November 30, 2003 at 11:26 #4000
When I started this topic last November on the other forum it ended up smahing the record for replies (most of them my own :biggrin: ). Let’s see if we can top it here, ok?
I’ll start by saying only a mishap can prevent ol’ Foghorn Leghorn retaining his championship and I’ll post my arguments in due course as the season progresses.
Meantime, let’s hear what you all think.
I challenge you to pick holes in the form or to offer cases for any pretenders to the throne.November 30, 2003 at 11:54 #92466
I’ll do my best to see that it does :biggrin:November 30, 2003 at 12:27 #92467
Rhinestone Cowboy, according to my figures, showed his best form of the season when third in the Champion. This is entirely as it should have been. He is entitled to improve again but he still has an awful lot of ground to make up. Yet heÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s already older than Intersky Falcon, who looked very much on the upgrade approaching the festival last season but whose form has levelled off abruptly.
The Cowboy was reportedly race fit and highly thought of as a 2/3yo but ultimately didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t make it to the track and ended up in bumpers in his 5-6yo season. If you were being unkind, you could argue that he had an age advantage over other NHF horses and was probably kept to bumpers to land a betting coup at the festival, connections aware of his age and class advantage. HeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s also blessed with a classic middle distance Flat pedigree.
It was no surprise to see him transfer that smart form to his novice hurdles races but he never once put up a fast time in them, whereas his festival bumper time was the second fastest (by my figures, allowing for the going) in recent times. His time ratings for last year were progressive: 0, 0, 126, 138, and then 162 in the Champion itself.
According to Raceform, it was his inability to jump fluently at speed that found him out at the top level. He was under pressure at the top of the hill but plugged on.
What kind of campaign is he going to have? If they opt for another light one he could find himself in the same situation come March, struggling to get his jumping together at championship pace.
For me, the hallmark of Rooster BoosterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s class as a hurdler is his ability to travel on the bit regardless of a fast pace. He has, at a late stage in his career, developed a very high cruising speed which isnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t inhibited by having to negotiate hurdles. HeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s also proved he can accelerate off that fast pace. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a combination no other hurdle at the trip can demonstrate.<br>November 30, 2003 at 14:47 #92469jillyMember
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Don’t under estimate Self Defense, very good e/w price at the moment and it could actually win.:o <br>Will be nice to see RB back out in a couple of weeks, in the bula i think. I can’t see it winning the champion hurdle again,but we will know more shortly.November 30, 2003 at 14:53 #92470
Self Defense might need conditions to be as they were at Sandown to win and I’d rather bet him each way than Rhinestone win only. The Sandown time was the second fastest of the year.November 30, 2003 at 16:37 #92473MullyMember
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Being a Hobbs follower I was over the moon when he won the Champion Hurdle, and of course I would love to see him repeat that. I feel very strongly at the moment that this won’t be the case. Move aside Rooster Booster, the Irish are coming;) ;) :biggrin: [Again!!!!]November 30, 2003 at 18:00 #92475
The only Irish horse I thought was interesting for the Champion was the ill fated Nobody Told Me . Much as I admire Solerina her style of running is just likely to set up things for the Booster . Judging by yesterday’s performance Intersky Falcon does not like being restrained he emptied very quickly .
As for Back in Front I accept entirely that he is being aimed at the Champion . His scraping home against Sacundai and Solerina was not impressive however and even if over the top being beaten by Quazar leaves him masses to find with the Booster .
What else ? Well Sporazene is going to have to improve his jumping no end if he is going to take a hand . It is all very well having a double handful after a moderate pace like yesterday but if he makes mistakes like that then jumping at real speed could easily see him on the deck .
As for Rhinestone Cowboy his jumping will have to improve too and the really striking thing wa sthat when subjected to real racing pace over hurdles he was off the bit miles out . Apparently he is also aimed at the Bula .
There is in fact no serious threat to the Booster if he is in the same form as last year – he could be named the winner at the top of the hill let alone four out . To make so much ground with no effort to come from close to last to third in that Champion when they were going like the clappers and still hacking is a racing memory in the Arazi class .
I agree wholeheartedly with Mo . RB will win unless he has gone very seriously backwards over the summerNovember 30, 2003 at 18:23 #92477johnjdonoghueMember
- Total Posts 994
When Back in Front is fully in tune I think you’ll see a live danger to Rooster Booster. Although to agree with some other comments posted here. The 2m Hurdle division is not all that strong.
I would imagine Solerina will be aimed at the Stayers hurdle. She ran a blinder in the Hattons Grace today, could not have been more impressed with her, I have to say she is tiny, but gallops forever!November 30, 2003 at 18:42 #92479The WizardMember
- Total Posts 92
I championed The Rooster’s claims last season and see no reason to desert him now. Form well ahead of other challengers last year, and if anything, his jumping improved last year. I used to think he’d win his races despite his hurdling, but he did seem more accomplished in this department.
Not saying he’ll not be beaten in one of the trials perhaps, but the conditions of the Champion Hurdle are ideal, especially the large field, fast pace you normally get there.
