A Reality Check …

December 3rd, 2021 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there,

I’m not sure that the going is quite as soft as some courses are claiming at the moment. I know how hard it is to provide appropriate jumping ground during dry spells but to my eyes, especially in the long-distance chases, the majority of horses are finishing fresher than you would expect in normal winter conditions.

We do, though, have one of the best races of the season due to take place at Punchestown on Sunday.

The John Durkan Memorial Chase has attracted a field of 10, no fewer than seven of them trained by Willie Mullins.

The highest rated horse in the field is Allaho, on 174, 7lb clear of next best Fakir D’oudairies, with Kemboy a further pound away and Melon next on 164.

Envoi Allen is a top price of 7/4, despite being rated on 163 – 11lb adrift of Allaho and only fifth highest in the field.

For all his reputation and potential, Envoi Allen faces a stiff task and I would go as far as to suggest his current Gold Cup odds of 8/1 will be halved, at least, if he were to win this impressively.

Current favourite A Plus Tard is rated on 174, while last year’s Gold Cup winner is on 175. If Envoi Allen beats Allaho, who is on 174, then he is entitled to a higher rating and that would take him ahead of last year’s Gold Cup first and second.

It promises to be a most informative race – indeed, the most informative race of the season to date.


Bye for now