The dream grows for connections of Coral Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude
after he was handed an entry for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on
Trained by Michael Scudamore for a syndicate that includes
rugby union stars James Simpson-Daniel and Mike Tindall, Monbeg
Dude saw his rating climb by a further 10lb to an official mark of 138
following his Chepstow triumph, having also gone up 7lb for his victory at
Cheltenham in November.
With Gold Cup winners having an average official
rating in the 170s over the past decade, Scudamore admits Monbeg Dude requires
significant further improvement to earn his place in the field, although a
satisfying performance in the Haydock Grand National Trial next month could
result in his Cheltenham entry being taken up.
Should Monbeg Dude head
for the Gold Cup on March 15 - for which he was a 66-1 shot with the sponsors on
Wednesday - he would be attempting a double, although not necessarily in the
same season, completed by Synchronised last year and also in the last 30 years
by Burrough Hill Lad, Cool Ground and Master Oats.
Scudamore said: "It's
probably very, very speculative and he'll have to go to Haydock next month and
be very impressive there. We're probably getting carried away and dreaming but
if he was very impressive at Haydock and it came up very soft at Cheltenham we'd
be disappointed that we didn't spend £600 to put him in. We'll keep all doors
open for now."
A total of 40 entries were made for the Gold Cup, and
following a pounding from the weather over the last few months, a few days of
sunshine has helped Cheltenham’s ground stage a recovery.
meeting at Cheltenham takes place on Saturday, January 26, with fresh ground to
be opened up for the Festival in March afterwards.
Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said on Wednesday: “I’d probably call the
ground soft, good to soft in places and it’s recovered well. Up until New Year’s
Day we averaged an inch a week for nine months and had the best part of three
inches in the ten days before we called it off. It took five days to dry out to
a stage where it was raceable.
“The forecast for next week is a bit colder and I’m sure at some stage
we’ll get more frost that the one week we had in December. The ground we race on
between October and January is different to that we use in March which is behind
rails and hasn’t been used since.
Another interesting entry is Venetia Williams improving french bred gelding Katenko. Following his good win from John's Spirit at Sandown last weekend he has been raised 11lb to 147 - He is currently available at 66/1 with Bet Victor for the Gold Cup and he could be anything.
"He gallops and jumps and he´d maintain that gallop all day. I´m sure the
National will be on his agenda one day, and although he´s only seven he´s very
sure-footed and you would swear he had been doing it all his life". - Aidan
Tom George is in great form at the moment with sevearl wins in the last 14 days and his Gold Cup dark horse Mail De Bievre (66/1) could reappear at Newbury
next month. The eight-year-old was a high-class performer in France but has not
been seen since running over hurdles in September 2011.
Tom George said in arecent interview: "Mail De Bievre has been with me for a couple of months. He came
over from France a year ago and did his pre-training with Chloe Roddick before
joining me. He is a very exciting horse to have in the yard. He had an injury but touch
wood hopefully he has got over that. We are just taking things one step at a
time with him. So far, everything is going according to plan. The plan is to go for the Denman Chase at Newbury with him as that looks a
good place to start. You don't know with horses until they run, but he looks
right and is showing us all the right signs. Newbury will tell us where we are
with him. His form in France is the best. I asked the handicapper just out of interest
what his mark would be and they said as his last mark in France was 175, they
would now rate him 160 due to the time he has been off the track."
I have been a follower of racing from an early age with my first memory being trying to pick the winner of the Derby in 1965. This interest has moved on to having shares in horses which has resulted in wins at the Dubai Festival, with Turn on the Style, and more recently with Tatlisu in the Ayr Silver Cup.
This blog is primarily about sprinters which I have always had an interest in and it will cover most 5f and 6f races throughout the season.