Sunday, February 11, 2007

Newbury debrief


I enjoyed a great day's racing at Newbury yesterday in the company of The Times' racing correspondent Alan Lee. The panoramic view from the press office balcony, from where I watched a couple of the races including Kauto Star's Aon Chase victory, was superb (see picture).
Two performances that stood out were Denman's winning of the opener and Well Chief's scintillating victory in the Game Spirit after an absence of 658 days.
Denman could not have been more impressive, his performance leading to a revised quote of 7/4 for the Royal & Sun Alliance Chase at Cheltenham next month. Favourites don't have the best of records in this race but, having watched the manner of his victory here, he is sure to take a deal of beating.
Well Chief brought the house down with an exceptional display and now heads for the Queen Mother Champion Chase as 7/4 favourite. Talking to Martin Pipe in the bar before racing, I felt he wasn't particularly bullish about the horse's chance so went and wasted my money on the disappointing Foreman instead.
All the talk after the Aon Chase was of Kauto Star's final fence fling, a replica of his mistake at the last in the King George at Kempton. As the horse was led in, a young lady with the connections asked the horse imploringly 'Why do you keep doing that to us?' Ruby Walsh didn't look too happy going back to the weighing room; Paul Nicholls talked for a good ten minutes after to assembled press representatives. There was a protracted discussion about how he may be ridden differently at Cheltenham by not coming to the last in the lead. It appeared to me that McCoy rode a canny race on L'ami by ensuring Kauto Star had to jump the last under some pressure.
The concluding bumper with a total prize fund of £20,000 contained some interesting sorts and was run in a murky penumbra. There was a strong word for Carl Llewellyn's Treat Em Mean who raced prominently for a while before fading. David Pipe's Seven Is My Number was well supported. The one four year old in the field, Just A Thought, was backed from 33/1 to 20/1 - I managed to get some shrapnel on at 22/1 - and Noel Fehily took the running up about two furlongs from home. Unfortunately the petrol just began to run out in the final furlong and McCoy produced Crocodiles Rock to win by a length. Just A Thought looks nailed on to win a bumper - the trouble is the cat's out of the bag now.
A day pepppered with highlights, not the least of which was my wife's obliging with a substantial cooked breakfast before my departure.

8 comments:

Tom Roper said...

"Talking to Martin Pipe in the bar before racing..." :-)
You'll be too fine for us poor folk now, PG.
Actually, I once queued for tea behind both Pipes, père and fils, at a Horserace Betting Levy Board conference. And you thought I was a no-account librarian.

GeeDee said...

Tom, in our humble household one adage has served us well over the years - 'Never judge a librarian by their profession.' ;-)

Tom Roper said...

Indeed. It sounds as if you had a good day, though.
What's your next outing?

GeeDee said...

Champion Chase Day at Cheltenham.

There's a meeting at Towcester tomorrow (Sunday) but I'm getting over the flu at the moment and so will give it a miss.

Anonymous said...

Okay...so who's Martin Pipe ?

GeeDee said...

Martin Pipe is David's father.
Check out these links:
http://www.martinpipe.com
http://www.davidpipe.com

Tom Roper said...

Never been to Towcester. I must, it always sounds like an agreeable course.
Have fun at Cheltenham. Used to go on Champion Hurdle Day (in the great days of Istabraq). This year I shall be following from afar.

GeeDee said...

Towcester is a rural course situated on the side of an incline. In mid winter it can be pretty bleak particularly when the biting wind gets going. The major plus is that entrance is free for the vast majority of the season's meetings. With a concession like that, it works out much cheaper than going to Warwick, for example.
Champion hurdle has never been one of my lucky races. Do you think Detroit City good enough to hold off the Irish challenge?