4 NOVEMBER 1972, Page 17

Juliette's Weekly Frolic

The entire betting population of Britain, and Ireland, appear to be ' on ' Abergwaun for Saturday's Vernons Sprint, and as I have failed to dream up any alternative that's both original and realistic, the National Hunt season can at last rejoice in my undivided attention.

With the chasing edition of Race form yet to put in an appearance, regular purchasers of this bible can well afford to fork out a £1 on the Embassy National Hunt Annual that was published for the first time last week. With pictures, profiles and previews from a variety of familiar names, it is well equipped to make up for the previous dearth of jumping literature, but of more immediate interest, in view of Saturday's Marlow Ropes John Skeaping Hurdle, is its rating of the 200 top hurdlers.

Those not already committed to the Comedy of Errors or Celtic Cone camps will have an opportunity to run their eyes over a number of other would-be Bulas, due to line up for this lucrative prize at Sandown (at Kempton). According to the 'Annual,' Canasta Lad is the only conceivable heir apparent and if their assessment is anything like correct, he has pounds in hand of the rivals he meets here. Although, unlike the four other senior members of the party, I'm Happy, Moyne Royal, Corrieghoil and Phaestus, he lacks a warm-up run. Still that probably won't prevent him winning, but saddled with an insatiable appetite for enticing prices, I'd sooner chance my reputation on Phaestus, who beat ' Canasta ' a couple of lengths in the 1971 'Irish Sweeps' race 61b worse terms.

The two horses who took the last of the 1971/2 season's major 'chasing prizes, reappear within fifteen minutes of one another the same afternoon. Quick Reply who, stepped from hunter chasing to a winner's ovation in the Scottish Grand National, receives 1 stone from Titus Oates in the 2.30 at Newcastle. Grey Sombrero having apparently exposed his limitations in the top company when a falling ' Hennessy ' favourite devastatingly silenced his critics by making virtually all the running in the Whitbread Gold Cup. The flamboyant front-runner takes on Charles Dickens and Roman Holiday in Kempton's 2.45.

A virtual novice, Retrospect had the cheek to try and give 1lb to Spanish Steps a couple of weeks ago. Not surprisingly he finished a distant last of four. As his owner remarked to him afterwards "you can't win them all ", but undeterred by this setback the horse made no mistake at Cheltenham last weekend. If he can follow up by beating the smart Vulgan Town in Kempton's Pirbright 'Chase on Friday he might be worth considering for the Wills' Premier 'Chase Final. for which he qualified last month.

Assets: £136.38. Outlay: £2 to win Phaestus, Quick Reply, Grey Sombrero and Retrospect.