Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 16 December 2017

Your pinstickers guide to the big race

Paddy Brennan. Photo: PA Wire
Paddy Brennan. Photo: PA Wire

The runners and riders in today's showpiece showdown.

The Last Samuri (20/1)

Paul Townend. Photo: Sportsfile
Paul Townend. Photo: Sportsfile

(David Bass)

Rating: 7 (out of 10)

A real likeable genuine horse who put up a real brave performance in this race last year only to be collared late by Rule The World. Won't be easy to go one better this year under top weight but could well make the frame.

More of That (14/1)

(Barry Geraghty) 7

A Stayers' Hurdle winner at the Cheltenham Festival, beating Annie Power in 2014, he was beaten by 10 lengths in a Gold Cup last month but in between he has had his issues, including a year off. Still has bags of class but only eight runs over fences. High on the shortlist.

Shantou Flyer (66/1)

(Jonathan Moore) 4

Barry Geraghty. Photo: PA Wire
Barry Geraghty. Photo: PA Wire

Grand horse throughout a career that started with Colin Bowe and saw him earn decent prize money. Nothing in hand of the handicapper and little to suggest he could finish in front of the two above him.

Perfect Candidate (50/1)

(Paddy Brennan) 3

Was 32 lengths behind Cause Of Causes at Cheltenham last year so has a good bit to turn around with that horse alone, has caused a few upsets since then and this would be the biggest of all.

Saphir du Rheu (20/1)

Leighton Aspell. Photo: Sportsfile
Leighton Aspell. Photo: Sportsfile

(Sam Twiston-Davies) 7

Out-ran his odds in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, finishing fifth. Jumping has been an issue in the past and might struggle to back up that Gold Cup effort here.

Roi des Francs (40/1)

(Jack Kennedy) 5

Well placed to pick up some nice prizes in Ireland but St Patrick's Day win was first in over a year and while trainer can't be ignored, this would be an incredible effort to win.

Wounded Warrior (66/1)

(Sean Flanagan) 4

Trip is perfect, form of late isn't and it's hard to make a case for him. Pulled up in the Bobbyjo at Fairyhouse last time.

Wonderful Charm (40/1)

(Katie Walsh) 5

Ran a blinder in the Foxhunters' at Cheltenham under our own Katie Walsh. On his day he could mix it in good company but those days, unfortunately, look to be gone a few years.

Tenor Nivernais (50/1)

(Liam Treadwell) 6

Just a real consistent type who has been in the first four on 10 of his last 12 starts. Hard to see him having the class required to win this though.

Blaklion (14/1)

(Noel Fehily) 9

Fifth in the Hennessy and laid out for this then. Won the RSA last year and if he settles here it would give him a good chance. You could have a punt on worse horses in the 40.

Drop out Joe (50/1)

(Tom O'Brien) 4

Trip and ground shouldn't be a problem but without a run since last June and never graced the same company as some of his rivals. Few pieces of form point to him.

Le Mercurey (66/1)

(Sean Bowen) 7

Le Mercurey shouldn't be the price he is. You have form that ties in with Native River and Many Clouds. Still only seven and maybe the penny is dropping with him. A lively long shot.

The Young Master (16/1)

(Sam Waley-Cohen) 6

Looked to have proven stamina when winning at Sandown last season, fell here in Becher before Christmas. Needs to improve.

Cause of Causes (14/1)

(Jamie Codd) 7

An emphatic winner of the Cross Country race at Cheltenham for a third Festival win. Many people's major fancy. Might just find a couple too good here but a definite player.

Regal Encore (66/1)

(Robbie Power) 4

Since January last year Regal Encore has completed just two out of six, second at the Punchestown Festival and a winner at Ascot. Hard to trust over the big ones here.

Vieux Lion Rouge (12/1)

(Tom Scudamore) 7

Has raced just twice, winning both, since finishing seventh behind Rule The World as a seven-year-old last year. Experience around here is a big plus and won the Becher back in December. Prominent in the betting.

