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24-02-2012, 10:42 AM #1
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Sean Trivass`s Cheltenham Trainer Visits
Once our mate and respected journo Sean Trivass has come tops and today we start off our annual big gun traniers visits for the festival starting with David Pipe
Sometimes I have to pinch myself because as a true racing fan of more years than I care to admit to, it never ceases to amaze me how lucky I can be and the trip to the David Pipe yard I made earlier this week was just another example of what a lucky man I am.
You may have read other reports form the day elsewhere and why not, but what I can tell you is some of my fellow scribes are so dry (or eager to get to the pub) that they seem to ignore any body language or change of pitch or tone – all little clues (not always correct I might add), that make my conclusions different and I would like to think a lot better than the rest (but then I would say that).
After rolling in just about on time (which is a miracle when my trip includes the M25), the first thing and in some ways best was to be greeted with a coffee and a sausage roll – and living legend Martin Pipe who looked as well as I have seen him in many a year. After a bit of mingling (I am not very good at that to be honest), we wandered out to be introduced to a small and I hope select list of horses which David kindly discussed, though nipping to and fro between trainer and horses to take snaps proved a logistical nightmare.
As others have listed them all (why?), and in exact order, I need to be seen to be different or Faz will be on my back, and I have decided to be brave enough to pick four for both the Cheltenham Festival and the long term, so fingers crossed for as bit of a profit, and maybe a little Lucky Fifteen once targets are confirmed which is always the problem at this stage. First on the list has to be Grands Crus, an imposing grey who would fall over if he were any more laid back, and who is engaged in both the RSA Chase and the Gold Cup. Three runs have seen three wins over fences but surely in a year with a rejuvenated Kauto Star as well as defending Champion Long Run it makes sense to go for the novice event but the fact that they are still considering it shows you how highly they regard this seven year old. Despite trying hard to wangle out a decision the fact is that choice will be left to the very last minute and sorted by a group of highly knowledgeable horsemen though I do hope they go for the RSA where I am convinced he is a shoe in granted a clear round – and I got the feeling they felt that as well!
Not sop much a dark horse as a forgotten horse and the 14/1 about Dynaste for the World Hurdle looks a tempting each way alternative to Big Bucks, especially while the Nicholls stable are under a cloud. He ahs been freshened up since last seen when seven lengths behind the champ at Cheltenham and his form at his best is clearly good enough for second place in which case his price is outstanding. The fact tat they are discussing tactics to see if there is any way to beat the jolly, and the fact they are thinking along those lines implies he is in with a decent chance.
For my third horse, we start to step a little out of the comfort zone, and Our Father is an interesting addition to the list. Yet to miss the first two after four races, David seems to think he may well improve for a step up to three miles in which case the Pertemps Final on the Thursday would seem the natural target, and his handler did point out that weight would not be a problem as he is a big strapping sort who could carry plenty! Better still, he has chaser written all over him and will be sent over fences next season so any losses we do suffer here are surely only leant until next season?
To end with, hands up (or is that mice down?) for those who can tell me the form of Salut Flo? Yep, me neither, but David Pipe speaks very highly of the seven year old who seems equally at home over fences or hurdles. Ignore his last run where he clouted three out and almost came to a standstill, and the fact that they acknowledge they have “saved him” for the Cheltenham Festival implies they think he has chances and as he should be massive price, is another each way option for us mere punters?
Sean Trivass writes daily for www.sirivorracing.com – come have a look!
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pic 1 David with Grand Crus pic 2 David Pipe pic 3 David with Dynaste
Next week Sean is off to visit Nicky hendo and Alan King and will return to UKBT with exclusive news for our eyes only
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05-03-2012, 09:24 AM #2
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Re: Sean Trivass`s Cheltenham Trainer Visits
Today we are off to see a certain Mr Henderson
Here we go again with Faz (somehow) persuading me to hand over another interview pre Cheltenham to see if we can whet your appetites for the festival (as if that was needed), point you in the direction of a few winners, and maybe add to all our respective bank balances with a bit of luck?
