Cheltenham Festival

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16 Nov 17 09:25
Date Joined: 16 Feb 03
| Topic/replies: 18,493 | Blogger: unclepuncle's blog
With Altior now on the easy list and Douvan and Min still to return from injury it's surely worth looking for a bit of value.

A quick browse of the prices on here and Un De Sceaux at 55 looks a cracking bet.

Won the two main QM trials last season (Tingle Creek and Clarence House) but then presumably due to Douvans presence was aimed at the Ryanair which he won in tremendous front running style.  No doubt in my mind that he would have won the QM had he run in that.

Got beat at Punchestown but that was on going that would have been a bit quick over the 2m trip.

He is reported to be in great form and on target to defend his Tingle Creek crown.

Obviously if Douvan and/or Min come back in rude health then they may again aim him at the Ryanair but at 55 I'm happy to take the chance.
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Report buddeliea January 4, 2018 7:19 AM GMT
So basically its all guesswork imp,gut feeling perhaps...fair enough you may be proven right,he is better than Yorkhill,but so far all form evidence points the other way....we shall see hopefully.
Re end of season form,its something i have always looked at that way,i just dont rely on it for the following seasosn festival,as is my right.
I prefer eg to look at UDS when trained to peak at Chelt against SS getting beat 2 or 3 lenghts,than Sandown when getting stuffed out of sight.
Whether i am right to have that strategy is another matter,but time and experience has told me to carry that on.
As for whether UDS still possesses the speed for 2m Grade 1's on ground better than soft,well i dont know until he runs in one,i hope i get the chance to find out,but he certainly still does possess speed judging by his performance the last day.
As for 2m5f,i personally think it is in no way clear which of the two would be best,they both won well over that sort of distance last March,and of course at his age its possible Yorkhill is catching,caught or overtaken UDS....but its also possible UDS is the better horse.
My gut feeling on this one,is that if they both lined up in the Ryanair,i would back UDS on the strength that he imo is more reliable to run his race and has better form,but at the same time would be very aware of the potential for Yorkhill to put in a mighty performance if putting it all together on the day.
So it would not be a big bet!!!
Report buddeliea January 4, 2018 7:21 AM GMT
first sentence.......better than UDS.......sorry!!
Report impossible123 January 4, 2018 12:34 PM GMT
As I'm almost certain Yorkhill will not be pitched in the Ryanair I've backed him at 4/1 (nrnb) for the race 'cos if so, he'll be fav with a price no bigger than 2/1, I firmly believe. I've also backed him at 4/1 to win any race at the Festival eg 4/1 for the Champion Chase or the Champion Hurdle is also a fair price. Additionally, I've also backed him for the Champion Hurdle at 14 here more as a punt.
Report wellchief January 4, 2018 12:40 PM GMT
Have to agree with points made in the last two posts.  Re FTV, completely agree that the Ryanair bashing does do my head in a bit - some of our recent Ryanairs have been up there with some of my favourite festival races.  You tend to get good quality, proven G1, younger horses in it that use it as a stepping stone.  However, just because imo, it's a stepping stone to many, that doesn't detract from it being a great race in it's own right.

Agree with Budd in that I would always back UDS over Yorkhill if they met (over any distance), although there is always that little voice inside your head knowing Yorkhill always has the potential to put in a superstar performance and you'd kick yourself if he went unbacked.  However, on the balance of probabilities, you know where you stand with UDS and he'd have my money.

However, I personally could not see UDS or Yorkhill winning a QMCC.  For one, UDS's best ever performance (imo of course) was in last year's Ryanair, so I think that proves that 2.4m is his distance on good ground.  Yes, he did beat all but Sprinter in his QMCC the year before, but let's not forget that was a Sprinter who was 18lbs lower this his peak going into that race, and UDS was an odds on favourite.

Re Yorkhill, I do think he has the speed for 2m as I've said before, but not over fences.  I think 2 mile chasing is a specialist division (more specialist than 2m hurdling imv) and I don't think Yorkhill would have that specialist skill.  Others disagree with me about his fencing, but over 2m going flat out, he'd lose too much ground going left.  You may get away with it in a Ryanair or Gold Cup, but not a QMCC.

Re the Vautour comments above, if they had no problem putting him in the Ryanair then they'll certainly have no problem putting Yorkhill in.  I know it's pointless comparing them, but I will anyway!....imo Vautour was in a completely different class to Yorkhill.
Report duffy January 5, 2018 6:00 AM GMT
Mullins team was stronger when Vautour raced in the Ryanair.

Anyways, one of the guys on the final furlong Christmas review podcast reckons he texted Wylie regarding Yorkhill going forward and he replied that it's 2 miles next time.

I realize this would be out of character for the stable to divulge stuff like this but that's what they said.

As it was my first ever listen I also don't know if they are partial to wind ups either.........certainly hammered Townend for his ride on Min though.
Report buddeliea January 5, 2018 8:01 AM GMT
Well they were certainly stronger for the Champion Hurdle Duffy.

With UDS and Djakadam they obviously thought they did not need Vautour in either of the other chases.
To be fair they weren't far off,they both placed,and Vautour won.
Would they do different in hindsight? Guess only they know that.

Interesting if Yorkhill does go 2m next time.It maybe just what the horse has always wanted.

