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Hussard
02 Jan 15 16:15
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Date Joined: 08 Jan 03
| Topic/replies: 358 | Blogger: Hussard's blog
Why is this horse not being aimed at the Champion Chase ?

Two years ago the horse won a 2m Supreme Novice which produced last years Champion Hdl 1-2 and last year even with an interrupted prep he was only beaten a **** paper by a freak run from Western Warhorse who turned the form book on its head.

The yard don't have a 2m chaser in truth and with a clear prep Champagne Fever would be no bigger than 5-1 given the worries surrounding the top two.

Finally the horse is no certainty to beat Dynaste in the Ryanair judged on the KG run.

I don't even understand the debate. Surely it is the obvious target or am I missing something ?

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Replies: 238
By:
SoYouThink
When: 02 Jan 15 16:26
I'll give my opinion on this horse even though I'm going to be in the minority. I think he deserves another try at 3m+ races. He won a P2P as he liked over 3m as a 3yo but since then spent 3 seasons running at 2m and he's only known one way to run and that's out in front at 100 miles an hour !! I think had he been campaigned differently as a novice hurdler/chaser, we'd be looking at him for the GC now. As regards the King George, he ran a good race even if he was a bit keen for his own good, jumped spot on as usual and travelled all the way, some say he didn't stay, I think he was just beaten by faster horses at the end. Mullins said beforehand he was hoping for the first 3 and in the end he was just caught on the line for third.

Anyway Mullins said after the KG, he''d get a Gold Cup entry but it's looking now like it'll be the Champion Chase or the Ryanair. It's a difficult thing at the best of times trying to second guess Mullins but my interpretation of what he's said post the KG is that he'll run in the Champion Chase. I think we might see him in staying chases next season though.

Felix Yonger and Twinlight would not be completely out of the reckoning in a Champion Chase run without Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy but I agree Champagne Fever would be a far stronger hope than either of those.
By:
tony2914
When: 02 Jan 15 16:46
the horse is clearly very good, but its style of running and with the choke out suggests to me just keep it simple 2 miles and go from the front, otherwise its just wasting so much energy trying to hold it back.  I think because of the owner they tried to turn it into summat it wasn't, a gold cup horse ! I think the Ryanair trip wud find it out as well.
By:
wellchief
When: 02 Jan 15 17:17
I think they'll run him in the QMCC and Djakadam in the Ryanair.

Don't think he'd beat Sprinter or SDG, but he's probably next best.
By:
bonnie
When: 02 Jan 15 17:41
there is no denying that chelt and good ground bring out the best in CF, mullins said after the KG thats as good as he is - i would think the GC is unlikely, he might be worth an interest in the Ryanair tho.
By:
Graeme83
When: 02 Jan 15 17:43
I think the ryanair would play to his strengths. Mullins is one trainer where there's no point re-routing everything. He's just gonnae bump into hiself, if his horses are all fit. He's also been fair with punters and the media  last couple of seasons. Faugheen is symbolic that even the top trainers don't know everything.
By:
Eeternaloptimist
When: 02 Jan 15 17:45
He's a good safe jumper but not lightening quick which I think causes him problems at the highest level over 2 miles. He didn't appear to stay the 3 miles in top company last time out. I'm guessing the Ryanair is the best option with the Champion Chase next best if they can't be bothered going for the fake Grade 1 of the Ryanair.
By:
SoYouThink
When: 02 Jan 15 17:48
Eeternaloptimist I would totally disagree with your analysis of Champagne Fever's jumping. Safe but not lightning quick. I would say he's one of the best jumpers in training. His jumping in the Arkle last year was electric!
By:
Eeternaloptimist
When: 02 Jan 15 19:32
If he's an electric jumper and was good enough as a hurdler to beat last years champion hurdle one and two when in the supreme why would you suggest he goes anywhere else but the Champion Chase? To be fair I take on board your point that his jumping was perfectly good in the Arkle although we'll have to agree to disagree on your characterisation of his jumping being spot on at Kempton. For me he lost a little ground at several fences due to putting an extra stride in and jumped two or three very well but too big and spent too long in the air. Not terminal to a horses chances over 3 miles but not what I want to be seeing in a champion chaser although I wouldn't rule him out. I couldn't see him as a gold cup horse though.
By:
Paterson92
When: 02 Jan 15 20:20
10/1 NRNB on Bet365 for Champion Chase ... I've had some of that.
By:
festivalfanatic
When: 02 Jan 15 22:21
The horse was my biggest loser at the Festival last year. For whatever reason, he doesn't appear to have achieved the same level of form over fences that he did over hurdles. However, he clearly shows his best at Cheltenham and I presume his target will be determined by the ground. He's going to bump into good ones in the Champion or the Ryanair. Gold Cup....no chance.
By:
TheCollector
When: 03 Jan 15 07:28
10-1 NRNB will do me nicely also
By:
buddeliea
When: 03 Jan 15 08:00
That would look a fair bet if SS don't turn up.

I would think if SS does, then CF would be a non runner.
By:
sintonian
When: 03 Jan 15 12:02
How can Djakadam be talked of as a Ryanair horse, or any kind of Grade 1 horse, when he got stuffed in a handicap off 147 last time out?
By:
wellchief
When: 03 Jan 15 12:16
He was never going to stay that trip so his handicap mark was largely irrelevant imo.

Put him on 147 over 2.5m and you'll have a much different outcome.
By:
SoYouThink
When: 03 Jan 15 12:17
I think he's a stayer Eeternaloptimist or at least wants further than 2m. I think what prompted connections to step him up in trip was that he looked to be very much in contention at Punchestown and faded badly in the last couple of furlongs. It was actually quite similar to how he faded in King George yet I'm sure some will say he was outpaced in one and outstayed in the other. He was passed by some ordinary horses though. That run would surely be the worry if going back down in trip. Having said that his optimum conditions seem to be Cheltenham in March on decent ground. Wherever he runs at the Festival, I think I'll back him as he does a great Festival record and his jumping is a huge asset in my opinion.
By:
SoYouThink
When: 03 Jan 15 12:23
Djakadam is running in the Thyestes Chase next. I think they want to take advantage of his handicap mark. I'm not sure what kind of distance he will end up in long-term, but given he's only a 6yo with only 4 runs over fences, and running in races like the Hennessy and the Thyestes, sounds like he's a stayer.
By:
CVByrne
When: 03 Jan 15 12:58
sintonian 03 Jan 15 12:02 Joined: 21 Sep 04 | Topic/replies: 25,563 | Blogger: sintonian's blog
How can Djakadam be talked of as a Ryanair horse, or any kind of Grade 1 horse, when he got stuffed in a handicap off 147 last time out?


Open to who knows how much improvement though? It was only his 4th Chase start as a 5yo and he had fallen on his previous start, so he'd only ever completed 2 chases in small fields over far shorter trip.

He has to be held in seriously high regard to have been run in that race fto in the first place!! He did travel very well until they turned in when he faded. I'd keep him in handicaps like Thyestes then Bobbyjo like On His Own last year and then see if he's worth sending to Cheltenham this term for Gold Cup.

Don't see why he should go back in trip to 2m5f for Ryanair when owner has Ballycasey or Champagne Fever for the race. I'd probably skip the festival and let him mature and get experience, worst thing you could imagine is him falling again there in  Ryanair!!
By:
sintonian
When: 03 Jan 15 13:09
I understand all that CV but to be mentioning him as a Grade 1 chaser at this moment is just taking in the hype.
By:
wellchief
When: 03 Jan 15 13:12
I would defintiely stay away from 3 miles for Djakadam this year.  I wouldn't rule it out in the future, but he has only just turned six, I'd keep him at shorter distances for now.

I'd aim at something like the G2 Red Mills over 2.5 in February at Gowran and then you know where you stand.  For me, it would be Ryanair or miss the festival.

Ballycasey has been massively disappointing since he beat Don Cossack before the RSA last year.  I'd rate Djakadam as a better Ryanair hope than him.
By:
Eeternaloptimist
When: 03 Jan 15 13:12
I personally wouldn't read anything into what happened at Punchestown SoYouThink as he also ran no kind of race the previous year despite having won the supreme. Maybe he's slightly in and out but when he runs at Cheltenham he usually puts his best foot forward.
By:
wellchief
When: 03 Jan 15 13:15
PS I only said I'd run him in the Ryanair, I'm not saying he'll win it.  He's a 25/1 shot with 13 ahead of him in the market, so that says it all.
By:
SoYouThink
When: 03 Jan 15 13:20
I think you might be right Eeternaloptimist but looking at the Punchestown race, he seemed to travel and jump okay but looked to be left for dead in the straight. It was well below his Arkle effort though. I think he's a certainty for the Festival given his record there but I reckon the dilemma around his target could go on for a while more yet.
By:
CVByrne
When: 03 Jan 15 13:23
sintonian 03 Jan 15 13:09 Joined: 21 Sep 04 | Topic/replies: 25,564 | Blogger: sintonian's blog
I understand all that CV but to be mentioning him as a Grade 1 chaser at this moment is just taking in the hype.


Completely agree. But I suppose it's speculative betting given his odds. Couple of big handicap runs/wins would throw him into the Gold Cup picture possibly. He is 90.0 for the Gold Cup after all.
By:
SoYouThink
When: 04 Jan 15 20:41
Has anyone read Nick Mordin's column in the Irish Field: "Fever beaten by speed not stamina" ... Not sure if it is online somewhere.

Basically says similar to what I've been saying - at least there's 2 of us going mad you might say!! He says the horse deserves another try at 3m+ and that he was outpaced at the end of the King George rather than outstayed. His optimum conditions will bring about the necessary improvement.

Mordin says he should run in the Irish Hennessy next. At this stage I'd nearly prefer to see him go to the straight to the Gold Cup fresh myself.
By:
Eeternaloptimist
When: 05 Jan 15 00:37
I'd certainly be interested in reading that if it is online. It's a puzzling suggestion to me that Silvy would outpace a supreme winner but I'm always willing to take all views into consideration.
By:
brandyontherocks
When: 05 Jan 15 07:51
Nick Mordin believes Champagne Fever should be given another chance to prove his stamina for three miles

SOME interesting statistical trends have developed in the King George. The strongest is that the last 30 winners all won at least half their previous completed starts.

However there is another, more recent trend that is a little more troubling. This is the fact that since the inauguration of the Betfair Chase, nine out of 10 King George winners were placed in the big Haydock contest a few weeks earlier, with seven of them winning.

My belief is that a Grade 1 race should offer a unique challenge and that it is devalued if it’s essentially a re-run of an earlier contest.

In any event Silviniaco Conti (41) qualified on both the big statistics this year. He duly went on to add the King George to his recent Betfair Chase win, taking the Kempton race for the second year running.

Normally the King George is run at a furious pace. This year the gallop was simply solid and Silviniaco Conti was pretty much allowed an uncontested lead.

He reached the third last 0.73 of a second later than they did in the Feltham Novices’ Chase on the same card. As a result he had plenty left in the tank turning in and was able to kick for home hard from three out, getting from there to the finish in just 37.15 seconds.

That’s 2.9 seconds faster than he managed last year and 5.1 seconds faster than the 2012 renewal when I adjust for the different going.

Silviniaco Conti remains simply a very decent chaser. There are half a dozen or more as good or better than him on my ratings. He’s always going to be tough to beat on a relatively flat track. He seems less good on tracks with steep gradients, so I’ll be looking elsewhere for this season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.

The relatively fast ground and lack of a scorching gallop enabled Dynaste (40) to last home. He was able to use his speed to pick up nicely in the closing stages.

I still see Dynaste as a doubtful stayer. He managed to win in novice company over three miles, but they tend to go a slower early pace in novice races.

In non-novice race he’s placed five times but still ended up losing eight from eight in non-novice over three miles at Grade 1 or 2 level.

Another doubtful stayer, Al Ferof (38) kept on well enough to be third. Again, I think the fast ground and lack of a testing pace were a big help to him.

The fact remains that Al Ferof’s form figures over less than 2m 5f outside point-to-points read: 3112F11111343111. Over 2m 5f+ they read: 33253.

You could try to argue that Al Ferof stays three miles on the basis of his point to point win. After all he beat a subsequent Grade 1 winner, Minella Class, into second that day.

The problem with that logic is that the race Al Ferof won was a slowly run maiden point-to-point. The time was actually 13 seconds slower than the fastest race which was won by a horse that’s never earned a Racing Post rating bigger than 92 (i.e. selling class).

