Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
Mick Channon’s Mister Whitaker won the valuable Intermediate Chase at Carlisle on Sunday and was trimmed to 8/1 (from 10s) for the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday week. The weights for the feature event at the three-day November meeting will be announced tomorrow. I felt Dan Skelton’s Rene’s Girl was the one to take out of the race, however, although it was a largely disappointing weekend for the yard.
Today’s Haldon Gold Cup from Exeter has attracted a small but select field of five including God’s Own (2.05) who won the corresponding race no less than four years ago from a mark just 1lb higher than he can race from this afternoon. Now a ten-year-old the selection is 10lbs lower than this time last year despite the fact that he finished third in the Champion Chase back in March and was only beaten 7l by Altior at Sandown.
The selection has a bit to find with San Benedeto on that run at the Esher track, but I just feel if there is to be one last hurrah with the Tom George-trained God’s Own, today will be the day. Ozzie The Oscar ran a terrific race in the Welsh Champion Hurdle last month and is another to consider in a fascinating little contest.
God’s Own 4/1
Crooks Peak (1.35) disappointed on his hurdles debut at Newton Abbot (heavy ground) last month but can leave that form behind this afternoon for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson.
The selection won his first couple of Bumpers including a listed contest on soft ground at the Cheltenham November meeting. He had previously won on good ground at Newton Abbot on debut so today’s underfoot conditions should hold no terrors. Jamie Snowden’s Some Day Soon is the obvious danger having finished fifth at Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting last month in a better race than he contests today.
Canyouringmeback was looking like the likely winner when coming down five out at Wincanton last time, but his stamina remains unproven for this 3m trip and he is overlooked despite his progressive profile.
Favourito Bucks (3.15) won first time out last season from a 7lbs lower mark for Paul Nicholls and has his optimum conditions today.
Crooks Peak 5/6
Favourito Bucks 9/2
I feel there is more to come with Peace Prevails who has joined Jim Boyle since his latest start at Chelmsford last month. But the same sentiment also applies to Landue (8.00) who is well drawn for Marcus Tregoning and the hope is that leading amateur Ross Birkett doesn’t get too far back dropping back in trip having scored at Chelmsford last week from a 6lbs lower mark over an additional furlong.
David Simcock may hold the key to the Novice Stakes at Wolverhampton with the filly Birch Grove entitled to come on for her recent Kempton run when shaping with considerable promise returning from a lay-off. The vote, however, goes to the well-bred debutante Tranquil Storm (3.25) who has a good draw in stall one. Jockey bookings would suggest she is first choice from the yard.
True Destiny (3.55) is only 3lbs higher than when winning at Kempton last time when he looked value for a bit more than the official margin of a head. Today’s additional furlong is also a positive.
Tranquil Storm 5/1
True Destiny 11/4
I’m looking forward to seeing the Kingman colt King Of Comedy (12.15) return after a near four-month break having created a favourable impression when scoring at Sandown on debut. A 7lbs penalty is a negative for John Gosden’s juvenile although he is bred to appreciate the forecast soft ground.
King Of Comedy 1/2