Archive for the ‘Tomorrow’s Racecards’ Category

With the weekend’s UK horse racing fixtures decimated by the bad weather, including the cancellation of Saturday’s meeting at Sandown incorporating the Tingle Creek Chase, there is no ‘Free Tip Friday’ this week.

As it stands, the three scheduled  ‘all-weather’ (debatable!) meetings are still on for Saturday – Kempton, Southwell and Wolverhampton – whilst Sunday’s meetings at Lingfield, Exeter and Warwick are looking pretty precarious at the present time!

If you are a member of my Private Advisory Service then Daily Line selections will be availble from 11.30am as per normal on both Saturday & Sunday…. let’s hope we continue our current winning run (Fifth Commandment 4/1, Peddler’s Cross 3/1, Spensely 9/4, Nacho Libre 8/1, Muntasib 11/8, Magic Cross, 3/1, Hulcote Rose 4/1) into the weekend and beyond!

In the meantime, my tip for the weekend: Stay warm and wrap up if you’re off to any of the race meetings still on offer!

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Our Scandanavian inspired arctic weather conditions are still causing havoc with the racing programme across the UK and Ireland, with the icy blast set to continue.

Flat racing on the fibresand is keeping the flag flying, despite the extreme conditions, while traditional winter fare remains locked in the freezer… just as I was warming up with the National Hunt season too!

There will be no jumps racing for the fourth day running today after officials at Plumpton finally had to concede defeat due to frost.

Clerk of the course Mark Cornford said yesterday eveniong: “We wanted to give it every chance, and I’m comfortable in the knowledge that we did, but it hasn’t shown the improvement we were hoping for. Temperatures haven’t risen above zero all day and we’ve had snow showers. More worrying was that we are not expected to get above zero tomorrow and it’s going to be a very cold day, even worse than today and perhaps more snow.”

Two of tomorrow’s three National Hunt cards, at Leicester and Market Rasen, have already fallen, while Wincanton are praying for a miracle thaw and are to inspect this morning.

Exeter will hold an inspection at 3pm today ahead of Friday’s meeting, but prospects do not look good. The course is currently frozen, with the forecast suggesting the area is in for more sub-zero temperatures.

Clerk of the course Barry Johnson, who also looks after Wincanton, said: “Exeter is a lot more frozen than Wincanton. If conditions stay as they are, neither have much chance but if there was a thaw at Wincanton they could have a squeak.”

An inspection at Sandown is likely to be called for tomorrow morning ahead of their scheduled two-day meeting that features the Tingle Creek Chase on Saturday. The course is currently unraceable due to snow though the frost is out of the ground. The outlook is for continued overnight frosts and possible further snow showers tomorrow.

Kempton have stepped into the breach on Saturday, though, by announcing a Flat card on the same day, supplementing all-weather meetings at Wolverhampton and Southwell.

Kelso have, however, given up the ghost for Sunday’s fixture as there is 24 inches of snow at the Borders track.

Clerk of the course Anthea Morshead said: “There’s no hope at all. The forecast remains the same – there’s further snow all week – and it’s just not going to go in time. It’s very bleak.”

Very bleak indeed… even I have had to resort to writing about the weather on my blog amongst this paucity of racing action! Still it means less work to deduce the best value racing tips each day ;-)

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A new feature on the blog, ‘Free Tip Friday’ will identify my best value tips for the weekend’s racing action. Normally, I will be presenting this feature as a video podcast (vodcast) but, as I’m on the road to Newbury today, you will have to make with the regular written report!

And what better place to kick off this new blog feature than with tomorrow’s highly anticipated 2010 Hennessy Gold Cup Chase at Newbury. 19 runners will line up at 3.05pm for this 3m2f, £175,000 showpiece event and there is one question that everyone seems to be asking: Can Denman, one of the nation’s best loved racehorses, make it a historical hat-trick of victories in this blue riband race.

Bookmaker’s clearly believe that the Paul Nicholls trained 10-y-0 still has the ammunition to hold off the host of talented horses that will attempt to wrestle his crown from his grasp tomorrow… installing him as 4/1 favourite at this stage. Connections have reported that Denman is in top form and have been bullish about his chances – dismissing reports that the big chesnut’s powers are on the wane.

For me, although I think Denman is certain be a major player tomorrow, I believe it may be time for one of the the new breed to come through and announce their arrival at the very top tier of the chasing rankings. To that end, it is three of the youngest runners in the field that I feel have the form, profile and pedigree to take the honours in the 2010 Hennessy.

Diamond Harry (#10) is currently available at 7/1, and is likely to go off shorter than that on the back of continued public support. The Nick William’s trained 7-y-o isn’t always the most reliable jumper but he has several Grade 1 wins under his belt and clearly enjoys the Newbury course. A winner of 9 of his 13 career starts, Diamond Harry is reportedly in fine fettle and has just the kind of progressive profile that justifies hopes of a big run tomorrow. Provided he negotiates the obstacles, he is one that is certain to be in the mix at the sharp end.

One that shouldn’t experience any problems with the jumps is the consistent Burton Port (#12). Second season novices have an excellent record in this race and Nicky Henderson’s 6-y-o has all the attributes to continue that trend on Saturday. By common consent, Burton Port is neither flashy or fashionable… which perhaps explains whilst this classy gelding often gets overlooked and passes under the radar. Apparently he just goes about his business in a functional manner at the Lambourn stables but does everything that is asked of him. Has won 4 of his 5 starts over the last 12 months with the only reverse when second to the Weapon’s Amnesty in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Burton Port will handle the ground, is proven over the trip and at 8/1 is a live contender and excellent value.

The runner that really intrigues me is the Noel Meade trained Pandorama (#17). This exciting 7-y-o Irish raider is also an 8/1 shot tomorrow and makes his 2010 bow in the Hennessey having withdrawn from the Ladbrokes.com Chase at Down Royal 3 weeks ago. However, he will arrive at Newbury with plenty of confidence having ended 2009 by defeating the aforementioned Weapon’s Amnesty in the Grade 1 Knight Frank Novices Chase at Leopardstown in December. That win rounded off a 100% record for 2009 – indeed, Pandorama’s only defeat came in December 2008 when 2nd to Cheltenham Festival hero Mikael D’Haguenet in a Novices hurdle at Navan. The Newbury course should suit his style and there are no concerns about the ground or the trip – he is partnered by regular jockey Paul Carberry and, although he doesn’t have the chasing experience of either Diamond Harry or Burton’s Port, Pandorama looks set to go very close.

So, whilst my heart says Denman for the 2010 Hennessy Gold Cup, my head has been turned by these three new protagonists. I expect all of them to have a big say in the race. Burton Port would appear to be the most solid each way option whilst both Diamond Harry and Pandorama are more likely to give a ‘glory or bust’ performance. For me, providing he’s travelled well, the most appealing of the trio (by a nose) is Pandorama… and this is my inaugural Free Tip Friday selection:

27/11/2010 15:05 Newbury #17 Pandorama EACH WAY @8/1

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