Monthly Archives: November 2014
You might recall I tipped Medermit for the Charlie Hall where, like all good EW bets, he finished 4th. He’s had just 4 runs since a two-year layoff, and in his past two, he’s shown signs of returning to some kind of decent form. At his best he was just short of top class. Whether he can reach his old level of form again must be doubtful, but there’s sufficient attraction in the price to take the chance he can do well enough to place – and he might just win it.
It’s a race full of questions: Can Silv Conti bounce back from a poor run? Can Menorah build on his Charlie Hall victory (over a trip short of the advertised distance, though he didn’t look like he was stopping). Cue Card…one of my favourite horses of all time, yet I cannot back him until I see a return of the sparkle he showed in this race last year. I don’t recall seeing a horse stop the way he did in the King George, going from a smooth rhythmic gallop to almost a walk without having shown any obvious signs of exhaustion. He didn’t run again that season, after a stress fracture of his pelvis was diagnosed. He was also given a breathing op (which always sows a seed of doubt in my mind about any horse). At Exeter, on his return, he was very heavily bet in the market, but faded rather tamely some way out. I’d love to see him bounce back, but I’m holding off for now.
Dynaste was 2nd in this last year before getting trounced in the KG at Kempton. He’s likable, but I don’t believe he’s top class. Harry Topper faces not just classy opponents, but a need for very soft ground and a lot of luck in jumping.
Double Ross always gives everything, but he too is short of this class, I think. Taquin du Seuil is the fly in the ointment. He’s good, and improving. But this is his third race of the season, and that’s an unusual strategy for one of Jonjo’s festival Grade 1 horses. I thought he’d go very steady with this young horse, so maybe he fancies him very strongly here! I like TDS, but 5/1 seems no value.
I believe Medermit will be staying on as well as anything, and he’s entitled to have improved from the Charlie Hall. 25/1 is generally available and makes plenty appeal EW.
Many reading this might share that sentiment because Purple Bay’s profile is far removed from that of a typical champion hurdler these days. Musselburgh, Stratford, and Taunton have been his stamping grounds rather than Cheltenham, Sandown and Newbury.
He’s not trained by Nicholls or Henderson, but by John Ferguson. The jock who’s had most success on him is a 7lb claimer. But the manner of his victory in the Elite Hurdle last Saturday bore the stamp of a fast-improving horse, for whom a solid plan has been laid out.
Irving’s last flight fall in the race seems to have diverted attention from Purple Bay’s performance. He was first to come under pressure when hitting a flat spot turning into the straight, but when he got back on the bridle, he came away from his pursuers with ease and won with some authority, ears pricked and it took Mikey Ennis a while to pull up.
That was his first run since finishing 7 of 20 in the Galway Hurdle, a race which came within 12 days of his easy Market Rasen victory. I suspect his runs will be a bit more spaced out from now. He has an entry in the Fighting Fifth on November 29th.
At this time last year, Purple Bay had an official rating of 130. It’s now 161. The current champion hurdler Jezki is rated 169. At the front of the festival market are Jezki, Faugheen and The New One, a horse I’ve always liked but one I now believe is just lacking that killer touch.
I’m not saying Purple Bay will win the Champion, but 50s is way too big in my opinion. The experts believe the horse has quirks; other than the habit of hitting a flat spot, (and he seems to run around a bit approaching some flights) I’ve seen nothing to worry me enough not to back him at that price. He’s just 5 and will still be learning. He wouldn’t want to hit that flat spot at a critical stage in a Champion Hurdle, but the hill should be a significant advantage to his racing style.
If he turns up at Newcastle, we’ll learn an awful lot more about him. For now, I’m content to take the chance.
Good luck – and for those unused to ante-post betting, the usual warning: if your horse does not run in the event, your money is lost.