You really had to feel for young trainer, Ruth Jefferson, when her stable star, Waiting Patiently, lost his 6 race unbeaten record over fences in cruel fashion in last week’s King George. Held up out the back, he had jumped the first eight fences in impeccable style, and travelling really well within himself, was badly hampered by the fall of Bristol De Mai at the 9th where he unshipped pilot, Hughes. However, as the old proverb says, “every cloud has a silver lining” and any followers of Oddsguru’s EW selection, Clan Des Obeaux, (advised at around 20/1) will have been on good terms with themselves. He won the race in quite impressive fashion, and put himself firmly in The Cheltenham Gold Cup picture. Connections of many of Saturday’s Grade1 Tolworth Hurdle contenders, will also be dreaming of Cheltenham glory, none more so than the
JP McManus team, who have 4 entries at the time of writing, including the current market leader, Rathhill.
By the strong stayer, Getaway, he finished a distant 2nd in his sole PTP but making his Rules debut at Newbury 17 days ago was quite impressive. Always travelling well on the heels of the leaders, he took it up a furlong out to win readily by 1 1/2L from Nordic, with the 136 rated favourite, Dashel Drasher a further 2 1/2L back in 4th. The ground at Newbury was soft, suggesting that stamina may be Rathhill’s forte, (out of a Milan mare he is from the same family as stayers, Bellshill and Foxbridge) and unless the ground comes up testing on Saturday, JP might have a better chance of landing the spoils with his easy Kempton winner, Epatante.
A son of No Risk At All, (best at 10f) he won 2 NHF flat races (including at Grade1 level) over 12f in France and was sent of the 8/15 Fav for his British debut at Kempton where the result was never in doubt, cantering home, 3 1/2L in front of the now rated, 117
Eye Up Rocky. Out of the Silver Rainbow mare, Kadjara, his pedigree strongly suggests that around 2miles will be his optimum trip, (hasn’t been entered for the 21f Ballymore Novices at Cheltenham in March) and could find Saturday’s trip ideal.
Colin Tizzard (pictured), who won with Finian’s Oscar 2 years ago runs the 140 rated Elixir De Nutz and this steadily progressive 5yo has won both his last 2 races. Having won a Cheltenham Grade 2 in November he was sent off a 6/5 Fav for a Class 3 at the same venue 3 weeks ago and obliged in pretty convincing fashion beating Jarveys Plate by
1 3/4L giving him 10lbs. The runner up underlined the form with an iimpressive 13L victory on New Years Day at Prestbury Park (20f) in a Class1 event, beating the Henderson hotpot, I Can’t Explain. Strong form indeed and we have yet to see the best of this son of Al Namix.
Paul Nicholls has won the Tolworth 4 times and has 2 entered, Southfield Stone and Grand Sancy. The former has won both starts over hurdles, last time at odds of 2/9. He won the Taunton Class 4 as a 2/9 shot should, but as the runner up had been beaten a total of 68L in his 2 previous races, we are little the wiser. However all he could do was beat what was put in front of him, and with the Ditcheat operation firing on all cylinders is hard to ignore. Grand Sancy has achieved more on the book but finishing 4th in an Ascot Handicap off a mark of 137 last time is unlikely to be good enough even if he gets his preferred good ground.
The Olly Murphy trained Brewin’Upastorm kept on well to finish 4L behind the exciting Champ in last week’s Grade 1 Challow Hurdle and previously had won well at Huntingdon but will need to improve.
Ben Pauling (pictured) has a very promising prospect with the well named Bright Forecast. The 5yo finished a distant 3rd in his only PTP but was a revelation when making his rules debut in a Newbury Class3 Maiden Hurdle in November. Starting at 20/1 in the 20 lrunner heat he got up close home, despite getting the last all wrong, to beat Sevarano a neck in a respectable time for the conditions, (Soft). Further progress was evident 10 days ago when he easily beat the ex flat horse Humble Hero conceding 6lbs. Making all in that Leicester Class 3 was a particularly meritorious performance, and the future is certainly looking “Bright” for the Pauling 5yo.
Selection : Elixir De Nutz (If abs Apatante)
EW. : Bright Forecast