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With no major sporting events taking place in the very near future, it’s going to be a little quieter than usual with regards sports content for the rest of October. The next horseracing copy will be Ante-Post Focus at 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday followed by the October Catch Up featuring Festival-based news from the last month under Cheltenham Festival on Thursday and then a preview of Champions Day on Friday. My jumps Horses to Follow will be uploaded next week.
The excellent two-day meeting at Chepstow whet the appetite over the weekend for THE JUMPS SEASON SERVICE that officially starts on November 10th when I preview the opening day of Cheltenham’s three-day Open Meeting, though I will cover the best of the Charlie Hall/Ascot jumps cards that take place on the same afternoon a couple of weeks earlier as an added extra. The Charlie Hall is building up to being a cracker if the likes of Cue Card, Coneygree and Blaklion face off. Therefore if you were a Jumps Season Service member last year and you want to have access to the Charlie Hall/Ascot card before we officially restart a fortnight later, please get back in touch by replying to invite I sent out last week and I’ll sort out the necessary. If you didn’t receive the invite then please drop me a line. I am likely to be at Cheltenham for one of the two days of their opening fixture on Oct 21-22.
Ballyoptic is all set to head to that Wetherby card for the West Yorkshire Hurdle after his victory in the Silver Trophy on Saturday in his build up to the World Hurdle. I can guarantee you that in the next few weeks he won’t be the first class act to win after his trainer commented that he would need the run. Such negative comments usually have an effect on the market so we can grab bigger odds about said horses but class horses often have that added x-factor to help them overcome this. Paul Nicholls can usually be relied upon to come up with 2-3 horses that will win a good Saturday race at inflated odds in the autumn after he has commented they will need the run or “improve tremendously on whatever he does today”. That last way putting of it leaves them some wriggle room for post-race interviews when they do win.
Over in Ireland it was Gigginstown who won their third major handicap chase in recent months when the former Triumph Hurdle winner, Tiger Roll, caused a surprise in the J T McNamara Munster National following their success in the Galway Plate and Kerry National off the back of the Grand National and Irish Grand National in the spring. Yes, they are usually mob handed in such events but it’s one hell of a C.V. they are putting together in big staying handicap chases of late so, although they paint themselves as being all about Grade 1s, I think that they are getting the taste of what it’s like to win important and historic chases that are the very fabric of the jumping game so expect them to be going after races like the Cork National and Troytown Chase too in the coming weeks. You never know, they might even fancy throwing a few more at the Hennessy than is usually the case attempting to improve on First Lieutenant’s two thirds in the race.
With regards to last season’s Hennessy winner, that is the plan again for Smad Place according to Alan King’s stable tour in the Attheraces Jumps Season website with the Old Roan Chase at Aintree as his prep race. I have written trends for that website for the leading 15 handicaps of the season if you want to check those out. There are also stable tours for Gordon Elliott (it looks like Apple’s Jade will start off in a 4yo hurdle at Naas on her first run for him and he will turn to headgear for Don Poli who was also moved to him from Willie Mullins), Philip Hobbs and Noel Meade and they will continue to add many more over the coming few weeks. Also included are major horse profiles, Sean Boyce’s ante-post view (mine starts on November 14th), Barry Geraghty’s ten to follow and a review of last year.
It’s all bubbling up rather nicely.