In this regular Monday segment, racing expert Scott Armstrong rounds up all the action of note from this weekend’s racing for SBC Blog readers.
Carruthers provided a success for the underdog and horse racing itself when he bounced back to form to win the Hennessy Gold Cup. From the small Mark Bradstock yard, ridden by journeyman jockey Mattie Batchelor and owned by the Oaskseys who have done so much for the Injured Jockey Fund this was an inspiring success. Fitted with a tongue-tie for the first time the eight-year-old front-running Carruthers made a few early jumping errors (matched at 55 on Betfair) before settling into a rhythm and running on strongly to win by three-and-a-quarter lengths. Last season Carruthers was riddled with a virus but it was only two seasons ago the horse was fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Welsh National on December 27th may be his next aim.
Planet Of Sound ran a big race in second and will now be targeted at the Grand National though he would have an onerous weight to carry and the competition next year looks set to be typically fierce. That opposition will include Beshabar who ran a great comeback race in fifth place and the longer National distance will be sure to suit.
Big Bucks landed his 13th straight victory without coming off the bridle in the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle and is now undefeated stretching back three years. Big Bucks is simply insuperable over hurdles and barring mishaps will land the Long Walk Hurdle before taking the World Hurdle at Cheltenham for which he is 4-5 with a run. Sir Ken’s all time record of 16 consecutive hurdling wins way back in the years between 1951 and 1953 will surely be broken.
Overturn won the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. This horse is as tough as an ox coupled with the heart of a lion. Donald McCain’s seven-year-old’s biggest asset is his fluent jumping which sends him quickly away from his hurdles. Overturn is now 20-1 for the Champion Hurdle while Binocular again disappointed in second place and is out to 16-1 for the same race. Provided Hurricane Fly get’s to Cheltenham in good order then Overturn and Binocular will only be playing for each-way money.
Peddlers Cross landed a novice chase at Bangor and on his two outings over the bigger obstacles he has jumped superbly. Peddlers Cross is a biggest 5-1 for the Arkle. The second in the race Minella Class is no mug having won the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle and finished a respectable sixth in the Neptune at the Cheltenham Festival. Peddlers Cross had too much class but the rangy Minella Class ran a very respectable race on his chase debut and looks one to keep on side.
Prospect Wells formerly useful on the flat also proved himself a decent prospect over hurdles when comfortably landing the 2m novice hurdle at Newbury. Paul Nicholls’ six-year-old is now 14-1 for the Supreme Novices Hurdle although his Cheltenham Open meeting conqueror Steps To Freedom looks the one to beat at this stage.
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