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Cheltenham News – 9th March

by Aidan Elder | March 9, 2011

Cheltenham News
He considered himself laid back, but Colm felt his date’s profile photo was so inaccurate it warranted an official complaint to

>>> Colm Murphy is feeling confident about Big Zeb’s chances of retaining the Champion Chase, although he doesn’t really do ‘cocky swagger’ so the confidence is masked more in understated modesty. He reckons better ground will suit his charge, probably because he’s used to it thanks to the tropical climate they get down in Wexico. As for the weight of expectation – well, Murphy eats for breakfast – probably with a bowl of All Bran; “I don’t know if there’s any more pressure going into this year. It’s nice pressure. It was the same with Brave Inca. It’s nice to be in this position.” The Irish Times

>>> Don’t really listen to anything Henrietta Knight has to say. That’s a little too knee-jerk reaction, but the trainer has announced that the previously intended destination of Somersby at the Festival may not actually be where he ends up. With the ground at Cheltenham drying out, the stated target of the Champion Chase may be ditched in favour of the Ryanair Chase. It’s possible the ground at the Festival will come up drier than a Cheltenham News Round, Knight explained “If it was too dry, he would be better over a longer distance for they would go too quick for him over two miles.” Independent

>>> Zaynar had a couple of possible engagements for the Festival, but it now looks like he’ll opt to not win the World Hurdle rather than the option of not winning the Champion Hurdle. He’s 16/1 to win the championship race of the staying hurdlers division or if you fancy taking Big Bucks out of the equation (in a non-murderous type of a way), he’s 12/1 in our World Hurdle without Big Bucks betting. British Horse Racing Authority

>>> 30/46580060060110/3322022462/21112833R333/035244U0/072550P5343/443F704943/4093070454148-568063

Right now you’re probably thinking I fell asleep on the keyboard, but that is in fact the career record of A New Story over obstacles. All those ‘0’s and ‘9’s hint that it’s nothing special, but in this instance I’m pointing out the quantity rather than quality. He’s pencilled for a run in the enjoyable madness of the Cross Country Chase, which would be the 90th run of his career. He’s had more chases than an inner city youth with a talent for hot-wiring and the race will be his 54th over fences. He’s only won 3 of the previous 53, which may explain why he’s currently co 4th favourite at 10/1 and not raging hot favourite. Racing Post (not online so you have to buy it edition)

>>> Not long after retuning from injury, Ruby Walsh – unsubtle plug for Top Festival Jockey Betting alert – will be attempting to guide Kauto Star to his 3rd Gold Cup on the final day at Cheltenham. Kauto’s owner, Clive thinks the 11 year old’s chances have improved immeasurably for having Ruby back in the saddle. “The two know each other so well we will have a much more favourable result,” explained Smith, making the pairs sound a lot like other celebrated partnerships such as Morecambe and Wise, French and Saunders and the Chuckle Brothers.

>>> There has been a change to the ground at Cheltenham. It’s still where it should be – i.e. on the floor – but clerk of the course Simon Claisse now describes as good to soft, good in places. Racing Post

>>> And finally in our attempts to make anyone travelling to the Festival sound less like a boorish tourist, if you fancy taking a stroll around the Cotswolds during the week, then you’ll soon be able to – just not this year. Work has begun on the Gustav Holst Way – a 35 mile long track named after local composer. To be honest, we’ve never heard of him, but he’s mosst famous for orchestral suite, the Planets which features our favourite late 80s electrofunk, Pump Up The Volume by MARRS. ThisIsGloucestershire


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