The Weekends Racing – by The Sportsman Racing

The JCB Triumph Hurdle trial kicks the day off and one hugely hyped horse appears in the shape of Rolling Star. Is this the latest potential superstar from the Nicky Henderson conveyor belt? The winner of his only outing over hurdles in France; shrewdies have been backing him for the Triumph hurdle itself come March. In opposition lies Irish Saint who impressed when winning on his UK debut at Kempton in December. Hailing from the Paul Nicholls yard the two big gun trainers look set for a fearsome duel with young buck Rolling Star favoured to mow down Irish Saint. The rescheduled Victor Chandler Chase is at the mercy of the insuperable Sprinter Sacre. Even with luminaries such as Sanctuaire and the progressive Williams Wishes in competition the mighty Sprinter Sacre should dot up. Seek winning distances in this race with anything over five lengths worthy of a second glance around the 10-11 mark for a horse who looks unlikely to leave his comfort zone. The Argento has cut up badly with the withdrawal of Gold Cup jolly Bob’s Worth and the participation of the enigmatic Tidal Bay also in doubt. Imperial Commander makes his long-awaited comeback for the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard. If you fancy the 2010 Gold Cup winner to run a big race in the Argento in receipt of weight from his market rivals, then you have to avail yourself of the 50-1 on offer for the old warrior to repeat the zenith of his Gold Cup success come March. The New One will be hard to beat in the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle en-route to the real thing come March. There is room for improvement in his jumping but he leaves the impression of a relentless galloper who shall take high ranking in the Chase division next term. The Cleeve Hurdle offers contenders for the World Hurdle the chance to flaunt their credentials given that reigning four-times Champion Big Bucks is sidelined for the rest of the season. The jury remains out on Oscar Whisky’s staying power over 3m and Saturday’s race should provide us with a decision. Last year’s World Hurdle was a big disappointment as Oscar Whisky’s stamina reserves ran dry a long way from home. Trainer Nicky Henderson commented at the time “probably due to a lack of stamina, it didn’t work out.” The Master of Seven Barrows appears to have had a change of heart and Oscar Whisky can repay his faith by winning the Cleeve and shortening up considerably from his current odds of 7-1 for the World Hurdle.]]>