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A couple of parish notices.
I am away between Monday and Wednesday so there will be no Big Race Focus on Wednesday next week. It’s not the best weekend for an ante-post focus anyway as Mullins should win the three Grade 1s with odds-on shots Un De Sceaux in the Clarence House Chase, Faugheen in the Irish Champion Hurdle and Douvan in the Irish Arkle. The Cheltenham Ante-Post copy will be pre-set to go live at 7.00 p.m. on Monday as usual.
The Australian Open Tennis starts on Sunday at midnight and Carl Redden will be previewing the season’s first Grand Slam on Saturday as well as the best of the First Round action and then return on Thursday covering the start of the Third Round.
The entries for the Gold Cup, Champion Chase and Ryanair were announced this week and I’ll be looking at that deeper in Monday’s Cheltenham Ante-Post copy. As you would expect, Vautour was entered for all three and Gigginstown have given the Ryanair option to most of their Gold Cup entries but not Don Poli or First Lieutenant. After two poor runs at the Festival, connections of Foxrock have not entered him for the Gold Cup or Ryanair but the most notable absentee was More Of That who will stick to novice company. I thought it was quite interesting that Philip Hobbs thinks enough of Champagne West to give him a Gold Cup entry in addition to the Ryanair, and Morning Assembly has also been entered for both which raised an eyebrow as I could have sworn he was ruled out for the season in the autumn. Apache Stronghold doesn’t have any entries and Noel Meade has effectively ruled him for the season. Now entries have been made William Hill and Boylesports became the sixth and seventh firms to bet NRNB on the Gold Cup and Boylesports also join Bet365 in offering NRNB on the Ryanair.
The Betfair Hurdle entries were also released midweek and the sponsors make Modus their favourite which has plenty to do with J P McManus’s record with novices in the event having won it with Get Me Out Of Here and My Tent Or Yours who both went on to finish second in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle as did Darlan who fell two when travelling well at Newbury. I’m struggling to believe that he is their class though. Willie Mullins has entered 14 and I would have thought the most likely of those to run would be Renneti having placed in the Greatwood and Ladbroke this season but I was interested to see Dicosimo receive an entry because if there is a potential Grade 1 horse in the race (outside of those already proven at that level like Peace And Co), then he is that after a mighty impressive seasonal debut win at Limerick. His future will be over further than 2m but it will be interesting to see what rating the BHA Handicapper comes up with him with a view to the coming few weeks.