Catching Pigeons: Milord to bely odds

  • By: Catching Pigeons
  • Last Updated: January 25 2013, 18:20 GMT

Even with Bobs Worth forced on to the sidelines, Nicky Henderson should enjoy a good afternoon on Cheltenham's Festival Trials Day.

Kim Bailey: Big-priced outsider has a squeak

Sprinter Sacre hasn't put a foot wrong at home in recent weeks, even in the snow and it will be a big surprise to everyone if he doesn't win the Victor Chandler Chase.

Oscar Whisky also carries confidence in the Cleeve Hurdle, despite the obvious fears over his stamina after his performance in last season's World Hurdle.

Stung by a newspaper piece slamming Henderson's decision to run him in that race, the trainer has been quietly determined to validate that move ever since and give the horse another chance over the trip.

He gets it here and the feeling at home is certainly 'if he stays, he wins'.

The question-mark over Rajdhani Express in the Timeform Novice Handicap Chase is the track.

He has been largely kept to flatter courses up to now and the question-mark is whether his jumping would hold up under any additional pressure. Theatrical Star could be the one to take advantage if those frailties are exposed.

Bobs Worth is, incidentally, not thought to be in any danger of missing the Gold Cup despite being forced out of the Argento. Henderson is so convinced that the horse goes best fresh that he was almost looking for an excuse not to run him.

Quartz De Thaix might be worth a look at a price in that contest in Bobs Worth's absence. Nobody seems to have their team in better form at present than Venetia Williams.

It's all Hendo, Hendo, Hendo so far. But might Kim Bailey have an outsider to spike the big guns earlier on the card?

Henderson's Rolling Star can hardly be said to be flying beneath the radar ahead of his British debut in the Triumph Hurdle Trial, the opening contest on the Trials Day programme.

Reports of some high-class work at home saw him backed for the Triumph before his intended debut at Ascot a few weeks ago and he stands curiously prominent in the ante-post betting for that race without even setting foot on a British racecourse.

Rolling Star does undoubtedly carry plenty of stable confidence, but might just go off at a really short price, making Milord backable each-way.

He was in need of the run on his British debut at Doncaster, but this dual Flat winner in Germany works like a decent horse at home and could bely his big price.

Whisper it quietly but Charlie Mann's stable are back on the up again this season and one of his biggest hopes, Lord Of House is fancied to turn in a big performance in the closing Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle.

Lambourn has seen more than its share of problems caused by the recent bad weather.

One trainer found a new spring bursting forth in the middle of his kitchen as the snow started to thaw into a water table already sky-high after recent months of sustained rainfall.

Soon to depart Lambourn is Marcus Tregoning, among the winners on the all-weather in recent days, but preparing to leave Sheikh Hamdan's Kingwood Stable in the town for a new future at Whitsbury. Valentine's Day is the romantic deadline by which he has to leave town.

One of the beneficiaries is near-neighbour Richard Hannon, said to have been sent a dozen of the Sheikh's brightest two-year-old prospects for the year.

But rumours continue to swirl as to what the future holds for Tregoning's old place, with a number of names having been connected to the place in recent weeks. Will Sheikh Hamdan decide to head for the Hills?


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