Our columnist @ggracing3 has given us an exclusive insight into his notebook entries from Cheltenham racecourse three day meeting last weekend.
Day 1 Fri 16th
Sky Pirate was very unlucky when brought down after jumping the 2nd last in the first race of the meeting on Friday in the amateur rider’s handicap chase. Top Irish amateur Paddy Mullins was booked for the ride, so connections obviously fancied his chances. He was just getting into top gear when being brought down by a faller. He would have finished 1st or 2nd as the back in form the young master ran out a comfortable winner. The young master previously reached a peak rating of 151.So, it was an extremely good run to be in contention of beating an on song the young master. Because of the fall he may well go unnoticed next time out. He looks sure to land a competitive staying handicap off his current mark. A discipline his shrewd trainer excels in. He is worth following in long distance handicap chases on left handed galloping tracks on decent ground. As these seem to be his ideal conditions.
Easy to spot the eye catcher from this race as the highly touted Bun Doran romped to an 8-length victory. It might not have been the strongest of races, but he could not have been more impressive and despite the lofty hike in ratings he will no doubt get, the handicapper still may not be able to stop him as he now looks ready to fulfill his huge potential. His trainer likes to take his time with his good horses which usually pays dividends. Jockey Paddy Brennan stated in an interview afterwards that he though he was a certainty as he had recently worked all over his 156 rated stable mate God’s Own who himself landed the Haldon Gold cup for a second time recently. he looks a progressive chaser to keep on side for the season as he goes on any ground. He may even be better over further. He does seem to be better on left handed tracks. He is well worth following when he gets these conditions.
White Moon was a certainty beat in the 2M 4f Novice Chase. he was in the process of putting up a very impressive performance when falling at the last due to no fault of his own as the gap closed on him and he ended up taking off a stride before he wanted as he was left completely unsighted. The winner in his own right is a progressive sort however I am convinced he would have been well beat by white moon but for the unfortunate fall. He jumped straight up and galloped off so hopefully there will be no lasting effects from the fall. He is a novice chaser to follow who can go right to the top in that sphere. It will be no surprise come March to see him as a leading contender for a JLT or RSA novice chase and may just go under the radar on his next outing due to his unlucky fall.
Tiger Roll ran an extremely eye-catching race in the cross country. The Grand national winner was making his seasonal debut in the race which is the only cross-country race of the season which is a handicap. He was giving lumps of weight away to his rivals where as in the rest of the cross-country race for the remainder of the season he will meet them off level weights. He drifted alarmingly in the betting suggesting he was well short of fitness so to run as well as he did suggest he is one of the bankers for the festival at this early stage. He looked to take a good blow a long way from home before getting his second wind and powering home under hands and heels to finish 4th.
Day 2 Sat 17th
It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does with Ibis Du Rheu, hopefully he has not ruined his handicap mark as he looks well treated. Things did not go his way last season until the end of his campaign where he produced his best performances at Cheltenham and Aintree to finish 5th both times. This was after an interrupted campaign. He can progress this season to a mid-150s rating. So,he should still be a well handicapped horse going forward. His master trainer has started the season on fire and will no doubt have his eye on a major pot in the coming months. He seems to produce his best performances for the Cotswolds and would be an interesting contender if lining up for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in the middle of December.
Rather Be was travelling extremely well when being brought down by a faller in the big race on the card on Saturday. He remains a horse well in front of his mark however it is unlikely he will go unnoticed in the market because of how well he was travelling. Another one to take from the race might possibly be one that did not even run. Benatar was a massive gamble for the race with eventual race winning jockey Jamie Moore choosing it over the impressive winner Baron Alco. Connections didn’t want to seem to risk their potential star on good ground. He is a very keen going sort who can progress into a grade 1 winning chaser. His connections will look to exploit his lenient handicap mark on his way to the top as a fast-paced big field handicap will be ideal.
Day 3 Sun 18th
Lalor produced a devastating round of jumping to deservedly go straight to the top of the betting for the Arkle as this was by far the best novice chase performance of the season so far either side of the water. It was as impressive a jumping performance by a novice making its debut over fences as there has been in recent seasons. If he progresses again which he should do it will take some effort to topple him. He should remain a backable price throughout the season as he is not with one of the leading trainers however she has shown that he could not be in better hands.