Another great day’s racing on Saturday for National Hunt fans with Paul Nicholls doing it again in the big race with Twist Magic winning the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in great style. This follows victories for Kauto Star in the Betfair Chase and Denman in the Hennessy on the previous two weekends. Interesting the same three horses won the same three races in 2007 which just goes to show that Paul Nicholls is tremendous trainer of racehorses.
The Arkle Chase at Cheltenham Festival 2010 is shaping up to be a very competitive race with bookies offering 6 horses under 12/1. On Saturday the Henry VIII novices chase at Sandown saw Henrietta Knight’s Somersby beat the Emma Lavelle trained Crack Away Jack. Somersby did it well in a fast time (over 2 seconds faster than Tingle Creek) and you can be sure he’ll be trained to the minute with the Arkle in mind. However, I think that Crack Away Jack would have every chance of reversing the form in a big field on good ground, conditions he is likely to get at Cheltenham where he excels. He will need to brush up his jumping though.
In the Tingle Creek Twist Magic proved what a quality horse he can be on his day and ran his rivals ragged under Ruby Walsh who made it look easy. With regards to the Cheltenham Festival 2010, I would put a line through him as a) he doesn’t perform well there and b) he can be a rogue and refuse to race. My pick for the Queen Mother, Forpadydeplasterer was the only one who could keep tabs on him. Big Zeb failed to jump properly as is often the case, Well Chief is not as good as he was and Mahogany Blaze was out of his depth. Given that he hated the ground and was nearly pulled out of the race by Thomas Cooper I thought he ran OK. The day that matters is the 17 March 2010 and he is bang on target for that and added to his record of finishing 1st or 2nd. This consistent horse has now finished 1st or 2nd in 11 out if his 12 races. The bookies agreed that this was a good trial and cut his odds further to as low as 8/1. He was recommended here at 20/1 on the 30th August so I hope you took the price.
An excellent weekend at the Boylesports in Cheltenham is in prospect. Let’s hope Paul Nicholls can be Mr Saturday once again with Celestial Halo, my pick for the Champion Hurdle. Advised here at 14/1 he is now best priced 7/1 with Ladbrokes. I expect him to win well on Saturday and if he does 7/1 will look a good price on Saturday night.