It is interesting to note their prices are contracting and I presume the improving conditions have something to do with that. They both have each-way chances at least.
Everyone is talking like Sam Winner has only to show up in the Pertemps Final but Paul Nicholls hasn’t had a great Festival so far, so you couldn’t be sure about him. Ruby Walsh is going great guns but that’s been for Willie.
There is only a 13lb span in the weights so on 11-1, Jetson has a very nice mark. All his form from last year is good and I was very disappointed when he didn’t get into this race 12 months ago. This season he was fourth in a 2m7f handicap at Navan on heavy ground and then ran a great race when sixth in the Pertemps Qualifier atLeopardstown over Christmas.
We put him away after that and he will be a lot better for the good ground. It is a hugely competitive contest as usual, so I would be delighted if he was placed and he has as good a chance as most of them of doing so, with luck in running.
The switch of the Cross Country Chase to today was a real stroke of luck as the ground was much softer on Tuesday. Bostons will relish that and what’s more, Outlaw Pete and Arabella Boy would prefer a bit more juice.
I have been delighted with his preparation for this. Like I said on Tuesday, he is a different horse to last year, with hunting having revitalised his interest in racing. The different challenges provided by this type of contest seem to appeal to him.
Arabella Boy has never acted around this track and while Outlaw Pete won here when Bostons was seven lengths back in second, there is a 15lbs swing in our favour now and that is not insignificant. I would definitely like to think Bostons will be bang there jumping the last and he should be in the frame.
I like the idea of an each-way double with Texas Jack. Regular readers will know I rate the horse highly and his form ties in well with Lord Windermere, Lyreen Legend and Boston Bob. Dynaste looks the likeliest winner but Texas Jack’s form is rock solid.
The one issue is that he is a hold-up horse and Paul Carberry is the ideal man for that job. Unfortunately, he got injured in a fall on Tuesday. So if he’s not available, whoever gets the ride will have to do his best Carberry impression.
It’s hard to look beyond the top two in the betting for the Ryanair Chase. Cue Card has very good form but First Lieutenant is my idea of the winner. He comes alive at Cheltenham in March, has done very well in some of the top three-mile chases and I think these are his optimum conditions.
There isn’t a standout in the World Hurdle. Oscar Whisky will relish the drying ground. There are question marks over whether he’ll stay but I don’t think they’ll go as fast as last year. There seems to be a bit of confidence about Smad Place, who was third last year, and he is good each-way value.
Meanwhile, it’s great to see the Irish winners continuing to flow, with five yesterday. But putting national loyalties aside, all horse-lovers will have loved watching Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase. Sizing Europe ran a great race, brought it to his
opponent, but Sprinter Sacre was just too good.
Nicky was very emotional afterwards but there is huge pressure in that type of situation. I was delighted to hear him talk about Punchestown afterwards. If he brings him, people will travel just for the opportunity to see a superstar.
I know my son-in-law, Richie Galway, who is racing manager at the track, has been on to him already and I’m pretty sure he will again!