Clear, concise, comprehensive horseracing analysis and insight from Paul Jones, former author of the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide, concentrating on jump racing in addition to the best of the Flat and leading Sports events.
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Sprinter Sacre

November 17th

I turned 46 yesterday. I know, I know, I don’t look it. Phenomenal isn’t it? Anyway, after the mad rush of just about getting the Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post Week 1 copy out on time, I can now have a little bit of a celebration today and will be cracking open the Ginger Joe later after taking a look at the weekend racing for tomorrow’s Big Race Focus copy which is part of the All-Inclusive Service and is uploaded at 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday where I first suggested Annacotty as a bet when he was 16/1.

As for that first Cheltenham Ante-Post copy, I had a little editing problem after it went live I need to get sorted so just to say that in case you didn’t pick it up, the Hilly Way Chase takes place in December and not January and Thistlecrack ended the season the highest British trained novice hurdler and not just hurdler.

Overall it was a very good weekend for the Race Preview service. Mick Jazz was the big disappointment though where something was clearly amiss and Harry Fry has since reported that he is being sent to Newmarket for tests and monitoring. The biggest surprise for me of that Greatwood Hurdle however was that Old Guard won it. Not because I had him down as a Good-ground horse who would struggle in the conditions, but he was called a non-runner on Cheltenham Radio as I entered the car park 90 minutes before racing. So, not having seen them in the paddock beforehand for this particular race, I was rather shocked when I saw him hit the front! Before the bumper they also announced that Sprinter Sacre was a previous winner of the race. Errr, no. I’m not as sentimental as most in the jumps racing game but even I had a smile on my face as he bombed to the front in the Shloer Chase and the reception he received entering the winner’s enclosure was the best I have heard at Cheltenham outside of the Festival. Thank goodness there wasn’t a call for three cheers though, I do so cringe at that horribly British tradition. I have mentioned in the past about the terrible record of winners at The Open Meeting at the Festival but Balthazar King and Uxizandre have won at both meetings for the last two years.

Disappointing news that Coneygree has a bruised foot which has put his Hennessy bid in doubt. The race will still be a cracker without him if he doesn’t run but with Vroum Vroum Mag reportedly not an intender runner anymore and Many Clouds giving the contest a miss, it’s not the race we were all hoping for a couple of weeks back if Coneygree doesn’t get there. If the Gold Cup winner can’t train again by Friday, it looks curtains for his Newbury bid sadly and then supplementing him for the King George and a mouth-watering clash with Vautour and Silviniaco Conti maybe Don Cossack becomes a serious option.

Michael Van Gerwen was a winning selection for Mike Henderson in the Grand Slam of Darts and he will back this weekend to preview the World Series from Scotland as it is being covered on TV. It’s just a weekend event though. The following week he will then cover the Players’ Championship and then it’s the big one of the World Championships starting on December 17th followed by the BDO World Championships so it’s a hectic time of the season and we’ll be covering it all.

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