Saturday 17 March 2018

Cheltenham - eyecatchers

Day One


Rather like last year's Neptune (Ballymore) Novices Hurdle, this year's Supreme looked chock full of quality animals likely to uphold this excellent form at the highest level over hurdles and fences next season.

Summerville Boy; A nice sort, somewhat unfurnished compared to some of these. Clearly a massive engine considering that mistake two out and looks sure to thrive over longer trips.

Mengli Khan; Loads of size and scope, looked a straightforward conveyance on this occasion and stayed on strongly after being slightly keen, one to note at Punchestown and Fairyhouse.

Paloma Blue; Strong, nicely made but far too keen in the first mile. It's therefore to his credit that he stayed on well to take fourth place. Bred to stay well so if/when settling better he could be a massive improver.

Claimantakinforgan; Less size and scope than some but very athletic, he was quite badly outpaced coming down the hill but stayed on as good as any (bar the winner) from two out. Appears to go on any ground but 2m4f on better terrain could see him take a decent handicap early next season prior to a chase campaign.

Lostintranslation; A fantastic stamp of a chaser, but weak on the front end and sure to be better with another summer behind him. Travelled nicely for a long way before lacking the acceleration to go with the first four.

Slate House; A strapping chase type who looked well, running well for a long way before finding it all too much and capsizing at the final flight. Hurdles would be nothing more than an inconvenience and he should make into a lovely chaser.

Simply The Betts; Simply gorgeous animal, well made and strong. He's been highly tried since winning a decent bumper early in the season and found this happening too quickly throughout. He'll be one to look out for in decent handicaps next term.


Footpad; Compact, strong, not over-big. Got a little warm but looked fully revved up beforehand.

Petit Mouchoir; Very much on his toes in the prelims, a portend of what was to come. Clearly, a sharper test will suit.

Saint Calvados; A strong, scopey sort, and although not upset beforehand, this all seemed a bit much in the end, not helped by the aggressive ride. He was exhausted afterwards and is one to oppose if turning out again.


Gold Present; Very big, lengthy and easy to see why he's probably a stone better on good ground. Ignore this run.

Singlefarmpayment; Not a horse to enthuse over, and looked a short price on what he's delivered this season. Looked a bit stirred up in the prelims and got warm, failing once more to live up to last year's form in this race.

Coo Star Sivola; Very strong and robust for a six-year-old. Looked really well and ready to roll.

Vintage Clouds; Has gained in weight and strength over the years, and once again ran his usual honest race, typically undone by a mid-race flat spot. Headgear would surely help eke out the necessary improvement to land one of these.

Casse Tete; A fine looking horse, travelled and jumped his way onto the back of the leading pack before stamina ebbed away turning for home. From the family of Azertiyop, none of his siblings won over this far and he's of interest back in trip.

Champion Hurdle

Melon; Made little appeal in the Supreme last year on paddock inspection and again got warm and generally didn't take the eye, but nearly landed the pot. Clearly, his appearance does not affect his chance and he's very talented indeed.

Mares Hurdle

Benie Des Dieux; Quite a workmanlike, chasing type.

Apple's Jade; Two handlers, and a little bit on edge for comfort. Not a huge negative, but enough to put you off if you were considering a hefty investment at 4/9.

La Bague Au Roi; Big, lengthy, rangy mare. Possibly not seen to best advantage having been sent on over a mile and a half out, but unlikely to have won anyway. Things didn't work out here last year either, and perhaps just shy of top class. She's ready to go chasing now.

National Hunt Chase

Ms Parfois; A renowned sweater, she came into the paddock as late as possible and looked very well indeed, with no sign of her getting wound up.

Jury Duty; Not as big as some of these but plenty of scope, travelled well for a long way before the petrol gauge started flickering three out. His form has a very strong look to it.

Close Brothers

Mister Whitaker; Good frame, still with some strengthening to do, and likely to continue to improve after a summer at grass. Should stay three miles and a very accurate jumper.

Testify; Nice horse physically but was a bit fizzy in the prelims and this was not his form.

Tycoon Prince; A very strong individual, lightly raced over fences and well capable of winning races around this trip if tidying up his jumping.

Day Two


Samcro; A fantastic looking horse, a good mover and very well in his coat. Certainly not one to oppose on paddock inspection.

Black Op; Tall, strong individual. Loads of scope for fences and should stay 3m.

Next Destination; Lengthy, sure to improve for fences, and shaped as though 3m will suit nicely.

Duc Des Genievres; Quite unfurnished compared with many of these, strong in the betting but looks sure to do better in time.

Vision Des Flos; On edge in the paddock and too free in the race, he's bred to stay really well and very likely to improve in time, providing he learns to relax.

Gowiththeflow; Likeable type but lacking the quality of stablemate Willoughby Court. Better ground could suit and he'll make a solid 140+ chaser.

Coolanly; One of the better looking ones, loads of size about him and one to keep an eye when sent chasing - this was all too much after a mid-race blunder.


Al Boum Photo; Quite a likeable sort, athletic, travelled well into the race but suspect stamina appeared to be ebbing away when capsizing two out. Likely to prove useful back in trip.

Allysson Monterg; A very big, strong individual, likely to do better on a more orthodox track.

Coral Cup

Springtown Lake; Looked keen in the preliminaries and was given little chance of getting home under a forward ride. Likely to prove much better than this in time, and over fences.

Champion Chase

Altior; Has the air of a real professional and there's every chance he would be just as good over three miles, so relaxed is he.

Douvan; Was a little on his toes and fresh in the paddock, and didn't look as pristine as 12 months ago. Odds are he wouldn't have troubled the front two.

Min; Loads of size, quite tall. Travelled supremely well and did very little wrong, just beaten by a very good one. Likely to win any race he runs in so long as Altior doesn't turn up.

Politologue; Prone to getting worked up and sweating, he was as bad as I've seen him. It doesn't always affect his performance, but it can't help and this just isn't his meeting.

Fred Winter

Look My Way; By this time it was clear that anything running freely wouldn't get up the hill and J Quinn's juvenile was a little on edge and warm in the prelims, too keen in the race. This wasn't his true form.

Lisp; Another keen sort, he was on edge early in the prelims but settled down and dropped the bridle in the race, but exited early on.


Relegate; By some way the least appealing of the entire field, like many from the yard not great in her coat; moreover she doesn't move very well and lacked the size of all the others.

Felix Desjy; Hooded for the first time but a little on edge and far too keen in the race.

Mercy Mercy Me; Looked keen beforehand and likely to prove more than capable.

The Big Bite; One of the biggest in the field and one to look out for in time, probably when sent chasing.

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