So… Cheltenham Festival Trials Day now securely in the form book… but what to make of it?
COMFORT ZONE a Triumph Hurdle player? Yeah, I’d put him in the picture for sure. Winners of Saturday’s race that then go on to run in the Triumph on their next start return figures of… 3/11, 4p… so I’d expect him to be there or thereabouts come the finish of the Triumph Hurdle…
BACK ON THE LASH a threat to DELTA WORK off levels in The Cross-Country? Potentially… won’t be easy for the Keighley 9yo with the weights swinging strongly in favour of the Irish raider but BACK ON THE LASH does seem to love the Cheltenham Cross-Country course, with form of 1P51 over the idiosyncratic track… he pulled-up in the race last year but that was almost certainly down to the heavy ground and given better ground this year he’ll surely have some sort of say…
Can EDITEUR DE GITE repeat his Saturday heroics in the QMCC? Personally I’d be surprised… the figures suggest he was able to control this race at his own tempo on Saturday and whilst I don’t want to take anything away from the performance or the ride by Niall Houlihan (he rode the race perfectly under the circumstances that were presented to him) I still wouldn’t be convinced he’s a full on QMCC player…
Did AHOY SENOR put himself back in the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture? For me he won the Cotswold Chase in spite of his scrappy jumping and that maybe says more about the quality of this year’s renewal than anything else. His jumping was as scrappy as ever but nothing else seemed to want to win the race and his stamina came to the fore after the last. He surely won’t be able to jump like he does and win a Gold Cup… surely not 🤨
Have the French unearthed a Stayers Hurdle player in the shape of GOLD TWEET? Nah… I mean… nah… can’t be having that… he’s no BARACOUDA… I suspect that was just a poor renewal of the Cleeve in all honesty…
All told it was an informative days racing at Cheltenham, indeed it was informative up and down the country, and gave me plenty to talk about when pulling together my ‘NTF Weekend Notes‘ for full NTF Members, my Weekend Notes being where the following ‘Three to follow from the weekend‘ horses have been plucked from…
Three to follow from the Weekend: 27th, 28th & 29th of January…
FRONT VIEW (Jonjo O’Neill)
7th in C2 Handicap Hurdle – 410 Cheltenham (Saturday 28th Jan)
This was the 8yo’s first run for almost 2 years and there was enough in this effort to suggest he’s possibly worth keeping in mind in the short-term.
He’s now 0/4, 0p on LH tracks so he may be at his best on RH tracks and he could be interesting under the following Prime Conditions…
Right-Handed tracks | NOT Heavy ground = 1321212 (3/7, 4p – all 3 career wins)
*I’d be relatively open on his Prime Conditions, it could just turn out that his slipping handicap marks allows him to overcome any potential condition negatives due to him being ‘well-handicapped’
The handicapper slipped him down 2lbs to OR 130 for this run and although he doesn’t currently hold any entries he is a JP McManus horse and I’d be pretty sure he has something in mind for him… 🤨
TIM PAT (D McCain)
2nd in C4 Handicap Chase – 350 Doncaster (Saturday 28th Jan)
A career best here from the 7yo and he still clearly has plenty to offer after only 5 chase starts.
He seems at his best in the Jan-March period and off breaks of 42 days or less, where he has a form line of… 21112 (3/5, 2p)… and he’s worth looking out for in the coming weeks and months.
*He was put up 3lbs for this effort to OR 125 but that still looks a workable mark
LINE OF DESCENT (W Greatrex)
2nd in C5 Handicap Chase – 140 Fontwell (Sunday 29th Jan)
This 5yo son of Nathaniel has possibly just bumped into two in-form horses on his two chase starts to date and he also couldn’t get to the lead in this one, which won’t have been ideal.
I’d be hopeful of him opening his chase account sooner rather than later, with his mark of OR 94 looking well within range for him, especially when you consider that the horse that beat him at Catterick on his chase debut – Arthurs Quay – has since won twice, the second of those being from a 13lb higher mark.
The Racing Podblast
Thanks to the many of you that continue to listen to us on The Racing Podblast, it’s very much appreciated 🍻
Tony and I will be continuing with our early look analysis for the main races from the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, with the Stayers Hurdle the next to come under analysis this week.
If you are yet to listen to our Champion Hurdle PodBlast from last week then you can wrap your ears around it right here…
…and you can get our Gold Cup PodBlast HERE.
Cheers – Ben (NTF)
p.s. you can grab all previous NTF Blog posts HERE