JUST over a week to the 2020 Cheltenham Festival people provided it takes place!
But who or what has made my latest Good, Bad and Ugly column after some decent action at Doncaster and Kelso over the weekend.
I have to say this column was jumping up and down as a jumpy thing after the Brian Ellison-trained Definitly Red hacked up at Kelso in Listed Chase on Saturday.
As some of you will know, I put up two horses for the Grand National when the weights were released, and Definitly Red was one of them.
I also put him up in the knowledge cheekpieces were soon to be fitted which might just spark him up. And spark him up they did at Kelso, as he jumped for fun under the super positive Danny Cook.
We have Definitly Red at 20-1+ so hopefully he will put up a fine display in April.
Definitly Red and Cook were made for each mother and while things at Aintree have not always gone right he’s shown he can jump the fences no problem. I still think he looks well weighted.
My only little worry would be early speed over the first few obstacles, but other than that he should run a huge one.
Ellison came out and said he thought Definitly Red “will win” the National. I like that!
I can’t tell you how gutted I was that Jerrysback was pulled out of a handicap chase at Doncaster on Saturday.
The official reason given was the going, which had turned to very testing.
Rather oddly Jerrysback had run brilliantly on heavy at Ascot the time before, and has a previous success on heavy at Plumpton!
I put up my Saturday selections online on Friday afternoon, and napped Jerrysback as a cracking each-way bet at 12-1 in a plasce or two.
By Saturday morning he was down to 3-1! Then he was out.
Of course in the great realms of things my selections are relatively irrelevant and horse welfare is everything.
But it’s a frustration when you pick one out, the price collapses with the reason being given the change to a surface that the horse should love and, in this case, making the race a more significant stamina test which was also perfect.
I think racing is being particularly blase about the Coronavirus. The BHA claims it has everything under control as far as Cheltenham in concerned, but I’m surprised everyone is being so confident all will be well for the Festival.
If it was abandoned it’s hard to know when it could be re-scheduled, as that would surely depend on when the virus disappeared. So how can any dates be in place?
And with Aintree and Punchestown just around the corner there are clashes almost straight away.
And who knows whether those meetings would be on as well.
The simple truth is that none of us know what is going on. Let’s just hope the fact that Great Britain is a little island helps!
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