Would be interested in peoples opinions of a horse going from 2 and a half to 3 to 2m in a relatively short space of time.
Not sure its the right way to campaign a horse myself,especially 3m down to 2m!! but I guess when you have so many good horses,you have to try and fit them all in,and also of course to get as many winners as you can. Guess its bound to lead to some horses being tried at different distances,and some running at distances we don't agree with.
Report impossible123 January 5, 2018 8:41 AM GMT
Yorkhill ran in the Neptune (20f) because Min the talking horse of Ricci ran in the Supreme (16f) otherwise the role would have been reversed if ownership was different; his last run in the Lexus was his one and only attempt at 3m to satisfy connections' aspiration of running him in the Gold Cup, but that backfired badly - the dream had ended.

There has been quite a few "squids" for him here (7 here) maybe there is a degree of truth in the text communication between his owner and a racing journo (apparently). Notwithstanding, there is demand for him in the Champion Hurdle too (20 here). If so, where does that put Min? Abort Cheltenham or run in the Ryanair as running in the Champion Hurdle would be a non-event in my book but connections may differ; Min is 21 (here) for the Ryanair, but no demand.
Report wellchief January 5, 2018 9:22 AM GMT
Budd, going from 2.5m to 3m in a short space is a big positive imo and something I look for when backing one over 3m.

People can argue that there is no form in the book at that distance, but often there is big improvement the first time they step up; Sizing John last year is an example, Solwhit over hurdles another. Obviously sometimes they don't stay, so it is a risk though.

One thing I would say about Yorkhill is that I don't think the other day says he doesn't stay 3m.

Not for me to question Mullins (although I am!) but he was really chucked in at the deep end. His first ever run out of novice company was in a Grade 1 chase over a distance he has never ran over (outside of ptp) and it was his first run in 9 months against race fit rivals. Looking at it now, did he ever stand a chance before the flag fell?

Normally the first race out of novice company would be a pipe opener against similar opposition over a comfortable distance, and then ramp it up after that. I know there will people using the term 'armchair trainer', 'thinks he knows better than Mullins' etc, but it's how I see it.

Going back from 3m to 2m (over hurdles or fences is rare) but I think at this stage of his career, and we are now a good way through the season, I'd draw stumps on the 3m ambition for now and then try again next year when he can have a proper prep (maybe in the John Durkan like SJ and Djak) and go from there? Personally think they should make a decision now and stick to it, rather than being undecided the week before.

Annie Power shows to me that sometimes some horses that have ran over 3m can be brought back to 2m and win championship races, but maybe that's easier over hurdles?

I'd be amazed if Min wasn't in the Champion Chase and UDS in the Ryanair. As they split them all up that only leaves Gold Cup or Champion Hurdle for Yorkhill imo.

I'm still interested in Fox Norton for this and he'd be another 3m down to 2m.
Report buddeliea January 5, 2018 12:34 PM GMT
Some interesting and Fair comments there Chief.

Yep, I too take note of a horse stepping up from 2 and half to 3m, especially one that looked like staying further in the JLT and bred to do so.....think you are bang on with your comments re Yorkhill.

Its the drop from 3 to 2 that I am not so keen on, just how much does that confuse a horse? He will have to go a lot quicker than he has been allowed to do, although I grant he may prefer that.
But if he does prefer that, is it wise to try and make a Gold Cup horse out of him?
I dunno, I just do wonder how much this search for a GC winner,or the seeming obsession with having horses in every top race with a chance, actually suits the horses.

Annie Power is a good example of a horse that went from 3 down to 2,but I would argue its also an example of a horse that should not have been going 3m anyway. She was imo far superior a horse to More of That,and proved to be a Champion Hurdler......possibly one of the best we have seen......could have won more imo.
All this chopping and changing a horses distance and races to suit owners and trainers,yes they pay the bills, but I cannot help think that decisions don't always have in mind whats best for the horse.
Report buddeliea January 5, 2018 12:55 PM GMT
I'd be amazed if Min wasn't in the Champion Chase and UDS in the Ryanair. As they split them all up that only leaves Gold Cup or Champion Hurdle for Yorkhill imo.

Kind of sums it up what I am saying in a Way Chief
We are in January and a horse could run in either the 3m2f Gold Cup Chase, or the 2m Champion Hurdle !!!
Report wellchief January 5, 2018 12:56 PM GMT
Yeah fair points re Annie Power, she was never a 3 miler in the first place.

At this moment in time I don't think Yorkhill is personally but wouldn't rule it out next year.

I agree as well that chopping and changing distances cannot be good, especially as you say, from 3m to 2m. Even Annie dropped back gradually, running in middle distances races largely before she dropped back to 2m for the Champion Hurdle.

I'd personally come back to 2.5m next time with Yorkhill, maybe in something like the Red Mills in Feb, where I think they'd learn a lot.

If they definitely want to stay chasing, it might tell them a lot. If he's pulling the jockeys arms off then drop him back for the QMCC or if he shapes like a stayer then Gold Cup. If not sure, Ryanair is the most sensible option.

