Thursday, November 10, 2011

Carruthers camp optimistic about season ahead

Hopes were high at the start of last jumps season that the Mark Bradstock-trained Carruthers might be a genuine contenders for honours in the top three-mile chases, but things didn't go smoothly for the eight-year-old who drew a blank and failed to reach the frame on each of his four outings, writes Elliot Slater.

It transpired that the gelded son of Ascot Gold Cup winner Kayf Tara was suffering from a bug for most of the term and that in turn impacted on the horse's state of mind leaving him somewhat down in the dumps, a situation that connections believe has been more than remedied during the summer. They are hopeful that his disappointments last term may prove a blessing in disguise with the stayer looking dangerously well handicapped on his best form. Those looking at the Grand National free betting need to remember this.

Starting this campaign 9lb lower than the same time last year, Carruthers could well make his seasonal return in the ultra-competitive Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on November 26, where soft ground would be almost essential to ensure the participation of a horse who at his best has run well against some of the outstanding three-milers in the country.  Sixth of 18 behind Diamond Harry in  last year's renewal of the great Newbury race, Bradstock's charge didn't go on from that good effort and was well beaten on his final outing when running no sort of race behind Long Run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, eventually trailing home 9th (beaten 60 lengths) behind the brilliant winner. Even those looking at Aintree tips will be impressed.

Owned by the tremendously popular veteran former ITV and Channel 4 racing presenter Lord Oaksey, (father-in-law of the trainer), Carruthers is generally available at 25/1 to land the coveted event. Should he fail to go to Newbury on account of the ground, Bradstock has pencilled in an alternative engagement in a three-mile-three-furlong contest at Cheltenham a week earlier.

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