I am writing this on what some people have called “Blue Monday” which is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year and if my betting is any guide of late then it’s real “Blue Monday” for me. Add in the fact that the UK is about to be hit by yet more rain and winds in the coming few days all paints a depressing picture for this week’s horse racing with a few more abandonments likely.
Before looking at this week’s horses for the tracker I will take a quick look back at some of the highlights from a busy Saturday of racing and also look forward to a couple of Saturday’s big handicaps.
Waiting Patiently lives up to the name
It was great to see a northern trainer having a big race winner down south on Saturday with the Malcolm Jefferson trained Waiting Patiently taking the 2m 4 ½ f Listed race in impressive style. He jumped soundly throughout the race and showed a nice turn of foot to put the race to bed between the last two fences. The 7-year-old has Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase entries at the Festival with the latter likely to be his race. I just wonder how effective he will be on good spring ground at Cheltenham.
He looks like he can be a Grade 1 horse and If the ground was to be softer than usual then I think he can win the Ryanair Chase. It could well be that connections wait until Aintree where a step up to 3m could see the horse in even a better light. I could easily see him coming back here to win a King George at the end of the year. If you like your long-range ante-post bets, the 20/1 available with Betfair Sportsbook must appeal.
Malcolm Jefferson had a cross the card double on Saturday with Black Ivory taking the Pertemps Series qualifier at Warwick. The 6-year-old was following up his recent Aintree win and had no problem with the step up in grade here. I’m sure connections will be looking to get the horse into the final of the series but he will need to rise in the weights a fair bit more to get in. if he doesn’t get in at Cheltenham there always a staying handicap hurdle at the Aintree that he could be aimed at. Still he’s progressive and has a bit of size about him to think he can do well over fences in staying chases next season.
Of the rest in the Pertemps Qualifier; one who will get in the race is the Evan Williams trained 7-year-old Prime Venture who was 4th and ran well under his big weight. He has had 9 starts over hurdles winning two of them and placing on another five occasions. This was only his second start at staying trips and his improvement may not have finished yet. The third home Tobefair was one of the most improved handicap hurdlers of last season winning seven on the trot between June & February before running like his long season had caught up with him when well beaten in last years final. This was just his 3rd start of the campaign; he’s only 4lb above his last winning mark so he will come into this year’s race a much fresher horse.
Getabird easily landed the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle. A race in which trainer Willie Mullins likes to target with one of his Supreme Novice Hurdle candidates, his recent winners of this race include the likes Vautour, Douvan and Min. Getabird is now the clear favourite for the first race of the Cheltenham Festival. If he is as good as this on a quicker surface it will take a good one to beat him in the Supreme.
This Weeks Eyecatchers
Just the three this week, but if you’re looking for Meydan Winter Carnival tracker horses they will be available free and exclusively for Eyecatcher Pro subscribers from this Thursday to World Cup Night.
Tuesday 9th January
Oscar Rose – Fergal O’Brien – The mare was unlucky to be hampered when unseating her rider on her handicap hurdle debut at Cheltenham on her last start and didn’t fare much better in the run here either not getting the best of run coming to two out but she was staying on well after the last and managed to grab 4th at the line. Only beaten just 3 ¼ lengths here. She would probably have preferred a better overall gallop but she remains on a winning mark.
Wednesday 10th January
Grove Silver – Jennie Candlish – The 9-year-old was in the process of running his best race of the season when falling two out in this 3m 1 ½ f handicap chase. He was still just in the lead when coming to grief. I don’t think he would have won but he surely would have finished in the places but for that mishap. He’s just 2lb higher than for his last win back in March so he’s dropped back to a winnable mark. He stays 3m 5f but interestingly all his five career wins have come racing at less than 2m 6 ½ f and all his wins have come on heavy or soft ground – 5 wins from 14 runners 36% 7 placed 50% – with 4 wins from 6 runs coming when racing 16 to 25 days since his last start and his form figures at Carlisle are 211.
Saturday 7th January
Le Patriote – Dr Richard Newland – The 6-year-old was having his first start since moving from France and looked an interesting recruit for his trainer. He had been well-backed ante-post for the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle and the money came in for him on the day too. He opened up at 20s and was sent off at odds of 10/1. Before the race, the trainer had expressed reservations about the 2m 5f trip for the gelding and his stamina concerns proved. He travelled well if a little keen in the early part of the race but he was still travelling as powerfully as anything coming to two out. He paid for his early exertions late on and faded between the last two. A winner over 2m 2f in France, he just didn’t stay the distance here but the market support before the race suggest that he is on a winnable mark. A strongly run 2m or a bit further will suit him and he is capable of winning a race off 127.
All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable week’s betting.