Still a little bleary-eyed here in the Geegeez bolthole in Mission Beach, San Diego, dear reader, after a weekend of highs and lows (some of them literally) in Mexico City. More of that in due course. First, let's review the weekend...
There were two Champion Hurdle trials, in consecutive races, on Saturday. And, bizarrely enough, my very own (part share of) Night Orbit was engaged in one of the two contests! I'll get to that in a moment.
The first of the pair, the Boylesports International Hurdle, offered us a rematch between last season's Champion Hurdle 1-2, Punjabi and Celestial Halo. Both are well regarded by me with a view to this season's championship decider next March, and I was most interested to read about the race.
As it turned out, though the Halo was sent off at odds on, both he and the Punjabi were usurped by Nigel Twiston-Davies' hoss, Khyber Kim. That beast saw off all comers in very slick fashion and, whilst there was no fluke about this stylish win, KK clearly relished the sodden turf more than his labouring rivals.
He's a 12/1 shot for the Champion now, and it may be 12/1 that he gets ground this wet, which I believe he'll need to overthrow his pursuers again. The 10/1 about Celestial Halo, eased from 13/2, should be snapped up if you don't already have him in your portfolio (and even if you do). He'll beat KK on better ground.
Punjabi was in need of the run and performed respectably - though no better than that. Medermit remains very interesting. In my Champion Hurdle preview back on 21st November, I'd noted that he had a similar form profile to Binocular but was eleven times the price. He's still 40/1, and I reckon he'll be on the scene come March at a fat juicy price.
Next up, and the last race on the card, was the Relkeel Hurdle. This featured a walk in the park for unbeaten 4yo, Zaynar. Up against him were an above average, but not exceptional, lot. And Night Orbit!
Zaynar was sent off at 1/5; Orbit at 66/1. In the finish, the race panned out as a stroll for Zaynar. He quickened nicely to win as he liked. Dear old Orbit was beaten less than twenty lengths by the new Champion Hurdle favourite, and finished a very gallant fourth in this Grade 2 affair. I may never get to see a horse in which I have an interest run in a Graded event again, so I was gutted to miss Saturday's race.
Two things to note:
1. Zaynar should not have shortened in the Champion Hurdle betting for beating a group of horses who are not even quoted for that race! 7/2 is a joke price, and more reflects the fact that the other horses keep beating each other.
2. Night Orbit was clearly flattered. The fall of Golan Way at the 2nd robbed the race of the most likely front runner and, though 'Ollie' does sometimes go from the front, he had an easy enough time of it, sharing duties with eventual 2nd, Cape Tribulation. The time was slow, and Orbit ran his usual race. No better (in fact, slightly worse) than his Aintree 2nd, according to the speed numbers.
He's come out of the race in excellent fettle, and is entered on Friday at Ascot in a Class 3 handicap hurdle. If the handicapper indicates he'll increase his rating, then Orbit will run on Friday. It looks a tougher assignment to get close to my eye, as they're sure to go licketty-split in the likely big field. More as the week unfurls.
News from the Geegeez Racing Club... Obvious is now back in fine shape, after her long absence caused by an injury she sustained when running at Goodwood last time.
Indeed, she's entered in not one but two races this Friday. She's more likely to contest the 2.40 race at Southwell (a classified stakes), and a fairly average affair it appears too.
Of course, it is a challenge to keep our hopes to sensible proportions and - after three months on the sidelines - Obvious may be a little ring rusty. I'll be backing her nevertheless!
Baggsy, our other club interest, continues her own recovery from a niggle, and will hopefully be back on the track in mid-January, with a following wind.
The last few shares in Baggsy are still available, and you can read about the Geegeez Racing Club package here:
This might make a very nice Christmas present... so feel free to send the link to a loved one, if needs be! 😉
Back over this side of the pond, and one of the issues with Mexico was that my internet connection would not allow me to access certain sites. Annoyingly, one such site was www.geegeez.co.uk! As a result I've not been able to update you on the performance of Betfair Renegade.
The up to date position is a little disappointing, with a couple of painful reverses over the weekend leaving us at -8.4 points.
The full stat story is thus:
|Total win odds||98.65|
|Av Win Odds||4.110417|
The material stat for me is the percentage over SP which, at just 11.75%, suggests that the system is worth persisting with, despite it's (temporary?) blip in form.
Betfair Renegade has now been pulled from the market, a week later than quoted.
This week I'll also be sharing details of a couple of other blogs that I consider well worth a read. First up is my colleague and friend David Peat, who many of you will know from either Flat Racing Profiles or Horse Profiles. David has had a blog for a while, but has recently upgraded it as part of his horseprofiles.co.uk website.
You can take a look at it here:
(If you sign up to get notifications, you'll always know when it's updated. David is a habitual system builder, and gives away loads of stuff free... I'll say no more.)
It should be said that I am not in any danger of becoming a tourism ambassador for Mexico: it's natural beauty is somewhat subsumed by a level of poverty and a rich/poor divide that serves only to remind me how lucky we are in UK (even those who consider themselves unlucky).
A newspaper article on Friday blared in bold font that 65.8% of Mexicans have no access to Social Security. That in a country where that's probably a conservative estimate of the number of people who need it. But it's not my place to make such observations on the socio-political situation there. Rather, I should comment on my tourist experience.
On that latter point: despite their poverty (and how easy it is for me to say), the people of Mexico should treat tourists better if they want build a sustainable tourism industry. I will not go back, because I hate being ripped off. The same taxi ride cannot cost twice as much a hour later. Food bills should not have nefarious additional items added to them. And haggling is not a way of life I especially enjoy (though I know others who do).
But... but it is a beautiful city, and one full of hope. While we were there, we shared a Christmas parade with this (ostensibly) most devout Catholic country. To see the joy in the children's faces was to be blinded by hope for the future. For someone as cynical as I can sometimes be, that was truly beautiful.
And the pyramids are pretty amazing too:
So it seems I may be staying in San Diego for Christmas (and New Year too?) after all. My original flight was for 29th December, but I had a change of heart which led to a change of flight to 23rd December, arriving in London on Christmas Eve.
Little did I know that the cabin crew at British Airways, with whom I'm flying, have decided to strike from 22nd December until the New Year. At this stage, it looks as though my flight will be canceled, and I will be stranded here.
Now of course, there are many worse places to be stranded, but nevertheless being away from friends and family at that time will not be fun. My fingers are crossed that the flight is not canceled or the unions find a resolution with the BA management. Currently though, it'll be turkey and all the trimmings on my lonesome... (cue violins)
Enough rambling from me...