I am delighted to kick off with the first post for jpfestival.com for the 2011/12 National Hunt season. We will be bringing you previews, news and reviews on every big race in Britain and Ireland. It is only 8 months until the Cheltenham Festival! Just imagine all the sensational races we will see as Autumn gives way and Winter skies unfold. Then with the first signs of Spring come those magical 6 weeks that take us from late January up until Festival time; where every day we literally eat, breathe and sleep the eighth wonder of the world that is the Cheltenham Festival.
The Grade Three Grimes Hurdle saw the return of Captain Cee Bee, the 2008 Supreme Novices Hurdle winner .This was his first outing over hurdles since Aintree in April 2008. He certainly wasn’t inconvenienced by Tipperary’s Easyfix Hurdles as he held on for a narrow victory from youngster The Real Article who was wearing him down all the way to the line. A short head split them at the finish and both horses will head to the Galway Festival in two week’s time, but to different races. Captain Cee Bee is on target for a crack at the Galway plate whilst The Real Article looks the likely winner of the Galway Hurdle. He is now as short as 4/1 favourite (Paddy Power) to prevail there.
Captain Cee Bee’s trainer Eddie Harty stated post race that the horse had got a bit tired but that the race should leave him spot on for Galway. The horse ran extremely well into third in both the Champion Chase at Cheltenham and the Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival , but he has looked like a bit further will suit these days. He can put in the occasional jumping howler over fences but if everything goes right over the 2m6f of the Galway Plate, expect to see him on course for the 2012 Ryanair at the Festival.
Welcome back and start crossing the days off on your calendars, we are now officially on Cheltenham countdown!
Cathryn Fry – 17 July 2011