Cal’s Weekend Review – 19/01/2023

Estimated read time 10 min read


We saw some great races last weekend and plenty of bubbles burst including the likes of EDWARDSTONE, FIREFOX & BROADWAY BOY to name a few.

We will start with the GRADE 1 LAWLORS OF NAAS in which we saw a big shock coming in the shape of READIN TOMMY WRONG getting the better of ILE ATLANTIQUE on the wire. But the question is, what can be taken away from this race for the future? 

I think that ILE ATLANTIQUE is the best horse from that race, he travelled like the winner throughout only to be narrowly touched off at the finishing post and given that run I would have him to reverse the form with READIN TOMMY WRONG if they were to meet again at the DRF over this trip. I think the ride Daryl Jacob gave the winner was quality, I feel the field when a pretty fast clip the whole way around and Daryl has just sat there waiting away patiently and served it right up to the field.

But what happens next… to me I would be sending this lad READIN TOMMY WRONG to the ALBERT BARTLETT, with how he finished his race he looked as if he was just getting going and he looks to have the style that he would stay all day… if he went to the BARTLETT I would be a firm believer that he could go very close there and I am seeing 8/1 available or 6/1 NRNB which isn’t bad at all. There is no chance Willie sends BALLYBURN, ILE ATLANTIQUE & READIN TOMMY WRONG all to the BALLYMORE. If any horse out of those 3 mentioned was to go onto another race with the strongest chance, it would be RTW.

BANBRIDGE produced a stunning display in the Silviniaco Conti chase getting the better of PIC D’ORHY close to home. EDWARDSTONE was a sheer disappointment there and now certainly throws some serious consideration to Alan King regarding his future, he looked worse over this trip so surely he goes back to 2M and perhaps heads to the QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE in which perhaps he could grab a place behind EL FABIOLO and JONBON. 

He was far too keen throughout the race and jumped his fences far too quickly which gave Tom Cannon a bit of a hard time trying to get him to settle throughout the race. We sadly lost NOTLONGTILMAY which was tragic news for Laura Morgan and all connections involved, thoughts with them. JANIDIL never posed a threat. PIC D’ORHY put forward a mighty race but was simply just outstayed by BANBRIDGE on the day. He now certainly warrants a live chance for the RYAN AIR CHASE and could cause ALLAHO a serious challenge if he rocks up in a finer tune that what he was in last weekend. Could he win the RYAN AIR?

Yes… most definitely, we know he likes it around CHELTENHAM already but the ground to this lad is key, he needs proper good ground to put his best hooves forward. More often than not, the ground come the off for the RYAN AIR is usually on the softer side so that could possibly be a slight concern but I truly think if any horse can beat ALLAHO, it’s this lad.

MYSTICAL POWER proved far too strong in the GRADE 2 MOSCOW FLYER. He now sits at the top of the market for the SUPREME NOVICES HURDLE. I think he put forward a really strong performance there and certainly warrants respect to be the current favourite for the SUPREME.

Once he was asked for more, the turbos well and truly kicked in as he pulled away easily from JIGORO by 7 lengths. It is arguably one of the better performances we have seen out of the market for the SUPREME but 4/1 seems plenty short for me now from a betting perspective. Nevertheless it was a visually impressive performance and throws another horse into the equation for the SUPREME.


There is a huge probability that racing this weekend may be called off due to the weather conditions, especially at ASCOT. Clerk of the course Chris Stickles admitting the frost is embedded into the ground and there is very little hope that the racing here, headlined by the CLARENCE HOUSE CHASE will take place this weekend. 

There is a 16:00 inspection being held Thursday so potentially, by the time you read this, we will have confirmation as to whether the racing is on or off here. Nevertheless, let’s preview some of the best races over the weekend. Starting off with the big one…

THE CLARENCE HOUSE CHASE – EL FABIOLO vs JONBON III. Who wins? It’s hard to pick who’s side to be on here, JONBON has looked wicked over the sticks so far this season beating proper graded horses by an absolute landslide. He was mightily impressive in the SHLOER CHASE earlier on in the season beating EDWARDSTONE by a comfortable 9 ½ lengths. He then followed that success up with another GRADE 1 in the TINGLE CREEK, again beating EDWARDSTONE but by a much shorter margin that day. I think he has the best form this season on paper with no doubts about it but…

EL FABIOLO is a proper horse. Now bar the last fence in the HILLY WAY he jumped much better all the way around which certainly boosts confidence on his chances as that’s probably the only negative this horse has. There is no doubt about it that his engine is totally dominant over JONBON’S and coming down a long straight like ASCOT’S, that engine could prove pivotal in his chances to achieve glory here. 

