Sherwood sits on fence with Action
It is not often that a horse making his seasonal debut over fences in November is quoted in single figures for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham the following March, but then, in the hurdling division at least, this promises to be a very unusual season.
Alderbrook is injured and may not make it to the Festival, while Relkeel and Danoli have already been ruled out entirely. Montelado, Mysilv and Fortune And Fame have tried and failed before, and River North has yet to jump a hurdle in public. As a result, Large Action, a runner in the novice chase at Uttoxeter this afternoon, is as low as 8-1 for the Champion Hurdle when, if he runs at the Festival at all, it is as likely to be over birch as timber.
Not that Oliver Sherwood, Large Action's trainer, is ruling anything out. "He's born to go chasing, that's what it's all about and if you leave it too long they can get into bad habits and they'll never go chasing," Sherwood said yesterday. "He's been hurdling for two seasons now so we've got to have a try. He's schooled well, though he'll never be flamboyant like The Dikler or Desert Orchid. He's sensible, he's got his own way of doing things.
"But I'm not saying that he won't go back to hurdling if others drop by the wayside. I can't envisage any problems with that, he's too much of a professional, but if punters want to back him for the Champion Hurdle I'd advise them to do it with a run."
Unfortunately, none of the leading bookmakers attaches the "with a run" proviso to Large Action's odds for the Champion, but it is worth pointing out that Ladbrokes will return stakes if Alderbrook, last year's winner, does not make it to the Festival this time. Indeed, the 4-1 "with a run" which the firm offers - Coral are 4-1 "all in" - is as close as we may get this season to a no-lose bet.
If Alderbrook does return to defend his crown, it is hard to imagine that the horse described by Timeform as "potentially the best hurdler since Monksfield" will start much longer than 6-4. Anyone holding 4-1 will be able to hedge, while if he is absent, of course, there is nothing to pay.
As if to redress the balance in the face of this apparent generosity, though, the 4-1 against Double Trigger, the Ascot Gold Cup winner, for next Tuesday's Melbourne Cup is "ridiculous". That, at least, is the opinion of Mark Johnston, Double Trigger's trainer, as reported in an Australian newspaper yesterday.
Since Johnston also described his runner as "the best stayer in England for 15 years", he must be grateful that horses cannot sue for libel, since Ardross and Le Moss, to name but two, would by now be engaging a QC. "The odds of 4-1 are ridiculous," Johnston added. "You can't be certain of anything in a Melbourne Cup, and I don't think any horse should be less than 10-1 in a cavalry charge like that."
Johnston's scepticism is shared by many Australian trainers and bookies, and Jeff Landry, a local layer, did not spare the visitors' feelings. "There are a million reasons why we have been sold a dummy with Double Trigger," he said. "He's run twice abroad, in Hong Kong and France, and he's failed both times, and if you examine the winning times of his races, you'll find that he's just too slow to win a Melbourne Cup." It is probably just as well that Landry kept the other 999,998 to himself.
Punters in all corners of the world have a new champion this morning. Chim Shing-Chung, currently serving eight years for drug trafficking in a Hong Kong prison, took the prison authorities to court when they started removing the racing form from the daily newspapers in an effort to deter illegal gambling within the jail.
The court ruled that the prisoner's human rights had been violated, a stunning judicial vindication for those of us who have always known that the three things which matter are life, liberty and the pursuit of winners.
Latest in Sport
The Prince of Wales Stakes today is regarded by many as the No1 race of the Royal Ascot meeting and ...
by Gareth Purnell
19 June 2013 02:01 AM
Today’s St James Palace looks a cracker and there has been sustained money for Dawn Approach since t...
by Gareth Purnell
18 June 2013 02:01 AM
Newcastle don’t need a football director – they need a new medical team after finishing bottom of the injury league
Newcastle United have shocked their fans by appointing Joe Kinnear as director of football but new f...
by Alex Miller
17 June 2013 04:39 PM
ACT Brumbies v British and Irish Lions - player ratings
Premier League fixture list unveiled: David Moyes and Jose Mourinho on an early collision course
Liverpool expected to complete deal for £6m Spanish winger Luis Alberto in next 48 hours
In pictures: Royal Ascot 2013 - Opening day
Exclusive: Cristiano Ronaldo advised to stay at Real Madrid for further 18 months before making possible switch to Manchester United
- 1 Disability campaigners celebrate 'victory' after government rethink over plans to make it more difficult to claim disability benefits
- 2 'Jail reckless bankers': Report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 3 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 4 Uri Geller psychic spy? The spoon-bender's secret life as a Mossad and CIA agent revealed
- 5 Vice pulls 'breathtakingly tasteless' fashion shoot glorifying the suicides of famous female authors from Sylvia Plath to Virginia Woolf
£600 - £750 per day: Orgtel: FATCA Project Manager - Banking - London - £600-...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: May & Stephens Recruitment Group: If you're an ambi...
£43000 - £50000 per annum + £5K Car Allowance + Bens : May & Stephens Recrui...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + Bens : May & Stephens Recruitment Group: If you're...