Paul's Blog uploaded - Weekend Race Previews uploaded - Premier League Darts Week 7 uploaded - Cheltenham Day 4 uploaded - Cheltenham Day 3 uploaded - Midlands National in Antepost Focus & Cheltenham Day 2 uploaded
What an achievement for Aidan O’Brien to train the first three home in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and fortunately for us, it was Found who emerged on top of his trio having recommended her at 11/1 a couple of weeks earlier in Ante-Post Focus.
I initially thought that Ryan Moore might have gone a fraction too soon bearing in mind what happened to her in similar circumstances in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes when she was caught close home by My Dream Boat but, in a race like the Arc, he had to commit at that stage so well was she travelling and she found (you see what I did there, this isn’t just thrown together you know) the usual acceleration associated with a winner of the race making it five winning years out of six for fillies. It was nice to find her. Enough of this.
The next Ante-Post Focus will feature Champions Day at 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday. Before then I will upload the final Horses to Follow of the Flat Season on Tuesday. Since my last HTF update, Brando won the Ayr Gold Cup at 11/1 but I am now steadily moving into jumps mode so am working on the horses to include as my ‘Big Ten’ for the upcoming season. Brando will probably now line up for the Champions Day Sprint as his connections are likely to make him an offer he can't refuse.
To complete an excellent Sunday, all four of Ross Miles’ NFL Week 4 selections won (he will be back on Friday to cover Week 5) and USA won the Ryder Cup with myself having been very big on them since I advised them at Evens in April. Unfortunately they won too easily for my smaller handicap bet on them between 15-13 and 16-12 on the eve of the event though. Ewan Murray tried his best to make it sound close from the Sky commentary box but it was always more likely to be rout than a tight affair in the final two hours.
Also on Sunday, although his outright fancy of James Wade may have been dumped out of the World Grand Prix Darts, both of Mike Henderson’s opening-night recommendations won (he has two more going tonight) and he will return on Tuesday ahead of the Second Round and then be providing daily coverage right through to the final.
The big story last week was the divorce between Willie Mullins and Gigginstown which is good news for everyone else, especially horseracing lovers as we are now going to see more of the best horses take each other on. Hopefully it should also make life a little easier attempting to work out where horses will run at the Cheltenham Festival. I did had to rub my eyes when Paddy Power then installed Gordon Elliott as favourite to win the Irish Trainers’ title but that has now been corrected and Mullins is 8/15. What were they originally thinking?
Was it really all down to money though (approx. 80,000 euros) with the public line being that Michael O’Leary didn’t want to pay the increased training fees which equated to about a half a horse for him at the sales? Ego looks to have been a factor, and O’Leary has one the size of a planet. I am enjoying reading his autobiography though!
We know that Mullins doesn’t like to be told where to run his horses and we also know that O’Leary will ensure they run where he says which infuriates some of his trainers so I’d wager that had to be a big factor too. Did Mullins already have an inkling this situation would arise if he raised his training fees for the first time in ten years knowing that Gigginstown set their own fees and wouldn’t budge? It might be stupid of me to suggest it but maybe Mullins isn’t as bothered about losing 60 horses as he publicly says even if they include Apple’s Jade, Don Poli, Valseur Lido and Blow By Blow? I don’t think that Mullins will have the slightest trouble filling those 60 boxes from other wealthy owners. Anyway, it all makes for a much more exciting season and the juices will start to flow more after a good card set for Chepstow on Saturday.
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