CHARLIE GOES ACROSS AND STEALS THE CUP: Charlie Appleby crowned a huge four days for British racing when his English raider Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup this morning, following on Enable’s top-of-the-world Breeders Cup for John Gosden.
87-26 BEFORE THE HALDON GOLD CUP TODAY: Pricewise got one back in the Melbourne Cup in the final week of the 10th value challenge by Daqman, who has won the first nine seasons. With today’s Haldon Gold Cup and the weekend finale to come, the Flat 2018 scores are now 87-26 to Daqman (+106 to -162 to single-unit stakes).
FOUR MILLION OVER THE COUNTER
Britain is best! After Enable’s winning the £1.6m Breeders Cup in America, English raiders were also top at the ‘bottom’ of the world this morning, creating a £4m big-race double.
It was another boost for this year’s three-year-olds, as Great Voltigeur runner-up Cross Counter landed the £2.5m Melbourne Cup for another great victory in the Godolphin revival under Charlie Appleby.
It looked like Hughie Morrison’s Marmelo (second) at one stage in the final struggle, and Pitmen’s Derby runner-up Prince Of Arran was third, Rostropovich fifth
Appleby has now won the big sprint (Blue Point, Kings Stand Stakes), the big Classic (Masar, Epsom Derby) and the big stamina test (Cross Counter, Melbourne Cup) in one season.
KING OF COMEDY’S UBER FORM
12.15 Redcar When a two-year-old winner travels long distance for a small prize ‘up North’, you have to decide: has he gone backwards and this is the best they can hope for (‘they’ being ‘connections’); does the beast need another educational run quickly (doesn’t apply at the end of the season); or is the owner residential in a town not far from the racecourse?
Well, King Of Comedy’s owner, Carole Bamford, has an organic-foods empire in the Cotswolds and her husband is Lord JCB (Cheshire). No help there then, unless they like the fish ‘n chips in Saltburn (sorry, your ladyship; I meant organic fish and six chips).
King Of Comedy, the sole runner at Redcar for John Gosden, went clear of three-times-winner-since Persian Moon at Sandown, with the fourth horse, Phoenix Of Spain, subsequently second to Too Darn Hot in the Champagne and unlucky to be beaten by Magna Grecia in the Doncaster Futurity.
That’s a ‘wow’ factor, even if the Sandown collateral was way back in July when most of the field was still green. In fact, King Of Comedy was marked down by racereaders as greenest of all, despite his winning the race.
So today’s problem is solved: he will be a short price if he is ‘expected’ this afternoon. If he isn’t, oppose! However it all turns out, get someone to buy you the DVD for Christmas of King Of Comedy, the film (Robert De Niro‘s uber performance; better than Taxi Driver).
EXPECT AN OSCAR PERFORMANCE
2.05 Exeter (Haldon Gold Cup) Only five runners but a fascinating Grade-2 handicap. Dr Richard Newland has hit a seam of form – 121112 – and has Theo receiving weight all round.
Theo put a sequence together last year (11111 hurdles and chases), including a hat-trick under Sam Twiston-Davies), and landed two more this year on his return in August for the same jockey.
Maybe he didn’t much like Aintree or the Grade-2 company on the last day in the Old Roan Chase for Sean Bowen. The 2m 4f trip didn’t help.
Back with Sam on board, and returned to just over 2m, he’ll be wanted here on this good going before winter surfaces rule him out of contention. Only light rain is forecast on the firm that’s forecast.
Snags: all his winning form is left-handed (has an awkward head carriage) and he’s high in the handicap now.
That also applies to Diego Du Charmil, who had a stone dumped on his back by the handicapper for winning the Maghull Novices Chase (Grade 1) at Aintree in the Spring.
San Benedeto has his own sequence: in seven of the last nine races he has reached the first four without winning. That’s matched by God’s Own: seven out of 10 placed without winning.
San Benedeto’s best form was on soft when second to Politologue in this race last year and when second to Altior in the Celebration Chase at Sandown in the Spring.
But bear in mind that Paul Nicholls, who entrusts San Benedeto to 3lb-claimer Bryony Frost, has won this twice in the last three seasons, Politologue being particularly high class.
Ozzie The Oscar landed a hat-trick as a hurdler, two out of two in small-field chases in the Spring, and has had a run back over hurdles.
Philip Hobbs’ yard was under a cloud last season and several good horses, particularly the chasers, may be underrated coming into this campaign.
Ozzie The Oscar, the favourite today (3.1 BETDAQ), was also favourite when he beat San Benedeto almost 11 lengths in receipt of 3lb at Warwick in May and is only 2lb worse off now.
San Benedeto seems to need a stiffer test and softer ground and the tongue tie suggests that, even in his favoured conditions, he’ll find that final surge only after a wind op.
HE’LL LOVE CHANGE OF COMPANY
2.25 Redcar Not keen on Awake My Soul. You can’t expect a nine-year-old to put back to back wins together, particularly if he’s 5lb higher than his highest winning mark.
But trainer Tom Tate is clutching at the straw that the horse won this race last year, as a well-punted favourite. If they’ve done the job (last time out at York), and they’re still fit, why not run them. He could yet win.. Unless his stablemate, Empress Ali does! The mare is better than the bare form, though the morning market will have none of her.
Piece Of History is unexposed and his pedigree says that his step up in trip here is exactly what’s needed. Will he like the ground?
Tim Easterby (Mikmak and Mukhayyam) currently has a poor strike rate. So, too, Ian Williams.
But Williams does well with new recruits and Speed Company (5.3 BETDAQ), who is a winner on the soft, has dropped 17lb in the handicap since this time last year.
12.15 Redcar (20-point stake)
SUPERNAP: 2pts win KING OF COMEDY
2.05 Exeter (win 20)
BET 10pts win OZZIE THE OSCAR
2.25 Redcar (win 20)
BET 5pts win SPEED COMPANY
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