30/08- This week I’ve gone for one where I’ve slightly missed the price after having him on my radar for a while. However, I think the 16/1 on offer is still a very fair price and can only see him shortening as the season progresses. The price seems especially fair when you consider he’s unbeaten; a novice grade one winning hurdler; who looks certain to go chasing next year and feasibly could only go for two Cheltenham targets, meaning you’re quite likely to get a run for your money. The horse in question is Monmiral and I’ll be backing him in the Arkle.
A French recruit who won his only start there in a conditions hurdle for three year olds, winning fairly cosily in the end. He was then purchased by Sir Alex Ferguson, Mason and Hales to be trained by Paul Nicholls. He won his four starts last season including a grade two and a grade one, improving with each run, in both his jumping and his general performance. His final start was in the grade one four year old hurdle at Aintree, where we looked set for a battle between himself and Adagio at the last with Adagio seemingly going well. Unfortunately, Adagio made an error whilst Monmiral jumped to perfection and ended up winning easily by 7 and a half lengths. A lot of people claimed that Adagio was coming to win, but personally I thought Monmiral kept on very strongly after the line and would have pulled clear anyway. I also won’t ever try and claim that the best horse didn’t win in situations like that, jumping is the name of the game and it was the difference in the two jumps that decided that race, I’d much rather back the better jumper going into chasing next year.
On pedigree, he looks like a chaser in waiting with sire Saint Des Saints producing multiple grade one winning chasers. Including the same connections Protektorat, who at the same meeting that Monmiral won his grade one, got his own on the board with a strong performance in the Manifesto Novices Chase.
The Arkle market looks fairly open with question marks over those at the head of the market. Appreciate It may step up in trip, as with My Drogo; Bob Olinger is more likely to step up in trip rather than back to the Arkle; Quilixios I think will have a season of hurdling before he goes chasing as he's only 4; I think Ferny Hollow could end up here, but could equally stay hurdling too. Monmiral is next in the market and I think is the only who is almost nailed on to go for this race. At 16/1 this is a strong each way play for me.