ROBERT COOPER OFF THE BOX
TV celebrity with fancies for weekend
The only certainty this weekend is Storm Callum – not a horse I’m sorry to say – so shut all the windows otherwise your neighbours could be salvaging stray pages of this publication from their gardens.
The brunt of the storm may have struck already, although I’m prepared for some buffeting at Chepstow this afternoon. The waterproof trousers are due for their first outing of the autumn; although there’s a fair chance I wore them yesterday at Newton Abbot for their final fixture of 2018. When in doubt go watertight!
We can now assume Summer Jumping season is over, and there are many, myself included, who reckon the two-day Chepstow fixture heralds the start of the winter game.
Rain has been in short supply and even if it pours for the next week, I doubt we’ll see many of the stars in action for a while. However, last weekend at Uttoxeter Neil King’s LIL ROCKERFELLER made a winning chasing debut. He’s been a fabulous horse to own – and follow – and the signs look encouraging for a fruitful novice chasing campaign.
I was crestfallen on the day he was denied victory by just
¾ length in the 2016 Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. He jumped competently on Sunday over a trip probably on the sharp side. Stepping up to three miles will play to his strengths. I’m also making a note of the horse he beat, Nicky Henderson’s WENYER READY FREDDIE who looked like causing a minor upset until LIL ROCKERFELLER put the race to bed at the final fence.
I have never been tempted to own a racehorse until a couple of months ago when I succumbed to what I considered only mild armtwisting to buy a minute share – probably an ear or toenail – of a four-year-old grey gelding called ROYAL SUNDAY. He was due to be entered by his trainer Alex Hales for a novice hurdle at Huntingdon on Tuesday but he’ll wait for the ground to ease before I can get too animated. Previously with Alan King, he’s run just twice for Alex winning at Hereford before falling three out at Towcester when in with a shout. I’ll give you the nod when he’s ready to roll.
One facet of ownership is, despite my miniscule share, I go round telling anyone who will listen about ‘my horse’.
By total contrast, I’ve been staggered by the prices paid at Tattersalls October Yearling Sales this week. On Tuesday Coolmore’s MV Magnier forked out 3,400,000 guineas for a Galileo- sired brother to Beresford Stakes winner Japan, and just 24 hours later David Redvers on behalf of Qatar Racing paid 3,500,000 guineas for a brother to TOO DARN HOT, favourite to win today’s Group One Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
I could buy hundreds of ROYAL SUNDAYS for that kind of money.
TOO DARN HOT is unbeaten in three starts and has looked impressive on each occasion but I reckon his price is too darn skinny for my liking, and Aiden O’Brien’s ANTHONY VAN DYKE
[3.00 NEWMARKET] looks a viable alternative at far more tempting odds.
O’Brien has won four of the last five renewals and this Galileo colt has won three of his five starts. He was second to a smart Godolphin colt QUARTO in the National Stakes at the Curragh last month and was due to run at Longchamp last Sunday, but runs here instead.
He looks the pick of the O’Brien trio in a riveting race. TOO DARN HOT will be tough to beat and the joker in the pack could be another unbeaten colt, Sir Michael Stoute’s SANGARIUS. ANTHONY VAN DYKE gets my vote.
Of the 34 runners in the 2¼ mile Cesarewitch, Willie Mullins saddles seven, headed by the favourite STRATUM who is on the comeback trail after failing to land a monumental gamble in the Ebor Handicap at York.
It certainly went pear-shaped as jockey Robert Winston was boxed in with no means of extrication; in fact he was almost jettisoned from the saddle when bumped while attempting a vain bid for freedom. There’ll be a few with burnt fingers who return to the furnace today, but I won’t be one of them.
In such a massive field, I’m looking for a lively long shot, and I’ll take a punt on Jane Chapple Hyam’s recent Yarmouth winner UBER COOL [3.40 NEWMARKET] who arrives in the form of his life – he’s won three of his last four starts.
With handy five pound claimer Ray Dawson on board he has a fine chance of finishing in the first half dozen – check the bookies each way terms as there are bound to be some tempting offers. Another outsider I fancy to run well is Tony Martin’s GOLDEN SPEAR – he finished a cricket pitch behind STARS OVER THE SEA in the trial over C&D but should be closer today.
NORWAY [1.50 NEWMARKET] can get the O’Brien camp off to a flyer in the opener. A 6½ length winner of a maiden at Naas earliHales, er this month, the brother to Derby winner RULE THE WORLD looks a colt with a bright future. Look closely how John Gosden’s WALDSTERN runs in the same race as the horse that beat him at Haydock, KADAR [2.25 NEWMARKET] must have a great chance in the Group Three Autumn Stakes. He could be yet another star for trainer Karl Burke. That Haydock victory was his one and only race and he looks certain to improve.
Charlie Hills’ MOTAGALLY [2.40 YORK] looks a decent each way bet in the Group Three Rockingham Stakes.
He showed bags of speed from a tardy start to win at Wolverhampton last month and as long as Storm Callum doesn’t play havoc with the Knavesmire going, he could go well at decent odds.
“I’m looking for a lively long shot, and I’ll take a punt on Jane Chapple Hyam’s recent Yarmouth winner UBER COOL who arrives in the form of his life – he’s won three of his last four starts”
Value: Uber Cool is worth backing each way each way in the Cesarewitch
Punt: Jane Chapple-Hyam