Might Bite primed to take a chunk out of RSA rivals
The name of the horse escapes me now but around the turn of the century, I was out racing with the old man and reports were coming through about a bloke who had placed ten grand on a horse priced at 1/10.
We were having a lean day on the betting front and barely had the price of a pint left for that evening, and I remember my father muttering something like, 'If you had ten grand, do you really need one more?'
The horse won in the end and I'd be of the view that if someone wants to risk buying money, that's their own business - but I do remember it irked my old man, who grew up in a time when money was extremely scarce in certain parts of Dublin.
He wasn't really around to witness some of the crazy in-running betting stories on the exchanges, and I often wonder what he'd say about a horse like today's RSA Chase (2.10) favourite Might Bite, which has backed at 1/50 in-running on Betfair in the Grade One Kauto Star Novices' Chase before crashing out at the last.
If you look back at the list of previous RSA Chase winners, most came here with winning Grade One or Two form under the belt.
Perhaps that can be seen as a negative mark against Nicky Henderson's eight-year-old today but he had that Kempton race at his mercy before falling, and it was a good quality renewal attracting a strong field after Thistlecrack was sent for the King George instead of the novice race.
He was miles ahead when he fell and it must have been extremely frustrating for connections but the great thing about racing is that there's usually a second chance to make it up, and what better way to do that than a win at the Cheltenham Festival.
Priced 1/7, we didn't learn too much when he won a subsequent race at Doncaster last month - which was basically a warm-up for today. But he's one of the most exciting novices in training at the moment and at the very least, the Doncaster race showed that his confidence had not been affected by the fall.
A decent hurdler in his day, he's beginning to come of age over fences and I'm quite happy with the 3/1 which was available yesterday evening.
It's taken a while to get him to this point but Henderson's patience can be rewarded.
In the opening Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (1.30), I'm quite keen on the consistent Bacardys for Willie Mullins under Ruby Walsh. Third in both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Champion Bumpers last year, the six-year-old looked certain to win a maiden hurdle at Cork before falling, but he has since won two at Leopardstown including a Grade One.
LAY OF THE DAY
While Gaspara won in 2007 and Sanctuaire in 2010, I'm quite keen on opposing the market leaders in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (4.50) as it's a race which is very hard for punters to assess.
Divin Bere is popular in the early markets but the handicapper has taken no chances with a rating of 139 following his successful British debut in January.