Pick off the bookmakers with Hawk High
9 December 2016
The forecast rain at Cheltenham overnight leaves us with a head scratcher. You could poach value on mudlarks, then if the rain doesn’t materialise or does but in insufficient quantities then money is lost.
In contrast if you stand by those with a good ground preference and there is a heavy rainfall you have wasted money.
All week Warren Greatrex has kept us informed regarding the participation of Aloomomo in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup - he needs give in the ground. Kylemore Lough, who I’ve given as a selection despite sentimental favourites Thomas Brown and dear Buywise running, has a similar requirement.
Kerry Lee’s runner is a quality performer; a Grade One winner, successful in five of his seven starts and after eight months off returned with an almighty run when second by a head to Royal Regatta at Ascot last month.
Others I considered were Quite By Chance, who has much going for him and has been heavily punted. He acts on all ground and he is trained by Colin Tizzard.
Tom O’Brien has ridden him on both of his recent starts. His win at Ascot was really impressive and he returned to the venue to be the only horse to chase after Sire De Grugy. The negative is that he has gone up in the handicap.
I love Thomas Brown, but feel he is better suited to a sharp, flat track rather than the enormity of Cheltenham with all its undulations. Buywise has the tendency to root quite a few fences and Paul Moloney could end up performing usual miracles to encourage Buywise into a place.
Why not Village Vic? He all but lead all the way in November, being out in front you are out of trouble, plus he won it last year. I’m hoping sufficient rain falls for Lee to run Kylemore Lough.
Jockeys in form at present include Daryl Jacob - fresh from a double at Doncaster on Friday and Brian Hughes. Jacob has definite possibilities for another double at Cheltenham on Saturday with Domperignon Du Lys in the 12.05pm and Wholestone in the 2.25. King’s Odyssey is not the worst ride in the feature, either. Brian Hughes accumulated 31 wins in November and already has 10 wins in 9 days in December - he’s at Doncaster and has six rides on Town Moor
Hughes rides Hawk High in the 1.30, and the horse is making his seasonal reappearance. The six-year-old gelding has a good record when fresh, winning three of his five seasonal introductions. He was last seen with a respectable ninth in the County Hurdle when only 11 ½ lengths behind. He has plenty of talent, having won the 2014 Fred Winter at the Festival. Hughes has ridden him eight times for two wins.
All things considered going into Saturday those two lads together with Richard Johnson are the ones to keep on side. Perhaps the best bet is to keep across the weather forecast, though.
Tanya Stevenson’s Saturday tips:
1.30 Doncaster: Hawk High at 6-1 generally available
1.50 Cheltenham: Kylemore Lough at 8-1 generally available
Tanya Stevenson’s Saturday pointers:
Only two favourites have won across the last 20 years
There has been no winner aged nine or over since Fragrant Dawn in 1993! (Village Vic, Buywise, Module and Turban all have to defy that stat)
Paul Nicholls has had 27 runners since 1998, winning three times, second three times and third three times
Philip Hobbs has had 16 runners since 1989 winning twice, second once and third three times
Richard Johnson is attempting his fourth win in the race
Daryl Jacob has had 10 winners and six seconds from his last 27 rides
Five of the last ten winners had run at the Cheltenham Festival in March
Six of the last ten winners had run at the November meeting (five in the BetVictor Gold Cup)
Eight of the last ten winners had finished no worse than third last time out.
Six of the last seven favourites have won
All of the last ten winners had finished no worse than second on their most recent run
Seven of the last 10 winners had run at Cheltenham on their most recent start (five of them had won)
Since 2000 eleven favourites have won, including five of the last six
The last horse older than seven to win was Rooster Booster back in 2002
Nine of the last ten winners of the International finished in the first two last time out
Richard Johnson has won the race five times
Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the race three times
Sam Twiston-Davies has won the last three
Nicky Henderson has won the race three times