Saturday, February 24, 2024

Last weekend’s horse racing reviewed: Looking forward to Aintree and Paris

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Ed Quigley aka ‘Longshot Ted’ looks back at recent events, gets some stuff off his chest, and casts an eye to the future in his latest Review column.

1) Ahoy to Bowl us over at Aintree?

A thrilling 2023 Cheltenham Festival is disappearing into the rear view mirror and attention turns to Aintree which is now less than three weeks away. One race that is shaping up into an absolute blockbuster of an event is the Grade 1 Aintree Bowl, which takes place on the opening day of the meeting on Thursday 13th April. What a lineup we potentially have in store; Shishkin will be looking to get back on track as he steps up to 3m for the first time. Can he put in an error-free round of jumping and reproduce his Ascot heroics? We have last year’s 1-2, Clan Des Obeaux and Conflated back for another dust-up. Clan Des Obeaux, now 11 years young, arrives here a fresh horse after suffering a setback, and will need to be on the mettle having his first outing for almost a year.

Conflated, on the other hand, comes into this assignment after running a cracker to come third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup – will that hard race have left his mark on the Irish raider? A Plus Tard is a possibility for Liverpool, and the former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero was just starting to warm to the task in this year’s renewal at Prestbury Park, before he got caught in the backwash of carnage when Ahoy Senor fell. Henry de Bromhead’s representative has questions to answer for now.

Check out Conflated and A Plus Tard’s odds at 888sport.

This leads me to the aforementioned Scottish raider Ahoy Senor. He was having a wonderful time at the head of affairs until judging a fence wrong and coming down 6 fences from home. However, the upshot of that is he has spared himself a hard race and heading to Aintree will bring back fond memories. He has career form figures at the track of 113, with the first of those being a sensational performance to get the better of Bravemansgame when they clashed over Hurdles, and the second victory was at this meeting a year ago.

As a horse who it would appear comes alive in the spring, he has major credentials coming into this assignment, and the Lucinda Russell team will be hoping that he feels no ill effects on the back of his mishap last time out, and he can right the wrongs here. Taking on some battle-weary rivals could be just the ticket for the Scottish-trained star to enhance his wonderful track record and get back in the winners’ enclosure. Given his versatility in regards to underfoot conditions, the general 4/1 available seems a fair price. Can’t wait!

Bet on Ahoy Senor with bet365.

2) Autumn Equinox in Paris?

Can Japan finally have their date with destiny in this year’s Arc? It has been a story of near misses for the great racing nation with the defeat of Orfevre still hard to believe in many respects, as the mud loving Solemia pulled out more. Underfoot conditions have to be the crux of the issue don’t they? After Equinox pulverised his rivals at Meydan on Saturday, bookmakers reacted by installing him as the 7/1 market leader for Europe’s showpiece event.

There is no doubt that the 2022 Japanese horse of the year has serious gears and the form of his win on Saturday looks very hot. The issue is surely whether a wet week in Paris scuppers his ability to perform to his best – the 4-year-old has raced almost exclusively on Good to Firm or thereabouts, and the Dubai romp coming on Good ground. Very soft conditions in Paris in October would pose a big problem, mainly as he is likely to have never been tried in such a scenario. He could well handle the ground but history of the Japanese raiders in France would tell you to tread carefully. Anyway, let’s not wish the summer away yet!

Get the best horse racing odds for Paris from Spreadex.

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3) Bryan Cooper retires

At just 30 years of age, Gold Cup winning jockey Bryan Cooper called time on his career last week. Extremely gifted in the saddle, he had 14 years as a professional jockey and in that time experienced incredible highs and lows. A winner of the 2013 Triumph Hurdle on board Our Conor, he topped that off by plundering one of Horse Racing’s biggest prizes, as he lifted the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup after the mighty Don Cossack bounded up the hill at Prestbury Park by over 4 lengths fro Djakadam.

Don Cossack never raced again, and Cooper failed to hit those dizzy heights again in a career that seemed to have been permanently plagued by bad luck with injury. In a recent interview on Luck On Sunday, Cooper described the fact he is now retired as a ‘big weight off his shoulders’ as he insinuated he had been struggling for some time and had fallen out of love with the game. He went on to say he is looking forward to the next chapter of his career whatever that will be, and I hope he has a happy time now he has hung up his boots.

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Don’t forget Ed will be back on Saturday, giving all his best bets for the Weekend action!

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