If the real Back In Front turns up, it could be interesting (his novice win last season lives long in the memory). Rhinetone could be a threat if finding at least 7lbs improvement.
Can’t see much else at this stage – though some dark horse could still emerge e.g Specular?November 30, 2003 at 18:47 #92480Tete RougeParticipant
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Nobody Told Me was a stayers horse, too.
As for RB – still not a fan … :biggrin:November 30, 2003 at 19:16 #92481
I try not to get ‘attached’ to horses. It’s not good from a betting perspective. But every so often something comes along and entrances you, regardless of its ability. Pendil, for his supreme jumping; Rummy, ‘cos he was Rummy; the Brigadier & Mill Reef for their sheer brilliance; etc. etc.
Rooster Booster was a frustrating beast for a couple of seasons. I was backing him because he kept topping the figures and was, on the face of it, improving but he always seemed to find something improving past him. I hated him! Last season’s debut run was the eye opener for me and after the Open meeting I was convinced I had seen a horse that nothing was going to get off the bit at 2m, and that was going to make him the champion.
I wouldn’t admit to loving the horse, but I love the fact that he bolstered my confidence in my figures so spectacularly. For that reason he’ll always be special to me. The fact I won more on the Champion Hurdle than on any other race in my life (more than the three next biggest wins put together actually :cool: ) means he will always be a personal favourite.
(Edited by Maurice at 7:22 pm on Nov. 30, 2003)December 1, 2003 at 00:26 #92482
Whilst I agree that sentimental betting can be a ticket to the poor house I will also always have a soft spot for the Booster – having been one of the first of Mo’s followers on this horse . I was at Cheltenham that day and backed In Contrast . I just could not believe the Booster’s performance that day under top weight . I was just as impressed by his Bula win when he carted Johnson to the front and found more and more up the hill .
At present I can’t see a serious challenger . As Maurice pointed out that performance last year would have won two of Isty’s three championsDecember 1, 2003 at 06:11 #92484Pegwell BayMember
- Total Posts 208
What about Spirit Leader?
She won the County Hurdle off a mark of 140 (carried 11st 7lb), whilst the previous years winner won off just a slightly higher mark (144), and carried 11st 1lb to victory. And we all know what he went on to do the previous year. ;) (Admittedly with a great deal of improvement).
Spirit Leader improved with every run last season, so who is to say she won’t do a Flakey Dove and continue improving?
At the generally available 25/1 I think she is well worth a small punt. I very rarely bet ante-post, but the money is down, as that price is just way too big.
As touched on earlier, she wouldn’t be the first County Hurdle winner to go on and win the Champion the following year.<br>December 1, 2003 at 09:15 #92485
there would be worse ew betsDecember 1, 2003 at 11:22 #92487
About Spirit LeaderÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
The County Hurdle is one of the very hottest handicaps of the season and only very well-handicapped horses can win. In hindsight, Rooster BoosterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s win there in 2002 was probably the start of his improvement rather than his win at Kempton from Mr Cool.
Last year the form lines are confusing but given the importance of the race in the calendar, I tend to go with one of the more generous interpretations. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s an approach which has proved profitable for me over the years.
In 2003 the favourite pulled up after becoming tailed off; the 2nd fav finished 6th, beaten about 6 lengths; the third fav Finished 10th and the winner was multiple co-4th favourite. The runner up was a 25/1 shot but, more worryingly, the third was a 66/1 chance. However, the latter had been only 14/1 in a Grade 2 race on his seasonal debut in receipt of a stone from Limestone Lad, so perhaps he was overpriced at the festival.
I rated the race via Jaboune, which had run to 137 (winner Back In Front – 158) in the Supreme Novices on the Tuesday. If the line was accurate it would give me a good link between the novices and the handicappers. The race time appeared to tie in nicely with the Triumph, both races being traditionally very strongly-run.
I have given Spirit Leader 155 for the County. This represented a stone improvement on her Tote Gold Trophy form (IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve possibly undervalued that race) and 17lbs on her 5th place in the Pierse, so sheÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s obviously improving fast.
Quite where the improvement will end is anyoneÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s guess, but she doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t travel as easily in her races as Rooster Booster and the champÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s winning rating of 176+ is one helluva target to aim at, given that itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s one of the highest ratings of the last 20 years.
Previous Champion Hurdle form is important in the big one itself and I reckon weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ll be looking at Westender, Rhinestone Cowboy and, if itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s soft, Self Defense as the more likely challengers in March.
I reckon itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a tremendous shame we lost Valiramix in the previous Champion as he was on course for a similar mark to the Rooster and it would have been a sight to behold seeing the two greys go into battle up the hill.
As far as comparing Spirit Leader with Flakey Dove is concerned, I reckon it would be under-selling the Irish mare to do so. Flakey Dove won one of the poorest Champions of modern times. Spirit Leader is already pretty much on a par with Flakey Dove but she is unfortunate to be up against a true class act as well as several decent challengers. Still, she’ll be getting 5lbs, so another 5lbs improvement from last season would put her in second place.
Only eleven lengths behind you-know-who ;) <br>
(Edited by Maurice at 11:28 am on Dec. 1, 2003)
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