Tag Archives: don cossack

Sunday Cheltenham Greatwood Card plus Punchestown and the Morgiana

Good morning from the Major who writes from the bed, lying lazy and peaceful.  Gazing out across the tranquil Worcestershire scene, I see my neighbours Weeping Willows and they capture the mood.  Drooping not out of weariness but out of sedate alleviation of all of life’s concerns.

The Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham rolls on and yesterday, I consider the result to be one of hitting the bar.  I felt very right about Royal Irish Hussar and that was justified, even if a little obvious.  I was not overly perturbed by Shutthefrontdoor who ran brilliantly but could not get up to Le Bec.  It had an edge for me though which was the winner was piloted by Noel Fehily and regular readers will know that I am always at pains to back against him add into that the extremely positive mention I gave to the winner Alvarado (who I suggested a saver on).

Quentin Collonges ran well but unseated when beaten having made an error at the previous fence and charting a wide course throughout – No disgrace.  Then came the turning point in the day.  I felt my selection Colour Sargeant was desperately unlucky not to record a famous win.  He was almost bought down three out and had to pretty much stop.  Losing at least a half-dozen lengths, I thought it was an incredible performance to be just a half-length down and closing hard at the finish.  I am not saying he is a better horse than Johns Spirit as I suspect the winner did little after meeting the front but without the calamity that hit ours, well we could have got there, couldn’t we?  I know, I saw it.

Port Melon ran with credit into a place but I was expecting a bit more.  He already looks a chaser and more is to come I am sure.  The Henderson horse let us down a bit in a bumper that I think will be decent form despite the winner being a 22/1 shot.

Anyway, today, the racing is first class again on both sides of the Irish Sea.  I have had a look through and shall record my thoughts for your delectation.

Cheltenham and Punchestown Sunday Tips

One observation of Cheltenham is that the ground to me has been riding just a touch slower than I expected.  I thought we would have genuinely good ground but not many are picking up in it that well and so I am a little more cautious going into the last day.

The Cheltenham opener looks a real puzzle to me.  I like the Big Casino form as it ties well to Shutthefrontdoor but the rise he got for a seasonal debut win means he is lumping top weight around.  On the list all the same.  Lieutenant Miller comes with a placing in a Cesarewitch and Henderson has won this race several times in recent years.  Lots of potential improvers, and one eye catcher is Western Warhorse – A mark of 125 is quite a place to start in handicap company but I think this horse could turn out to be quite decent – He has the assistance of Maurice Linehan who takes a first ride for the Pipe yard and he gets my tentative vote.  Even as I type those words, I am mindful of the top weight Big Casino whose conquered foe last time out, Talkin Sence, went up to Kelso to frank that form…. Hmmmm

The second, the Supreme trial, has only a disappointing field of four but it is good quality stuff all the same.  Sea Lord won a listed contest last time out and has translated group flat form into this sphere really well.  That is up against The Liquidator who came fourth in the Champion bumper and then demolished his penalty kick hurdle maiden.  Lac Fontana may well improve but really needs to if he is going to give these two a race, though it is worth noting that Nicholls won this last year with Dodging Bullets.  In the end, you have to make a decision and mine is for The Liquidator but there is not a lot to go on.

The Arkle trial looks set to be fought out between the three principles.  I like Ted Veale and remember having a winner with him when he beat Tennis Cap at the festival, he has been busy over the summer and so I am sure remains fit.  Raya Star beat Dodging Bullets but I think today we will see the latter emerge as the superior animal.

At 2.40 expect a twitter meltdown as Mad Moose the mercurial star takes to the course at 25/1.  Will he start?  Who knows!  What is more sure is that Sire de Grugy looks good banker material against this lot of monkeys.  My selection is on form and odds against, he has not really run a bad race over fences and I think we can put that in our Sunday money printer!

As for the Greatwood… This is a race that has been won by some very decent horses in years gone by including Sizing Europe, Detroit City and Menorah.  Despite the field being 7/1 bar, it is noteworthy that only two-horse in the last ten years at odds in double figures, one being Brampour in 2011 at 12/1.

Four of the last Twelve winners did so from top weight, there is nothing wrong with the profile of a top class horse thus Court Minstrel, the Scottish National winner has to be considered.  I am not convinced though and I think I am looking for something else.  My profile is going to be a damn good horse, aged 5 with the handicapper still behind – The 4yo horses often look enticing, we have a list of likely candidates here, but their record is weaker.

Olofi and Numide both won from marks below 140 and while I am not wedded to that line, it shapes the horse I am looking for.  I think I have my candidate in Pine Creek who races off 137, is clearly improving and the half stone rise for coming away from a useful Ascot field (Dildar) with Chris Pea Green, looked good.

