Cheltenham Festival

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27 Jan 14 12:02
Date Joined: 28 Jun 10
| Topic/replies: 38,236 | Blogger: Eeternaloptimist's blog
After yesterday's race I expressed surprise that he was cut for Cheltenham with some books and remain puzzled. I'm not sure what positives came from the race as far as The Fly is concerned. There's no doubt that in every race he's run at Leopardstown he is the king but his crown wobbled yesterday.

Take the form lines:

CCB at 13 by some lengths got the closest he's ever got to The Fly and this wasn't The Fly with Ruby standing up half a furlong from home. This race saw The Fly have to dig deep to repel Our Conor. The form also suggests that horse gets closer to The Fly with every run. Some argue that with him being a miler on the flat that was the best of that horse. Really? He looked very strong at the end of the Triumph over a furlong further than yesterday and on a tougher course. That horse is still only five and improving and has shown a definite liking for Cheltenham. The Fly has gutsed it out at Cheltenham like a great horse not truly enjoying something about that experience. I don't suppose anything will change in that respect in March but this was a race at his spiritual home and he didn't impress.

Which may suggest doom and gloom but the other side of the coin makes interesting reading. Was he affected and by how much by the reported bruising to his foot? Who knows?

Also, what really happened yesterday and who did it benefit? They seemed to go no more than a modest gallop which is illustrated by the first race maiden being run in a quicker time. And yet in his many visits to Leopardstown he has only once ran the supposed 2 miles distance slightly quicker than he did yesterday. There's something strange about that and it's difficult not to conclude that either the ground was appreciably quicker than officially given soft/heavy or the distance somewhat shorter. Maybe both. I'm reluctant to take anything purely at face value in the lead up especially in Ireland where hardly any race conditions mimic those of the festival.

Two sides of the coin. Which side will it fall in March? In conclusion I think it's hard to say. I stick to my earlier comment that I don't think he enhanced his chances but to be fair he may not have dented them greatly either. I think it's dangerous to get too wrapped up in form and collateral form lines. How races are run? How fit is a horse? What is it's intended target? Is that target likely to show the horse in it's best light? What will the ground conditions be on the day?

So many questions but there can only be one answer. Potentially there are many horses going to the champion in March with connections feeling they have a realistic chance of victory and yesterday won't have dented those feelings too much for anybody. Paradoxically even Jezki. He hasn't yet had the ideal conditions to prove whether he has found the necessary improvement from last year and now becomes something of a forgotten horse. He strikes me as being one who on soft ground may find quite a bit of improvement for race conditions in March and with a more forceful ride.

Who do I think will win in March?

Whichever horse is great enough to give Annie Power half a stone and that horse would need to be great. If she runs. Grin
Pause Switch to Standard View Is Hurricane Fly now on the wane?
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Report Mr Mischief January 27, 2014 1:04 PM GMT
Report Eeternaloptimist January 27, 2014 1:05 PM GMT
I'll have to give that analysis full and in depth consideration before I respond. Laugh
Report buddeliea January 27, 2014 1:08 PM GMT

Back to work now, but I did catch your last line re Annie Power, and that's very true imo.
Report duffy January 27, 2014 1:09 PM GMT

Weren't you the author of a thread last year telling us all about how was hopeless at cheltenham that went on for ages?Grin
Report Eeternaloptimist January 27, 2014 1:13 PM GMT
I've never said he's hopeless at Cheltenham. I have said and maintain my point that he wins at Cheltenham despite it being Cheltenham rather than because of it.
Report Eeternaloptimist January 27, 2014 1:14 PM GMT
Which is another way of saying that if they ran the champion hurdle at Leopardstown he would show better form than he does at Cheltenham.
Report Ballydoyle January 27, 2014 1:16 PM GMT
I hope so having backed The New One and TentLaugh
Report Eeternaloptimist January 27, 2014 1:29 PM GMT
Playing devils advocate for a second and allowing for my earlier comments but there is another way of looking at it Bally. Maybe Jezki lets the form of the supreme down and if so if you take the view he is deeply entwined from that run with The Tent and by extension TNO through the Christmas hurdle then maybe things return back to The Fly. Grin

January. The month of dreams. March is when we wake up.
Report duffy January 27, 2014 1:36 PM GMT
I was just pulling your leg with the hopeless comment, I do disagree though,he's won 2 CH's and would arguably been closer with a better ride in the other, I don't think you can have those results if you don't act as well there as elsewhere when it's in the top 2 mile race of the whole year. I don't think he's particularly better at Leop as elsewhere, it's just that the opposition down the years has been below standard enabling him to win easier and look better and the CH is the best race with all the top contenders against so he's entitled to make harder work of things in that one......if the CH was run at Leop itself, I'd expect him to have to fight for it as he did yesterday.
Report ACStafford January 27, 2014 2:41 PM GMT
I believe he has regressed slightly. He doesn't seem to be winning races in the same manner he has done before. He was impressive over Christmas, but Our Conor was not ready and Jezki didn't get a clear run. I know some people have used the modest pace as an excuse for the proximity of Captian Cee Bee, but I disagree. They should still be leaving him further behind, particularly the Fly, who has performed so well in slowly run races in the past.

