The Eck’s Cheltenham Review

| December 15, 2010 | 2 Replies

I can’t be certain if my delight at last weekend’s jump racing was just down
to the quality of the racing or the recent hole in my life caused by the
abhorrent weather but whatever the reason, it was great to see the crowds
turn out in force to support the winter game and all that it stands for.

I am lucky enough to live here in the centre of Newmarket so I get the best of
both worlds – the exhilaration of the pure speed and class of the classic
generation and the ability to welcome back old friends over the sticks where,
God willing, we get to see them for a whole lot longer.

Last weekend was no exception and on Friday the assembled throng (and a good
crowd for a week day) witnessed some quality action led by the unbeaten
L’Accordioniste who was somehow allowed to start at a very generous 8/1 for
the bang in form Nigel Twiston-Davies team.

We always say that you never know just how good a horse really is until they get
beaten, so we are still in the dark regarding this daughter of Tikkanen who has won a
bumper, a maiden hurdle, a novice hurdle and now a handicap.

She was caught a little flat footed when they quickened up but stayed on nicely to
get up and I wonder if she can step up in trip, where the further improvement
may well outweigh her likely rise in the weights?

In the Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase over just shy of three and a
quarter miles, all the early money was for Faasel who was having his first run of
the season, making this some ask after close to eight months off the track.

As it panned out he was never really sighted before finishing mid division but
must have been showing plenty at home, so perhaps we can forgive him this
tame outing?

Those closest to the David Pipe yard rarely leave their money in the bookmakers’
satchels for very long and will undoubtedly launch a recovery mission in the
near future. As he is unlikely to go up in the weights for this performance, he
should be watched very carefully when they go in again for a serious punt.

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A Saturday To Savour

On Saturday the big guns came out in force and I was mightily impressed with
Time For Rupert who won the three and a quarter mile novice chase without
putting a foot wrong and is firmly on target for Cheltenham BUT cannot be added
to my horses to follow list as all the fancy prices have unsurprisingly
disappeared. Though if you do want to follow him I doubt you will make a loss.

Master Minded looked back to his very best in the Tingle Creek (named after a
horse I used to ride, by the way) and will take all the beating in the Queen
Mother Champion Chase come March but once again his ante post price is too
skinny to be of interest at this stage.

The horse that came out best as a sure fire future winner on the card had to be
novice hurdler Cue Card, the winner of last year’s Champion Bumper and
unbeaten over hurdles until Saturday.

He lost nothing in defeat when going down to Menorah in the International
Hurdle and as long as connections see sense and return him to novice company
this season, he is sure to add to previous victories – especially if they step him up
to two and a half miles, which I think will suit him ever more than the minimum
trip.

From our punter perspective another loser put in a fantastic performance, when
Robinson Collonges finished ninth in the Vote A.P Gold Cup over two miles and
five furlongs.

He looked likely to be involved in the finish before clouting the third from home
which knocked all the stuffing out of him, after which he was pretty much
allowed to come home in his own time.

It should be noted that he is only an inexperienced novice with just four runs
over fences (two wins and a fall prior to this race) so can be forgiven this lapse
and when he returns to novice company, he looks something worth betting on.

Horses to follow:

L’ACCORDIONISTE
FAASEL
CUE CARD
ROBINSON COLLONGES.

Steve Smith-Eccles “The Eck”

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Comments (2)

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  1. MICHAEL GRAINGER says:

    How can we treat ‘The Eck’s’ comments seriously when he refers to the mare, L’Accordioniste, as a ‘son of Tikkanen’?

  2. Matt Houghton Matt Houghton says:

    Good spot Michael. I expect it was a typo – it’s easily done.

    I’ve corrected it now.

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