Lucky Luke's Cheltenham Notebook: Part Five



Racing finally returned to the UK on Wednesday to a chorus of cheers after being locked down for a week due to an outbreak of equine flu.

Thousands of horses were tested over the course of those few days, with thankfully only a little more than a handful being found to be suffering from the flu. The majority of which were from the yard of Donald McCain.

The action has been slow and steady since then, but this weekend gives British racing a great chance to get back on track. Starting on Saturday with a top-class card at Ascot, that includes the rearranged Denman Chase and the Betfair Hurdle.

As always, our resident racing fanatic ‘Lucky Luke’ is on hand with a dedicated look at the UK’s weekend racing in the latest chapter of his Cheltenham Notebook.

Join The Clan At Ascot

This weekend’s blog is going to be pretty Paul Nicholls heavy, so buckle in for plenty of Ditcheat superstars.

The first of those, and arguably the biggest this season, is Clan Des Obeaux who goes in the Denman Chase after it was moved from Newbury last week.

The 7yo is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, who’ll be hoping to get back to winning ways after watching the Red Devils suffer a first defeat under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer against PSG on Tuesday night.

Fergie has reason to be optimistic though, as Clan Des Obeaux was an excellent winner of the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and has his eyes set on a strong Gold Cup bid.

This will be his warm-up for the big race, which is now just four weeks away, and he looks like he’ll take some stopping this weekend. He only faces three other rivals in Terrefort, Thomas Patrick and Ballyhill.

He’s rated somewhat superior to all three of those and only carries a few pound more. I’d expect him to come home in-front.

Getaway Can Trump The Lot In Betfair Hurdle

As a shareholder in horses with the Owners’ Group, I have a very keen interest to see how Getaway Trump goes in the Betfair Hurdle this Saturday.

I don’t directly own shares in him, but I do in his fellow stablemate Alcala, who he has taken the role of flag bearer from this season. At least for the Owners Group that is.

The Trump though is an excellent racehorse and proved his class when finishing 2nd to Champ in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury. That was a very slowly run race that day, with the race taking an age to get started once the tapes went up.

A big handicap, like the one he is set to face this Saturday at Ascot is exactly what could bring out the best in Getaway Trump. A strongly run race will suit him to a tee and really showcase his staying power if things get tight in the closing stages.

His trainer Paul Nicholls mentioned how he possesses a similar profile to the JP McManus-owned Movewiththetimes, and he is a horse that finished 2nd to Ballyandy in the 2017 Betfair Hurdle.

That’s a positive sign and I have a feeling that Nicholls really fancies him to win this.

Politologue To Bounce Back In Ascot Chase

The third and final Nicholls selection comes in the shape of Politologue. Connections had a pop at three miles in the King George on Boxing Day, but that never looked like it suited, so he’s back to 2m 5f.

That is a distance that looks more suitable, especially if there is a quick pace that can bring stamina to the fore in the closing stages. That was how he landed the Melling Chase at Aintree last April, and also how he picked up the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot in November.

It's Ascot where he returns this weekend and to make his chances even better, he’s two from two over the course and distance.

The competition won’t be easy though with Waiting Patiently looking to bounce back from his fall over Christmas, but I think this is a track that Politologue likes and he could be value at the prices.

See you at the races!