Ed Quigley aka ‘Longshot Ted’ reflects on recent events, sheds some shit and peeks into the future in his latest Review column..
The Dublin Racing Festival delivered a whole host of scintillating performances, but at the same time some fitting shocks to go with them. Gentleman De Mee, Il Etait Temps, Gala Marceau and El Fabiolo provided Willie Mullins with high-profile successes, but also caused upheaval when well-imagined stablemates were returned.
Lossiemouth (1/3), Appreciate It (11/8), Blue Lord (1/4) and Faciile Vega (4/9) were all favorites to bite the dust. There’s so much to digest following what we’ve seen, but I’m going with my plans of attack; what I would do with some horses based on what we saw on an exciting sport weekend.
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Odd must become Supreme
The Supreme looks gloriously wide open, and personally, I think Impaire Et Passe’s relationships would be crazy not to opt for the Supreme. Easy Vega bombed spectacularly leaving the door wide open. Il Etait Temps took advantage of this but exposed itself a bit. Marine Nationale didn’t do anything wrong, but on the line of form through Irish Point there may still be a step to take.
Considering how the undefeated Impaire Et Passe waltzed to success on his hurdles debut, he was shown to be no fluke by the way he effortlessly dispatched his rivals in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle. He showed no problem descending on the trip to 2m and seems to have that eclectic mix of speed and stamina that is needed to get the job done in the Cheltenham Festival curtain raiser.
On paper, the longer race, the Ballymore, looks a lot more stacked. With Good Land, Hermes Allen, Champ Kiely and possibly even Gaelic Warrior all heading this way, it’s potentially the much tougher split of the two as things stand. Impaire Et Passe has no erased notebook, and if he lines up the two-mile event, I’ll be all over him!
Bet on Odd and Pass at William Hill
Blue Lord – Ryanair the best bet
I might have Anthony Bromley on the dog and bone later but there’s another horse in the famous green double silks that I think has to go a certain way and that’s Blue Lord and he should head to the Ryanair Chase. On better ground, I’m not entirely sure it has the speeds required for the minimum travel, and would be much more inclined to head for the Ryanair instead of the Champion Chase.
With Energumene, Edwardstone, Editeur Du Gite and a revitalized Gentleman De Mee all on the 2m scene, it looks like a hot race that could easily see Blue Lord take off. On the longer trip I think he would find the tempo much easier and he showed his stamina to good effect as he went 2m4f in the deep ground to land the Clonmel Oil Chase earlier in the season.
Allaho and Shishkin need to prove themselves well and might be closer to retirement than dining at the top table again, and the top of the ante-post market is saturated with horses that are either very unlikely racers or who have big question marks about them at this level. Blue Lord in a Ryanair Chase would stand a chance in my opinion and I hope everyone involved will see the common sense and go down this route.
Bet on Blue Lord at BetVictor
Honeysuckle would be magic in the Mares
I’m really a bit torn as to which is the best choice for honeysuckle. Naturally, there are those calling for her to be retired following her defeat in the Irish Champion Hurdle – but is that really a good option? She doesn’t run badly – she probably just regressed a bit and ran into better horses than she’s faced in the past two seasons. This leaves either the Champion Hurdle or the Mares’ Hurdle in view.
From the evidence we’ve seen this season, she’d be overwhelmingly against it in The Champion – yes, I have the romantic idea of letting her retreat on her sword etc… but what fun is there? he in there? She seems to be in contention for third place at best. I’d be heading for the Mares’ Hurdle in a heartbeat. Yes, that could be seen as a challenge, but in what will likely be her last race, what way would it be for her to retire – in the race she has the best chance of winning.
She would head into Prestbury Park with a chance of favorites and imagine the roar if she turned down the straight in search of the likely winner. It would set the crowd on fire, and if they won, it would be folklore, regardless of the ratings and the opposition. Seeing her in a fight for 4th place with Constitution Hill and State Man 10 lengths ahead all feels like a massive anti-climax. With a decision yet to be made, it will be fascinating to see what will end up being the final chapter in his glittering career – unless of course we’ve had it already.
Bet on Honeysuckle at BetUK
Gallopin – not sure he’s my champion
I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something that didn’t make my heart skip a beat about Galopin Des Champs’ win over the weekend. On the face of it this seems like a silly statement to make, as he was an 8 length winner of an Irish Gold Cup, and in many ways excelled in the hard yards at the end of three miles – something that had been questioned on him. enter the contest.
He undoubtedly stayed well, slipping away in the closing stages. However, the fact that Fury Road managed to get him out of the bridle makes me wonder deep down, is he as effective on this journey as 2m4f? Is it just his class that brings him home? On the strict form line through Fury Road, a horse like Conflated has no masses to find with Closutton’s hotpot and Gordon Elliott’s runner is 12/1.
My hunch is that there is still a bit more hype than substance about Galopin Des Champs – but fair. Anyway, a convoluted way of saying why I can’t get near him on 7/4. If the ground became a swamp, I just have a feeling a slugger might outmaneuver him. As always, underfoot conditions in the Gold Cup will play a huge role and could be a 20-length swing for many propagandists. I’ll take the shards off my back at some point when it comes to the feature film at Prestbury Park – but not yet.
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