Tanya's Blog - 21st February 2012
Pancake day! Excellent do I get in lemons, blueberries, raspberries, vanilla ice cream or simply chocolate? One thing is for sure I’ll need some industrial cleaner to remove the remnants of the delicacy from the floor, ceiling, light fittings and everywhere else that misses the frying pan. At least there is always a ‘flip side’ to pancakes. Not so to the news emanating from Ditcheat, that some of the Paul Nicholls' horses have the cough. The ramifications of which I know all too well in the context of greyhound racing, having owned them since the mid-eighties, I’m a hardy veteran of kennel cough. Fate was never kind as my heroes nearly always suffered from the ailment before a big open race, giving cause for the reason why I never had hardly any open racers.
Not only is it the cough itself which was the problem but the remedy which took a certain duration to leave the system. Now it has the strongest of stables on edge and his supporters hold ante-post vouchers with nervy and sweaty palms. All animals recover differently, my Express Decision and Pennys Jackal would return like Trojans none the worse yet, Truth Hurts would need three or four runs before her strength would return.
Now with my greyhounds I’m talking about them returning in graded contests the equivalent of top class handicaps in equine terms. None would have had a hope in top class, any weakness will be exposed and the Cheltenham hill will be ever steeper.
Bookmakers and punters alike are left with the biggest of quandaries and those Cheltenham Preview evenings with Paul Nicholls at the helm will now get double capacity audiences. However all worries could subside as quick as today at Taunton with all the Nicholls runners under the microscope with each defeat the chance of it being wrongly put down to the cough by those looking on. Be careful some quite simply might not be good enough. First up is Dualla Lord and we go from there....
Changing Lanes returns to the course in the 2.30 after landing a substantial gamble with those obvious alluring form figures P05PP! No surprise to see him as favourite in the betting synopsis, a big run is essential.
SIRE DE GRUGY ran a blinder in the Betfair Hurdle on Friday and he holds up the market to a race which must be watched again and again. Dare Me once held a Champion Hurdle entry, Dee Ee Williams is sure to be heading to one of the big handicaps, best judge the chances of Ski Sunday by market moves, Alan King has his team in top form so Devil To Pay is a player and Edgardo Sol is extremely consistent. When all's said I’m sticking with SIRE DE GRUGY.
Perhaps the headline of the day is Sir Mark Prescott with a runner in a bumper, yes the great man has Dance To The Stars in Wetherby’s 5.00. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if that sauntered home, that would send ripples across the National Hunt fraternity. It’s live on !!!
STRONGBOWS LEGEND appeals earlier on the card at 3.15, he was joint-favourite and ran well enough in the Warwick Classic Chase in mid-January. He has enough time to freshen up for this contest and is a value.
Adam Kirby has had seven winners from his last 11 rides
Colin Tizzard has had five winners and two seconds from his last ten runners
John Gosden has had four winners and two seconds from his last six runners
Paul Nicholls has won Taunton’s 2.00 on all three attempts
Polar Gunner has won four of his five races at Wetherby and runs again at the course at 4.25
La Estrella has won all ten of his races at Southwell and goes again at the course at 3.25
Fergus Sweeney and Jamie Osborne have teamed up for three winners from their last six runners
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