Slate House Better Value Than Champ For RSA Chase

Colin Tizzard has a very nice bunch of novice hurdlers this season.

Harry Senior lost his maiden status in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow and I was very pleased with his performance. Between Harry Senior, Fiddlerontheroof and The Big Breakaway; he has three very nice staying novice hurdlers.

They’re ones to look forward to for the rest of the season.

Allmankind won well at Chepstow on Friday under Harry Skelton. Dan Skelton has made no secret that he is quite wiry. He went a proper gallop for the first mile of the race.

My ride, Cerberus, travelled within his comfort zone throughout the race and I thought coming into the second last that I would pick Allmankind up.

I thought that there was no chance he would keep going that ground but to give the horse credit, when Harry Skelton gave him a squeeze at the back of the second last, when I thought I was going to reel him in, he picked up and went again.

It was a very good performance from a juvenile on that ground. For me he definitely sets the standard for the juvenile hurdlers this season. Whatever beats him from now until Cheltenham will be a proper horse.

Slate House
Slate House ran a good race in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Decmber 26th and I was very happy with him.

He was a bit lazy at the beginning but then travelled well for the remainder of the race. He jumped well and beat a good horse in Black Op, who made Champ work very hard in Newbury before that.

Champ is favourite (5/2) for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham but you have to fancy Slate House (12/1) at a bigger price for the RSA.

He beat Black Op more comfortably than the winning margin suggests and definitely more comfortably than Champ did!

Apple’s Jade
Apple’s Jade put on an unbelievable performance in the Grade One Frank Ward Memorial Hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday. It was also an incredible training performance from Gordon Elliott to get her back from two very ordinary runs in Navan and Fairyhouse.

Gordon had her hunting with the Ward Unions ten days before Leopardstown so that has obviously worked. It’s not the first time he has done that.

He has done that as far back as Silver Birch was on the go and that rejuvenated him at the time. Apple’s Jade ran a proper gallop throughout the race. I ran Penhill who did well to finish third with Unowhwatimeanharry in second.

Champion Hurdle Horses
Klassical Dream proved he is definitely not a Champion Hurdle horse at Leopardstown on Sunday. He doesn’t jump well enough and is far too erratic in his hurdles. When he stood off that hurdle down the back straight, it was a bit brain-dead really.

Champion Hurdle horses don’t do that. I can’t have him for that race. Willie Mullins will have to work a miracle with him to get him to be a Champion Hurdle horse.

The best line of form for that race over Christmas was Epatante in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on December 26th.

It was a hugely impressive performance stepping from handicap company into Grade One and she showed she was well able for it. She is entitles to be favourite for the Champion Hurdle in a very open market.

She set down the best standard in my opinion.

Gold Cup Horses
Delta Work put in a good performance to win the Savills Chase on Saturday at Leopardstown. The Gold Cup picture is a bit more murky now with Kemboy after being beaten.

I think Kemboy will improve for the run. My only concern about the Savills Chase is that Jett was still upsizing going to the last and he isn’t a Gold Cup horse.

I just wonder did it turn into a bit of a sprint in the early stages of the race and maybe that’s why Delta Work came out on top, but I can’t take away his good performance from him.

A lot will be made more clear after the Irish Gold Cup and after Al Boum Photo’s run on New Year’s Day.

Clan Des Obeaux was incredible in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on December 26th and he put in the best line of form over Christmas for the Gold Cup in my eyes.

Lostintranslation was very disappointing; he will be having his wind and a few more things checked now. Hopefully we can get him back in form. The way he ran was too bad to be true. I’m putting a line through and perhaps something will come to light. He is a far better horse than that.

*Prices correct at time of publication