Kempton Review and Cheltenham Pointers
The King George
Well, I certainly didn't expect that. Sometimes these horses can make monkeys of us all!
I certainly didn't expect to see Kauto Star trailing home in third on Saturday. And without a doubt, I didn't expect Long Run to be the one to lower his colours. And yet Long Run won convincingly and I wouldn't want to take anything away from him. He would likely have won even if Kauto hadn't tried to take the second last out by it's roots.
To say I was perplexed by the result would be an undertatement. The vibes from the Henderson yard for Long Run in the lead up to the race (at least those I heard) were that Long Run had been fitter at Christmas and the postponement of the race had been a major negative for him. For me, they clearly felt that Riverside Theatre had a better chance and, to be honest, my own assessment was the same. I felt Long Run was too young, too inexperienced and, though his time would come, Saturday was not his time. How wrong you can be. Clearly somebody knew though - the flood of late money for Long Run and Riverside Theatre can't be entirely explained by the fact that the Henderson team were having a great day or by last minute jitters about the favourite. Long Run proved himself to be considerably better than I had rated him.
Where does this leave us for the Gold Cup? Clearly, Kauto Star's defeat has boosted the chances of Imperial Commander but I certainly couldn't back him at a best price of 7/2. With the current shape of the ante-post market, I will be keeping my powder dry until a little closer to the day. I might have been tempted by the 8/1 Denman were it not for his age. Also interesting to note that Kauto Star is shorter on Betfair than with the fiddlers - generally a very positive sign and indication, if any were needed, that Kauto shouldn't be written off entirely based on this run.
The Christmas Hurdle
This was a truly run race and without a doubt, Binocular was well suited by it and looked very good in victory - yet, for my money at least, he never truly shook off Overturn and that represents a bit of a concern for me regarding his Champion Hurdle chances. On this evidence I think Binocular will really have his hands full with Peddlers Cross come the big day. I know the McCain yard rate Peddlers as the best they have ever had and that he is much, much better than Overturn in their work at home. I have an antepost ticket for Peddlers Cross at 20/1, and I have to say that it looks even more attractive to me today than it did on Saturday morning! I think this is shaping up to be a fantastic Champion Hurdle with some genuine challengers emerging. Menorah looks very special and Mille Chief really caught the eye at Sandown the other week.
But Peddlers Cross remains the one for me.
Finally for today, I'd like to point out an anomaly I've noticed in the antepost markets for the Gold Cup and the RSA Chase at Cheltenham this year. In the RSA, Time for Rupert is a worthy favourite at 5/2. The next best is priced at 16/1. If you then look at the market for the Gold Cup, Time for Rupert is generally available at 33/1 - but, very interestingly, Ladbrokes only go 16/1 about his chances. Do Ladbrokes know something we don't? Is Time for Rupert likely to defect to the Gold Cup? That would really throw the cat amongst the pigeons and some of the prices currently available in the RSA market would look exceptional value. I will be having some small ante post interests on some of the bigger priced contenders just in case.
That's all for now folks!
See you later in the week