SHARK Hanlon’s tipping prowess is becoming legendary among readers, but unfortunately he didn’t have a horse for us this week although he did have some other good news.
After a meeting with Hidden Cyclone’s owners the Mees and the eight-year-old’s jockey Andrew McNamara, he now definitely goes for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 16.
That’s great news as although connections were talking about ‘my’ race after his win at Listowel a couple of weeks’ ago, his jumping wasn’t particularly fluent that day and Shark said they’d have to think about Cheltenham.
Considering he made at least four mistakes that day, it was some effort to beat Forpadydeplasterer by two lengths and no doubt the big man will be giving Hidden Cyclone plenty of practise over the bigger obstacles between now and then.
This is a horse with a lot of class as don’t forget he was only a length and a quarter adrift of Sir Des Champs at Leopardstown last year and if he can get his jumping together, he could be thrown in off a mark of just 149.
Any time a big race comes along the hype machines seem to crank into gear with things like ‘the best running for many a year’ and ‘rumble in the jungle’ between two so-called main protagonists when usually another horse manages to win!
But Sunday’s Arc in Paris does look like a contest that will live up to the billing and I’m absolutely delighted to say that Channel 4 Racing will be there to cover all of the action including some other races on the Longchamp card.
Any number of the leading contenders look to have a chance but I think that Frankie Dettori can put a fairly miserable time behind him and win the big race on Treve who is 9-2 at time of writing.
It seems amazing that her trainer Criquette Head-Maarek won this event as long ago as 1979 with Three Troikas and I think this daughter of Motivator can provide a second success.
This French Oaks winner remains unbeaten and was impressive when pushed clear to beat Wild Coco, who is no back number, very readily in an Arc Trial last month.
I don’t always go with statistics but I feel they are quite pertinent in the Arc and three-year-olds have won 15 of the last 20 renewals, while fillies have been successful in three of the most recent five runnings. Here’s hoping for a flying dismount next Sunday afternoon!
Tipperary hosts the Concorde Stakes on Sunday and I’m going to take a chance on Tommy Stack’s Wannabe Better after she was well beaten last time in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown last month.
That run can be forgiven as it was her first start at the highest level and this Group 3 event would appear to be much nearer her level as she easily won a Listed race at Killarney on her penultimate outing.
My fancy took a while to win but sometimes it takes fillies a while to bloom.
I thought Arsenal were very good on Saturday when winning at Swansea and reckon that they can win at West Brom this Sunday despite the home team also being in fine form having won at Manchester United.
Some of the passing and flicks from Arsenal reminded me of when Thierry Henry was destroying the opposition a few years’ ago and I particularly enjoyed Arsene Wenger’s sarcasm when he explained it was a ‘massive crisis’ after the Gunners lost their first game of the Premier season!
I also liked the way West Brom went to Old Trafford and attacked fearlessly but they may have just caught the Reds at a good time.
Sunday Longchamp 3.15pm Treve; Sunday Tipperary 3.20pm Wannabe Better; Sunday The Hawthorns 4pm Arsenal to beat West Brom