Seems strange that half way through his third season it appears they still don't know his ideal distance.
Report FOYLESWAR January 5, 2018 1:32 PM GMT
i may be wrong but didnt broomhead step sizing euro up from 2m to 3m for a few races and when it appered he dint stay dropped him back to 2m and won the champion ,bit different to yorkhill but it dont blunt their speed imo !
Report SoYouThink January 5, 2018 1:47 PM GMT
I would still see Yorkhill's likely target being the Gold Cup. I think the Mullins camp are as confused as the rest of us as regards his optimum distance and where he runs will probably depend on whether or not they can get Douvan back (unlikely), or whether they think Min is a genuine Champion Chase contender. The return of Altior might also help make their mind up. Also besides Djakadam, they don't really have a serious Gold Cup contender and even then is he really a contender? Also the influence of Ruby will be crucial in deciding his target and it's interesting both pre and post the JLT, he was adamant he was a Gold Cup horse. Also there are other reasons beside the trip for his sub-par performance at Leopardstown: 1) Doesn't like the place - struggled there on his only other run, 2) Prefers better ground - two Festival wins have come on good ground, 3) Big ask on his first run of the season.

I also think the only way Un De Sceaux runs in the Champion Chase is if it's very soft ground which is unlikely. If he couldn't win it at 8 years of age, then I can't see him winning it at 10. I can however see him repeating his Ryanair victory of last year. I also think Fox Norton needs further than two miles by the way - he won at Punchestown in spite of it. If the two of them make it to the Ryanair, it would be an intriguing race.
Report wellchief January 5, 2018 2:09 PM GMT
Good shout Foyles, forgot Sizing went that route. Slightly different in that he was a proven top 2 miler chaser and tread water at the end of 3 mile chases, but nevertheless it does show they can drop back.

Agree SYT re Fox Norton, his best performance I've seen was Aintree over 2.5m and I suppose if he couldn't beat Special Tiara in the QMCC last time...but I do think the Queen Mum appears to be a lot less competitive than the Ryanair to me, so I'm thinking more of the opposition than his actual optimum trip. I still think he has one more big 2m race in him.

Yeah, re Yorkhill the more I think of it, there are lots of reasons why he didn't win the other day. Could still well line up in the Gold Cup, but I would still drop him back to 2.5m next time, get him in his comfort zone and get a win under his belt and decide from there.

...there is always the thought that he may just not be as good as we thought he would be when he looked a superstar novice hurdler...that's why I put before that he isn't anywhere near Vautour class when they were both at this stage of their respective careers.
Report unclepuncle January 5, 2018 2:41 PM GMT
One Man would be the best example of a horse who stepped back from 3m+ to win the 1998 Champion Chase.
His only other run at the minimum distance was his 1992 debut novice hurdle at Hexham (where he finished 8th)!!

He tried the Gold Cup twice (hot favourite the first time) and was also favourite for an RSA but patentely didn't stay at Cheltenham, despite having hacked up in a Reynoldstown, a Hennessey and two King Geroges

I always wanted Mullins to run Florida Pearl in the QM - like most of the idiot trainers he never listens to me though.Laugh
Report duffy January 5, 2018 4:44 PM GMT
MWDS won the stayers before winning an Arkle.

One thing that is missing that may help decide Yorkhill's target is a 2 mile chase run, give him a run in one next time and if he impresses then it's sorted.

I personally wouldn't worry about a horse getting messed about regards trip, it's all racing isn't it, I wouldn't have thought it does anything to it physically or bleeds any of it's speed away either.

In Yorkhill's case I'd imagine it would come as a relief.Grin
Report buddeliea January 5, 2018 5:15 PM GMT
Good points lads and some fair old examples of horses coming back in trip from 3 to 2 and having success......One Man bless him!!

wellchief.....Agree SYT re Fox Norton, his best performance I've seen was Aintree over 2.5m and I suppose if he couldn't beat Special Tiara in the QMCC last time...but I do think the Queen Mum appears to be a lot less competitive than the Ryanair to me, so I'm thinking more of the opposition than his actual optimum trip. I still think he has one more big 2m race in him.

Think thats a really good point re how competitive the races are this year.

SYT says that UDS could not win the QM at 8 so cannot see him winning at 10,and its a fair point,but it does depend on what opposition he faces.
Like Chief says,the Ryanair could well be more competitive.
Looking at the QM,i can only see Altior as a possible one to avoid,and as i have said before,for me he has it all to prove.
HE werent that impressive in the Arkle and has had setbacks.
Report buddeliea January 5, 2018 5:17 PM GMT
This will run and run all the way to the festival i imagine, but good to have a reasoned discussion going on.
Report buddeliea January 5, 2018 5:37 PM GMT
SYT says that UDS could not win the QM at 8 so cannot see him winning at 10,and its a fair point,but it does depend on what opposition he faces.
Meant to add there,that imo he would have won it age 9,had he ran in the race,given his form with Special Tiara.
Report firstimevisor January 5, 2018 6:37 PM GMT
A trainer will work the horses the same way regardless of what trip they run over.Most days this is miles of slow cantering.They may only gallop every 5 or 6 days and usually only for a mile or so and won't come off the bridle or go flat out. Yet they only tend to run 5 or 6 times per season so a step up in trip most certainly doesn't blunt their speed as they are running further than these distances most days at home at half speed.

Kauto Star won the 1m bonus(betfair chase,king george and gold cup). In between these he dropped back in trip and slaughtered them in the Tingle Creek. Dawn Run won the Gold Cup and 6 weeks later beat the QM winner at levels over 2 miles.One Man won a QM after winning 2 King Georges. Can anybody tell what their optimum trips were? IMO it didn't matter.

