Tanya's Blog - Thursday 27th December
Roads have turned into rivers, lanes into lakes, and it still doesn’t stop racing. Going reports are just echoes of heavy, just like our hearts when it comes to trying to pick winners.
My heart went out to Richard Johnson and all those connected to Captain Chris. He was desperately unlucky to have glory snatched away from him in the dying strides of the King George. Still there are so many positives to take out of the race. Captain Chris will now be recognised as a formidable opponent on heavy. I hope he now has a deserved rest.
Champion Court was the revelation of the day, a more reserved ride at Cheltenham in March and maybe a chance of him finishing 2nd, 3rd or 4th in the Gold Cup. Champion Court's trainer Martin Keighley had a double at Towcester, also, so he continues to be a trainer to watch.
Grands Crus in third was travelling supremely well in parts of the race and on better ground he is certainly returning back to his best.
And as for Long Run, that’s nine Grade 1s he's raced in which has resulted in four wins, three seconds and two thirds. He has won two King Georges and a Cheltenham Gold Cup yet he is still 8-1 to regain his crown in March. Mind you at this stage I’m still a Bobs Worth fan.
“Forty five King George winners have gone on to run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup ten have completed the double” was another of one of Big Mac’s invaluable stats yesterday, which will be sadly lost come January 1, but worth remembering come March.
Just like in 2011 the Feltham was run in a faster time than the King George, but this year there is a valid reason. The ground deteriorated courtesy of the relentless downpour. However to counteract that the Feltham Novices Chase seemed to be run at a much steadier pace whereas Champion Court and Junior did crack on early in the King George. Whichever way you look at it, I felt Dynaste put all his critics to bed, (that’s if he had any). A dream run and ride and he showed his quality.
“I don’t think the Newcastle form is any good” Big Mac said to me yesterday afternoon at 2.40pm and he wasn’t referring to Alan Pardew and Old Trafford. For once I believe he was relating to the Fighting Fifth form, although his beloved Newcastle did suffer at the hands of the mighty Man Utd despite their best efforts.
I don’t know what to say about Countrywide Flame’s run, or for that matter that of Cinders And Ashes in the Christmas Hurdle. The latter was a big drifter as it got nearer to post time. Countrywide Flame for once looked tiny in comparison to some of his rivals. And even though his run did fleetingly appear to be ominous, two out he and all the others in the field were treated with contempt by eventual winner Darlan. A horse who supposedly wants better ground was impressive, and what a hand Nicky Henderson has. No wonder he has shortened up to 1-6 to be champion trainer!
Simonsig makes a quick return to the course today after strolling around Ascot last Friday. He has a slightly harder task in Kempton’s 12.55. It is better for us to judge him and better for connections, also.
State Benefit and Brackloon High renew rivalry after their enthralling battle at Sandown last time in an amateur riders race at 3.15pm with Barry Geraghty and Richard Johnson respectively their jockeys today. This is the sort of ground to suit the enormous frame of Brackloon High much better.
All eyes on Leopardstown at 1.25pm and Sizing Europe. He renews rivalry with old friends and here’s hoping he puts on a show. AP McCoy makes the journey over to Ireland to ride Waaheb in the 2.00pm and he looks better value than Jezki.
Nicky Henderson has won the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase four times from his last six runners
Four of the five runnings of the Desert Orchid Chase have been won by the favourite
Big Zeb is attempting a fourth win in five years in the 1.25pm at Leopardstown
Nine of the last ten winners of the 1.25pm at Leopardstown have been aged nine or lower
Ruby Walsh has had 11 winners from his last 22 rides
Nicky Henderson had four of the six winners at Kempton on Boxing Day
Twenty nine of the 59 favourites won in Britain on Boxing day! For good measure four of the seven favourites won at Leopardstown
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