Oddschecker’s Festival Countdown nags away at me. Each clicking second tapping out an impatient rhythm, like fingertips drumming on a table.
“28 days, 13 hours and 22 minutes, Davoski. Is that all you’ve got?”
I haven’t added significantly to the ante-post portfolio. Clues have been a bit thin on the ground lately. I’ve had a couple of quid on Kid Cassidy for the Arkle before his last outing. Whilst he won well enough, he still looks a massive handful. He may be Grand Annual bound instead, though JP McManus’ only other live Arkle contender is Shot From The Hip who was well beaten on Sunday.
Last weekend saw one of Ireland’s main trials weekends. In truth, a well-trained beagle would have struggled to sniff out high grade evidence. There was a poor turnout for the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Moriarty Chase. In the former, Quel Esprit showed a touch of class in a weak renewal; in the latter, Last Instalment franked his strong RSA credentials, but wouldn’t turn up if the ground came up fast. The Grade 1 novice hurdle served only to muddy the Supreme/Neptune markets, throwing out a 50-1 winner. And on Saturday at Naas, clear cut novice chase winner Bog Warrior was not obviously pointed at any Cheltenham target by his trainer who went on to say “I wouldn´t like to subject him to good ground”. He’s entered in all three principal novice chases.
But the rescheduling of Newbury’s snowbound Super Saturday meeting to next Friday is a welcome development. All being well I’ll be there to see at first hand a very high quality card in its own right and the last decent trials fixture before the Festival.
The airwaves are crackling with previews, tips and analysis right now. Here’s a selection: