Classy Bellshill should take plenty of beating in Navan Novice Hurdle

Deciding between riding at Tramore and Cheltenham this afternoon was pretty straight-forward.

Classy Bellshill should take plenty of beating in Navan Novice Hurdle

Aside from the bumper, Willie has just one runner, Arkwrisht, at Tramore, and Bryan Cooper is staying at home to ride him, and so I’ll be in Cheltenham.

I start on Mozoltov in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.

It’s hard to win a race as competitive as this off a long lay-off, and that’s part of the task facing him as his last run was at the Punchestown Festival in 2014.

A mark of 148 might be something he can win off, but his relative lack of experience and match practice will likely count against him.

He will be a decent each-way price, but I just worry about him being battle-hardened enough.

Annacotty and Buywise, first and second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, look the ones we have to beat.

Sempre Medici runs in the International Hurdle but he has a bit to find on ratings.

The upside, however, is that he is a five-year-old taking on four-year-olds, and that’s the reason we’re taking our chance.

He was very impressive when beating Identity Thief at Fairyhouse in April, but didn’t see out the trip when fourth behind Nichols Canyon over two and a half miles at Punchestown.

We think he has improved over the summer, this trip is fine, and I hope we go there with a genuine chance.

It’s always hard to know what to make of the four-year-olds as they step into open company but, on early evidence, you’d have to think they have quite a bit to find with the older horses.

To prove up to Champion Hurdle class, and to worry the likes of Faugheen, Arctic Fire or Nichols Canyon, you’d imagine they’d have to be beating this field with plenty to spare. We’ll know a bit more later on.

Going back to Arkwrisht, who runs in the two-mile-five maiden hurdle at Tramore, I think he’ll be very hard to beat.

He was well beaten at Clonmel but that was early in the season and our horses were not very forward.

He has improved a hell of a lot since then, his work is good, and a big run is expected.

Tomorrow I’m in Navan rather than Cork because Willie was keen for me to partner Bellshill in the Navan Novice Hurdle.

He was probably our best bumper horse last season, and very impressive on his hurdling debut at Cork.

We think he’s very good, and has the potential to develop into a Cheltenham horse. Of our novices running this weekend, he’s the one that is showing most, is most forward, and should take plenty of beating despite it being a good race.

Willie also runs Stone Hard, who battled well to win at Gowran. The longer trip should suit. Tycoon Prince was a bit disappointing last time, but is held in high regards, while Chesterfieldavenue looked very good at Naas.

It’s a good contest, but I really like Bellshill, he has shown plenty of gears in his work, and, hopefully, will justify our high opinion.

I’m on The Crafty Butcher, for Michael Hourigan, in the handicap hurdle over two and a half. He’s been mixing it over fences and hurdles, and is probably in the grip of the handicapper.

Bryan Cooper rides Mckinley in the beginners’ chase.

Although flat-bred, he has strengthened up over the summer and could make a chaser.

Winner of a grade one over hurdles, if he does what he is doing at home he’ll take beating.

Babbling Stream, who runs in the bumper, blotted his copybook when running out at Punchestown, and, though I hope it’s a one-off, I won’t be forgiving him until he goes and wins for us.

In Cork, we run a nice three-year-old, Allblak Des Places, in the opener. He has schooled well, his work is good, and he’ll be hard to beat.

Au Quart De Tour (1:10) is a galloper and might want further than two miles but I can’t see Paul (Townend) hanging around. It’ll take a good one to keep up with and then get past him.

Gangster steps right out in trip for the Grade 3 Novice Hurdle, but that should suit. He’s two from three, and his only disappointment was at Galway, where the ground was too lively for him.

He’s a bit of an odd-ball, but ups a level at the track, and I’m hoping he’ll be too good for Cogryhill.

I’m not sure whether I’d have chosen Felix Yonger or Twinlight in tomorrow’s Hilly Way Chase at Cork.

They won the last two runnings of the race, and there isn’t a lot between them.

In terms of class, you’d side with Felix Yonger, who improved all through last season, but very testing ground, which is likely, blunts his speed. Twinlight seems to cope with it better.

Ruby’s Rant: Ante-post betting - is it mere speculation or spotting value?

What is an ante-post bet?

I don’t pretend to understand it, but the market moves in the last week have made me wonder whether it is just about hype and speculation or about getting value.

There was a lot of talk about Min before he made his debut at Punchestown and, although he was impressive, I’m amazed to see he’s as short as 3-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Bookies are entitled to an opinion, but how could you say he was more impressive than Yorkhill on Sunday or Tombstone a couple of weeks ago, for instance, and yet they are 14-1 and 33-1 respectively for the same race?

I can understand someone believing last season’s Gold Cup to be the best form around and thus backing Djakadam to win it this time as he’s only six and can improve, but when it comes to novices, the races they are running in now are so far removed from the ones they will be running in at Cheltenham, it seems madness.

Backing a horse at a short price for such races in three months’ time doesn’t make much sense to me.A week before Cheltenham, the bookies will be falling over themselves with special offers on the favourites.

They’ll be trying to ‘get them beaten’ - whatever that means, it makes no sense to me.

In my opinion, you should look at the form and trust your own judgement and find something at a big price, which might be a lot shorter on the day.

Ruby’s best bets

NAP

Bellshill 1pm Navan, Sunday

DOUBLE

Allblak Des Places 12:40 Cork, Sunday Au Quart De Tour 1:10 Cork, Sunday

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