Outsider to note
industry tissue prices suggest that Lorum Leader, a horse which is expected to figure prominently in the two-mile-six-furlong handicap chase at Market Rasen tomorrow, could trade at up to 12/1, and the 10-year-old would be value at those odds.
With a full 25lbs separating the top and bottom weights and just one horse bringing winning form into the race, the 15-runner contest is wide open. Aside from a substandard effort around Towcester's stiff course, Lorum Leader has run respectably in his three other starts this term.
Crucially, though, his handicap mark has continued to fall, going from 128, a career high, 12 months ago, to 106 now. On a track that he has won and been second at in three starts, it will be a surprise if he doesn't make that respite count.
Leopardstown 1.45 -- Flat Out
Leopardstown 2.45 -- Hurricane Fly
Leopardstown 3.20 -- Si C'Etait Vrai
Market Rasen 2.55 -- Lorum Leader
2,500,000 What you could reportedly expect to pay in pounds sterling for Tony McCoy's Lambourn home, which is now on the market.
2 The number of times John Larkin's Sunday winner Bayross has now won -- from just four starts -- at odds of 33/1.
10 The in-form Barry Geraghty's haul from his last 15 rides.
Quote of the week
"The level of participation in racing continues to weaken, with new owners down by almost half since 2007, from 1,449 to 776, and horses in training down from 12,188 to 11,136 over the same period. This has direct effects on employment in the racing industry, which has already lost thousands of jobs. Those trends pose a continuing threat to the skills base that underpins Irish racing's success." -- HRI's chief executive Brian Kavanagh on the 2010 industry figures that were released this week.
Three things we
learned this week
1 For the first time in 23 completed starts for Paul Nicholls since 2004, Kauto Star didn't finish in the first two when third to Long Run in the King George last Saturday.
Following subsequent revelations that the 14-time Grade One winner bled and that tests showed up an infection, it was a remarkably brave effort and Nicholls, renowned for bringing horses back from such knocks, will have him in tip-top shape again come March. Expect more to finish behind than in front of him in the Gold Cup.
2 The Turf Club did itself no favours in the PR battle with its union-led officials by fouling up events at Gowran Park. Shortcuts in procedures meant that the governing body declared the track raceable on Wednesday morning following consultation with the racecourse, only for Thursday's meeting to be abandoned later in the day when it came to light that parts of the track were frozen.
3 Dunguib will need plenty of luck if he is to bring his 'A' game to Cheltenham. The 2009 Champion Bumper hero had his return put on hold again this week due to a poor blood test, so things will have to go his way from here on if he is to pose any sort of threat to the likes of Binocular and Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle.
Monday: Kempton (AW), Wetherby, Wolverhampton (AW)
Tuesday: Navan, Leicester, Sedgefield, Southwell (AW)
Wednesday: Limerick, Musselburgh, Huntingdon, Kempton* (AW), Lingfield (AW)
Thursday: Thurles, Kempton* (AW), Southwell (AW), Warwick, Ffos Las
Friday: Doncaster, Fontwell, Lingfield (AW), Wolverhampton* (AW)
Saturday: Fairyhouse, Cheltenham, Doncaster, Lingfield (AW), Uttoxeter
Sunday: Punchestown, Fakenham, Hereford, Kempton (AW)