Hello Good Morning and Welcome
No sooner does the Winter seem to last forever then suddenly Cheltenham is upon us with all guns blazing. Whether you are there on site next week or taking in all the action at home, or grabbing bits at work, there will be no hiding place. The rain last Tuesday night will have softened the ground enough and we don’t have to worry about the Clerk of the Course having to water and the anomalies that that can cause. The weather is set fair and the ground should be perfect come Tuesday with no advantage to any barring those needing extremes of going.
There is no doubting that since they added the fourth day that some of the races have been diluted and not as competitive as before but as punters I dare say that we will be only too willing to accept any winners that are made available. The clans will be gathering in the Cheltenham watering holes on the Monday night and the usual vows of making it a quiet night will be quickly despatched and the usual array of pain killing and stomach settling medicines will be attacked with alacrity come Tuesday morning.
Just as last year Willie Mullins is in pole position with many of the hot favourites and there will be plenty of multiples containing his runners. Whether we get down to a huge potential pay out on the First Day like last March is unlikely but Bookies will be keen to cut prices to a minimum just in case. I have only got involved with two of his runners and will have to wait till the Friday for them to appear. I have mentioned Up For Review here before and he is a definite runner in the Albert Bartlett. Willie himself said in The Weekender on Wednesday that the horse is fine and over whatever ailed him at Doncaster and that will do for me. I don’t fancy the favourite Barters Hill and think the stablemate Gangster could pose a bigger threat. The other one in my Double is Vautour. I think this horse is sheer class and the Bet of the Week. I know there will be plenty of arguments regarding stamina but when it comes to talent he is out there on his own. Cases will be made for the other usual suspects but as far as I am concerned they are running for second place. Come the day I reckon he will go off clear favourite and win in style.
Other big meeting on the Flat will be approaching soon. While it might be sacrilege indeed to be considering anything other than Cheltenham in the next week it might not hurt to be considering some of the other events coming up. Meydan will command attention and there should be a couple of opportunities. Last weekend we bet Jungle Cat who ran well but where on earth did the winner Fityaan find over a stone improvement at the age of eight and with 37 runs behind him. As expected Jungle Cat stepped up from handicap company but was done a nose. He performed well over the five furlongs and will also be a force when reverting to the six.
I mentioned Jaadu as a horse to follow off a mark of 85 after he got chinned for a three timer the other week. So what do connections do next? Only run him in a Listed race at Lingfield last Saturday rated officially the lowest horse in the race. In what can only be described as one of the roughest races of the year Jaadu got blocked in his move and then finished to good effect to get third place money. Raceform said he might have made a race of it if not hampered. I am not sure but what I am sure of is he would have been a damn good bet off 85 in a handicap!!
One horse I will be keeping an eye on in modest company is Force of Destiny trained by Mrs Ilsa Gansera Leveque. First of all don’t let the name put you off. I was introduced to this lady at Newmarket last year and she is one very talented young cookie. A qualified Vet she is very intelligent and if she should manage to get a few horses to train I wouldn’t doubt for a second that she will be up to producing them fit and well. I put up the Galileo colt at Wolver in February but he did not fire. Next time and stepping up to 12 furlongs he did himself justice if not quite landing the spoils when just getting headed close home in a maiden at Lingfield. Well supported that afternoon, the time of the race was solid and he gets in off a mark of just 67. Definitely one to follow.
My Old Rugby Master was never shy of telling us to ‘Get Your Retaliation In First’ and it’s a maxim I have always borne in mind in other aspects of my life especially betting. While the Flat’s sleeping dogs might be snoozing at the moment it might be worth considering The Derby in June. ‘Tempus Fugit’ and that race will be with us soon enough and we don’t want to be missing the early prices that will quickly disappear once the Classic contenders start stepping up their work on the gallops.
The Derby is my favourite race. As far as I am concerned the 2,000 Guineas comes too soon in the Calendar and has produced plenty of upsets not only over the years but in recent times as well. Night of Thunder went off at 40/1 and Makfi at 33/1 when winning while Camelot was all out to beat a French colt that was never sighted thereafter and top Coolmore prospect Australia could only finish third before going on to be the top horse of his generation. The fact is most horses do not get their summer coats till April and there will be quite a few appearing at The Craven Meeting looking like woolly bears that have only just come down off the mountain. By June thoroughbreds are in full bloom and ready to prove their potential
One colt I mentioned last week is Emotionless and this is one very impressive individual. He is headed for Newmarket and will likely turn up at The Craven. If he should then we will get to see if he has wintered well and developed into a true contender. His breeding does not scream Epsom but he is such a consummate mover that I could well see him freewheeling around the Surrey contours and being there to challenge.