This time it was the turn of Nicky Henderson to put up with my ugly mug at Seven Barrow, and yet again I note that the majority of hacks writing it up either a) weren’t actually there or b) arrived with a hidden agenda and failed to take a lot of notice of what he actually said –and how he said it.
Naturally, the main talking point was the form of LONG RUN and his potential Gold Cup battle with Kauto Star that we were all looking forward to, only to find the star ahs been injured at home and may yet not turn out at Prestbury Park. Before that, it was interesting to hear Nicky’s thoughts on the matter which firstly praised his market rivals as massively improved this year, but ended with comments suggesting that the extra quarter mile up the Cheltenham hill will sort the men from the boys and be very much in the favour of LONG RUN. The acknowledgement that Yogi Breisner will return to help school the ex French seven year old which implies they acknowledge he still has a problem in that department, which seems to be just about their only concern to stop him retaining his crown.
Of the other “big name” contenders, I have to tell you Nicky is a lot more bullish about the chances of BINOCULAR in the Champion Hurdle than I would ever be, suggesting that if all had gone to plan over the years this would be perhaps his fourth win in the race which I cannot agree with but I can report. To me, he has never been as good in the big races as they claimed (well, not when I have backed him anyway), but ten what do I know? Fact is he was awesome last time out at Kelso and his trainer sees Hurricane Fly as his only real rival, which in many people’s eyes will make the 5/1 about his chances this year a spot of value. All I can add is he is in great form at home and as well as they have ever had him, and as he has won the race before they have every reason to be more than just hopeful.
I am willing to confess that if I had an ulterior motive to be there, it was to see SPRINTER SACRE in the flesh (again), as I think he could prove to be the best two mile chaser for many a year. Others question his stamina to get home at the headquarters of jump racing but his trainer pretty much laughed that off pointing out he is bigger older stronger, and has had a breathing operation since last year when he did kind of stop after the last hurdle. More importantly, he may well need to be ridden from near the front according to his trainer, if only because he takes two lengths out of his rivals at ever fence and is thus close to impossible to hold up out the back of the field! The fact is he has clocked some frankly amazing times for any horse, let alone a novice, and the saying that good horses can run slow times but bad horses can’t run good times makes me all the more confident tat if he gets round he wins in the Arkle chase.
Other horses mentioned were obviously pretty numerous but I noted that the trainer is pretty convinced that OSCAR WHISKY will improve again for the step up in trip for the World Hurdle and if Bug Bucks has an off day, all things are possible. I cannot honestly say I felt a surge of optimism about his chances of winning but at odds of 4/1 he is an each way bet to nothing (if you can get a quarter the odds of course), and one day, the amazing run of Big Bucks will have to come to an end?
The horse I really did get positive vibes for was RIVERSIDE THEATRE who is on target for the Ryanair Chase and could well outclass his rivals. His trainer told us his long tens target is the King George Chase from Kempton on Boxing Day in which case this is effectively a drop in class in my view. After six months off and then six months idle building up his fitness and then waiting for the right race, he hacked up at Ascot and although others will tell you he doesn’t handle Cheltenham, Nicky told me that opinion is only based on the one run at the track over an inadequate two miles in the Arkle Chase back in 2010.
Other to mention at this stage have to include DARLAN (working well and apparently `A P McCoy likes him a lot), SIMONSIG (lovely horse and on target for the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle, should improve for the step up in trip), and BOBS WORTH (if Grands Crus is a no show, could and perhaps even should win the RSA Chase), so all in all, we can expect it to be business as usual for Nicky Henderson, jockey Barry Geraghty, and the rest of the Seven Barrows team- which can only mean even more winners to add to the 39 Nicky Henderson can already lay claim to, with one more needed to equal the all time record of Fulke Walwyn, or two to surpass it – what odds Long Run and Binocular are those two?
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