Racing: Drying ground could count against Emotional Moment

Do not be daunted by the numbers for Saturday's Tote Gold Trophy, for which 41 horses were declared yesterday. The capabilities of the leading performers are well known, the betting is wide open and the race might prove just as good a guide to Cheltenham as the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown 24 hours later. That has a 10-runner field headed by the Gold Cup hope Beef Or Salmon.

With the Champion Hurdle winner of 1997, Make A Stand, as well as Geos and Landing Light listed on the Tote Gold Trophy roll of honour, the £120,000 Newbury race is the handicap hurdle with the highest calibre field of the season. Last year Rooster Booster, now a Champion contender, divided the winner, Copeland, and third Benbyas. That pair resume rivalry on Saturday, with Copeland one of eight horses left in by Martin Pipe, shouldering top weight of 11st 12lb.

"Benbyas is in good form and we are very pleased with him," his trainer, Declan Carroll, said yesterday. "I think one of these days he will win one of these big races. Let's hope it's Saturday."

Nicky Henderson, who has won three of the last five runnings of the race, has a particularly strong hand. His three possibles are Non So, Chauvinist and Regal Exit.

Non So is favourite at 13-2 with the sponsors and 6-1 with Ladbrokes, while William Hill and Coral have Tom Taaffe's Emotional Moment, one of eight Irish-trained horses still in the contest, as 6-1 market leader even though the gelding would prefer easier going than the good ground, with good to soft patches, currently prevailing. That is expected to be dried further by strong winds as the week progresses. "Emotional Moment has run on quicker ground before, but I think his best ground is soft," Taaffe said yesterday.

Spirit Leader, who has already conducted a successful raid in Britain this season at Sandown in December, will represent Jessica Harrington. "She did a bit of work on Saturday with Moscow Flyer [a winner at Punchestown on Sunday] and she's grand today," Harrington said. "I just have to keep her ticking over."

Peter Beaumont, who saddled Jodami to take the Hennessy in three successive years, has decided against running Hussard Collonges in the Leopardstown race. "If he'd gone there and then to Cheltenham he would have had five hard races in a row and I just don't want to overdo it. He'll go straight for the Gold Cup now."

Hussard Collonges, winner of last year's Royal & SunAlliance Chase, has run three tremendous races this season without getting his head in front.

Willie Mullins will make a decision about Florida Pearl's participation later in the week. "I don't want to race him on heavy ground at this stage of the season," he said.

TOTE GOLD TROPHY (Newbury, Saturday) Tote: 13-2 Non So, 7-1 Emotional Moment, 10-1 Copeland, 12-1 Chauvinist, Spirit Leader, 14-1 Benbyas, Puntal, 16-1 others. Ladbrokes: 6-1 Non So, 7-1 Emotional Moment, 10-1 Chauvinist, 12-1 Puntal, 14-1 Benbyas, Copeland, In

Contrast, Spirit Leader, 16-1 others.

Coral: 6-1 Emotional Moment, 7-1 Non So, 10-1 Chauvinist, Puntal, 14-1 Copeland, Scolardy, 16-1 In Contrast, Quazar, Benbyas, 20-1 Gralmano, Haditovski, Giocomo, Miss Cool, Calladine, Spirit Leader, 25-1 others.

HENNESSY GOLD CUP (Leopardstown, Sunday) Cashmans: 7-4 Beef Or Salmon, 7-2 Colonel Braxton, 9-2 Florida Pearl, 5-1 Rince Ri, 6-1 Harbour Pilot, 12-1 Foxchapel King, 20-1 Macs Gildoran, 33-1 others.

Booster is praised by Williamson

Norman Williamson, the rider of Rhinestone Cowboy, yesterday nominated Rooster Booster as the horse to beat in the Champion Hurdle, despite his unconvincing victory at Sandown on Saturday.

"I know Rooster Booster wasn't pretty on Saturday," Williamson said, "but the ground was terrible and it looked as though he just idled.

Some bookmakers pushed out Rooster Booster in Champion Hurdle betting – he is a best-priced 6-1 with Ladbrokes – following Saturday's race and he has been deposed as favourite by the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Intersky Falcon, who is as low as 7-2 with William Hill. But Williamson believes it will be a different Rooster Booster at Cheltenham, where a fast pace is certain. "The quicker they go the better for him," he said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride