The bookies are crazy to offer such high odds on Calett Mad for the Pertemps, reckons Seymour Biz, as Nigel Twiston-Davies charge looks well-capable of defying the handicapper.
We are almost there, just one weekend of racing before the Festival, a great meeting at Sandown with the Imperial Cup that used to offer huge bonuses if the winner went on to win the Gold Cup, but I am afraid this meeting comes too soon to Cheltenham to give us any pointers. Well I think the weather has done its worst and while it is not particularly balmy and least it is looking a little more spring-like and while Prestbury Park is currently covered in snow it is thawing quickly. About the only thing we have learnt this week is the favourite for the JLT is out, Willoughby Court has an injured foot, connections are hoping he is fit for Aintree. Willie Mullins is still keeping his cards close to his chest and giving punters no inkling of who goes where,so there is a certain amount of guesswork going on when trying to assess races. This week I will look at the last two ‘big’ races not covered over the last few weeks and next week I will summarise all the assessments made now we are closer to the Festival.
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On Wednesday we have the annual charge of the Light Brigade in the form of the Coral Cup, at the head of the betting is William Henry, one of Nicky Henderson’s good things, however in this race the jolly’s are frequently turned over, 9/1 being the lowest priced winner in the last five years and 33/1 the highest. A horse I like the look of in this years contest is a Le Breuil trained by Ben Pauling, he has had this race as his target for quite a while and looks ahead of the handicapper. Last March he hammered Benatar at Newbury, on his latest outing at Aintree he was beaten six length by ill-fated Black Ivory with the rest of the field out of sight, he has been kept in cotton wool since for this race. Blue Et Rouge ran wonderfully well when second in the Betfair but I’m afraid he’s run his race of the season. Paul Nicholls’ Topofthegame won well at Sandown in February, but I can’t help thinking he didn’t beat much that day and was previously beaten by William Henry. Le Breuil is my choice for this tough contest.
Le Breuil. 3pts win
Another tough contest is on Thursday in the form of the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle, its another race in which a big outsider can chase down the field and a big outsider is what I fancy. It is Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Calett Mad, a winner three times this season lately at Musselburgh in February beating several opponents he will face here, I think his current price of around 20/1 is high even if he has gone up in the handicap. Phillip Hobbs has Louis Vac Pouch entered but he has not run since November and may be a bit rusty, however Richard Johnson nominated this race as his target. Tommy Rapper is a quirky horse having pulled himself up in the past, but three wins on the spin show he may have put his bad ways behind him. Sort It Out looks the best of the Irish challengers dead-heating at Punchestown last time out.
Calett Mad 2pts e/w
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