National Hunt horses don't have just one trip.They are stayers, not sprinters. It takes a stayer to get 2 miles and the majority will stay 3 miles and more provided they drop the bit and settle in their races.The best horses have the ability to find an extra gear at the end of a race and this usually applies whether they go up or down in trip.

Using examples of the Cheltenham novice races, I can give endless examples of horses who showed subsequently how versatile they were trip-wise. Istabraq,Dawn Run,Hardy Eustace,Rock On Ruby,Faugheen all won champion Hurdles via the Neptune route and I'd have no doubt they could all have been Stayers Hurdle horses had they gone that route.Best Mate, War Of Attrition,Kicking King all won Gold Cups via the Supreme route.

Yorkhill comfortably beat the festival banker(who started fav for the 2017 Champion Hurdle) in the 2016 Neptune.There's no doubt in my mind that he's quick enough for 2 miles and has the stamina for at least 3 miles.

Report buddeliea January 5, 2018 7:03 PM GMT
Kauto Star optimum imo was 2 and a halfm,i saw him at Ascot over that distance,probably the best chase performance i have ever seen from any horse over any distance.
One Man,3m flat track.
Dawn Run 2m hurdling.

Most NH horses will stay 3 miles i agree,but some will stay that distance better,and some will be struggling more at the end.
eg More of That beating Annie Power,had that race been 2 or 2 and a half,no doubt in my mind AP would have won easily.
Sooner a trainer finds the best trip for a horse,one that he/she is comfortable with and most successful with,the better imo.
Report impossible123 January 5, 2018 7:35 PM GMT
Mullins has been reported to say there is a chance Douvan could make the Festival in March, but it is a long shot.

On Dec 17th, Mullins was reported to say Douvan would miss the entire season. And just yesterday Yorkhill was backed off the board for this race after a text received from the owner of the latter by a racing journo.

What next? Immaculate Conception? Spin! Spin! Spin! No doubt for the benefit of the bookies (again).
Report firstimevisor January 5, 2018 8:20 PM GMT
Budd,its a matter of opinion. I saw Dawn Run and Kauto Star deliver some serious performances at various distances and all I can say is on their best days they would have been pretty much unbeateable whatever the trip.

But we have a tendancy to pigeon-hole these horses into distance categories.Personally I don't believe there is such a thing as a real 2 and a half miler, its just an extra,relatively new, slightly easier type of race where its more likely you can dodge the very best horses.
Report duffy January 6, 2018 4:04 AM GMT
"staying" is a relative term, I'd stay the marathon trip if you gave me long enough.
Report buddeliea January 6, 2018 6:53 AM GMT
Of course its a matter of opinion..
You named 3 horses that proved to be versatile,and yes we have had more that are versatile in distance.
But we have also had many that are better at 2m,and horses that are better at 3m.
And also horses that, because not quiet quick enough to beat the best at 2m, and horses not staying well enough to beat the best at 3m,have had much success at in between.
Yes,thats largely due to the very best being aimed at the more prestigious and valuable races,which are either 2m or 3m races,but its also because two and a half simply suits them best.
Personally i like the inbetween distance,i like the combination of speed and stamina it brings, and to be honest i wish their were more races like the Ryanair around.
And Duffy is correct,even i with my gimpy back would stay the marathon......eventually!!
Report firstimevisor January 6, 2018 10:17 AM GMT
I named 11 (not 3) horses above and I could give you a list as long as my arm. I don't have any problem at all with intermediate distances and I'm not saying every horse stays extreme distances but 99% of NH racing is between 2 and 3 miles and most horses are versatile in that regard.The very best choose their own distances and rarely need to venture outside of that while the others plan an alternative route around them. That's  how it works and it works particularly well for the biggest owners and trainers with several top class horses.

Trying to pinpoint a horse's optimum trip is, more often than not, a pointless exercise and can change from race to race. Identifying their best chance of winning is a different matter entirely. Take Nichols Canyon, a multiple grade 1 winner (7 grade 1s I think) from 2 to 3 miles,stepping up in trip to win the Stayer's hurdle having been placed in the Champion hurdle the previous year. This didn't prove to that he was a pure 3 miler all along, but that the 3 mile division last year was a slightly lower standard than the 2 mile and he was a similarly good horse at both.

Had it not been for More Of That,who at that time looked a real superstar,Annie Power would have won a Stayers hurdle easily by 5 lengths and nobody would dispute that she stayed 3 miles comfortably. She did stay - she pulled right away from some thorough stayers.People read far too much into victories and defeats as a black or white definition of what their best trip is.
Report buddeliea January 6, 2018 10:43 AM GMT
Annie Power was a class apart from MOT,no doubt about that for me.
Reason she did not win was because she did not stay well enough,if she stayed 3m well she would have p1ssed up.
Really the point i am making.
She was better at 2 and 2 and a halfm then she was at 3m.
Had it not been for the Mares race and stable politics,imo injury free she would have won 3 or more Champion Hurdles.Thats how good she was imo.

Apologies for not taking note of the other horses you mentioned by the way.
As i said before we have indeed had more that are versatile in distance.

