Despite all the hype and hoopla from ITV Racing and The Racing Post, the Cheltenham meeting last weekend was moderate in the extreme.
Let’s face it, there’s better fare at Down Royal and Wetherby today than anything we saw at the iconic Cotswolds venue.
With due respect to all concerned, if Modus winning a handicap was the highlight, well, that says it all really.
Interestingly, while Gordon Elliott had two winners on the Saturday in Dinons and Cubomania, any of his quality horses that ran last weekend were at Galway.
None provoked more interest than Blow By Blow, who won what was for him a virtual egg and spooner by half the track.
It was a tidy and efficient start over fences and his jockey Jack Kennedy was certainly impressed.
“That was good. He’s be better in a better race with something to take him on” he said.
“He jumped well and knows what he’s at and is very clever.”
“He stays well and can only get better” Kennedy added.”
Needless to say the Cheltenham quotes from the big firms were flying in thick and fast.
The 25/1 for the RSA that Ladbrokes and Corals are offering certainly caught my eye.
However the JLT and indeed the four miler – a dangerous race for “Irish bankers” – were also mentioned as possible targets but to me he has RSA stamped all over him.
Those who took the 4/7 were collecting from a long way out, and the bookies were badly burnt again in the next.
Here the Noel Meade trained Tout Est Permis was hammered in from 100/30 – even 7/2 in places – to 15/8 jolly.
Under a confident Sean Flanagan ride, he was never far off the pace and led two out to comfortably beat decent yardstick Don’t Kick Nor Bite by six lengths.
Meade – on target with First Approach at Down Royal yesterday – is always particularly lethal at this time of year.
Of Tout Est Permis he said: “He’s doing everything right at home, and won a good novice for Mouse Morris last year.”
“I imagine his next run will be in something like the Troytown” he added, which is interesting as the Ladbrokes Troytown Chase is run at Meade’s local track Navan.
Mind you it’s also local for Elliott and he will enter everything except the stable cat – and, possibly after yesterday, Samcro!
Willie Mullins had five winners between Galway and Wexford last Sunday, and Kalanisi Og went into many notebooks when taking the bumper at the Western venue.
In a race not devoid of drama as both Miss Aloud and Beautiful Betsy “ran out” at a bend, the winner, a 5/1 chance, moved smoothly through the field to win as she liked.
Newmarket-On-Fergus trainer Aengus King is noted for doing well with bargain buys, and €1,200 purchase Well Tom scored after all the chalk was taken from 16/1 to 15/2.
“I thought he’d go well” King said “but I’ve no idea where all the money came from.”
“I only had fifty Euros on and 10/1 was the best price I could get” he explained.
Somebody knew something in the opener too, where 20/1 shot Western Victory scooting home was generally a glorious start for the layers.
However not all the bookies were doing cartwheels of joy as Colin Bowe’s runner had been taken at 40/1 in some offices in the morning, and at the track she was clipped from 25’s in the betting ring.
A steady stream of winners for Declan’s Irish Racing Service this week including Pulsating 4/1 (w 3/1); Magna Grecia 2/1; Abacadabras 15/8 (w evens); Minds Eye 6/4 (w 5/4); Kilbarry Way 5/4 (w 8/11); Jack Dillinger 11/10 (w 8/11); Sancta Simona 11/10 (w evens); First Approach evens (w 9/10); Sapphire Lady 10/11 (w 4/6); and Dinons 10/11 (w 4/6).