Jamie Almost The Toast Of California – Weekend Review

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Outright Betting

It was almost a fairytale ending for jockey, Jamie Spencer, who went agonizingly close to landing the Breeders’ Cup on Toast Of New York at the weekend.

While retirement now beckons for Spencer, this narrow defeat to Bayern in California marks what could be just the beginning for Jamie Osborne’s, Toast Of New York, who already has an exciting two-year schedule ahead of him.

One of those targets is the Dubai World Cup next spring, where a possible rematch with Bayern could be on the cards,

and with only a nose split the pair on Saturday night, the scene could be set for another showdown in the desert come March 2015.

Talking of March, there was plenty of clues and pointers for the Cheltenham Festival during the early stages of the jumps season last weekend, including at Carlisle on Sunday where Holywell started his long campaign towards the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Jonjo O’Neill’s Grade 1 novice chase winner from Aintree had Many Clouds 11l behind on Merseyside back in April, but it was Oliver Sherwood’s 7yo who emerged on top on this occasion – in the process earning a 10/1 quote for Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup on November 29.

As for Holywell, connections were not disappointed by this defeat, as he jumped well and very much looked in need of the run. It’s a long season ahead, and his odds of 10/1 for the Gold Cup remain unchanged.

It was stated afterwards that Silviniaco Conti got tired three fences from home, suggesting improvement would come for this outing next time out, while connections of Tarquin Du Seuil – who heads next for the Betfair Chase at around 12/1 – stated softer ground would suit better. As for the winner, Menorah, he is 16/1 for the Gold Cup.

On the Irish front, Moscow Mannon was an impressive Grade 3 winner for Henry De Bromhead at Naas, and is 20-1 for March’s Queen Mother Champion Chase. Second to God’s Own in the Ryanair Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival last time, Moscow Mannon improved in defeating Felix Yonger over 4l here, and he looks set for an exciting campaign.

Finally, Paul Nicholls’, Zarkndar won a valuable Grade 1 in France on Sunday over 3m, in the process putting to bed any doubts about him as a stayer, especially as the race was run in very testing ground.

This 7yo has to remain of interest for the 2015 World Hurdle, a race in which he finished a creditable fourth in eight months ago having been held up to get the trip. There is a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and March 12, when Zarkandar may have another crack at the World Hurdle, and where his odds of 16/1 could be a lot shorter come race time.