase, and did so again here, already beaten four from home. I said after the Haydock that this horse has something mentally or physically wrong with him. I am beginning to think maybe it’s the former and if it is, he’s never going to win a Gold Cup.
There is no standout out Gold Cup horse this season. There are about ten horses all within a few lbs of each other who could win it. It’s starting to look a very interesting race!
Boxing Day was a day of surprises, with Buveur D’air being beaten at odds-on in the Christmas Hurdle, and the Willie Mullins’s novice chaser Getabird suffering the same fate in the new Grade 1 race at Limerick.
Boxing Day Eyecatcher
There were plenty of eyecatchers over the festive period. Topofthegame who had caught the eye when runner-up at Exeter on his seasonal reappearance, and did so again on Boxing Day in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase.
The 6-year-old is a grand stamp of a horse, and he looked like he was coming to win his race three out, but found giving 7lb to eventual winner, Le Bague Au Roi, just too much. Maybe he hit the front two early. After the race, his trainer told the Racing Post that he thought the horse had idled when getting to the front.
The Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot is his next target, and if he comes through that race, the RSA Novices Chase would seem a natural target for the Nicholls horse. Ascot will suit this big horse, who didn’t seem to enjoy the sharper Kempton track, and we know he goes well at Cheltenham, as he finished a close-up second in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle at Festival last season.
If you can still get the 12/1, available with Paddy Power about Topofthegame for the RSA, then I suggest you avail yourself of their generosity, like I have.
This Weeks Key Stats
Here are some trainer/jockey stats that are worth noting, should they have runners/riders at certain tracks this week:
Monday – 31/12
Dan Skelton (Handicap hurdles) – 23 winners from 66 runners 35% +52.09 A/E 1.56 35 placed 53% with jockey Dan Skelton that record improves to 23 winners from 48 runners 48% +70.09 A/E 1.84 31 placed 65%
Tuesday – 01/01
Cheltenham – New Year’s Day Meeting
Nigel Twiston-Davies (10/1 & under) – The trainer likes to have a winner at this meeting. Having had 4 winners from 19 runners, all four winners were well fancied in the betting being sent off 10/1 & under producing – 4 winners from 12 runners 33% +12.25 A/E 1.89 5 placed 42%.
Wednesday – 02/01
Stuart Coltherd (Handicap hurdles) – 6 winners from 17 runners 35% +41 A/E 3.35 7 placed 41%
Thursday – 03/01
Paddy Brennan (Handicap chases) – Is the jockeyto follow at Ludlow in particular when riding in handicap chases. Since 2015 he’s had 14 winners from 37 runners 38% +21.77 A/E 1.84 25 placed 68%
Friday – 03/01
Neil Mulholland (Handicaps) – 7 winners from 20 runners 35% +16.13 A/E 2.06 13 placed 65% (each way +25.18)
Saturday – 04/12
Nigel Twiston-Davies (Handicap hurdles) – 6 winners from 17 runners 35% +62.25 A/E 3.37 8 placed 47%
Saturday Big Race Trends
It’s the 2m Grade 1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. Looking at the last eight runnings of the race, there have been 8 winners from 43 runners with 15 placed. All eight winners shared the following two traits:
Odds SP: 10/1 & under
Career Hurdle Runs: 0 to 3
8 winners from 28 runners +12.98 15 placed
A happy and profitable New Year to all our Race Advisor readers.
See you in 2019!
All the best,
for The Race Advisor