News about Footpad
Today brings news that Footpad may take part in the King George. Willie Mullins is aiming for an autumn season for my favourite horse in training and imperious winner of the Arkle back in March. Willie Mullins has said that he is yet to speak with the owners but he’s planning for two races before Christmas, the first over two miles and the second “let out” to two and a half miles. It’s worth remembering that he won as a 4-y-o on soft over 2m 3f and very soft over the same distance, both at Auteuil so, unless the ground is bottomless, the King George, as I’ve previously commented as an “easy” 3m, seems highly achievable. The current 16/1 with Paddy Power is ridiculously good and well worth a pop (as short as 7/1 with Coral).
I’m also interested in the current 4/1 Footpad for the Champion Chase, behind Altior at 7/4.
DouvanEmbed from Getty Images
Disappointingly, Willie Mullins has reported today that Douvan has suffered a setback. Thankfully it is the off fore rather than the near fore which was the injury that caused his extended break. Assuming that he gets over it, and Willie thinks that he will, he could yet be a major player this season. Willie believes that he can be extended but remains a Champion Chase contender. One to watch for the moment.
SamcroEmbed from Getty Images
Vying with Footpad as the star of 2017-2018 is Samcro, winner of the Ballymore at the Festival when following up on his win at the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival. He looks like a star chaser in the making but Gordon Elliott has stated that his target this year is the Champion Hurdle and I agree with that because Buveur D’Air is very good but has not yet faced a true star and Samcro could be just that. He’s currently 11/4 favourite for the Champion Hurdle, ahead of Buveur D’Air at 7/2, 9/1 bar and I think that he’ll just shorten over the season.
Tiger RollEmbed from Getty Images
Gordon Elliott has confirmed that the Grand National hero of 2018 is going to follow a similar Cross Country route in 2018-2019. For betting purposes it’s worth bearing in mind that he was 5th of 19 when tackling the Cheltenham course last December. He won well at the Festival Cross Country in March before following up in the greatest national hunt race of all exactly a month later. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see him out until 2019.
Cheltenham Gold CupEmbed from Getty Images
Tony McCoy has already selected Presenting Percy for the Gold Cup and he’s the current 6/1 favourite, slightly ahead of Might Bite (13/2) and Native River (7/1), 16/1 bar. I agree with him. He acts on any ground and won against decent opposition in the RSA. Many people take the view that the RSA takes the edge off novices but this was an easy victory and he’s a proper horse. At 7-y-o going 8 he’s primed to improve and I suspect that competition for this race may fall away during the season.
It’s a bit early to be doing this because we don’t know the declarations yet. However, I’ll highlight a few possibles to watch out for (Saturday unless indicated otherwise).
WKD Hurdle Down Royal Friday (Grade 2)
Samcro is currently 1/3 for this. We’ll see whether he takes part and if the entries stand up then Sharjah (Mullins / Ricci) and Stratum (both with recent flat form) may provide a modicum of opposition.
Ascot Underwriting Chase (Class 3)
Mont des Avaloirs was one of my horses to follow last season. He didn’t deliver but is only a 5-y-o. There is therefore every chance that he has grown up and I fancy him at a current 6/1 in open company.
OLBG.com Mares Hurdle (Wetherby) (Class 1)
Regular readers will know that I am an unrelenting fan of Apple’s Shakira, who was another one that dominated in the early season. This is only her seventh race and she was campaigned at the highest level. Still a 4-y-o she can still show her best and the current 7/2 (behind Verdana Blue at 5/2) is great value.
Byrne Group Handicap Chase (Ascot) (Class 1)
This is one to watch but I might have a few quid on Bun Doran
Charlie Hall Chase (Wetherby) (Grade 2)
I love the Charlie Hall Chase because, for me, it’s one of the first stop and take notice races of the season (the other is the JNWine Champion Chase – see below). The going is currently good which may not suit Bristol de Mai. I don’t fancy Thistlecrack or Clan des Obeaux so I’m siding with last year’s unexpected star, Black Corton at an appealing 11/2.
Bet With Ascot Handicap Hurdle (Class 1)
This field is likely to cut up but I have to highlight another favourite choice from last season in the shape of Countister, a Nicky Henderson/J P McManus horse. I suspect that this is another whose best days are yet to come and who will have benefited from the summer break.
Mycareneedsa.com Chase (Down Royal) (Grade 2)
What an appallingly named race. I’ve been writing this while waiting for so called “trick or treaters” and I don’t know whether they, or this race name are worse. Anyway, this is a Grade 2 and it’s interesting because it has a very good field (as matters stand). Above all, Monalee.
JNwine.com Champion Chase (Down Royal) (Grade 1)
Well, this depends very much on the final field so there’s not much to say. I think that many of the current entries might be better directed elsewhere. Based on the entries I fancy a Ryanair/Gigginstown winner but couldn’t tell you which one it will be. Let’s wait and see.
So, there we go. A pretty mixed bunch but I can’t wait for the first full on National Hunt weekend. Thank goodness we are back again and watching superb horses do what they do best! Enjoy!!