Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 11th 2015 Contents A53
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
AP McCoy drew a blank on the opening day
of the Cheltenham Festival but will be busy
again today with six more rides. McCoy retires
at the end of the season but his busy Tuesday
proved to be a frustrating one, with 2014 Cham-
pion Hurdle winner Jezki his best result, when
he came home fourth behind Faugheen.
Today s highlight is the Queen Mother Cham-
pion Chase, and it probably provides McCoy
with his best chance of the day in the form of
the enigmatic Mr Mole. Paul Nicholls chaser
has been called some nasty names in his time,
but he has been in fine form recently and was
on the way to beating 2014 winner Sire De Grugy
when that horse fell at Newbury last month.
With doubts over Sire De Grugy and Sprinter
Sacre producing the form which saw them win
the last two renewals, the seven-year-old has
been well backed in recent days and could get
even shorter today.
Mr Mole is the horse McCoy was aboard when
he made his shock retirement announcement
last month. McCoy s day starts in the Neptune
Investment Management Novices Hurdle, when
he partners John Ferguson s Parlour Games.
The seven-year-old has won his last two races,
although he has been off since December and
comes up against another strong entry from the
all-conquering Willie Mullins yard---Nicholls
Canyon. The 19-times champion jockey is in
action in the RSA Chase on Philip Hobbs If In
Doubt, who also heads to the Festival on the
back of two wins.
He overcame a series of jumping errors to win
the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster last time out but
will need to jump better if he is to beat favourite
Don Poli, another runner from the Mullins yard.
A field of 26 goes to post for the Coral Cup,
and McCoy rides Goodwood Mirage, the horse
he fell from at the first hurdle just moments after
announcing his impending retirement.
He does not have a ride in the Glenfarclas
Cross-Country Chase but is back in action when
he partners Jonjo O Neill s Box Office in the Fred
Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.
And McCoy ends today by riding Alan King s
Yanworth in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper,
the last two both for owner JP McManus, who
had a winner with Cause Of Causes in the
National Hunt Chase (for amateur riders) on
Powers gifts Mares Hurdle to stablemate
Annie Power fell at the final flight when in
front to leave stablemate Glens Melody to land
the OLBG Mares Hurdle.
Bookmakers were left breathing a sigh of relief
after the heavily-backed odds-on favourite came
to the last clear of her rivals but took off too
soon, hit the obstacle hard and crumpled to the
ground, leaving the race wide-open.
Happily both Ruby Walsh and Annie Power
were quickly on their feet, as Glens Melody---
second to another brilliant Willie Mullins mare,
Quevega, in the same race 12 months ago---took
over the lead.
Polly Peachum and Barry Geraghty emerged
from out of the pack to give chase up the run-
in and it was tight at the line but Glens Melody
(6/1) prevailed by a head from Polly Peachum
(9/1), with the gutsy Bitofapuzzle (16/1), who
was handy from the start, staying on again for
third only a neck further back.
There was an unusually muted response from
the Cheltenham crowd as the winner and jockey
Paul Townend returned to the winner s enclo-
sure---many of the crowd would have been clutch-
ing tickets involving the four Mullins bankers,
the first three of whom had already won and of
which Annie Power was the last to run.
Sprinter Sacre is an absolute certainty
to land a hat-trick in the £350,000 Queen
Morth Champion Chase over two miles of
good to soft Cheltenham today, if able to
run within a stone of his form two years
This incredible Network gelding was 1/9
to score and the previous year, 1/7, such
was his undoubted superiority; a few months
later Sprinter Sacre (2/9!) was sensationally
pulled up by Barry Geraghty, his first defeat
over fences for reasons which have never
been satisfactorily explained to myself, and
plenty of others; we didn t see him again
until 53 days ago!
A somewhat portly nine-year-old made
his come-back in a grade one two miles
chase at Ascot and, after looking certain to
prevail jumping the second last, Sprinter
Sacre came up short in the closing stages
and was outgunned by Dodging Bullets,
three lengths winner.
One anticipates Sprinter Sacre will
improve at least TEN POUNDS and possibly
That, to all intents and purposes, will be
enough for 188-rated Sprinter Sacre to
demolish inferior rivals and gain his fifteen
victory from nineteen races; eleven stee-
There s no need to even mention any of
ten rivals, just heed what Geraghty said
during a TV interview when asked, which
one of all the fancied horses you will be
riding at the Festival are you looking forward
to the most and what is your best chance?
Unhesitatingly he replied: "Sprinter Sacre!"
