Welcome back racing fans, I hope you’ve all been enjoying this week’s racing action. I can’t say other than it’s been great to see some fences being jumped again and some of the more prominent NH connections starting to release their horses.
And this is just the start of what looks to be an exceptionally good season for Jumps racing with no lack of class out there. I genuinely think we could be coming into a golden era, as most of the jumping divisions seem to have a really good bunch of horses this term, and bar injuries, we there’s sure to be some cracking National Hunt racing on the way.
For me, the star performer this week has to be Mystical Power, who won on his Hurdles debut in smart fashion and is seemingly learning very well on the job. I know I’ve mentioned him already multiple times, but he really has got me rather excited and he is the first smart one to go into my notebook. Although he made some very novice mistakes early on, which was only to be expected, he got better as the race went on and won so easily in the end. It is significant that he is a son of the great Annie Power and he has most surely inherited some of her speed, as he showed a great turn of foot coming up the straight.
There are another few things I will tell you about him too:
All facts considered, it’s hard not to be impressed by him. His next target, judging from Willie’s interview after his debut win, is that he will be sent to the Royal Bond over Christmas so I’m very intrigued to see how he progresses and grows in between now and then.
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The opener on day four of the Galway Festival is a Beginners’ Chase that I have a lot of interest in and not just from a betting point of view. There is a horse in here that I have been looking forward to seeing over a fence since last year, but it will be a difficult race for a newcomer to win with the likes of Joyeux Machin in the lineup, who is probably the one to beat.
Sir Argus is the one that I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while and I think he will turn into a smashing Chaser, whether that will be tomorrow or further down the line I’m not sure, but he has some engine in there and I’m convinced he will turn out to be a very good horse in time.
His jumping over Hurdles was abysmal it must be said, but he is only six years old and is likely to improve with a fence in front of him. When it comes to his jumping, we will have to take it on trust that he will improve in that department of course.
Last season he was campaigned over 3 miles and even though his jumping let him down massively, he was still able to get very competitive so you can mark those performances up a little bit. He may be a bit of a wildcard but from what I’ve seen of him, he’s definitely worth a small punt in my opinion.
This renewal of the Novice Chase is a decent one, with plenty of good form on show, Hercule De Seuil is obviously the one to beat here. He is a very talented horse, who is slowly coming into his own and has now won his last two starts over fences in good fashion. He beat Ballyadam and Solness in his last two runs at Ballinrobe and Kilbeggan and both line up again here to take him on, Even though Hercule De Seuil seems to have them in his pocket, his even money price tag has no appeal for me.
With nine runners due to line up and three places on offer, I‘m going to play Tax For Max instead, on the basis of him being the best alternative and the fact that he has a liking for softer ground. He's also likely to run a good race for place money, which would still pay more than backing the favourite, who incidentally, won't appreciate the softer ground. So with the risks being there on the favourite at even money, I’m going for Tax For Max, partnered by Paul Townend here, to bring us a small profit.
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