ALBEN STAR WILL BE FITTER THIS TIME
February 5th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News
I hardly ever deliberately tip at odds-on for the simple reason that value is likely to be non-existent and, in any case, the horses in question can be spotted easily enough by everyone without outside help.
I made an exception where Thistlecrack was concerned because I thought he might just about beat even money in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham and he had only one serious rival to beat. In the end he eased slightly to 4/5 and won extremely easily, merely idling between horses until Tom Scudamore asked him to assert.
As I said a week ago, I wanted to make sure of him here rather than accept a pretty short price in the World Hurdle next month. He is around 6/4 for that and, whilst he is admirably consistent and keeps winning at Grade 1 and Grade 2 level, the fact is that we don’t yet know what William Mullins will run in the race. My advice is to be careful and wait until the big day dawns. Thistlecrack is very good indeed but it will be a stronger field next time and one or two will have been trained specifically for the race.
It looks a good card at Sandown on Saturday and I should think PEACE AND CO will leave a disappointing reappearance effort, when he pulled much too hard, well behind in the Listed Contenders Hurdle. This has cut up disappointingly, as has the first race, but things become much more competitive later on.
With the ground riding soft or heavy at so many venues these past few weeks, Jonjo O’Neill has been very quiet. We may have to wait a while for the yard to click into gear but I shall have a little each-way on JOIN THE CLAN in the Grade 3 Betfred Mobile Homes Handicap Hurdle over very nearly three miles at 3pm. Jonjo was very clever with this horse last term and used stable apprentice Paddy Cowley to good effect. The lad can still claim 7lb here (Graded status being offset by the fact that it’s a handicap) and this looks a shrewd move once again. Invicta Lake was a surprise winner of the race last year and is one of those unusual horses, almost certainly better at just short of the full three miles. He is 2lb out of the handicap but can go well again and may nick a place at a big price.
Bristol De Mai is a relentless galloper and has a very fair chance in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase. I’m not sure he is top class but this is another event to have cut up and he will take the beating.
Otherwise my thoughts centre on the Lingfield AW programme where there is £25,000 in the pot for the Listed Fast Track Qualifier. The two to look at here are our old friend ALBEN STAR, who will have benefited from his reappearance effort behind Chookie Royale (he can reverse the form) and RIVELLINO, who had Alben Star a few lengths behind when winning a similar race over course and distance nearly a year ago. Alben Star had not run for several months and will make a race of it this time. I seldom recommend backing two but that will have to be the way of it here and a small reversed forcast is not such a bad idea either.