The dry weather and good ground impacted on the three day Cheltenham November meeting with 23 non runners on Saturday and Sunday. The Update was therefore restricted to only four races but there were 2 winners, namely Queens Gamble (9/4) and I Like To Move It (8/1). Plus, Jamie Snowden's stable interview pointed clients in the right direction re Ga Law (5/1) in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday.
Queens Gamble had impressed when winning over C&D in April and Oliver Sherwood's filly produced a similar display in the Listed mares' bumper which rounded off the action on day two. Taken wide by Johnny Burke, the Getaway filly travelled powerfully before kicking for home on the turn into the straight. Pulling away to register an eight lengths win, her trainer suggested afterwards that she is the best mare he has handled. A trip to Huntingdon (4th December) for a similar contest is next on her agenda before she takes on the geldings in the Festival bumper in March. Featured in the Top 40 Prospects, she is a hugely exciting mare with a big future.
I Like To Move It's win in the Greatwood Hurdle was a very satisfying result as the former Grade 2 winning hurdler maintained his excellent record when fresh. Making virtually all, Sam Twiston-Davies' mount dug deep on the long run from the last to readily see off the challenge of the well supported Gino Coco to record a five and a half lengths win. Despite the fact he was carrying twelve stones, the five year old was only racing off a mark of 142 and it didn't look the strongest of renewals. The Grade 2 International Hurdle over C&D next month will be his next assignment.
I thought Il Ridoto ran well in the Paddy Power Chase on Saturday finishing a gallant sixth. Paul Nicholls' ex-French gelding arguably travelled as well as anything in the field and we looked to be in business between the third and second last fences. He possibly didn't quite get home - the Grand Annual Chase or Red Rum Chase in the spring would appear feasible options on this evidence. Congratulations to Jamie Snowden who was keen on Ga Law when we spoke on Wednesday. The six year old had a run an eyecatching race on his return from injury in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month - I was put off by the fact it was less than three weeks ago and feared the 'bounce' factor would play its part but it wasn't to be. Serves me right for not listening to his trainer.
Aside from the Update, there were a couple of eyecatching runs from horses featured in OJA on Sunday. Firefox (Unraced Bumper Horses) probably would have won the opening maiden hurdle at Navan had his jockey got after him sooner. An expensive store, the Walk In The Park looked raw and showed signs of greenness but his rider was prepared to bide his time only getting serious after the third last. Beaten less than four lengths in fourth, he stayed on well on the run-in. He has got a future.
Heart Wood (French Revolution) jumped beautifully in the two miles one beginners chase at the same track only to find Hollow Games too good. Only four and taking advantage of his age allowance, he couldn't match the winner after the second last but kept on well and will relish a step up to two and a half miles. The French gelding will take some stopping next time and looks a fine addition to the Henry De Bromhead team. Don't forget, A Plus Tard got beaten on his chasing debut as a four year old and got better with age and distance. Expect his compatriot to do likewise.
The November Update is not just about the weekend's action at Cheltenham - there is plenty of those horses featured who will be running this week, including a very interesting horse at Haydock next Saturday (see page 5 of the Update). I spoke to the assistant trainer of the horse in question at Wetherby on Saturday and the yard are very keen on his chances next weekend. His work has been good and his opening rating underestimates him, if his homework is anything to go by.
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