Newbury Reflections

December 1st, 2017 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

There were plenty of long-term pointers at Newbury today.

Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power have high hopes for the opening maiden hurdle winner Lostintranslation when he can race on good ground in the spring. The jockey said afterwards that he loved the way the horse had come back on the bridle after making a mistake at the third last at Chepstow in October and that next time there was no disgrace in being beaten by the useful Claimantakinforgan.

Knowing how the trainer works it wouldn’t surprise me to see the son of Flemensfirth put away for one of the novice hurdles at Cheltenham in March.

Bigmartre, winner of the next race on the card, also has spring targets on the agenda. More relaxed now than last season, the six-year-old will probably be aimed at the Kingmaker Chase at Warwick with the Manifesto Chase at Aintree looking ideal for him a little later.

Santini made an encouraging UK debut for Nicky Henderson in the extended 2m 4f novices’ hurdle. They took their time with him last year and the plan is to go gently this season with a view to his switching to fences in the autumn.

I was delighted to see Willoughby Court jump so boldly to win the 2m 4f novices’ chase. He already looks a natural for the JLT, having landed the Neptune at the Festival in March. Yanworth, rated 13lb superior over hurdles, didn’t really have a cut at the fences but stayed on steadily after the last to finish a closing second. He was reported afterwards to have suffered an overreach.

Followers of Topspeed in the Racing Post would have collected a tidy sum if they backed 40/1 winner Beer Goggles in the Long Distance Hurdle. Topspeed figures gave the six-year-old a clear advantage over the others based on his strong-finishing third the time before at Aintree.

Thistlecrack travelled well for a long way until tiring approaching the second last whereupon he was allowed to come home in his own time. Unowhatimeanharry battled on gamely to finish second while Colin’s Sister was never travelling quite as well as she had been at Wetherby. The ground may not have been quite soft enough for her.

I expect Thistlecrack to still take his chance at Kempton, for which he is now a top price of 10/1 behind the 7/4 favourite Might Bite. Bristol De Mai is next best at a top price of 5/1 with Fox Norton and Sizing John at 8/1. Tea For Two is not out of it either at 20/1.

At Doncaster Sangha River landed one of the biggest gambles of the season in the bumper. Generally available at 5/1 last night, the son of Arcadio just held on to beat Kingsplace by a fast-diminishing head at odds of 10/11. The four-year-old had not looked an obvious winner when unseating his rider in a point-to-point in Ireland in February but his young trainer Olly Murphy knows the time of day and this was yet another shrewd touch for the yard.

I expect time to show this was a fair bumper.

Bye for now