Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Saturday 15th November 2014

Racing UK

Johns has the Spirit to defend Paddy Power title

Yesterday I mentioned the riding skills of Barry Geraghty, and they were exemplified perfectly by his superb riding performance on Parlour Games on the opening day of the Paddy Power meeting on Friday.

He got his mount settled, found cover and secured the best ground against the stands side rail in the straight. He then resisted the temptation to go to the front too soon on a horse who was clearly traveling best. Produced to perfection Parlour Games won as he liked. A brilliant ride made by a top-class jockey linking a combination of vital skills.

The Paddy Power Chase is a tough puzzle as always, but I see no reason to oppose last year's winner Johns Spirit. When he won the race last year I felt he idled once he hit he front and was value for more than the three-quarters of a length that he beat Colour Squadron by. He has of course gone up in the weights, but I think there is more to come from this horse, who won on his seasonal reappearance and this race figures to suit him ideally. Importantly he also goes well at the track, and will get the fast pace that his hold up style demands. He looks sure to go well and should be backed each-way.

Of course this race could descend into farce if the low sun has its way, and a number of fences are omitted. Indeed Simon Claisse, fully aware of the problem of the sun, attempted to move the race to a more suitable time when the sun would not have a say in the outcome, but he was thwarted in his sensible bid by the BHA. I know that rules are rules and all that, but surely sometimes common sense should prevail for the good of the sport.

My second selection today is Chesterfield in the opener. I think he is well treated and he hails from the in-form John Ferguson team. Bar a defeat at Market Rasen courtesy of an horrendous blunder at the last he would have been an impressive winner of all his hurdles races. In fact he would be coming here having never come off the bridle over timber.

This is far and away his toughest test to date but under Noel Fehily I believe he is up to the task. I do have slight reservations about the ground, but being by Pivotal he ought to handle the conditions and he may just be so well treated that nothing will stop him.


For a final selection I am going to desert Cheltenham and look to Lingfield, where I fancy Intransigent to win the 2.00pm. A fast run six furlongs is perfect for this strong travelling hold-up horse as is his brilliant jockey Jamie Spencer. He ran well last time behind the progressive Empire Storm and that should have put him spot on for today's test.

Mathematician Betting

Angus McNae's Saturday tips:

12.40 Cheltenham: Chesterfield at 8-1 with Ladbrokes

2.00 Lingfield: Intransigent at 11-4 with Paddy Power

2.30 Cheltenham: Johns Spirit each-way at 11-1 with Paddy Power