It’s worth noting that the first three home were bred in France. The King George is rapidly becoming the race the French-breds win while the Cheltenham Gold Cup tends to go to Irish-breds.

15 of the last 28 renewals of the King George, including all the last nine, have gone to French-breds. 15 of the last 18 Gold Cups have gone to Irish-breds and only three to French-breds.

The first Irish-bred horse home in the King George was fourth placed Champagne Fever (38). My impression is that he was beaten for lack of pace rather than stamina in the closing stages. The French-breds just had too much finishing speed for him due to the relatively fast ground and lack of an all-out early gallop.

For most of the race Champagne Fever moved eye-catchingly well. He was caught flat-footed when the winner kicked for home but still held second place right up to the last.

It’s worth bearing in mind that all five of Champagne Fever’s pattern wins have come on soft or heavy ground or on a track with a very steep uphill finish. I think he lacks the finishing speed needed to win at the top level when the ground is fast and the track is flat.

It’s easy to remember all those times Champagne Fever went off too fast in the lead and stopped. But on his seasonal debut at Clonmel a change in tactics were successfully tried.

At Clonmel Champagne Fever was restrained behind the leaders when stepped up to two and a half miles. There was one fence where he briefly jumped himself into the lead (the fifth) and he did have to be kept on a tight rein.

He seemed happy enough being restrained. In fact it looked to me that a couple of the jockeys on his rivals kept trying to force him to go on by slowing things down and opening up gaps to make him see too much daylight. This didn’t affect him. He was allowed to bowl along after halfway and had his rivals off the bit turning in. His rider was able to take a look back twice, once on the home turn, the other time after the last, and he saw he was never in trouble. He came home full of running to earn the biggest speed rating I’ve ever given him (42).

Like Al Ferof, Champagne Fever won a point-to-point, unlike Al Ferof, his win was in the fastest race of the day. Champagne Fever has now won three of the four times that he’s run two and a half miles plus over fences and lost all four times he’s run shorter distances.

It’s quite possible I’m wrong and that he doesn’t stay three miles well enough to win a Grade 1. I’d like to see him given another shot at the distance first in the Hennessy at Leopardstown in February. The going is invariably soft of heavy for that race, so it will be a fairer test for him – one that I’m betting he will pass. After all, he’s a tall, long striding sort who shows a bit of knee action. He has every right to be a bit one-paced and get done for speed in a race like this year’s King George.

Fifth placed Cue Card (37) was always prominent until getting outrun in the closing stages. He was off for nearly a year with a stress before this season with a stress fracture to the hip. He improved from a rating of 34 on his first run back to earn a rating of 38 from me last time in the Betfair Chase. But that was six points lower than he earned in the same race last year. He regressed a bit here if my ratings are any guide.

It’s a good principle to ignore a horse’s previous form when they come back from a serious injury and treat them as an entirely new horse. On that basis Cue Card looks suspect. He’s run unplaced in all three of his comeback runs. I want to see some signs of a revival before betting that he’ll bounce back to form.
By:
Graeme83
When: 05 Jan 15 11:21
Utter pish. Wouldn't be suprised if he has a voucher. Gold Cup is longer than 3 miles anyway.
By:
cufcno1
When: 05 Jan 15 11:54
The only race cf can win is the queen mother !
By:
brandyontherocks
When: 05 Jan 15 12:08
I think he makes a good point as far as Conti had an uncontested lead, and he was able to get into a nice rhythm at a steady pace. 

It's good to have an alternative view sometimes though.
By:
GI MAC
When: 05 Jan 15 18:06
It's good to have an alternative view sometimes though.

So true, however I'd go further and say it's essential to have an alternative view if you want to make a profit backing.
By:
ACStafford
When: 05 Jan 15 19:09
He's given Conti a lower rating for his KG than he gave Champagne Fever for his Mickey Mouse race in Ireland?
By:
CVByrne
When: 05 Jan 15 22:57
I kinda like Mordin after he told us Ballycasey didn't stay yet the Mullins clan when they said he did.

Now he says Champagne Fever stays when Mullins Clan say he doesn't stay.

My opinion, he's Albertas Run Mk2 he needs to make all over 2m5f in the Ryanair.

