6 February 2009
As I sit here and write to you I look out from the window of my study across the windswept Newmarket countryside and the snow is a great swirling blanket of white smothering the
landscape and everything in it.
To make matters worse the weather forecasters say there is even more snow to come overnight and I am once again left in a situation where I have to write my weekly message to my readers not knowing what will be happening by the time you buy and read your copy of the News.
As always I can only assume that things will work out and that the weekend will be relatively normal.
The jewel in the crown of the weekend racing is of course the return of the mighty Denman in the Aon Chase at Newbury. Under normal circumstances the return of this tank of a hoss to the racecourse would be little more than the formality of a warm up before the Cheltenham Festival.
However, since his trouncing of Kauto Star in the Prestbury Park head to head clash of the Titans last March, Denman has had well documented health problems. He has had heart problems and has been given a good long time to recover from these but something as serious as a fibrillating heart is not a minor matter and everyone will be on tenterhooks to see that the undisputed steeplechase champion is still the hoss he used to be.
I am sorry to sound like a Jonah, but I shall not be backing Denman until I have seen that he is the hoss he used to be.
Paul Nicholls has a double worry if the Newbury card goes ahead on Saturday because he also has the brilliant Master Minded contesting the totepool Game Spirit Chase. No hoss has got remotely near the two mile champion this year with wide margin wins at Sandown and Ascot ensuring that Master Minded is one of the shortest priced favourites ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.
A repeat of last year's comfortable victory over Voy Por Ustedes would further cement his banker credentials at the Festival.
Another excellent race on the undercard at Newbury is the totesport Trophy. This race has been dominated in recent years by Gary Moore with the Brighton trainer sending out Heathcote to win in 2007 and Wingman last year. Moore has the current ante post favourite in Numide. It will be interesting to see if he can complete the hat-trick of wins. I hope he can.
Turning closer to home the saga of our hoss Lawyer To World rumbles on and we have him in a two mile race on Thursday at Southwell. He was fifth last time out at the same track at 100-1 and he must stand a fair chance of running into the place money at a big price but two miles on the flat in the dead ground of the Southwell fibresand will possibly be too much for him. We badly wanted him to go hurdling again at Lingfield this week but the weather has put paid to that plan.
If we can get him into a low grade hurdle race over two miles you can back him with confidence to get into third or even second place. The problem with the hoss is that he will not battle a finish and acts the goat in the last furlong of his races.
I am concluding today with the suggestion that membership of our Racing Club would make an excellent Valentine's Day gift to your sweetheart. It will cost you fifty quid and will almost certainly show you a profit on paper from day one. More importantly in those blissfully warm summer days you can come with the one you love to share all the fun of being an owner. Send your details to the News.
My banker bet for the weekend is a short price double Master Minded and Numide at Newbury Saturday.
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