Alex Hammond’s racing blog and tips including Racing Post Gold Cup at Cheltenham


Alex Hammond returns to the main talking point of the week regarding an 18-month ban for Robbie Dunne before turning his attention to this weekend’s action on the track.

It’s been an exhilarating week in the running world, but it looks like Thursday’s verdict will bring about a positive change in our sport.

The racing world is vehemently divided over the verdict to ban Robbie Dunne for 18 months (3 months suspended), but it should be noted that the change is usually brought about by courageous people who are willing to put their heads up. above the parapet and future generations have Bryony Frost to thank for that.

It is disappointing to see the lack of awareness within sport as to how this is viewed around the world, and the term ‘read the room’ which has been cited extensively on social media this week seems appropriate in this case. .

Incidentally, the term is not “read the weigh room”, so it is a shame that the result of this investigation appears to have been taken as an affront to the Inner Sanctuary by some of those there, and not what it is. is: a case of intimidation between two individuals.

Let’s talk about horses, because they will be the stars this weekend and it is thanks to them that I fell in love with racing as a teenager. I loved horses back then and love them just as much now.

Cheltenham takes center stage on Saturday with the Gold cup racing post functionality.

Fifteen horses have been declared and Cepage is expected to carry the lead weight for Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch, he is 16/1 with Sky Bet.

Midnight Shadow is bidding for a Gold Cup double after winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month (not THIS Gold Cup, the one in November of course!). He weighs 7 pounds heavier for that narrow victory, but it’s worth remembering that the runner-up that day, Protektorat, went on to win the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase at Aintree, so at 15/2 he can do call.

Raffles Rifle is only six years old but has won 50% of his chases including Charlie Hall in Wetherby last time, although he was handed over on a plate after Shan Blue fell (8/1) .

Lalor is the Sky Bet favorite at 4/1 and will be popular after his revitalized performance to finish third at Midnight Shadow last time around, and the cheek adjustment could pull him a bit more as well.

Silver hallmark is still lightly run and was fourth in a decent intermediate pursuit at Carlisle last time around and that form looks solid; he’s an 11/2 shot and although his court has boiled slightly it was encouraging to see them send a first winner to Doncaster on Friday.

Farinet also represents Venetia Williams. He has only won one of his seven closing starts but is still not on display in the UK. He won on his second outing for that coach at Sandown in the spring and Rachael Blackmore’s reservation is catching attention – he’s 15/2.

Dostal Phil drew attention by staying behind Midnight Shadow at Cheltenham last time around and although his team isn’t performing quite at the same level as at the start of the season, he should be considered at 13/2.

Beakstown dreamed of his first run for twenty months at Aintree and he ran well, but I’m still worried about the second-start “bounce” theory after a layoff, even from a yard like the Skelton’s. He only has 7/1 to win this handicap chase.

It’s not an easy race to predict, but I’m happy to give Silver Hallmark a chance as he is a horse that has always been held in some respects and he may not be severely handicapped.

Elsewhere, in Doncaster Natural History runs in the Bet365 Handicap Hurdle and while he has something to prove, I hope he can get back on track in this two mile contest.

After being bought for over £ 100,000 out of the apartment, expectations for a successful hurdling career will have been high, but after a strong start for Gary Moore it has been costly to follow.

He is now 10 pounds lighter in handicap than when he was beaten as an Imperial Cup favorite at Sandown in March and it is undeniable that his reappearance effort at Fontwell was dismal. He’s got a lot of talent, though, and hopefully he starts showing us soon. It’s a 10/1 move with Sky Bet which offers cash money if you are second or third (up to £ 10).

If you get up early on Sunday morning, listen Sky Sports Racing where you can enjoy Hong Kong international races.

There are four Group 1 races at Sha Tin, with the first scheduled for 6am. Pylediver is said to be a popular Vase winner for trainers William Muir and Chris Grassick and jockey Martin Dwyer.

He didn’t do anything wrong in his preparation, but at 9/4 with Sky Bet and last year’s winner Magnate at 11/2, I’m happy to side with the latter for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.

O’Brien is the race’s most successful trainer thanks to two Highland Reel wins and this boy 12 months ago and a return to better ground will hopefully bring this well-bred colt back to his best.

Life has not been easy for the three years of the Cup (8:30 am) with Snow Fairy one of only two winners of this age group in the history of the race. However, there appears to be a strong representation in 2021 and William Haggas Dubai honor might be the best of them.

He is 3/1 second favorite behind Breeders’ Cup Filly and winner of Mare Turf Loves Only You at 13/8 with the Japanese-trained filly, one of the country’s many powerful runners on Sunday.

I’m a big fan of Jim Bolger’s tough as teak colt Mac Swiney and at 12/1 would be keen to have him aside for goals either way.


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