Tip Of The Day: No ifs, No Buts
Our Will Hayler hopes No Buts can put one bad season behind him to score at Warwick this afternoon.
No Buts: Fancied to bounce back at Warwick.
Quietly tucked away at the bottom of page 11 of the Racing Post today (and on the news index on Sportinglife.com too, of course) is the news that Air Force Blue has been retired to stud in Kentucky after a season which must rank pretty highly among the all-time list of Aidan O'Brien disappointments.
As I have written before, this outfit get it right far more often than they get it wrong, but nobody is infallible and the noises emanating from Ballydoyle were so bullish before the Guineas that even an old cynic like myself went to Newmarket preparing to hail the all-conquering hero.
Poor Aidan and poor Air Force Blue. Perhaps if he'd got rattling quick ground or been ridden more aggressively either at Newmarket, or the Curragh, his season might have gone differently. but he didn't and it didn't. The final straw came finishing last of seven in a lowly Group Three last month. Ahead of the Dewhurst a week on Saturday, in which – lest we forget – he absolutely skated home last year, it's a timely reminder that much can go wrong over the course of just one winter.
Alongside the story on Air Force Blue is a correction on the same page that Simon Bazalegtte, chief executive of the Jockey Club Racecourses, "has visited Warwick racecourse many times", which is good to know although I go a lot less since the nice man selling huge wheels of locally-made cheese for a fiver stopped turning up.
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Perhaps Bazalgette will be going again to Warwick today, as he's evidently such a regular, and if so I hope he will be cheering home No Buts in the Colliers International Rating Division Handicap Chase.
A bit like his trainer David Bridgwater, No Buts had a bit of a season to forget last year, turning up twice to the races, but getting thoroughly tonked on both occasions.
Jumping issues surfaced in both starts, and perhaps something was bothering him physically, as he wasn't seen again afterwards and now returns with the first-time application of a tongue-tie.
Yes, there's a risk factor but let's hope No Buts can mirror his trainer's revival, who after a quiet season in 2015/16, has already bounced back with seven winners over jumps in the summer – including one yesterday – and a further six Flat winners.
I have a hunch that going left-handed might also help him today, as his two disappointing efforts last year (albeit in much hotter contest) were both going the other way round, while his form at this track reads '232'.
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