Re the optimum and best chance of winning point you make......i regard the optimum as a horses favourite distance and therefore where his best chance of winning lies.
You can say what you like,of course you can,i just dont agree with some of it.
Report firstimevisor January 6, 2018 11:20 AM GMT
No problem at all, we have many different opinions. That's allowed.

Re the optimum and best chance of winning point you make......i regard the optimum as a horses favourite distance and therefore where his best chance of winning lies.

May I use one example.Sizing Europe's favourite distance(I presume it was his favourite!) was 2 miles. For some time late in his career he kept running into, and seeing the back of, Sprinter Sacre. His best chance of winning would have been to avoid SS and run in the Ryanair. That wouldn't have meant he was better at 2 and a half than 2, but it would have given him a better chance of winning.

Annie eventually proved to be much better than MOT who subsequently had some serious health issues, but on the day of that race MOT was by far the best, and yes she did stay.

Annie would have won 3 or more Champion Hurdles???? What about UDS? Wasn't he the best 2 mile hurdler you've ever seen?Would she have beaten UDS? Were either of them better than the Fly or Faugheen?Some people believe Vautour and Douvan should have been running in those Champion Hurdles as well. Mullins managed a 1,2,3 without them all and Annie didn't negotiate the final hurdle in the Mares!
Report buddeliea January 6, 2018 12:04 PM GMT
Ha ha i did say stable politics!
In hindsight i think Annie Power would have won the two Champion Hurdles when she ran in the Mares,well providing she jumped the last!! 
UDS i always said i wanted to run in the Champion Hurdle,thought he deserved the chance but i aint sure i said he was the best i had ever seen!! i may well have said one of the most exciting though.

Absolutey agree FTV,re Sizing Europe,a lot of horses would avoid a monster like SS to get connections a better chance of winning,of course that happens often,i dont dispute that.
What i am saying is that all things being equal,horses ability and class, a horse will have more chance of victory at a distance he/she is most comfortable with to enable that horse to produce his/hers best.That i think is the Optimum definition.

Re More of Than and Annie Power......question for you - That season they raced in the Stayers,What do you think the results would have been had they had three races that season,one at 2m,one at 2m4f and, well we know the result at 3m.
Report duffy January 6, 2018 12:06 PM GMT
To elaborate slightly on my sentence, is that staying is relative to the opposition, it's not simply a case of yes it stays "per se".

A horse only stays in relation to the opposition, and the degree to which it does stay is related to the horses it's racing against.

To the Annie Power example, yes she stayed 3 miles, but I'd argue that MOT outstayed or stayed better than her.

Today a horse will be beat 30 lengths in the Welsh National but it would have probably "stayed"
Report Arklearkle January 6, 2018 12:14 PM GMT
There was a delay to Annie Powers Stayers race, it was quite warm beforehand and she got quite warm and worked up. This imo is the only reason she was beaten that day and subsequent results would back that up.
Report buddeliea January 6, 2018 12:26 PM GMT
All her races after that were between 2 and 2 and a halfm,she would have won them all but for falling at the last at Cheltenham.
How does that back up the reason you give for getting beat in the Stayers?
Report Arklearkle January 6, 2018 3:38 PM GMT
Bud I'm referring more to MOT's form as much as anything else. If you compare the lifetime form of both horses it would appear that AP did not run up to her best that day and her overall form was way superior to MOT's - when the history books are written there wont be much said about MOT. Its possible she did not stay but I'm convinced that she lost her chance during the preliminaries
Report buddeliea January 6, 2018 3:51 PM GMT
Ok mate
Well you may be right,and if you are it would not do my example much good.

Anyway,aside from my speculative bets on UDS,i am pretty clueless as to what to do with this race right now.
Pretty sure i will be punting very near the day,or the day itself,unless i see anything that suits me NRNB.
Report Arklearkle January 6, 2018 4:01 PM GMT
It sure looks like a season to sit on the hands for as long as possible - not just the CC
Report Catch Me ifyoucan January 11, 2018 7:41 PM GMT
30 Entered for the 2018 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) of £400,000.00 including MIN 5/1 Devil

Altior (6/4)
Politologue (4)
Min (5)
Douvan (8)
Yorkhill (8)
Fox Norton (9)
Un De Sceaux (12)
Great Field (16)
Special Tiara (20)
Report DontBeSakhee January 12, 2018 7:46 AM GMT
I decided that 5 NRNB about Douvan was too big.

Surely they wouldn't risk him unless they were absolutely sure he was ok, in which case the other Mullins hotpots don't run in this leaving Altior as the main danger and he's in the same boat as Douvan.

Definitely would not go off at 5 on the day.
Report irishone January 12, 2018 8:41 AM GMT
annie jumped the shadow of the fence .... end of

every horse has an optimum distance
variables involved are time, age, going, month et. etc
provided the measure is consistent and calibrated
...... is the trainer capable of measuring ?

plenty available stating "wait and see" aka "dont know"
Report buddeliea January 13, 2018 8:56 AM GMT
Interesting that Top Notch is among entries, posssible sub for Altior?, in case he dont make it.
Big price on here.
Report buddeliea January 21, 2018 6:15 AM GMT
"I'd be happy enough to go back for the Ryanair Chase after what he did last year, but lets see what happens with all the other horses first.