Likewise, I mentioned Royal Artillery last week and while on first spec he is bred for The Rowley Mile there is plenty of 10 furlong evidence to back up the stats for his sire War Front. Should he develop into a leading prospect, John Gosden could well be musing running him over the 12 furlongs at Epsom just as he did last term when considering the stamina potential of Golden Horn.
While these two command attention the one colt I see as my primary prospect for The Blue Riband is Muntazah trained by Owen Burrows. Owen takes over the training from Barry Hills who stood in as trainer last year following the very sad death of his son John Hills. Owen is very experienced and has done his time assisting such as Sir Michael Stoute in his preparation of top class horses such as Derby Winner Workforce. I think the last trainer to win The Derby in his first year training was Roger Charlton with Quest For Fame.
Muntazah is by Dubawi out of the Oaks Placed Rumoush. There are Dubawi’s and then there are Dubawi’s and Muntazah is most definitely a Dubawi. The stud fee for Dubawi has gone up to £225,000 for Season 2016 on the back of some outstanding success and he is probably only second now to Galileo as the most prepotent stallion at stud in Europe and probably the World.
Dubawi is of course from the first and only crop of the wonderful Dubai Millennium whose career I followed ever so closely and whose reports from my writings are listed on my website.
I was at Goodwood the evening Dubawi appeared for his first run. I had travelled down from Epsom having watched The Oaks. He was touted earlier in the day and it was significant that Sheikh Mohammed had followed me as he and his entourage were out in force to see the juvenile even though Sheikh Hamdan had the odds on favourite for the race. The colt was backed from 4/1>11/4 and he won tidily enough without putting too much distance between himself and the rest of the field. It was the same again for the Superlative Stakes at the Newmarket July Meeting. He then fulfilled his potential and stable optimism when bolting up in the National Stakes at The Curragh thus drawing his campaign to a close and was installed as favourite for the 2,000 Guineas.
Dubawi himself did not grow much from two to three and he failed to impress many when reappearing for the 2,000 Guineas. On my paddock notes I had him third in behind the eventual winner Footstepsinthesand and the imposing Rob Roy. What particularly impressed me was the strength in his quarters which were the best on show that afternoon. He improved again before The Derby but was no match on the day behind the outstanding Motivator.
Muntazah’s dam is Rumoush who is a daughter of Sarayir and thus a granddaughter of the incredible broodmare Height Of Fashion. After taking her maiden as a juvenile, Rumoush then beat the colts in the Fielden Stakes before contesting The 1,000 Guineas where she was the clear paddock pick but turned in only seventh behind Special Duty. She was third in Snow Fairy’s Oaks, third in the Prix Psyche before a second in the Park Hill. She was very dull in her coat before tailing off in the Group Two Pride Stakes at HQ. She was then retired to stud.
Muntazah first appeared in the Weatherby Maiden Stakes at the July Meeting. Known in former years as the Strutt and Parker the race has a great record over the years for seeing the introduction of many horses who went on to great things: this year’s King George winner – Postponed being just one example. Muntazah was not fully fit and was unlucky in running beaten a head. He faltered on the soft ground on his next start before taking his maiden in style at Leicester. He had grown a deal before The Royal Lodge – now over the straight mile at HQ and he showed up well before giving best to take a fair third behind the impressive Foundation thus rounding off his first term.
One thing I have found over the years is that big two year olds often fail to immediately fulfil the potential of their physique. You would think that the bigger the horse the bigger the advantage over their contemporaries. This is usually not the case and it is only with the Winter behind them that they start to pull away from the competition.
My theory is that most of their energy is going into the growing process itself and only when the growing is largely complete do we then see that energy transforming into performance and that usually manifests itself in the Spring.
Like Dubawi and Dubai Millennium, Muntazah is a very good quartered sort as well as being a well proportioned well made individual. His breeding ensures that he will be admirably suited to middle distances and there will be few better bred entrants on the day.
The other feature of Dubawi’s stock is how much they improve between two and three years of age. When doing the stats I was quite surprised how much the colts improve between two and three. In fact when it comes to his leading juvenile representatives his 2yo’s are most populated with fillies such as Kiyoshi and Al Thakhira with perhaps only Akeed Mofeed producing a mark of 112 in his juvenile year, as a notable colt. Therefore given his physique and breeding we should expect a deal of improvement from Muntazah. At this stage he is not as perfect as Emotionless in terms of pure conformation but I do believe that Muntazah has a motor and could be a serious contender come June. He is currently priced at 66/1 with those firms quoting.
All the best at Cheltenham.
Be Lucky and May The Gambling Gods Be With You
Back next Saturday.
Chris Anzani Racing