I may be wrong (seem to be making a habit of it this season), but I think the British competitors have the edge. I fancy the Tent to show some more improved form for a quicker pace, but I'll be very scared of Annie Power if she runs.
Report duffy January 27, 2014 2:49 PM GMT
I disagree that they should be leaving the poorer horses behind off of a slower pace, do we think that all of a sudden HF and co. are deteriorating to a greater extent than CCB is, allowing him to finish closer all of a sudden, the last race off of a stronger gallop he was comfortably further behind...what about jezki and OC, they both are at the start of their careers and are arguably improving.

A slow pace allows poorer horses to stay longer because they are getting an easy time of it and by the time the race starts there isn't enough time left to put distance between them

How far would Usain Bolt beat his field over 10 metres...not as easily as over 100 metres....same principalSilly
Report Ballydoyle January 27, 2014 3:56 PM GMT
The Fly definitely the one for my two young whippersnappers to beat. Think I've got the rest well covered personally.
Report mushroom23 January 27, 2014 4:13 PM GMT
Some people are never happy. He didn't have to race until the last yesterday, he misses it out yet quickens, goes past the runaway Triumph Hurdle winner in a matter of strides and is going away at the finish. As far the time its not the mystery you make it out to be. Last year in heavy ground he didn't have to come out of 3rd gear to beat Thousand Stars and was eased a long way from home so you would expect that time to be much slower. Which it was. Same in 2012 when once again he had nothing to beat and effortlessly drew clear from Oscar Wells. He ran a faster time in 2011 simply due to the fact he had to in order to beat Solwhit who at the time was only 2 lbs inferior according to the handicapper. Also the ground was soft that day, no heavy in the description. Yesterday was probably the toughest Irish Champion in terms of opposition that he has had. He travelled fine, missed the last yet quickened and went away from the most impressive Triumph Hurdle winner in an age. In my eyes he barely had a race and will improve again for March.
Report duffy January 27, 2014 4:21 PM GMT
All that after suffering a bit of a setback in the week too...good post by the way mushroomHappy
Report mushroom23 January 27, 2014 4:24 PM GMT
Yes the setback too. Thanks Duffy. I'm not The Flys biggest fan by a longshot but I was impressed yesterday, thought it was an ideal prep. Roll on 6 weeks tomorrow.
Report duffy January 27, 2014 4:29 PM GMT
Me neither, but yesterdays effort was highly commendable.
Report Eeternaloptimist January 27, 2014 8:03 PM GMT
People will interpret the actual performance how they see things but the fact is that the maiden was run quicker than the champion was with the winner carrying more weight and this maiden was also faster than the champion in which The Fly beat Solwhit and my point earlier was that the ground yesterday was officially softer than in 2011.

That defies logic. My point being that this is something to consider when assessing the race. Not that this in itself was a negative or positive specifically for The Fly.
Report buddeliea January 27, 2014 8:35 PM GMT
To be honest,if I had not had a bet on this years CH,i would not be taking much notice of yesterdays race to determine any bet I may have.
Think its about as far away from a reliable CH pointer as you can get.
The closeness of the horses would have one looking at the odds on CCB!!
Report sageform January 27, 2014 8:52 PM GMT
I have only seen the last 3 furlongs of the race but I was amazed to see HF put so much daylight between himself and Our Conor after a poor jump at the last. In another furlong he would have won 5 lengths, possibly more.
Report kavvie January 27, 2014 8:56 PM GMT
our conor could well be over or near the line when the fly jumps the last at chelt?
Report marychain1 January 27, 2014 10:45 PM GMT
I'd be surprised if any of the horses in that race was this year's Champion.
Report alleged22 January 27, 2014 10:57 PM GMT
is hurricane on the wane, maybe.. or is he maintaining his high level, are the others improving definitely....
Report FOYLESWAR January 27, 2014 11:00 PM GMT
whys that marychain?
Report Nutkins January 28, 2014 11:19 AM GMT
The Fly can't win (figuratively speaking) can he? He's crabbed for dotting up in Irish races against the same old no hopers which included Solwhit (current world & Liverpool Hurdle champion). This season he takes on two of the most young guns who were 3rd and 4th favourites for the CH and twice has put them fairly and squarely in their place. What do people want? Are they expecting to see him saunter past them doing cartwheels. Our Connor is arguably the 2nd best hurdler in the UK and an incredibly exciting prospect. For me the Fly remains the true champion he is and I am very hopeful he'll confirm that at Cheltenham. And just to dampen expectation if anyone is expecting him to cross the line whilst the others are admiring cleeve hill then you may wish to think again. However, if he wins by a short head he'll be the horse most of us right thinking folk know him to be. The absolute best.
Report Ballydoyle January 28, 2014 2:25 PM GMT
kavvie 27 Jan 14 20:56 Joined: 26 Feb 04 | Topic/replies: 6,340 | Blogger: kavvie's blog
our conor could well be over or near the line when the fly jumps the last at chelt?
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That's been priced up at 500-1 apparently
Report kavvie January 28, 2014 10:13 PM GMT
tongue in cheek bally!!.prob 1000/1 or more in reality
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