Reading that from Mullins,Ryanair is Fav for UDS,well we all knew that,but that does give me hope for the QM.
Report FOYLESWAR January 21, 2018 11:41 AM GMT
article on the rp website on altior 50/50 to make the game spirit at newbury in feb ,upbeat about altiors progress although yet to have serious work just  excersise didnt make a noise and expects to be in more serious work at  next week .worth a look !
Report dunlaying January 28, 2018 5:56 PM GMT
With Altior under a cloud and Waiting Patiently going for Ryanair or Gold Cup there could be some value for e/w punters in Dr Phoenix.
Has only had 4 runs since change of yard and improving rapidly . Speculative but not a forlorn hope .
Report impossible123 January 29, 2018 4:26 PM GMT
Hendo is waxing lyrical about Altior's latest piece of work and well-being at the weekend. He was very, very impressive - brilliant. He moved sweetly, did not take a blow and did not make a noise either; it was absolutely excellent, and as good as ever.
Report buddeliea January 29, 2018 4:53 PM GMT
Yeh see that,all sounds good.
Still,need to see him on the racetrack.
Report Callisto-moon January 30, 2018 7:46 AM GMT
If hes fit then he wins. easy.
and i dont think there is any IF involved after those comments.
Report jfromthewells January 30, 2018 7:54 AM GMT
has anyone heard any news on Great Field
Report Fabulous January 30, 2018 12:25 PM GMT
Great Field - He’s coming along nicely, and might make Cheltenham, but have to wait and see..........rough quote from WPM
Report Fabulous January 30, 2018 12:25 PM GMT
Great Field - He’s coming along nicely, and might make Cheltenham, but have to wait and see..........rough quote from WPM
Report jfromthewells January 30, 2018 2:01 PM GMT
thank you you live up to your username, when was the quote
Report Fabulous January 30, 2018 8:40 PM GMT
You’re welcome J, it’s from the last couple of days, updated stable tour on ATR
Report impossible123 February 3, 2018 2:50 PM GMT
Min, despite winning the Champion Chase trial at Leopardstown, his owner Ricci has not ruled out the Ryanair; he is hoping Douvan can come back to give him more options, really?
Report impossible123 February 5, 2018 12:13 PM GMT
Altior will be running in the Game Spirit on saturday, Hendo has confirmed.
Report buddeliea February 9, 2018 1:01 PM GMT
Altior and Politilogue.....interesting!!!
Report ACStafford February 9, 2018 2:02 PM GMT
Interesting indeed. I doubt Henderson was hoping to see his name in opposition for Altior's reappearance. Reminds me a little of when Dodging Bullets beat Sprinter Sacre at Ascot, although with a somewhat smaller field and Altior has far less recover from than Sprinter Sacre had.
Report buddeliea February 10, 2018 4:30 PM GMT
Well it was interesting alright!!

Altior v Min.....again.
I suspect same result.
Report ACStafford February 10, 2018 6:10 PM GMT
Yeah. It's had to see him being beaten now. Should be shorter than he is imo.
Report wellchief February 10, 2018 8:17 PM GMT
Yeah you could argue that around evs/shade of odds on is big. Have to confess at not being as big a fan as some, but mighty impressive today, layoff or no layoff.
Report woodmanchester February 10, 2018 8:24 PM GMT
11/10 in a place and Daq showing 27/20 on Oddschecker but might be red herring?
Report unclepuncle February 10, 2018 9:04 PM GMT
The thing that stood out today was his jumping which was impeccable.

Given how well he won today I just wonder if they might regret not going straight to Cheltenham with him, No doubt if he gets beat they will say he bounced,
Report maelduin February 11, 2018 10:53 AM GMT
Looked really impressive yesterday but still can't get that Arkle run out of my head when he just never seemed to be traveling with the same gusto. Like others i'd be worried about the bounce factor.

With lots of unknowns, outside of the top 2 in the betting, i think Ordinary World is a huge e.w. price @ 50/1. Looked like he would have finished second to Min last run and was 3rd in the Arkle last year. Better on decent ground and HDB knows all about getting a horse ready for the CC. Worth a punt at those prices.
Report wellchief February 11, 2018 11:35 AM GMT
still can't get that Arkle run out of my head when he just never seemed to be traveling with the same gusto

Completely agree Maelduin - that's why I say above that I'm not as big a fan as some, for that reason.  To be far he could smash them in the QMCC, but some of the superlatives that fly around him now, he needs to win a QMCC well to justify them.  It took me a while to come round to Un De Sceaux after his 'disappointing' Arkle win (if there ever is such a thing of a disappointing win), but I'm fully in his camp now.
Report DontBeSakhee February 11, 2018 1:23 PM GMT
Like Uncle what really impressed me yesterday was his jumping Nic DB had to keep reigning him in, he was making so much distance in the air. He was taking those fences like hurdles, but still not touching a twig.

I wouldn't be so sure that Altior will bounce. He was asked to work once, right after the last fence, at which point he just bounded away on the bridle. It was nothing more than a racecourse gallop, just in an actual race, and he made Politologue look silly in the effort.

I can't believe he was at full tilt yesterday, at any point, and would expect him to come on for that run.

I backed Min for the Ryanair before Douvan got injured and I hope they now divert him there (although I suspect they won't), as based on his runs this year I've seen nothing that would suggest he'd beat a fully fit Altior.

