The Duke's Weekend Review - The Gambling Times
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NEWCASTLE
16:20| Wednesday
CASEY JONES

The Duke’s Weekend Review

It was a great weekend for trainer Ian Williams as he bagged the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton with London Prize and over at Doncaster picked up the valuable November Handicap with Saunter. What a nice way for the yard to transition between the last of the top Flat action and the start of the long and winding road towards Cheltenham over jumps. Well, it’s not really that long and winding as we have a very good meeting there this weekend!

We also waved goodbye to Melodic Rendezvous, who heads off to retirement after a good equine career that included a Tolworth Hurdle and an Elite Hurdle. I’m sure he will be as dutifully looked after in his old age as during his racing days.

Might Bite, who you’ll certainly remember from rather erratic antics last season, is back. He easily won his return in a Listed contest at Sandown. Might Bite has developed a bit of a reputation after falling in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase with the race at his mercy last December, before almost giving away the RSA Novices’ Chase at the Festival in March. Simply put, I think he gets bored he is that good. He’s a bit like former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov. Super talented but without being asked he just switches off. He could be a bit of a handful for Nico de Boinville this term, but exciting for us to watch.

While Nico will be hoping all goes to plan with Might Bite, so will Harry Cobden with Cue Card. He’s going to replace Paddy Brennan on the multiple Grade 1 winner after Colin Tizzard and team decided Brennan had fallen off Cue Card one too many times. I think it’s a final roll of the dice for team Cue Card, in the hope a new jockey might roust the old lad. Realistically, this is probably the final top-class season for Cue Card (that’s if we haven’t seen it already). I’d really like to see him put in a couple of big performances this season, but based on his Wetherby fall, there’s a lot to prove, starting in the Betfair Chase the weekend after next.

In the meantime, there’s a lot to look forward to this weekend at Cheltenham, and we’ll do just that in our preview coming later in the week.

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