I'm interested in Mordins Irish Bred / French Bred stat re the Gold Cup / King George. But feel it's skewed a tad by Kauto & Long Run winning 7 King Georges for their 3 Gold Cups.
By:
Eeternaloptimist
When: 05 Jan 15 23:47
That would be my take. I think he'd be hard to beat up there on the pace in The Ryanair.
By:
TheCollector
When: 06 Jan 15 09:07
I can't take Nick Mordin seriously I'm afraid. If he was that good his tips would be banging in year in year out. Every year he gives shortlists of horses that can only win certain races at Cheltenham and every year just wrong.

Anyone that knows anything can clearly see C Fever did not get 3m. He was pulling as early as the 2nd fence. Is a Champion Chase horse. 112 over 2m at Cheltenham. Nuff said.
By:
tomdeane
When: 06 Jan 15 11:35
I think the horse is still being rated on his hurdles form to be honest - whether he is not as good as he was or if he's just not as good a chaser is up in the air, but he hasn't run anywhere near as well over fences yet.

For what it's worth, I'd be very surprised if he doesn't run in the Ryanair, which would seem to give him the best chance of winning at the Festival, but I suspect he'd go off a falsely short price in that.

How people think he can win a QM is beyond me; over fences he smashed a fence in a G1 over 2m and fell to pieces, then went and got beaten by Western Warhorse in an Arkle in which everything went right for him. To end the year he went to another G1 over 2m in his own back yard and was well beaten behind the likes of Gods Own, Balder Succes, and Moscow Mannon.

People keep saying that the QM might not take much winning this year if Sprinter doesn't come back. That may be true, but it is also possible that he will come back, along with the defending champion Sire De Grugy. Assuming that neither of those two make it, the would-be also-rans still hold form significantly better than Champagne Fever over 2m!
By:
TheCollector
When: 06 Jan 15 11:43
Here is why I think he is a Champion Chase horse :

- Record at Cheltenham speaks for itself
- Rated 162 over fences
- 2111121326 over 2m
- Sprinter Sacre won't return the same imo
- Sire De Grugy had an awful prep and may not turn up
- he is quicker than Al Ferof
- he had Dodging Bullets 5 back in the Arkle who has won the Tingle Creek since
- Murdered the same horse in the Supreme
- Uxiandre won't turn up
- Neither will Simonsig
- Balder Succes is FUF round Cheltenham
- All of a sudden the field may dwindle down and the 10-1 NRNB starts to look better than pretty good.
By:
TheCollector
When: 06 Jan 15 11:45
tomdeane 06 Jan 15 11:35 Joined: 29 Jul 04 | Topic/replies: 1,334 | Blogger: tomdeane's blog
Assuming that neither of those two make it, the would-be also-rans still hold form significantly better than Champagne Fever over 2m!

How many of the also ans in question have won the Champion Bumper, beat a subsequent Champion Hurdler in a Supreme and just been beat in an Arkle?
By:
tomdeane
When: 06 Jan 15 11:49
Fair enough re the NRNB - that offer is a genuinely good one from our bookie friends.

Personally, if I fancied him like you do, I'd be watching Sprinter's comeback run with my finger on the back button for CF. It'd be worth taking a couple of points less if Sprinter blows out, or runs way below-par.

If Sprinter does come back with a good run and the team seem happy, it's surely 10/1 that CF would even be considered for the QM.

Another point to consider is that Mullins has always spoken of him as a stayer and has trained him to be a stayer this year. He'd have to be pretty confident that he'd be ready to run a huge race over 2m to risk screwing up that long-term plan by dropping him in trip.
By:
tomdeane
When: 06 Jan 15 11:52
How many of the also ans in question have won the Champion Bumper, beat a subsequent Champion Hurdler in a Supreme and just been beat in an Arkle?


Not arguing about his ability in bumpers or over hurdles, but it's his chase form that is the question.

On paper your argument sounds good - just being beaten in an Arkle is a mighty run. But the reality is that he winged every fence, got his own time in front, and still got beaten by Western Warhorse with some less than top-class horses on his heels. The Punchestown run was ugly in the context of a QM.

Maybe he does have the ability still in there to go and win a QM but that's what you're banking on because so far his form over 2m over the bigger obstacles is miles away from that level.
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