Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cheltenham Open meeting 2011 - Friday

The finale apart, tomorrow's opening card of the Open meeting is strangely uninspiring. Cue Card for me in the gloriously-named Steel Plate and Sections Novices' Chase which was won by Time For Rupert last year; David Pipe has said he would have ideally preferred the ground softer for Grand Crus who has come to hand quicker than expected but is reported likely to come on for the run.

Garde Champetre, with Nina Carberry in the plate, will be a warm order for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, having won over the course and distance on five previous occasions. J P McManus' gelding was beaten a neck in this last year and won the 2009 renewal from Heads Onthe Ground; the going on the cross country track is firm, good to firm in places.

There's a strong word for Jessica Harrington's Steps To Freedom in the novices' hurdle (2.55) but at the prices on offer I'm going to keep my powder dry.

Madcap each-way suggestion in the 3.30: Architrave (25/1 Paddy Power). I've read somewhere in the past couple of days this one has started to show some form at home of late - he sports a first time visor here. He went off the boil as last season progressed but later stomach ulcers were diagnosed. His sixth of 18 in Chepstow's Silver Trophy (beaten just over ten lengths) three weeks ago reads well enough and the ground should suit.

Somewhat later in the day than might have been expected, the BHA announced the much-touted amendments to the new whip rules. They come into operation with immediate effect and have been welcomed by the Professional Jockeys Association as well as by Open meeting sponsors Paddy Power.


Wayward Lad said...

I agree, the opening day is a bit flat apart from the closing novice chase. That is a no-bet race for me, but I am expecting a big run from GRAND CRUS.

GeeDee said...

Well called Wayward Lad!

A shame to see Cue Card unseat his rider before the race had really developed but my gut feeling is the Pipe horse would have won in any case.

Just one jumping blemish along the way, but he certainly took to the larger obstacles with relish; he's never struck me as the biggest of horses.

What was your impression?