It’s only when there is no racing on that you realise how much time you put into the sport. Last weekend, the only meeting of interest to me was run at Naas on Saturday. Most of the races were not competitive enough to warrant a bet, so I only had a single bet over the weekend. It was great to have all that spare time and I enjoyed a meal out to celebrate a family member’s 80th Birthday party. I switched off my mobile phone as there was no need to check the results online or keep up with the twitter feed! It was refreshing to say the least and I really enjoyed the down time.
Sunday was the start of it though! The boredom began to kick in. With a young daughter just one year old and the weather so cold outside what could we do? A couple of hours in a play barn filled in a few hours (the place was full of parents with the same idea trying to keep kids entertained). A kid’s movie for the elder daughter while the youngest trashed the house. By Sunday evening whilst glad of the break I had the feeling that something big was missing from my weekend. Football is good and Rugby is ok but horse racing is much better. The Australian open Match between Djokovic v Wawrinka was entertaining for a while but still nothing compared to horse racing. Nothing beats horse racing for entertainment was my conclusion following last weekend.
The upside regarding all the postponed meetings is we are in for a backlog of top races over the coming weeks. I am taking a half day this Thursday to visit my local track Gowran Park for their biggest meeting of the year – Thyestes Chase Day. They have a great card with a couple of top hurdle races before the big handicap chase.
The UK has been hit worse but boy oh boy will next weekend make up for it. There are quality cards at Cheltenham and Doncaster(inspection Thursday afternoon). To make Saturday better Leopardstown host a good meeting that includes the Grade 1 Arkle Chase and the Boylesports Hurdle (formerly Pierce Hurdle). Last year this race was one of my big pay days. I had the good fortune to have the winner at 14/1 and the second at 33/1 each way. When you have a result like that, the race brings nothing but positive vibes when mentioned. This year I have my eye on a 25/1 shot to keep the vibes sweet for the race next year!
The next few days racing is top notch and will provide excellent entertainment. Bring it on, sooner the better!
Eye Catchers Report for the weekend 19th/20th January 2013
Tofino Bay – Trainer Dessie Hughes – Jockey Davy Russell
Naas – Novices Chase (Grade 2) 3m
Tofino Bay beat the odds on shot Aupcharlie quite easily in this race. He jumped well and led the field all the way. Considering how Tofino Bay almost stopped when he hit the front when winning the Troytown h’cap chase at Navan back in November this was a surprise. He loves really deep ground and has a touch of class. On Heavy ground over a trip of three miles or further the will be hard to beat at any grade. Aupcharlie did nothing wrong but was just outdone for pace in this heavy ground in the end. Aupcharlie’s stamina gave way at Leopardstown on soft over 3 miles so surely this trip and ground was too much for him at this time of his career. The Jewson looks almost certain to be his entry at the Cheltenham Festival.
Ut Atout – Trainer Willie Mullins – Jockey Davy Russell
Naas – Novices Hurdle 2m
Travelled and won as he liked on the bridle. His jumping was fast and slick. Rory O’Moore was a well beaten second but is a fairly good horse rated 128. Ut Atout beat him by 19 lengths, going strictly on this performance that would give Ut Atout a rating of 147. That puts him right in the mix for the Supreme novices hurdle. Willie Mullins mentioned post race that he will keep him at the minimum trip for now. He is out of the same sire as Quevega and Sir Des Champs. He might prove best in time over a long trip especially on good ground or better. The over reaction from the bookies on shortening him into 7/1 second favourite behind Jezki for the Supreme Novices Hurdle is hilarious!
Solwhit – Trainer Charles Byrnes – Jockey Davy Russell
Naas – Limestone Lad Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m3f
Solwhit followed up his encouraging comeback second with an easy victory here. It is great to see that he still retains his ability. He has an entry in the Champion hurdle but is more likely to go for the world hurdle over 3 miles if running at the festival. He has won an Aintree Hurdle over 2m4f on good ground. His price of 14/1 is just fair. Solwhit has a similar profile for the world hurdle to that which thousand stars and Oscar whiskey had last year. I and many others can well remember both horses running out of steam coming up the hill behind Big Bucks.
Best of luck punting,