UK racing this weekend
A winner and a loser last week so a small profit to level stakes but more importantly, how impressive was Bristol De Mai when taking the Betfair Chase by a ridiculous fifty-seven lengths to the delight of his trainer and connections.
Although I expect to be shot down in flames for daring to say this, he reminded me a little of Denman in the way he simply strolled on, never necessarily flying his fences but grinding it out to the horror of those left trailing in his wake who just could not keep up with the relentless gallop and who dropped away one by one by the finish.
Now as short as 13/2 for the King George on Boxing Day I will not be rushing out to avail myself of those prices until the day anyway, as he does needs either soft or heavy ground to see him at his very best and may not get that at Kempton if the rains stay away as predicted.
On to the action this weekend and once again we have some exciting stuff though not quite of the standard of last weekend but if we can find a winner then who really cares. Newbury looks the best of the bunch though are also ultra-competitive as is standard for a Saturday, and apart from one each-way throw of the dice, l will be leaving the handicaps alone.
I am going to start in the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at 2.25pm when I am really hoping that Nicky Henderson can get Charli Parcs back on the winning trail. Always held in very high regard at Seven Barrows the four-year-old won his first race since arriving from France with a seven length victory at Kempton. But he but fell at the same track when stepped up in class before signing off his season with a ten lengths sixth to Defi Du Seuil at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle.
That was not a bad performance by any means though he is thought to be a lot better than that and this looks his chance to prove it though I am very aware that those who run well in that particular race rarely go on to be superstars in later years.
Sometimes a bet rears its ugly head that just cannot be resisted even though you know there is very little sense to it, and that seems the case with Coneygree in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at 3.00pm. Backing a horse with his injury record and who was pulled up on his return to action at Wetherby may indeed mean I have finally lost it, again, but he did win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2015.
There is still have very few miles on the clock for a ten-year-old with just the eight starts over fences. Still a force to reckon with as shown with a length and a half third to this season’s Gold Cup winner Sizing John at Punchestown as recently as April, he runs off a rating seven pounds lower than his peak today which gives him every chance on his best form. At a decent enough price I will be on each way to sensible stakes.
One last horse to mention, but not back, at Newcastle when all eyes will be on the return to action of Nicky Henderson’s Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at 2.10pm. Even I cannot back him at the silly odds overnight and there is every chance he is not fully wound up for his return to action with bigger fish to fry later in the season. He has won ten of his thirteen starts and six out of seven over hurdles and looks a class above these rivals, though he is yet to capture the public’s imagination and needs to hang around a year or two more before cementing his place in racing history.
Charli Parcs 2.25pm Newbury Saturday
Coneygree each-way 3.00pm Newbury Saturday