Tazbar no folorn hope at 40-1

Filed on 23 Feb 2009 @ 12:08

Tazbar no folorn hope at 40-1

By Ian Carnaby

There cannot be anything in the theory that well-named horses perform better than strangely- (or, in some cases, foolishly-) named ones. Having said that, I never thought My Volga Boatman would win the Derby, and he didn’t.

A bit of thought should go into the process, really. Wait For The Will turns out in sellers and claimers these days but he was a fair handicapper in his day. He is by Seeking The Gold out of You’d Be Surprised, thus recalling the old adage, ‘Where’s there’s a will, there’s a relative or close friend you’ve never heard of’. It was something like that, anyway.

If I could afford horses, I’d think hard about their names. I wanted the ill-fated Lenny The Blade to be called Afterglow, because he was by Limelight out of Master Willie, and even my wife thought it quite clever. Clever and ironic, I think she said. Unfortunately there’d been an Afterglow in the last ten years, so we were thwarted.

Reveley has always viewed Tazbar as potentially championship class

I always backed Peter Makin’s Crowded Avenue because he turns up in two popular songs - I Only Have Eyes For You by everybody and Can’t Get Used To Losing You by Andy Williams - and happens to be by Sizzling Melody. The dam was Lady Bequick, which doesn’t quite fit. She was by Sharpen Up, who also sired Kris among many other top horses. It must have been annoying to the namer of Kris, possibly Sir Howard de Walden, when commentators persisted in calling the champion miler Chris, because a kris is a Malayan dagger. Sharpen Up, see.

Sometimes I look at those quick Q & A newspaper interviews with famous people, not that I’ve heard of most of them because I’m too old. In one of them, there is the awkward question: What is your cultural blind spot? (As if there’s only one.) This would be really easy for me. Doctor Who; Eastenders (known in our house as ‘Shut it, you slag’); absolutely anything to do with Madonna and, curiously perhaps, J S Bach.

People a good deal cleverer than I adore Bach and I readily acknowledge my own philistinism. But all of his compositions sound to me like the musical equivalent of a mathematical puzzle which must be neatly resolved in the end. And, sure enough, it is. There should be some sort of celebration to let you know it’s all over, problem solved, hooray, a long single burst on the accordion a la Jimmy Shand, perhaps. You never really knew when Jimmy Shand and his Band had finished, either, until the sustained single note at the end. As with Bach, all of Sir Jimmy’s pieces were much the same. But they were jolly enough and got people going at Hogmanay. I bet the Germans don’t bounce up and down and slap their thighs to the Brandenburg Concertos. Happy New Year? As if.

When I have my little restaurant in the south of France there will be accordion music in the background. Accordion, a prolific winning sire, is quite nicely named. All right, you don’t hear much accordion music at Sadler’s Wells, but he happens to be out of a mare called Sound Of Success by Successor I - and he was by French Wind, so someone must have made an effort when it came to naming Accordion.

Tazbar is my best outsider at the Cheltenham festival

I wanted that to be true of Tazbar, who is my best outsider at the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival. It is to a degree because, although by Tiraaz, he is out of Candy Bar, who never finished closer than sixth in her nine outings over jumps in Ireland. Her son has improved considerably on that and gained many admirers when failing narrowly to concede Synchronised 19lb in a Pertemps Qualifier at Haydock last time.

Many people will ignore Tazbar in the World Hurdle because he previously finished fifth to leading contender Big Buck’s at Cheltenham, beaten just over ten lengths. However, taking that form literally may be rather risky. The race came only 12 days after Tazbar had finished third to United on his reappearance at Haydock, where he made many lengths from two out, only to falter close home.

On what we saw the other Saturday, Tazbar will not beat Kasbah Bliss, who was hugely impressive in the former Rendlesham Hurdle. But are the others towards the head of the World Hurdle market quite as smart as we thought a few weeks ago? Duc De Regniere did not do very much for stable-companion Punchestown’s easy Long Walk victory at Ascot when failing to hold on to second behind Kasbah Bliss at Haydock. As for Big Buck’s, well, there is no faulting his two Cheltenham wins but he would be a rather unusual World Hurdle hero. He ran 13 times in France before joining Paul Nicholls, who never had any doubt he was a chaser and promptly ran him over fences. Indeed, it was only after his fifth steeplechase, when he unseated in the Hennessy, that long-distance hurdles entered the equation.

There are two aspects worth careful consideration when it comes to Tazbar’s chances. Did the run behind Big Buck’s come too soon following his good third at Haydock, and why would trainer Keith Reveley still opt for the World Hurdle, when he had just seen Kasbah Bliss cruise in and might have preferred the Pertemps Final? Answers: yes, it came too soon because Tazbar needs time between races; and he goes for the big one because he is good enough to trouble the best and will be a potent threat on better ground. Reveley has ALWAYS viewed him as potentially championship class.

Anyway, Kasbah Bliss still stands in the way but 40 to 1 for second or third is not so dusty and we may well be dancing to the Auchtermuchty Gala March on the night of March 12. And if you want to know who made the Auchtermuchty Gala March famous, I can tell you it wasn’t J S Bach.

Filed on 23 Feb 2009 @ 12:08