I’ve got a soft spot for A New Story who will be 14 years old in three weeks time. He did me a big favour when winning the Cross Country race at the Festival last year at very fancy odds on Betfair (25s sp). He’s run here five times and apart from one 7th placing, he’s not been out of the first four. They only pay 3 places today but it’s a relatively small field (11) for a cross country race.
His 5lb claiming jockey Adrian Heskin gets on very well with the horse who has always run better here than anywhere else. I have a wee concern that A New Story is more a spring type than a winter one but at 14s with Bet 365 (who’ll pay SP if it’s bigger) I’m happy to have a small EW bet in this, the 96th race of his career.
Update: A New Story was 5th and travelling strongly with one to jump when rider took wrong course and was brought down
Golden Gael, 7/1 – 12.35 Cheltenham
As mentioned in Wednesday’s post about Mr Moonshine, if the price is big enough, I’m always willing to pay to find out how much more an improving horse has to give. In the 12.35 at Cheltenham the 5-y-o mare Golden Gael is on offer at 7/1 with Hills and I think it’s well worth taking that price for an each way bet. It’s Golden Gael’s first appearance in a handicap. She’s won her last three races, two of them novice hurdles and one bumper. Her trainer Jeremy Scott is not very high on the bookies’ hit list so you tend to get a point or two longer than you would if the horse was with Nicholls or Henderson.
She responds well to pressure, has won on different types of track and ground (always a good sign, I think) and Cheltenham should suit her well.
Update: GG blundered at the 4th and was never in the race after that
Shakalakaboomboom 9/2 – 1.45 Cheltenham
This is a trappy looking handicap featuring a few characters who have disappointed a number of times and I’m hoping Mr Henderson has found the secret to Shakalakaboomboom in this longish trip. The 7-y-o ended the season with a fine battling victory at the Punchestown Festival over 25f on yiedling ground. His three runs before that were in fairly hot handicaps at around 20 furlongs on better ground and I think there’s a chance they simply went too fast for him to get into the race. In his only previous attempt at 3 miles he won at Taunton. I believe he’ll be shorter than 9/2 but once again you have the comfort of best odds with Hills and Bet365 should the SP be longer.
Update: Shaka won nicely at 9/2 under a very fine ride from Geraghty: the horse has his own way of getting over fences and BG mostly let him fiddle his way round. I was surprised to hear the trainer nominate him as a Grand National horse – fences would scare him imo.