Tony McCoy is hell bent on making this
a special last Festival and one of his very
best opportunities is undoubtedly Parlour
Games in the opening 28-runner Novices
Hurdle over an extended two and a half
miles; apparently John Ferguson s charge is
thriving and my time-handicap leaves one
in not doubt that what beats this ultra-
consistent Monsun gelding will win!
That s a bold statement but the afore-
mentioned pair genuinely measure up to
what s required.
Running in tandem will be Huntingdon,
Southwell and the obligatory Wednesday
evening fixture is scheduled on Kempton
polytrack where Aaron Jones 7lbs apprentice
claim should prove vital aboard Welease
Bwian in the aged handicap over six fur-
longs. Cracking each-way bet!
Faugheen was the star of the show in
the Stan James Champion Hurdle as he
headlined an amazing Willie Mullins four-
timer on the opening day of the Chel-
It was always going to take something
special for Ruby Walsh to give up the ride
on the record-breaking Hurricane Fly, but
after leading from pillar to post in the cham-
pionship event, it was clear just why he did.
While Faugheen had promised to do
something like this and was sent off the 4-
5 favourite, the seven-year-old still had to
prove himself at the highest level.
With three of the first four from last year s
race lining up, Faugheen was going to be
tested to the limit, or so we thought, but
after giving his mount a breather coming
down the hill, Walsh pressed the button
and the response was immediate.
For a few strides the veteran Hurricane
Fly loomed large in search of a third win,
but he could find no more up the hill and
it was left to another Mullins runner, Arctic
Fire, to chase home the winner.
He was a length and a half behind, but
Walsh felt his mount was idling having been
in front for so long.
It meant Mullins became the first man
in history to saddle the first three home, an
achievement even he felt was beyond him
on his way to the track.
"You dream of it, but you don t think it
could ever happen," he said.
"I ll leave it for other people to decide if
it s my greatest achievement, but it would
have to be right up there, along with some
fantastic days at Punchestown, riding a win-
ner here and winning a Grand National. I
wouldn t like to rate them.
"I thought Hurricane Fly ran a fantastic
race throughout and Arctic Fire---I can t see
a rib on him yet, so I think there is far more
improvement in him than the rest of them.
"All three of them could go to Pun-
chestown and the way Arctic Fire finished
you d think Aintree might suit him. He s
owned by the same people who had
Simenon so we could look to go back on
the Flat and he could be a Melbourne Cup
"Faugheen was just awesome today and
we know he s still improving.
"Ruby slowed it down and then quickened
at the second-last and he put it to bed very
"I don t think he ll be jumping a fence
for a very long time, if he ever does. There s
no need to when he s so good over hurdles.
"Years ago if you won a Champion Hurdle
the temptation was to go over fences, like
Dawn Run (trained by his father, Paddy),
but it s not so common now. I have enough
"He doesn t look like an ordinary race-
horse, he has no factor when you look at
him but Andy Slattery, who sold him to me,
said he was as good as if not better than
Cooldine and Quel Esprit who he sold to
me and they won Grade Ones.
"I don t think he ll achieve as much as
Hurricane Fly has because I don t think any
other horse ever will, certainly not one I ll
train. I d be delighted to be wrong, but I
don t think Hurricane Fly s achievements
will be repeated, don t forget he missed all
that time early in his career."
Walsh was just happy to be vindicated
having opted against riding Mullins favourite
"It was a massive call not to ride Hur-
ricane Fly. When you see what Hurricane
Fly was doing at home, it was a big call to
get off him," he said.
Victory in the feature was part of a
remarkable few hours for Mullins, after the
wins of Douvan and Un De Sceaux earlier
on the card and Glens Melody taking advan-
tage of the fall of red-hot favourite and sta-
blemate Annie Power in the OLBG Mares
Jezki could not provide Tony McCoy with
a dream success in his final Champion Hur-
dle and trainer Jessica Harrington felt he
had perhaps been a bit keen early on as last
year s winner faded into fourth.
24-33--- 10.30 am
5-24--- 1 pm
28-17 --- 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: TUESDAY
WHEN DE MARK BUSS
Play Whe results to March 10
11 (Corbeau) 6.30 pm
19 (Horse)---10.30 am
18 (Water Boat)---1 pm
5 (Parson Man)---6.30 pm
TODAY'S STAR BETS
13 (Crapaud) 1 pm
9.30 Parlour Games
11.20 Sprinter Sacre
4.20 Welease Bwian (ew)
6 (Belly) 10.30 am
McCoy busy after
first day blank
No surprise, it's 'Sacre!'
Faugheen stars at Cheltenham
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