Personally I'd ignore the flat Arkle and concentrate on the great Supreme he won. The form of which has been franked over and over again.
Report impossible123 February 11, 2018 5:52 PM GMT
Did connections of Altior not indicate they were not totally pleased with him well-being/run at the last Festival which could have necessitated his recent wind-op? Altior did not run to script, I believe.
Report duffy February 11, 2018 11:39 PM GMT
He isn't going to bounce, the trainer pretty much said he needed to be having that run to get him to where he needed to be for the festival, the bounce issue applies where the horse is fit to burst and basically bottoms himself on the racecourse....Altior needed the run so the bounce is redundant,he won so easily despite needing it because he's a lot better than the 2nd.
Report Can't Catch Me February 12, 2018 8:33 PM GMT
Sounds like Douvan is Moreno likely to run than not...
Report Can't Catch Me February 12, 2018 8:33 PM GMT
more likely ffs!
Report p_r_e_m_i_e_r__f_a_n_t_a_s_y February 12, 2018 8:47 PM GMT
An upbeat bulletin is usually followed by being ruled out with Closutton, hope he does make it though as make the race more interesting.

They'll have some job to beat Altior but as said it makes it more interesting for me as I cannot have Min beating him.
Report impossible123 February 12, 2018 11:27 PM GMT
Might Min do a Vautour and head off to the Ryanair at the last moment to avoid Altior and gain a probable win? Otherwise, the result of the 2016 Supreme Hurdle would be repeated, I firmly believe.
Report impossible123 February 13, 2018 1:00 PM GMT
Altior is evens (nrnb) for the day with Slybet.
Report GAZO February 13, 2018 2:03 PM GMT
Douvan declared to run this weekend,that would shake the market up if he came out and won well and also give us one hell of a race to look forward to at the festival
Report buddeliea February 13, 2018 5:02 PM GMT
Min backers may not agree with that.
Personally i would love to see a top form Douvan take on Atior....and Min.
Still would fancy Altior but it would certainly liven the race,and the build up!!
Report impossible123 February 13, 2018 8:27 PM GMT
Ricci had been reported to say a fit again Douvan would offer more options; read that how one likes, but Mullins/Ricci has never run two stable stars in the same race, if memory serves.
Report duffy February 14, 2018 12:53 AM GMT
I'd be surprised if he ran at the weekend, hope he does come back though, an on song Douvan would give Altior all he could handle for sure.
Report Desmond Orchard February 14, 2018 10:56 AM GMT
Absolutely he would and I feel, after Saturday, the race needs it. The way Altior brushed Politologue aside, he looks virtually unopposable with anything bar Douvan at his best.
The worry is always that they rarely come back to their best after a long lay-off. Fingers crossed Douvan can buck that trend.
I still think they would run Min in the race anyway, they would have to be fairly confident that UDS can win the Ryanair again and even if Douvan does get to the QMCC, he is as likely to PU as he is to win. You don't fear one horse.
Of course they could always send Min to the Champion Hurdle, where he would be guaranteed to beat BD again, based on their Supreme running Devil Wink
Report Callisto-moon February 14, 2018 10:58 AM GMT
just decided to lay altior and the markets suspended!!!!!
Report buddeliea February 14, 2018 12:06 PM GMT
Report buddeliea February 14, 2018 12:36 PM GMT
Would not be a shock to me to see Douvan in the Ryanair,if things go ok Saturday.
Report Callisto-moon February 14, 2018 12:39 PM GMT
when does the market re open.
Report duffy February 14, 2018 2:51 PM GMT
Yes Des, they could call him, Min the Win or something!
Report Desmond Orchard February 14, 2018 3:56 PM GMT
Quite right too, Duffy!
A decent rhyme with the horses name improves it at least 5lb, I reckon. Add another 3lb for Irish trained and then 2lb more if Willie has said it’s one of the best he’s had and Patrick liked him the moment he sat on him. Chuck in another 3lb for a none specific prolonged absence, as they all get better when stood in their box and before you know it you’ve the best horse that ever (or never) won a Champion Hurdle! ‘til the next one.......
Report Desmond Orchard February 14, 2018 4:30 PM GMT
In fact, I might try and get “Douvan, Du pain, Du Champion” into common usage.
For no other reason than I expect I’d be able to get 3/1 about Altior on the day, as a cool*-nickname induced plunge ensues.

*Make your own minds up how ‘cool’ this one actually is, obvs.
Report duffy February 14, 2018 4:33 PM GMT
Fair enough Des, but I'll politely disagree with your inference that BD is as good as Faugheen was at his best.
Report duffy February 14, 2018 4:39 PM GMT
You've lost it Des, "pain" and "pion"  do not rhyme, you'll cost the horse 7lbs with that, there's two things I can't abide in this world.

1. Getting screw&d over by the size of Malteser bags going down in size while the price doesn't.


2. Forced rhymes that don't work.
Report impossible123 February 14, 2018 4:41 PM GMT
Douvan, Min, Uds and Yorkhill are still in, why especially the last mentioned? I think it'd take a combination of very, very unlikely events or an act of fate to have 2 or more of these running in this race, why? Each, especially Douvan (if sound), would be a formidable opponent in any 2m/2.5m chase at the Festival.