Whose camp am I in?… all along I have being firmly in the JONBON camp going into CHELTENHAM but at this track, I think EL FABIOLO may have the edge here as I think this track will bring out the best of him and his greatest attributes, the engine being the main advantage. There is no doubts that JONBON is a better jumper and if he gets into a good rhythm tucked in behind the pace then he would have every chance to win this race but only if EL FABIOLO puts in a round of underwhelming jumping. But I am siding with Willie’s horse here. 

Over to HAYDOCK and we have a rather nice supreme trial there in which comes my first advised selection of the weekend. SOUTHOFTHEBORDER 4/1 now he was mightily disappointing on the last day but I think that run can be forgiven.

Looking back at his run before the last day, he’s jumped throughout the race with confidence and hosed up when he was asked the question. He is much better than what he showed on the last day and with a better run there he’d be coming into this race as a clear FAV I’d imagine. I think the heavy going caused major problems and never really travelled fluently throughout the race. I’m quite keen on his chances here, nothing jumps out to me in this field that could have the improvement I see in this lad and at 4/1, I think that’s a really good price.

I’m advising a double on BETTER DAYS AHEAD & C’EST TA CHANCE over at NAVAN on Saturday. There is currently no market price available so I will have to take SP. BETTER DAYS AHEAD should be dotting up against this lot and will take all the beating.

As for C’EST TA CHANCE, he is entered into the same bumper ITS FOR ME won last year for the same connections (double green) and could potentially be a horse for the CHAMPION BUMPER come CHELTENHAM. He’s currently best priced at 25/1 for this year’s renewal so keep an eye on his performance on Saturday. 

Finally I’d like to preview the HORSE & JOCKEY HOTEL CHASE on Sunday at THURLES. This is a proper race to get stuck into with the likes of ALLAHO, ENVOI ALLEN, APPRECIATE IT & FRENCH DYNAMITE all with the potential to line up here. Who wins…?

My heart says ALLAHO if he turns up here but I have doubts he won’t end up coming here giving the KING GEORGE was ran just a few week ago. ENVOI ALLEN wins this race if ALLAHO doesn’t turn up. I am thrilled to see he has recently returned to some sort of shade of his best days recently running GERRI COLOMBE to the wire in which he was just narrowly nosed off at the line. But I do think he has the ability to roll these lot over, APPRECIATE IT and FRENCH DYNAMITE are top quality horses but I think will come up a bit short against ENVOI ALLEN here. MONKFISH is an interesting entry now back over the sticks and warrants respect but will likely need the run. Belting race here but no advised bet for me.


DINOBLUE 6/4 MARES CHASE. This mare wins this race in a canter. I’d give Allegorie De Vassy no hope here which then leaves you with Limerick Lace who looks like a progressive mare to say the least and warrants the upmost respect, but for me, I think this mare DINOBLUE could be JP’s best chance of a winner at this year’s CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL. She’s clear on ratings and against the same sex, she’s going to be tough to beat! 

Despite only having 2 runs at CHELTENHAM and finishing in 9th and 2nd, the 9th is one to write off as it was over hurdles. Since transitioning to fences she’s taken to it like a duck to water. She then ran a really strong 2nd behind MASKADA in the GRAND ANNUAL at last year’s festival but the curve she has being on this year after that race is nothing short of brilliance.

She’s won on every single start this season. Her success last time out beating GENTLEMAN DE MEE by 7½ lengths is by far the strongest piece of form within this field. I love how versatile she is on ground, she’s won on both good and soft which would bolster confidence regarding this race as for the last 2 years its been ran on Good to Soft.  

For me, she’s going to take the world of beating here, 6/4 at this moment in time looks like an absolute gift and one I am certainly getting my boots filled on. 

I hope that the racing is on this weekend as I am absolutely raring to watch the JONBON vs EL FABIOLO trilogy unfold, and if its anything like SHISHKIN vs ENERGUMENE in their CLARENCE HOUSE clash, it’ll be one for the ages.

Best of luck,


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