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.
For six minutes on Saturday race-fans were able to forget whip rules, lack of prize money and corruption charges as the imperious Kauto Star warmed the hearts of all who watched him triumph in the Betfair Chase. One of the sport’s greatest ever chasers, Kauto jumped magnificently before kicking for home to readily dismiss the challenges of Diamond Harry, Weird Al and Long Run to triumph by eight-lengths. The National Hunt trainers champion Paul Nicholls simply said “This is my proudest-ever moment”. Kauto Star has been cut to 11-2 from 16-1 for the King George VI Chase. That price is not for me though as it’s hard to see him taking part in five weeks time after such a strenuous effort here and he goes best when fresh. Long Run made a few jumping errors when finishing second, running 12lb below his best but will improve for his seasonal outing.
Paul Nicholls and owner Clive Smith had further success as Master Minded won the Amlin 1965 Chase putting a lacklustre last outing at Aintree behind him. Defeating Somersby by three-lengths his odds were slashed from 8-1 to 6-1 for the King George VI Chase. The race had been cut up with the withdrawal of Captain Chris and with Long Run sure to strip fitter and doubts remaining over the King George trip for Master Minded I wouldn’t be rushing to snap up the 6-1 on offer. Somersby was beaten three-lengths, one-paced when asked for his effort and is 16-1 for the King George.
The flamboyant, front-running Overturn is a wonderful horse having won the Northumberland Plate, Chester Cup, Scottish Champion Hurdle and the Galway Hurdle. The seven-year old added the Coral Hurdle to that list with a 27 length win after Oscar Whisky fell at the last. It’s debatable whether Overturn would have won the race but nothing should be taken away from Donald McCains seven-year-old who clipped almost 3.5 seconds off the track record under a superbly thoughtful ride by Jason Maguire. Oscar Whisky will be suited by a step up in trip.
The rangy Grandouet crashed out at Wincanton earlier in the month when looking likely to win but set matters straight with a comprehensive victory in the Betfair Hurdle. Nicky Henderson’s youngster showed good speed and was cut from 20-1 to 14-1 for the Champion Hurdle. The worry is that flat tracks seem to be Grandouet’s preference.
Dynaste won the Grade 3 Fixed Brush Hurdle Handicap landed by Diamond Harry and Grands Crus in the previous two years. The lengthy five-year-old grey was sent in front a long way from home, searing over the fences and kept on strongly. The World Hurdle may be a long term target though Big Bucks looks nigh on impossible to beat.
At Ascot, Population won over course and distance for the second time in three weeks. This was a decent bumper race which Population turned into a procession. Keep him onside as he can fill the winner’s enclosure again.
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