Sunday, November 22, 2009

The weekend debrief

I've watched the finish to yesterday's Betfair Chase several times - every time I think Imperial Commander wins!

Other notable performances this weekend included Diamond Harry carrying top weight to victory in the three mile one furlong fixed brush hurdle at Haydock and Zaynar displaying a rare turn of foot to take the Coral Ascot Hurdle. Earlier today Vic Venturi was another to carry top weight to victory on soft ground, winning the Becher Handicap Chase despite an alarming drift to 7/1 in the market. Dessie Hughes' charge asserted after the last to win by five lengths and is now a 20/1 chance with Paddy Power for the Grand National next spring.

Franchoek's chasing debut at Huntingdon was far more low key; he found very little at the business end of the race and came home thirteen lengths behind the other 11/10 joint favourite Bergo.

I thought Santa's Son ran a decent enough race behind Fix The Rib in Saturday's Carey Group Handicap Chase at Ascot. Howard Johnson's inmate was prominent for much of the way before fading into sixth, occasionally jumping to his left; that leads me to think he's better going the other way around, and probably with more cut in the ground. He won the Castleford Chase at Wetherby last year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see connections target the same race this Christmas.

What's Peter Scudamore up to these days? Well, he's assistant to Lucinda Russell 'whom he first met three years ago. They became a couple not long afterwards...' reports Martin Hannan of the Scotland On Sunday newspaper. Hannan's interesting profile points out that Russell is currently Scotland's top NH trainer. The article highlights the chances of two horses in particular, Silver By Nature and Etxalar who 'may be good enough for the Cheltenham Festival'.

How are Wrexham playing these days? Well, not particularly well actually, but the club is making headlines as it prepares to share its Racecourse Ground with Newport-based rugby league team Crusaders who are experiencing financial difficulties.

On Saturday viewers of The Morning Line were encouraged to email in names for 'the best jockey never to be champion'. There were plenty of worthy suggestions but not one mention of the first name that came into my mind - Richard Johnson.

Finally, with Christmas just around the corner, I thought I'd nonchalantly ask Mrs Tips what she wanted during one of the many commercial breaks that litter Channel 4's coverage on a Saturday afternoon. Naturally I was expecting a modest request along the lines of chocolates or perfume following an appropriate delay while Mrs T. collected her thoughts, but her reply was out practically before I'd finished speaking. 'Sky TV, please!' Nonplussed, I stuttered something incomprehensible before she added, 'For the tennis!' Sorry I asked - I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that they're going to switch off analogue Teletext in the near future...


Ben Aitken said...

Lucinda Russell trains not to far away from NTF HQ. She is a trainer on the up and isn't afraid to travel with her horses.

Silver BY Nature is a horse that is being talked up as a potential National horse, needs another win I think to get in to the handicap. Would also be the first grey Scottish female trained winner EVER? Certainly for a very long time anyway.....

Anonymous said...

Mrs Tips says...she's not holding her breath on the Sky TV front. TLD

GeeDee said...

Ben - been desperately trying to recall last grey to win National. Best I can come up with is Nicolaus Silver in 1961 but not convinced. Do you know?

Ben Aitken said...

Nicolaus Silver seems about right GeeDee.

Do you know the last Scottish Trained winner?

GeeDee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GeeDee said...

Ben - link to past winners

Can spot some northern-based trainers but don't obviously recognise a Scottish trained one.

I'll do some digging when I get a chance.

Ben Aitken said...

RUBSTIC - 1979

First and last Scottish trained winner.

The only other Grey to win the National - The Lamb 1868 & 1871.

Lucinda Russell's SILVER BY NATURE would be joining a very select club should he win!

GeeDee said...

Great work, Ben!

Ben Aitken said...

Its all in my brain somewhere!! Have had to make room for Narrowing the Field up there so a lot of info has been pushed to the far corners, thankfully we have the internet to fall back on!