Tanya's Blog - Saturday 23rd February 2013
I type this from a train carriage coming back from Exeter. The picturesque scenery flying past the windows is a pleasant diversion from day-to-day troubles, plus inside you are protected from the sub-zero temperatures which are sure to greet me at Kempton. I’m a bit disappointed this particular South West Train doesn’t have Wifi but for the present that may well be the norm. Difficult though it is to send columns or any messages for that matter, it gives me peace from the normal frenzied panic of a Friday.
This week I’ve had plenty of homework for Cheltenham and I’ve rustled up a few stats for this weekend, which you can read below.
I am returning having been entrusted with hosting the Cheltenham Festival preview at Exeter Racecourse with a ridiculously illustrious panel. Paul Nicholls, Philip Hobbs, David Pipe, Nick Scholfield, Andrew King (Racing Post) and Paul Binfield (Paddy Power).
It was tremendously well attended. I’d say between 150 and 200 in the audience. I tried to make sure there was as much interaction as possible but I was on the nursery slopes of hosting, this being my very first one.
As I head the John Quinn/Dougie Costello fan club that is responsible for Kashmir Peak, that’s not what I want to be hearing. Wonderful Charm is rightly favourite for the Coral Cup, yet so often it is best to wait for the day for that particular menagerie of well-planned campaigning.
David Pipe has much deciding to do. He wasn’t going to be pinned down on where Dynaste was heading, though gave a good vibe for Geveray Chambertain. Also watch out for Poole Master. Philip Hobbs gave the nod to Colour Squadron and Cantlow, wherever they may be heading, while look out at Exeter shortly for Woodford County, he gave that a positive mention.
There was nothing to be gleaned or read into with their charity bets. Stock answers from each. Colour Squadron, Cantlow, Dodging Bullets, Overturn, Cue Card and Our Mick. The latter was from me. I just thought he could have given Katenko a scare at Cheltenham last time.
I sneaked in questions about the Racing Plus Chase to Philip Hobbs and Paul Nicholls. Philip Hobbs noted that Quinz was going to be ridden by race specialist and stable jockey Richard Johnson, he hasn’t run for some time but that didn’t stop Cheltenian or Doctor Foxtrot putting in bold shows at Donny during the week.
Duke Of Lucca is the one for money and his second at Ascot is the race to pinpoint. With the ground drying he could bounce back to form from his Hennessy poor show.
Paul Nicholls mentioned that Rolling Aces was a lovely, young improving horse and What A Friend needed to start somewhere if he was going to tackle the big Aintree fences.
When all said and done would either begrudge Nacarat another win in his beloved race? Wyck Hill is my selection but as I centre in on on him I have an awful feeling that Nacarat is the one who will prove the biggest problem so it may be safe to do a little reverse forecast.
As for the Dovecote, Paul Nicholls at Thursday night’s preview evening stated that Lac Fontana should run well.
At Newcastle, one of my favourite courses there is the Eider Chase. I backed Irish challengers This Is Serious and Hollybank Buck when they won and I believe Ireland can take the prize again with Gordon Elliott’s Tarquinius.
This afternoon's high-profile meeting at Newcastle has been abandoned due to snow on the track.
I have enjoyed plenty of cricket recently and I must say I think this year I will be supporting Surrey.
Graeme Smith and Ricky Ponting as their overseas players, it is hard for any county to top that! Sling in Kevin Pietersen, if he ever plays, and there’s an interesting dressing room if the team is up against it!
I see there was snow for the World Matchplay golf. Tremendous stuff. Cacti covered in snowflakes; there’s a novelty.
Big names went at the first hurdle, Bubba Watson survived and he is surely worth watching for being sized up for a second green jacket, either him or my old pal Brandt Snedeker.
Paul Nicholls is trying to win his sixth Pendil Novices’ Chase in seven years
Seven of the last 13 winners of the Adonis Hurdle have gone on to subsequent victories at the Cheltenham Festival
Five of the last 13 winners of the Adonis Hurdle have gone on to win the JCB Triumph Hurdle in the same season
Nacarat is having his fifth run in the Racing Plus Chase, he has won it twice, finished second once and third once.
Five of the last six winners of the Racing Plus Chase were aged seven & eight
Six of the last ten winners of the Racing Plus Chase had won on their previous start
In the last ten years 11-1 is the biggest starting price of the winner of the Racing Plus Chase
Eight of the last ten winners of the Racing Plus Chase carried 10st-13lbs or more
The last nine winners of the Eider Chase all carried 11st-0lbs or more
Seven of the last ten winners of the Eider Chase finished in the first two last time out
Only two of the last ten favourites have won the Eider Chase
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