Also, Min and Yorkhill are in the Champion Hurdle too. I think connections have more money than sense; if so, just donate the "wasted" entry fee to needy charities and it would be much appreciated eg Douvan for the last two seasons was entered for the King George and Gold Cup similarly VVM.
Report Desmond Orchard February 14, 2018 4:42 PM GMT
You’re not trying it with a Peter Sellers style French accent, obviously.
Believe me, it’s a goer.
We will never get 3/1 Altior if we don’t all get on-board, old boy.

P.S. Wagon Wheels
Report buddeliea February 14, 2018 4:45 PM GMT
They got smaller Des?
Report duffy February 14, 2018 4:50 PM GMT
Yes Peter Sellers, that'd do itGrin
Report duffy February 14, 2018 4:58 PM GMT
Actually Des, I think may have found another 3lbs...the token Walsh comment immediately after dismounting from its novice festival win, "he'll win race xyz next year with his mouth open!!

Personally I've never understood this comment, because I would have thought "with his mouth shut" would be a more accurate way to describe an easy performance, whenever I'm absolutely knackered my mouth is always open.Confused
Report impossible123 February 14, 2018 5:16 PM GMT
Mouth open might indicate laughing at his opponents, I guess. Don't worry, he'll redeem himself next month, for sure - here's hoping.
Report duffy February 14, 2018 5:37 PM GMT
That must be it impGrin
Report impossible123 February 17, 2018 6:32 PM GMT
It has been reported "Mullins would have no qualms about Douvan and Min taking each other on in the Champion Chase."

I believe that when it happens. It is akin to the Pope being a Muslim!
Report buddeliea February 18, 2018 7:45 AM GMT
Makes perfect sense to me.
They are both quality 2 milers,and would give connections 2 chances of beating Altior.
Tactical options? Maybe sacrifice one for the other??!!!
Report buddeliea February 18, 2018 7:55 AM GMT
We (Rich Ricci, owner) spoke about the possibility of running him and Min in the Queen Mother and we said it would be a nice problem to have if it comes around.
"To me, the two of them are two-milers. Douvan is nicely on course for the race but Min is unbeaten this season so he has to go there.
"I can't see us putting Douvan in the Ryanair, so it's not ideal and an owner would like to divide his horses, but sometimes it's no harm having a reserve.
"That's their trip and to me that's what they should go for."
Report wellchief February 18, 2018 8:48 AM GMT
I'd still be very surprised if Douvan made the line up in the QMCC.  More likely to be saved for Punchestown and possibly the Melling at Aintree - I think we'll get a bulletin in a week or two saying 'he's not quite there', or the QMCC 'will come a week to soon for him' - conveniently saving Mullins and Ricci the dilemma of them running against each other.

If he says 'I can't see us putting Douvan in the Ryanair', I'd be surprised if he's not in it next year; I think a step up in trip is inevitable.  I think Min would struggle past 2m, so he is most likely to take on Footpad next year, but with Jacob being his retained jockey, that'll cause less issues next year.
Report maelduin February 18, 2018 12:07 PM GMT
Ricci's comments re. Douvan sound like someone who has had enough and is taking a stand i.e. telling WPM/Ruby that Douvan better run in the QMCC. To me it's ridiculous that they would even consider Douvan for the Ryanair when you could have two shots at trying to beat Altior in a prestigious race like the QMCC.

How long before Ricci decides he wants to stable a few horses with trainers in England? Going to happen soon in my opinion. He'll use the "wants more runners in England" excuse.
Report duffy February 18, 2018 3:15 PM GMT
I think that if they genuinely believe that Douvan is 100% right they'll run him in the CC, they'd have to!! If they don't run him I think it just means they're not happy with him bearing in mind you've got two serious rivals up against him.
Report impossible123 February 18, 2018 3:27 PM GMT
I think the chances of Douvan doing battle with Altior and/or Min is similar to winning the jackpot of the National Lottery 2x in succession given the past history of his connections, I'd imagine.
Report duffy February 18, 2018 6:18 PM GMT
I'm not greedy, I'd take a little shorter than 196 million /1 on it personally.

You'd never get matched waiting for that imp.Grin
Report maelduin February 18, 2018 6:50 PM GMT
Ricci went through a purple patch for a few years whereby it made the decision to re-route horses to other races very easy. Right now Ricci is in a completely different position so you can throw past history out the window. WPM/Ruby might want more chances of winning more races at Cheltenham but they won't be sacrificing Ricci's horses to do it this time around. As Duffy said "they'd have to" run him in the QMCC if 100% fit. Here's hoping he makes it now.
Report impossible123 February 19, 2018 10:59 AM GMT
You know what I think of the Mullins/Walsh/Ricci marriage? The guys speak with forked tongues; Douvan has been entered for the King George and the Ryanair but ran in the Champion Chase (CC) and never the others yet they'd been entered, why? Could one ever envisage Douvan running in any other race outside the CC? Not in a million years, in my book. These individuals may be at the top of their professions but at least show some respect for the followers of their sport/professions and not disdain - "we" might not be as involved day-to-day but we ain't stupid as to consume all orsome of the tosh they'd spounted on a regular basis on air/media.

The Sandown stewards fining Mullins for his very late withdrawal of VVM spoke volume; Mullins can do what he likes in Ireland, but here there is another important code of conduct and practice which any deliberate deviation from to suit is just not acceptable.
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