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.

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own