Weekend Racing Preview
Two winners and a runner-up from the three suggestions last week even if the prices were never going to fund my early retirement, though whether we can do the same today is open to question. The All-Weather bumper cards are put on by the BHA as trainers look to get a run of any kind in to some of their charges ahead of Cheltenham, with some turf tracks still waterlogged and others hardly in ideal conditions for a prep race.
Meanwhile it looks like someone has been listening to social media regarding horse welfare as the Horse Welfare Board slowly unwrap future plans to keep the sport ahead of the game when it comes to what’s best for the horses themselves. As I get older, I realise that perception is far more important than reality these days and although we may be fully aware that racehorses are treated far better than plenty of humans in this country – the majority of the public are only aware of the negatives (sadly).
I was delighted to see a “birth to death” plan for each and every horse, something I have been campaigning for with my Horserace Bettors Forum alter-ego, as I am personally far more concerned with what happens to them after their racing careers are over with far too many horror stories for my liking.
As far as the average TV punter is concerned new whip rules look sure to follow shortly (October is the guideline date) starting with harsher penalties for offenders which can only be a good thing though please don’t be fooled in to thinking this is the highlight – it is just a headline grabber in a far more detailed and extensive report that is well worth reading here if you have the time (http://media.britishhorseracing.com/bha/Welfare/HWB/Recommendations_and_Projects.pdf) and can only be a good thing for the future of our sport.
Meanwhile, over in Dubai the Meydan records have been tumbling once again with Ghaiyyath winning the Dubai Millennium in a course record time despite never really being asked to get out of first gear (which makes me question things I’m afraid, cynic that I am). It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in Charlie Appleby’s office after this run as the now five-year-old has a reputation for going best fresh and only has a five week turnaround for World Cup night, but then again he is lightly raced with just the nine career starts and they may well be able to go back to the well and pick up the prize money for the Sheema Classic at the end of next month.
I was saddened to read that Native River is out for the season as on a heavy surface I would have been on him to win the Gold Cup. With Glenloe now out of the Kim Muir I was reminded why I rarely if ever get involved in the ante-post market with the risk of a non-runner far too high in comparison to the shoddy prices generally offered by the bookmakers.
Bitching over and on to what is left of the racing this weekend after Chepstow called their meeting off this afternoon and Newcastle look increasingly unlikely with an early morning inspection. At least Kempton look good to go (famous last words), though finding winners will be as tricky as always.
It all looks pretty competitive stuff and we need to try to balance chances against prices which is never an easy equation, so I have gone for a few “good things” as well as one that may, just may, be overpriced. Solo still holds a couple of entries at Cheltenham which suggests he is pretty decent and if that is the case, then he can make a winning debut for Paul Nicholls after hacking up last time out at Auteuil for Guillaume Macaire by an easy fifteen lengths. I hear they are very pleased with him at home and want to get a run in to him before he heads off to Prestbury Park so let’s all just hope it is a winning one.
Zambella is trained by the excellent Nigel Twiston-Davies but she has not really repeated her French form since arriving at the stables for 100,000 Euros. As things stand, she looks a bad buy, but imports can take a while to settle in to their new surroundings and I am rather hoping she can show her true abilities this season. She will start the rank outsider for the Kingwell hurdle and rightly so, but she could sneak in to second if we strike it lucky at 20/1 or better, I will be having a couple of quid each way just in case.
Back to the more obvious and Buzz has certainly looked the part when winning at Taunton and then Doncaster albeit by narrow margins. You just get the feeling he is running here to gain some more much needed experience ahead of the hoped for bigger challengers that lie ahead, and although no certainly he hopefully has an awful lot more to offer.
To end with, anyone who watched the way Bangkok win over course and distance last time out in a very smart time will have been waiting to back him in the Winter Derby at 3.15pm from Lingfield. Sadly, everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and we will not be getting too rich from backing the Andrew Balding trained four-year-old, but hopefully he will have one too many gears for John Gosden’s Dubai Warrior who looks a very serious danger with Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
On a busy weekend I also feel that we are yet to see the very best of Golden Sixty despite his race record of eight wins from nine starts including five in a row now. He takes in the Hong Kong Classic Cup on Sunday morning at 7.20am from Sha Tin as he tries 1800m for the first time, but if he gets the trip, and as a son of Medaglia d’Oro he ought to, then this is his for the taking.
Solo 1.50pm Kempton Saturday
Zambella each way to small stakes 2.25pm Kempton Saturday
Buzz 3.02pm Kempton Saturday
Bangkok 3.15pm Lingfield Saturday
Golden Sixty 7.20am Sha Tin Sunday