One point of note is to keep your trigger finger sharp.  If Raya Star does give Dodging Bullets a fair beating then it would be a tremendous advert for Tanerko Emery in the Greatwood…

In the bumper, while I like the prospects of Red Sherlock, I shall have a small investment instead on Champagne at Tara who is proven on the firmer ground.

At Punchestown, I am backing Felix Younger, 7/4, whose form with White Star Line looks better now.  I also feel Don Cossack, 10/11, should get the better of Morning Assembly – He appeals to me as the one with genuine top of the tree aspirations.  I am backing the pair in a tasty double.  Telling you that Hurricane Fly will win the Morgiana is like telling you the sun will rise in the morning.

Courage and roll those dice.

Sunday Racing Tips from Punchestown for the Tied Cottage Card

Good morning from the Major who writes from a decidedly cold Worcestershire scene with an overcast sky and damp floor.

Yesterday was not the Black Saturday of last week but neither was it redemption.  The Major remains firmly on the cold list and there is only one thing to do…. punt my way out.

I thought it was an odd day of racing.  McCoy seemingly had an excellent book of rides but failed to sparkle on many.  Captain Conan was all but beat before rallying and taking advantage of Third Intention tying up.  Perhaps it was the glue like conditions that saw so few horses running to their best…

Sunday sees a great day of racing at Mussleburgh and Punchestown and I shall once more daub my face in war paint.

Punchestown Card – Tied Cottage

The opener revolves around the Mullins French import Upazo who has been beaten at prohibitive odds twice already but has shown ability in both defeats.  Jennies Jewel from the latter defeat has confirmed the form to be solid going down in a reasonable manner to Glenns Melody next time up.

So Upazo is good if not spectacular so the key question is whether anything is hiding amongst this list of maidens…

Byerley Babe is the key threat – the Thurles bumper he won does not seem to be up to much but the style was impressive.

In the each way prices, I like Follow the Sign the most but feel it is best watched today.  On balance I am going to back Upazo at 5/4.

The second, 1.20pm,  is a fantastic novice affair, the Moscow Flyer Grade 2.

Don Cossack is trying to restore a once lofty reputation.  Along with Starky, Ned Buntline and Mozoltov, he will enjoy the mud he faces here.  Don Cossack fell when chasing Pont Alexandre last time and while he was never threatening the leader, bear in mind two things.  He never travelled that day suggesting something was slightly amiss and secondly, Pont Alexandre is prominent in the novice staying markets at Cheltenham suggesting that it is no mug.  You can read  the trainer Gordon Elliots thoughts here.

Back in this company and freshened up he is a big threat.  Remember he gave a good beating to Sizing Gold in a bumper and while that horse has also had a beating from Pont Alexandre, it represents a strong formline.

Mozoltov also has some form tied up with the premier horses, including being placed behind Champagne Fever.  Mullins has won this race twice in the last five years with Gagewell Flyer and Mikael D’Haguenet.  The latter was always highly regarded, the former less so.

It is hard to read Ned Buntlines form having being disappointing on his penultimate run but shaping much better winning last time.  That race has a weakish look to it but you can only beat them well.

This is a race that is hard to read.  On balance I am going with Mozoltov.  As much as Don Cossack boasts the highest reputation, Mullins is in sparkling form and I am backing him to make it three wins from six runnings of the Moscow Flyer.  Incidentally if you need a bit of cheering up as I do, have a watch of the 2007 Tingle Creek in which Azertyuiop and Well Chief fail to peg back the most awesome of two milers.

The third is a Pertemps qualifier and Colbert Station is an obvious call on recent form, beating a big field in his latest assignment.  His earlier runs behind Roi du Mee are strong too.  His chase mark is two stone bigger than this hurdle mark so the chances are clear.  Technically his record on heavy is dubious but many of those runs were credible.

Sizing Europe looks to have another penalty kick in the fourth.

The Cross Country is a bit of a specialist event for both the horses and the punters!  While Bostons Angel looks the most talented horse in the line up, I am never confident about backing with confidence a cross country horse.  If I feel like an interest I will go with the equally obvious call of Arabella Boy, 7/2, who represents Enda Bolger, the specialist yard for these contests.

In the 3.20, I am opting for Corals 16/1 about Beeverstown.  There are more obvious calls for Lambro and I also like Quiscover Fontaine who while tackling a distance too short for him is the most proven of these in the mud.  My tip though has shown some good novice ability and I think his jumping will stand up to this. He comes with a health warning as he often fails to complete and even unseated at the start last time out.

In the 3.50, spare a thought for Vesper Bell who has to shoulder a stone and a half more than the rest of the field.  I am not a fan of Arbor Supreme who these trips on this ground must be a real labour at the age of 11.  On balance, while having to shoulder a big burden over a staying trip, Vesper Bell gets my vote on class.

I am opting for The Ramblin Kid in the bumper, Nina will get us out of trouble!

Good luck to us all.