Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 9th 2015 Contents A59
Monday, March 9, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
To be or not to be at Stratford this
afternoon? that is the question!
The one-time home of William Shake-
speare will be teaming with Irish raiders,
already ensconced nearby in readiness for
this fabulous Cheltenham Festival week;
the little, quaint left-handed racecourse
wont be for the faint-hearted, given the
annual pilkgrimage movement will be
restricted, excited punters fighting to get
bets on and all catering/drinking joints
wont have a minute to sparee but, if you ve
never sampled the atmosphere on this
particular day, you have definitely missed
Twenty-times champion jockey, Tony
McCoy, and his ultra-successful Irish
counterpart, Ruby Walsh, wont be there,
(they will probably be completing a thou-
sand interviews (each!) discussing the
four-day(s) bonanza which kicks-off
tomorrow) but several stars of tomorrow
will be out to grab opportunities, including
On several occasions I ve been impressed
with this 7lbs conditional jockey and Dean s
allowance will offset top-weight aboard
time-handicap best-in El Beau in the
opening Juvenile Hurdle over two miles.
"He s in good form!" revealed trainer
John Quinn whose dual purpose record
down the years has been consistently
impressive; Pratt is attached to his Malton
El Beau is napped with a deal of con-
Running in tandem will be NH fixtures
at Plumpton and Taunton where What A
Scorcher should make it third time lucky
in the Fillies Juvenile Hurdle over an
extended two miles.
At the Sussex venue Simply The West
gets his chance; just a question of repli-
cating anything like in the Novices Hurdle
over two and a half miles against way
Mullins aces breeze
Willie Mullins' formidable battalion was quickly
into its stride after arriving at Cheltenham ahead of
Stan James Champion Hurdle favourite Faugheen
enjoyed a breeze at the track in the hands of regular
work rider John Codd, while the incredible Hurricane
Fly, who will join his younger stable companion in
Tuesday's feature event, stretched his legs.
The opening day promises to be huge for the
Mullins team, with the highly-touted Douvan, who
was given gentle exercise by Gail Carlisle, all the rage
for the opening Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
Un De Sceaux is odds-on across the board for the
Arkle Trophy, as is Annie Power for the OBLG Mares'
Hurdle, and they, too, were seen in action against the
backdrop of Cleeve Hill.
Some of Gordon Elliott's team also took to the
gallops on Sunday morning.
Stan James field
Faugheen spearheads eight declarations for the
Stan James Champion Hurdle, the highlight on the
first day of the Cheltenham Festival tomorrow.
The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old has
dazzled on both his starts this season and will be
ridden by Ruby Walsh.
Walsh also had the option of riding the record-
breaking Hurricane Fly, who won the Champion Hur-
dle in 2011 and 2013, but Mullins' exceptional
11-year-old will be partnered by Paul Townend.
Mullins also saddles Arctic Fire, who has twice
been defeated by Hurricane Fly this term. Danny
Mullins, the trainer's nephew, has been booked for
Jezki, last season's champion hurdler, is back for
another go and is the intended mount of soon-to-re-
tire legend Tony McCoy.
The New One, considered by many to have been
unlucky not to have won the race 12 months ago, is
Britain's big hope and went unbeaten this winter.
In addition to Jezki, owner JP McManus throws
another dart at the board in the shape of the Ed-
ward O'Grady-trained Kitten Rock.
Dan Skelton has high hopes of a big run from
Bertimont, while Nicky Henderson, who has won the
Champion Hurdle a joint-record five times, is respon-
sible for Vaniteux.
Rookie charts direct
Unbeaten filly Irish Rookie is to head straight to
the Qipco 1000 Guineas without having a prep run.
The Martyn Meade-trained three-year-old will bid
to make it three wins from as many career starts
when making her return to the track in the fillies'
Classic at Newmarket on May 3, for which she is a
After springing a shock when scoring at 50-1 in a
maiden over seven furlongs at the Rowley Mile in
October, the daughter of Azamour showed her
debut win was no fluke when landing the Listed
Montrose Fillies' Stakes back at the track the follow-
Assistant trainer Freddie Meade said: "Irish Rookie
has done brilliantly over the winter and will step up
her work quite soon.
"She has strengthened up and as she is by
Azamour we expect her to be better as a three-year
"We ran her a couple of times last year just to give
her some education.
"She surprised us first time out, but the second
time she didn't and ended up running a really nice
"She will head straight to the Guineas as she
knows the course well, having won both her starts
"If everything goes right, that will be her first port
Cheltenham has arrived and punters
rejoice as it is one of the few meetings that
affords them a genuinely decent chance
to cane the bookmakers.
