Round up, and an apology…

Breeders Cup 2014

Breeders Cup 2014 is coming

Well, what a week it’s been… I don’t feel like my feet have touched the floor since about this time last week, and in today’s post I’ll outline what’s been going on, what’s coming up next, and offer an apology.

Let’s start with the ‘sorry’. Over the last couple of years, has grown from a little blog to a content hub housing some of the best race cards and form tools on t’interwebz. In order for things to run (fairly) smoothly, we now use a whole bunch of different servers and databases and programs and blah blah blah.

Well, this morning, one of our servers – the one on which the actual website sits – went pop. Full up. Overloaded it. The people who host it simply prevented all visitors from accessing the site, which was a little unhelpful. Long and short, the site was down for about an hour this morning. Ultimately, it was my fault. Apparently, you can set up alerts for when you’re close to using all of the available capacity. Who knew?!

We’re up and running again now, and have a task over the weekend to review the unused content and delete as much as possible: a bit of a house clearance!

That problem was compounded by the fact that I was trying to feed Leonardo his ‘hoops’ (Cheerios) this morning at the time of said incident, and he decided that they’d be better used as a textured wallpaper… Mrs Matt is away this week, in Las Vegas (!), so I’m in sole charge of the boy (now 25 months old, time passes, eh?).

And, I don’t mind admitting, it’s been bloody hard work. Trying to balance my two babies (geegeez being the other, natch) is an inevitably hopeless task and I’ve done what I hope most will believe to be the decent thing, and focused on the more recent of the pair.

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That has meant no decomposition of Future Champions Day (management summary, ignore the form largely) or British Champions Day (management summary, great races, got the big field handicap draw wrong – again). And it’s meant I haven’t shared any of the excellent Breeders Cup content I’m working on either.

I’m planning to offer those who love a bit of a tickle on the self-styled ‘World Thoroughbred Championships’ a full chapter and verse package, including trends, pace analysis, and runner profiles. This will be a paid service, but at a pound a race or thereabouts, it’s within the compass of almost anyone who wants it. I’m very nearly finished with the trends and will have more info on this next week – Breeders Cup Friday is a week today!

I’ll be heading over to Santa Anita – my turn, after Carole gets back on Sunday – on Tuesday, and will be reporting live from trackside Friday and Saturday nights.

I’ll share more details on the Breeders Cup package with you next week.

Now, before then, and closer to home, we have two crackers tomorrow, the Racing Post Trophy and the Old Roan Chase. Tomorrow’s Aintree feature has been previewed here, with a doff of the cap to the lad whose name has been appended to Old Roan in the race title.

As for the Racing Post Trophy, well, it’s been won by Aidan O’Brien’s powerful Ballydoyle yard in three of the past five years, and seven times in all. O’Brien still lags behind Sir Henry’s incredible ten wins in the race, but is closing.

This time he runs two, with a mysterious switcheroo occurring earlier in the week. At that time, it was believed that Giovanni Canaletto and Royal Navy Ship were to be his pair of representatives, but they’ve been supplanted by the lightly raced pair, Jacobean and Aloft. With trainer’s son Joseph banned, and Ryan Moore (the ultimate supersub) in Australia, Colm O’Donoghue will reportedly ride Jacobean and William Buick, Aloft.

Jacobean, a 7/2 chance, is flag bearer for the Royal Navy Ship form, as he was second to that horse in a field of 22, less than a fortnight ago. He’s clearly held in high regard to be pitched in here as a maiden and with such a short hiatus between runs. Aloft also backs up quickly enough, having won his maiden at the second attempt just three weeks earlier. Interestingly enough, that was a Newmarket maiden which, for an Irish trainer, was a probable ‘sighter’ of the home guard.

The home team will be spearheaded by Royal Lodge winner, Elm Park, who took his time to get going there but was an impressive winner in the end. A true run mile should be ideal, and Andrew Balding’s Phoenix Reach colt undoubtedly sets the bar in terms of established form.

If one of the more lightly raced animals is to prevail – and it isn’t to be one of the Ballydoyle brace – then it might be Celestial Path. Sir Mark Prescott doesn’t have that many Group performers these days, but this lad – by Footstepsinthesand out of a Hawk Wing mare – is bred for the grade.

He was a facile victor in a Listed contest last time, and has been well rested since. The form of his previous maiden has worked out well, and he might be an each way bet to nothing at around 5/1.

It’s not really a betting race for me, but it will be sure to shape the top of the market for both the Guineas and the Derby of 2015.

Have a great weekend – I’m off to sort the boy out!


At the Natural History Museum, with young man...

At the Natural History Museum yesterday, with young man…

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