Definitly Red (10/1)

(Danny Cook) 6

Good consistent horse but not always the soundest of jumpers and was beaten when unseating off a nice mark in the Peter Marsh. Not for me.

Ucello Conti (16/1)

(Daryl Jacob) 6

Looked an obvious candidate for this race when going the scenic route in the Thyestes Chase last year and then finished sixth behind Rule The World. Without a win since 2014 and that has to be a worry.

Double Shuffle (28/1)

(Adrian Heskin) 6

Runs off a mark 6 lbs higher than when winning at Kempton over Christmas but nice weight of 10 st 12 lbs for this. Other big-priced horses are preferred.

Houblon des Obeaux (50/1)

(Charlie Deutsch) 4

Ground would probably need to be a shade slower for him. Not disgraced in Welsh National but would need to cause a massive upset.

Pleasant Company (12/1)

(Ruby Walsh) 7

Won the Bobbyjo under exceptional guidance from Ruby Walsh and represents connections that are forever dangerous. Ground and trip not an issue but may just need improve.

One for Arthur (16/1)

(Derek Fox) 8

No problem with the extended trip, had a nice introduction to the National fences in the Becher over an inadequate trip, right age profile and ground poses no issue. Will give backers a good run for money.

Ballynagour (80/1)

(David Noonan) 3

Pulled up on last three starts was travelling well but with a bit to go when crashing out last year. Classy on his day but deserves to be a big price on recent form. Might be time to do the lotto if this lad wins.

O'faolains Boy (66/1)

(Paul Townend) 6

Was able to run well for a long way in the Gold Cup last year but no sign of that form this term. If he can rekindle the spark, he might run well.

Highland Lodge (28/1)

(Henry Brooke) 7

Just the three runs in a year and half, winning the Becher, touched off in the Becher and pulled up in between in the Scottish Grand National. May just lack what's required.

Bishops Road (50/1)

(Jamie Moore) 5

Unseated rider at the first fence in the Topham last year and hasn't really troubled the judge since. Could only be considered a very small chance.

Lord Windermere (50/1)

(Leighton Aspell) 2

Positive jockey booking but hard to fancy of late. A Gold Cup winner going the wrong way in the ratings.

Saint Are (25/1)

(Davy Russell) 6

Pulled up here last year having been second the previous year to Many Clouds.

Vicente (20/1)

(Brian Hughes) 8

Has a chance. Proved his stamina winning the Scottish National and if he can get back to last year's level he is off a lovely weight.

Just a Par (50/1)

(Harry Cobden) 6

Beaten out of sight in this last year but won last month. Doesn't seem to bring his 'A' game every day.

Measureofmydreams (50/1)

(Donagh Meyler) 2

Last year's run in four-miler at Cheltenham one of his best but nothing in two runs this year.

Raz de Maree (33/1)

(Ger Fox) 8

Would be half his price if ground was softer. In great form, one to watch.

Stellar Notion (50/1)

(David Mullins) 7

A frontrunner, few are likely to be travelling better four out, it's just a case of what happens after that.

Rogue Angel (22/1)

(Bryan Cooper) 7

Can be forgiven for Punchestown run last season after winning Irish National. Don't ignore.

Cocktails at Dawn (66/1)

(Nico de Boinville) 1

Could probably be twice the price. Won't be winning.

Thunder and Roses (33/1)

(Mark Enright) 5

Another Irish National winner but Rogue Angel preferred.

Gas Line Boy (80/1)

(Robert Dunne) 2

Hard to make any case for this one.

Goodtoknow (100/1)

(Jake Greenall) 4

A stayer but on this ground, it will all happen to late for him.

La Vaticane (100/1)

(Richie McLernon) 3

Pulled up at Cheltenham. No appeal off current handicap mark.

Doctor Harper (33/1)

(Conor O'Farrell) 6

Wants this sort of trip. Wouldn't be the greatest sporting shock ever.

Irish Independent

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