Race Time: 4.05pm Meeting: Cheltenham Day: Saturday 14th November 2015
Distance: 2m 87yds Full Race Name: Jockey Club Venues Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed Race) Class One
Willie Mullins sends Snag List (4/1) here looking to add to his numerous Cheltenham victories, and with the strength in depth they have in every division he has to be the most sensible starting point. A home bred son of Shantou, he has only been seen in action the once so far in a Gowran Park Bumper which he took at odds on with the minimum of fuss, telling us very little in the process. The runner up has been well beaten since, as has the fourth so the form adds up to nothing much, but then again he did do it very easily and ought to improve for the run. Sadly, the stable always keep their cards very close to their chest but she really could be anything. She’s a full sister to Touch Back (rated 136) and while Back Log’s progeny haven’t hit the heights you’d expect on breeding her debut was very taking.
A dual bumper winner comes next on our short list as Stuart Kittow seems likely to send Tobouggaloo (10/1) here for her next run after two successful National Hunt flat races, one each at Exeter and here at Cheltenham. A 25/1 punter surprise first time out, she then went in at 16/1 (connections must be rolling in it), so it will be interesting to see her SP this afternoon – though she failed to catch our eye and looked more workmanlike that electric and may be playing for a place at best.
Nicky Henderson has a powerful team as always this year by the look of things and he seems certain to rely on winning point to pointer Theatre Territory (7/1), an interesting choice when you think of the strength in depth at his disposal. A very impressive win at Ballindenisk on his second outing soon saw him change hands for a massive 200,000 Guineas at the sales, so he will need to win this £20,000 guaranteed prize money event to start to repay his owners faith! With his point to point win over three miles we are second guessing whether he will have enough speed for this two mile contest (some do, some don’t), but he is most certainly worth watching for future reference and is hopefully one for the notebook at the very least.
Meanwhile, Philip Hobbs continues as always, seemingly shunning the majority of the limelight yet adding winner after winner as he does most seasons, and he will rely on Copper Kay (5/1) here as he looks to make it three out of four victories in bumpers. After winning first time out at Warwick from Big Chief Benny, he was hampered when fourth to Babylone Des Motte at Sandown last March which van be forgiven, before reappearing at Newton Abbot with a bloodless odds on victory from Clondaw Cian, a previous winner who has also gone on to win again since, making the form look better than average. He quickened up nicely that day which we see as a sign of a good horse, and with Richard Johnson in the saddle, he could yet end up as a serious each way option.
To end with, “intrigued” would be the best word to describe our thoughts about Cajun Fiddle (33/1), an unraced son of Robin Des Champs who looks set to run here for trainer Alan King and jockey Wayne Hutchinson. For a stable full of talented bumpers he is an unusual choice for such a hot race, so either the owners (Mickleton Racing Club) fancy a day out at the home of jump racing, or he is showing something pretty special on the home gallops, and although we can hardly suggest him as a bet in the circumstances, we can suggest a watching brief for future reference and the chance to back him on another day if necessary.