It s a utopia of sorts with bigger odds and
better place terms available than punters
ever dreamed possible - Sky Bet, for exam-
ple, will have Money Back specials, extra
places and Price Boosts available all week.
Prepare to be bamboozled by amazing
offers of 2/1 about hitherto even-money
shots, the promise of free bets if your horse
finishes second etc. This is Christmas folks
and it s time for punters to strike!
The prestige and prizemoney on offer
ensure that each and every single participant
is off for their lives and with bookmakers
falling over themselves to accommodate
punters, Cheltenham offers us a rare chance
to capitalise on this unique set of circum-
stances. Now all we have to do is find some
There are 27 events to choose from -- 28
if you like backing amateurs in the most
peculiarly named race of the year, the St.
Patrick s Day Derby - so be selective and
stick with the races you know best.
Tomorrow s highlight is the Stan James
Champion Hurdle and readers will be fully
aware of our admiration for one of the great-
est hurdlers of all time in Hurricane Fly.
He has repaid our faith three times from
three starts this season and overlooking him
at Cheltenham, where he has after all won
two Champion Hurdles, is not done without
some experiencing some considerable dis-
It s akin to falling in love with your child-
hood sweetheart, getting married and enjoy-
ing a fantastic life together only to have
your head turned by some youngster and
deciding to shack up with the new one.
No, not the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained
animal but another new one .
A new, young one that has emerged from
the very same house as your spouse. Yes,
of course Faugheen is the new young one.
Ruby knows all about this, as do we, albeit
to a lesser extent.
Ruby has had to make the choice and
with a sad heart, so do we.
Hurricane Fly has won two Champion
Hurdles, and yes it can be argued that things
went wrong on the two occasions he was
beaten here but in four runs here he has
proven he is simply not as well suited to
Cheltenham as he is to racing at home.
Whether it is the track, the pace of the
race or the fact that he doesn t like being
harried, he is just not the same horse here
for some reason.
He has bossed Jezki around at home this
season but will find this a different test
despite the fact that Irish runners make up
five of the eight-runner field and four of
the five horses in the betting, outside of the
two rags Vaniteux and Bertimont.
It is essentially an Irish race with The
New One thrown in and it could be argued
that this will suit Hurricane Fly in providing
him with the ideal scenario to crown himself
the greatest hurdler of all time.
So, why will it be a different test this
time? First of all the ground might not be
as soft as he would like but the primary
difference is Faugheen.
There is a reason they have been kept
apart this season with Hurricane Fly beating
the reigning Champion Hurdler Jezki in
good trials at home while Faugheen has
been hoovering up good races in the UK.
It is likely that if all goes to plan, Faugheen
will be contesting the Irish trials as opposed
to travelling over to Kempton and Ascot,
once he wins the Champion Hurdle.
Plenty have commented on how weak
the English trials have been but it is not
Faugheen s fault that the only credible
Champion Hurdle prospect in the UK is
The New One. Faugheen has beaten every-
thing he has taken on and beaten them
He is proven here at Cheltenham too and
the only possible flaw he has is he is not
always fluent at his hurdles which is ordi-
narily a pre-requisite for a Champion Hur-
However, Faugheen has an engine that
we rarely see in the National Hunt game.
There is little doubt that he is the bet in
the race and there is every chance that Hur-
ricane Fly could chase him all the way up
General consensus is that Faugheen is
too short given his form and even though
this is a very easy to argue against, he could,
hopefully, drift out to something approaching
7/4 or 2/1 in the build up to the race.
Punters ready for Cheltenham opener
It's Simply the West
10.00 Simply The West
10.10 El Beau
10.50 What A Scorcher.
12-8--- 10.30 am
29-3--- 1 pm
3-14 --- 6.30 pm
TODAY'S PICK TWO
Times played this year
10.30 am 1 pm 6.30 pm Total
02 OLD LADY
04 DEAD MAN
05 PARSON MAN 1
15 SICK WOMAN 2
18 WATER BOAT 1
10.30 am 1 pm 6.30pm Total
27 LITTLESNAKE 0 1 2 3
28 RED FISH
29 OPIUM MAN
30 HOUSE CAT
31 PARSON WIFE
34 BLIND MAN
35 BIG SNAKE
LAST DRAW: SATURDAY
WHEN DE MARK BUSS
Play Whe results to March 7
30 (House Cat) 10.30 am
10 (Monkey) 6.30 pm
29 (Opium Man) 1 pm
15 (Sick Woman)---10.30 am
11 (Corbeau)---1 pm
10 (Monkey)---6.30 pm
TODAY'S STAR BETS
7, 16, 19, 27, 29, 33
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