Bobs Worth loves it here too much to fail
Published 14/03/2014 | 02:30
For the second time this week, I picked the wrong one when I opted for At Fishers Cross in yesterday's Ladbrokes World Hurdle rather than the winner, More Of That.
Once again, I was pleased for the boss, JP McManus and Jonjo O'Neill, but inside I was kicking myself. Even Taquin du Seuil's win in the earlier JLT Novice Chase, my first of the week, could not make up for that.
I knew there was not much between them. At Fishers Cross probably ran the best race of his life, but it was not good enough and More Of That had improved more since his last run than I could have envisaged.
That is the problem when you have so many nice horses to ride and, though people will tell you it is a good problem to have, it does not feel that good just now.
Bobs Worth looks a very worthy favourite for the Betfred Gold Cup (3.20) today.
As far as I can see, there is only one negative, which is that it is all too easy to forget how difficult it is to win back-to-back Gold Cups.
Best Mate's achievement of winning three on the bounce just shows what a good horse he was, but before him you had to go back to L'Escargot in 1970 and 1971 for a dual winner. Even two-time winner Kauto Star did not win it in consecutive years.
Silviniaco Conti looks the danger, but Bobs Worth loves this place so much I think he will prove hard for the Paul Nicholls horse to overcome.
Beyond the top two, there are loads of us in with place chances and my ride, Triolo D'Alene, is one of them.
He first came to prominence at Aintree last April and continued with his improvement when taking the Hennessy in November.
His goal since that Aintree win had been the Grand National, but he has been working so well at home that Nicky Henderson thought the Gold Cup was a better option than a handicap with top weight. He has kept surprising the trainer and let us hope that does not stop today.
I start in the JCB Triumph Hurdle (1.30) on Plinth. He won first time out at Leopardstown, but was a bit disappointing last time when only third to Guitar Pete, which I rate as the pick of the Irish runners.
Plinth is trained by Aidan O'Brien, which is a huge positive, and hopefully has a good each-way chance at a nice price. Calipto is the best of the home team.
The Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle (2.05) is another lottery. Minella Foru is a bit short on experience and although, by implication, that suggests he might be unexposed, I think experience probably counts for more than a good handicap mark in a race like this.
Cheltenian is the one that stands out for me. Although it might be a lucky dip with an outsider to finish in the top four, Cash And Go could be one at a big price.
I have always considered Briar Hill one of the stronger members of the Willie Mullins team this week and he looks the one to beat in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle (2.40). Captain Cutter needs to improve on his Challow Hurdle win to trouble him – he won't mind the ground, though.
I can have a rest after the Gold Cup as I sit out both the CGA Foxhunters (4.0) and the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hurdle (4.40).
My 2014 Festival will conclude on Mr Mole (5.15). He is a bit quirky, but has ability. He is not the horse I would want my last pound on, that is for sure, but he could win just as easily as he could be unsighted and fall. If he does not get out of bed on the right side, the two I like are Anquetta and Next Sensation. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Irish Independent Supplement