What a terrible week for racing fans across the country with the closure of two racing tracks Hereford and Folkestone respectively. I remember the great Michael Dickenson winning at Hereford with Bregawn back in 1983. After running there the horse led home the first 5 for the trainer in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a feat which will never be repeated again.
We have also lost two cracking horses for the season in Al Ferof who was Kempton bound on King George day, and the talented Big Bucks is also out for the season leaving the World Hurdle wide open. Luckily, as a racing fan, we will see these two runners again. It’s been a strange season for the Nicholls camp losing Kauto Star who will now be aimed at the dressage events under Laura Collett.
Kauto Star will now represent the Nicholls yard in the King George under Ruby Walsh on Boxing day. I believe their runner has a squeak however, I am sweet on the chances of Long Run who will again be partnered by Sam Waley Cohen. Although still a mature horse/jockey on a flat track like Kempton, it will take all the beating and I advise punters to back him at 11/4 with Corals. He has the form and deserves to be the favourite.
A horse who could run well and looks over priced is Sizing Europe at 36/1 with Betfair. Trained by Henry de Bromhead, his runner has won 17 races and is also a former champion chaser.
The World Hurdle without Big Bucks will have many trainers rethinking their options. Last season Big Bucks beat Voler La Vadette who can still be backed at around the 12/1 mark. That represents cracking e/w value, especially as the selection was going as well as anything last season and, if honest, looked the winner coming down to the last. It was just worried out of it by Big Bucks who was recording his third win in the race.
Because of these two horse missing the season, I cannot see Paul Nicholls retaining the trainers title. That honour now looks a formality for Nicky Henderson who has a chance with Oscar Whiskey in the World Hurdle. Last season that runner didn’t look capable of staying the distance, however this season Oscar Whiskey has looked a totally different animal and must go on the short list for the majority of punters.
The Form Guy