A Watching Brief

There’s some cracking racing today, but I can see nothing of clear value. If I thought La Bague Au Roi was back to her best, I’d be advising a 3* bet, but when she won in Ireland I thought the sparkle had gone from her, even though she ground out victory. Next time at Aintree she looked laboured – something I thought I’d never say about this mare who showed so much promise in her early races. I assumed that something had gone wrong with her in Ireland or on the trip across, but I am wondering now if her huge effort at Kempton in beating Topofthegame and Santini bottomed her.

She faces Elegant Escape today and this might well be his Gold Cup. He’ll have appreciated the long rest after a tough season and if La Bague Au Roi underperforms this could be his best chance of a Grade 2 race win this season. I don’t think he’s quite up to Grade 1, but he could be a superstar in big handicaps, not least the Grand National if he is given a quieter prep than last year.

Aso too is an improving horse, bordering on high class. The question for him is staying this trip. Most of his career has been spent at the 20 furlong limit, and two attempts at around 3 miles have been relatively disappointing. But some horses find more stamina as they age and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him right there at the end. If he wins this, he might be a very interesting Gold Cup outsider.

Good luck if you’re betting today




  1. I think your analysis was absolutely right. I was disappointed that Greatrex took her over to Ireland and though she won there, as a consequence he had to avoid Cheltenham. It was a very hard race for her to win and she’s never been the same as she was before. Today was indeed sad.


    1. Aye Tom, for all Greatrex had said how much he wants to protect the mare – supposedly avoiding Cheltenham because it was in her best interest, and saying a few days ago that he was uneasy about risking her on testing ground today, he did not withdraw her, which I think even he will admit was a mistake. It reinforces my belief that Greatrex makes too many wrong decisions to be considered a top trainer. Although the formbook will note only the obvious errors today, she seldom jumped with elan, making a number of misjudgements.


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