Monday, January 16, 2012

Calgary puts 'The Hen' back in the spotlight

Henrietta Knight, one of jump racing's most beloved characters and affectionately known by many as 'The Hen', grabbed a piece of the limelight at Cheltenham's New Year's Day meeting when her talented sort Calgary Bay bounced back to his best to score in the Grade 3 Bet With Your Mobile Victor Chandler Chase, writes Elliot Slater.

A horse with a tremendous amount of ability who it would be fair to say hasn't really achieved as much as many people anticipated, there is little doubt that the nine-year-old goes best at Cheltenham having recorded three of his four victories at the undulating Prestbury Park circuit from a total of 27 career starts. People who have read a Stan James review need to bear this in mind.

With only six winners registered during the 2010/11 season during what was a very difficult period for Knight after her partner, former champion jumps jockey and living legend Terry Biddlecombe suffered a stroke, things have started to look up this term and Calgary Bay's length-and-a-quarter success over Hector's Choice put the yard back in the spotlight following on from stable star Somersby's decent effort in finishing fourth behind Kauto Star in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. People looking at a Bwin review should remember this.

Decent ground and a strong pace are essential ingredients to bring out the best in Calgary Bay who as a young novice chaser had appeared to be destined for great things after landing the Grade 2 Dipper Novices Chase, but whilst he has run a number of decent races over the last three years invariably the son of Taipan has failed to deliver and run to his full potential. All roads will once again lead back to the home of National Hunt racing with Knight planning an assault on one of the big handicaps at Cheltenham in March, after which she would like to have another crack at the John Smith's Grand National, a race in which Calgary Bay only got as far as the fourth fence last year where he took a heavy fall.

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