Well I said last week after the preview evening that I was going to see how I got on this week at the festival having barely watched any National Hunt racing this winter.
SUPREME NOVICES HURDLE
Cant have the favourite in this as its too short for this cavalry charge, I dont have any idea of what the winner is going to be but one that looks overpriced is RATHLIN who won last time out and his trainer said afterwards "This is a gorgeous, gorgeous horse. He scoped badly a few days after he ran at Clonmel last time but all of my horses were sick at the time. We`ve always thought the world of him". On arrival in the UK he says on his website "Rathlin runs tomorrow in the first race the Supreme Novices hurdle and although he is lacking in experience which could see him a little slower over the daunting obstacles, we are sure the experience of Jason Maguire will more than make up for his inexperience. He is in our opinion a really decent sort who deserves to take his chances, here’s hoping he shows his full potential and puts in a big performance for all connections". He's 66/1 with Victor Chandler and 50s with virtually everyone else.
The Henderson horses have to be respected and Barry Geraghty suums them up as follows " Make no mistake, these are both top-class novice hurdlers and it was with no great certainty that I made my decision. But I rode both a week ago last Saturday and Spirit Son just left me that bit more impressed.
The work showed me that he had improved a little bit, he carried me and took me through the work really nicely and just gave me a very good feel.
Also, I think his public form has a much more solid look to it given that he beat Cedre Bleu 20 lengths at Exeter last time and that one looked very smart when he beat our Fred Winter candidate Titan De Sarti ten lengths at Newbury the time before. I do think that Spirit Son is a horse that is improving and has a big future.
I have huge respect for Sprinter Sacre and it’s impossible to really know how good he is because he’s won his last two so easily and has only been beaten once in five outings and I’ve been on him in all of them. It’s simply that he hasn’t beaten the calibre of opposition that Spirit Son has. Either way, it's a great spare ride for AP".
Only got 1 horse on my mind for this and that is MEDERMIT.
3M HANDICAP CHASE
Big field for this and although last year I said I would go for Bensalem this time around, and he's off the same mark, Ive decided to go with SUNNYHILLBOY who stayed on to finish 2nd in the 2m 5f Byrne Group Plate last year and Jonjo has done well with his chasers here in the past.
Personally I dont think this is a very good field for a Champion hurdle and on that basis I'm going for DUNGUIB who to me looked as though he should have won the Supreme Novices last year but for a bonkers ride from his jockey, ok he is on the beast again but surely he must have learnt from his mistake and he only has 10 opponents to negotiate this time and 9/1 is good value in my book.
Its easy for a jockey to get confused on this track never mind the horse and its best to stick with those that have done it before and none of the field does it better than GARDE CHAMPETRE who is a worthy fav.
DAVID NICHOLSON MARES HURDLE or to be known in future as The Quevega Charity Race, should go to ........QUEVEGA !
Hope everyone who is going to the festival or just watching it on the TV has a great day and is able to keep their head above the water. I wouldnt get too keen on my selections though and if you want to read someone who is in top tipping form, gives solid advice on a daily basis and is a good read to boot then you should click onto Wayward Lad's blog which has a link at top right of this page.
Go on my son !!