ANOTHER significant weekend for racing as the build up and anticipation towards the Cheltenham Festival grows.
Unfortunately it was for the wrong reasons that racing made the headlines this weekend. I’d like to start this week’s article by saying my thoughts are with the connections of both horses, and may we all move on from this terrible event.
Unbeaten Champion Hurdle candidate PEDDLERS CROSS aims to continue his unbeaten record when running in the Victor Chandler Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso on Thursday. Donald McCain plans to run his stable star in the race after he missed his previous engagement due to a minor setback.
The 2007 Champion Hurdle winner Sublimity is being sent over for the £15,000 race, and trainer Robbie Hennessy is rather bullish about his horse’s claims: “I’ve never been to Kelso but I’d say it’s 99% that we’ll be there this week. Everything I run in Britain seems to do quite well and we’ve been lucky enough to pick up a bit of prize-money.” Although Zaynar lost this race en route to his Champion Hurdle race when going off the 1/16 favourite, Peddlers Cross appears to be something special. The ease with which he won the rescheduled Fighting Fifth hurdle at Newbury illustrated his class, and he should be too strong for this field.
RADIUM has a fantastic chance of opening his account over fences when going to Ffos Las for the Dunraven Windows Novice Chase. He was unlucky to be brought down in his last race at Cheltenham in December, and the form has had an almighty boost with Wishfull Thinking and Spirit River both winning comfortably since. Radium is rated 11lbs better off at the weights than any of his prospective rivals, and with stable jockey Barry Geraghty set to ride, he has a massive chance.
A horse that is definitely worth another look and is entered to run at Punchestown on Thursday is the Edward O’ Grady trained CASH AND GO. He hacked up on his debut last week in testing ground at Thurles, entering the betting for the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival for which the prices have been snapped up and he is now as low as 12/1, from 25s. Cash and Go is from the same connections as the Champion Chaser Big Zeb, and after proving he relishes heavy ground, could well be turned out quickly to good effect.
An outsider that has a good each way chance is the HEEZ A STEAL, who runs in the 2.40 at Kelso in the Lloyd Vaderstad Handicap Chase. Trained by George Charlton, Heez A Steal made a game return after a 253 day absence in a Catterick handicap last time out finishing fourth at 40/1. He has finished in the first four in his last 12 runs, winning three, has course and distance form, all of which point to him running a big race at a good price.
Wednesday, February 16
Cash and Go (Punch) 4.10 2pt Win
Thursday, February 17
Radium (Ffos Las) 3.40pm 3pts Win NAP
Peddlers Cross (Kelso) 3.50pm 2pt Win
Heez a Steel (Kelso) 2.40pm 1pt EW