It was a Saturday to savour with one of the best renewals of the Tingle Creek in recent years with Altior getting the better of Un De Sceaux. We also had plenty of informative runs in Novice Chases and Novice Hurdles around the country plus Grade 1 action in Ireland on Sunday in the form of the John Durkan at Punchestown. It was also an excellent weekend here at myracing as we landed a 13/1 accumulator on our Horse Racing tips, an 11/1 American tips accumulator and finished Sunday off with a 7/1 acca winner on our Greyhound tips!
After having the brilliant We Have A Dream carrying the famous two tone green silks to Grade 1 Juvenile glory last season, it looks like Simon Munir and Isaac Souede have another couple of classy recruits in the division. Adjali and Torpillo both made extremely impressive British debuts for Nicky Henderson and Nigel Twiston-Davies respectively. The latter produced a huge winning margin of twenty-three lengths with the former scoring by thirteen lengths and both look as though they will take high order in the Juvenile ranks this campaign.
Since his unbeaten Juvenile campaign, it’s been anything but plain sailing for Defi Du Seuil. Two heavy defeats last season and a well-beaten twenty-five length last of five on reappearance last month, it was difficult to envisage him being the force of old. But at Exeter on Friday he showed some of that old spark when winning a hot Novice Chase and if he can kick on from that, he might be able to get back to the top table. He’s now as short as 12/1 for the Arkle and 8/1 for the JLT which could be the more likely option after this two mile, three furlong victory. But the horse to take out of the contest may well be the runner up, Topofthegame. He conceded twenty lengths plus at the start of the race when he whipped around at the start. To make up the ground he did to only go down under four lengths to a race-fit rival, is pretty eye-catching. Considering his size, it’s always looked like fences will bring out the best in him and the fact he’s won a PTP backs that up even more. A 154-rated hurdler, he certainly has the potential to be a better chaser and has earned quotes of as big as 16/1 for both the JLT and RSA.
As well as Thomas Darby, Olly Murphy may well have another Supreme prospect on his hands in the shape of Brewin’Upastorm. A taking Bumper winner at the start of the year, he made a smooth transition to obstacles at Huntingdon on Sunday, readily putting the race to bed between the final couple of flights and winning with any amount of authority. He needs to step up in class now, but looks the type to take it in his stride. Tornado Flyer is a Novice Hurdler to note for Willie Mullins. Third in the Champion Bumper and a Grade 1 winner next time, he too made a seamless beginning to hurdling life when winning at Punchestown on Sunday. Very much a middle-distance type already, the Ballymore looks a likely target. Alan King’s Alsa Mix maintained her unbeaten record, this time in Grade 2 company in gruelling conditions at Sandown on Friday. On paper it didn’t look the strongest race at the level, but she has to be respected regardless, particularly in arduous ground. At the same venue the following day, I Can’t Explain was a comfortable winner on his debut for Nicky Henderson, looking professional in the process. He very much looks one to keep an eye on.
There isn’t much I can say here that you won’t have already heard, but Altior once again showed how dominant he is at Sandown on Saturday. He beat a magnificent Un De Sceaux who was undefeated in the conditions over two miles in supreme fashion. Simply the best horse in training, it looks as though he’ll be the base of many peoples Festival accumulators.
Lalor was sent off the 8/11 favourite for the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown on Saturday following his impressive debut over fences last month. But he could only manage third in what was ultimately a disappointing effort. Dynamite Dollars seemed to relish the conditions, staying on strongly up the hill to beat the gallant Ornua. Paul Nicholls’ charge definitely looks a better chaser than hurdler and is quoted at 14/1 for the Arkle. He certainly looks in the mix but Lalor will be worth another chance under slightly different circumstances.
In any normal years, Min would be a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner and a Champion Chaser, but he’s been unfortunate enough to bump into Altior in both those races, leaving him winless at Cheltenham. It would be no surprise if connections went a different route this campaign in a bid to avoid Altior and go all out for a Festival success. An authoritative win in the John Durkan on Sunday over a mile and half may set the tone for the season and the Ryanair Chase trip could be ideal. A general 6/1 chance for a race which could cut up a lot could be generous. His Aintree conquerer Politologue received a timely form boost as Charbel was an impressive winner of the Peterborough Chase, having been beaten by the former at Ascot on his previous start.
Racing returns to Cheltenham on Friday and Saturday with the International Meeting where Champion Hurdle candidates will strut their stuff in the International Hurdle. There is also Grade 2 action elsewhere at Doncaster for the Juveniles and three mile Novice Chasers.