(2016: +75 points ; 2017 18/185, +79.5; 2018 2/15,6p, +8.5)
A decent run from the tip yesterday, another second, no complaints. Beaten by one I feared who responded well to STDs urging in first time CP – both those two things made the difference, as well as his trainer being in decent form. I thought we had it until the dying strides but it was entertaining if nothing else. No problems with going for the more unexposed one who I was more convinced would run his race. Nearly, but not quite. I won’t mind if they keep running that well.
Rathlin Rose – 2 points win – 5/1 (gen) PU
Dawson City – 1 point win – 14/1 (WH/PP/SJ) ) 12/1 (gen) 3rd
Ah, moving on! Rathlin has travelled well enough into that but found little for pressure… that last race has clearly left a mark, combined with a big weight in horrid ground..not usual heavy – that tacky ground you handle or you don’t. More annoyed with getting the winner wrong, 8s this morning..in form.. I have underestimated the effect of blinkers being applied two starts ago, the fact he seems to be getting better now, he may improve further on recent runs for step up in trip, and the benefit of having 10 stone on his back with the 7lb claim. I’ve underestimated just how easily he won LTO, maybe should have taken at face value! He has demolished them. Plenty to learn/take away from that.
Rathlin Rose – maybe bringing out the 2 pointer, which is some expression of maximum confidence, will prove to be foolhardy but I convinced myself that if he runs his race, he will demolish this lot. I think he should be 7/2 or so in this and certainly no bigger than Cyclop. The obvious concern is this coming 12 days after his Welsh National run. I don’t think there is another horse in this race who could have done what he did there. They went hard in that race, in deep ground, yet he travelled with ease in midfield. He looked like he may go very close as they turned for home before I think a lack of stamina just got to him, but also a lack of class. I don’t think his legs could go any quicker and there were a mix of horses around him – hardy warriors and more unexposed stayers, who boosted the form- the likes of Final Nudge, Vintage Clouds running on again. I don’t want to underestimate the form of that staying chase, which it would be easy to do given the front two were 13 year olds. Having watched it back I am not sure Rathlin Rose had an overly hard race. That may seem an odd thing to say but having watched it again he absolutely winged the last two fences, esp the second last. He jumped like a fresh horse – but the stamina/class just wasn’t there come the end. Of course he also has a big weight in heavy to contend with, but this is a weak race, and those carrying 11-10+ have a good record in this, winning 4 of the 10 renewals to date. That last run proved that heavy wasn’t a problem. You don’t travel and jump like that if you don’t handle it. This is a big drop in class. David Pipe has run three horses in this race, two have come second. I’d like to think they would only run him if he was showing the right signs at home. But until you run them you don’t know. I think he wins this well or tails off. He is lightly raced for his age and has some solid form in the book already.
I had a look at that Fontwell run, in the Southern National. He was giving Cyclop 20lbs in that race, 20lbs!, and he was only beaten 4 lengths by him, with Cresswell Breeze in front of the pair, a gap back to the rest. Rathlin carried 11-11 in that and it was his first run of the season. I suspect he needed it and would have appreciated softer ground. He travelled into it well, only fading after the last. Cyclop came in to it having had a run. He ‘only’ receives 10lbs today. Provided they both run their race, I think Rathlin beats him. Cyclop had a hard race the last day also, has never been the most consistent and can clout a fence. He has to prove he is a dour stayer in heavy also. I suspect he will be fine but his price felt about right. I won’t put you off backing him if you wish. He comes here at the top of his game and may well win this comfortably.
Dawson City... well the price has lured me in and I tried not to over-think this one too much! When they are 12s + I really should just get on with it and stop agonising, as I did with a certain horse last weekend! At his best he would go close here, provided Rathlin doesn’t run his race (i’m convinced he’s going to out-class this lot, IF running his race 🙂 ) and that price allows the play. I don’t think he should be double figures. He gets CP (has worn once, didn’t do too much) back on here and Andrew Thornton back on. That could make a difference. I have watched that last run and there wasn’t seemingly anything amiss. The fact he comes out 17 days later suggests there wasn’t a problem. I have a theory of sorts… all of the fences down the back were omitted for low sun.. there is a chance this horse is a bit of a thinker and jumping fences actually keeps him in the game, mentally. With no fences to jump, he threw in the towel. Possible. It could be they were going too quick for him on the level and that ground may have been ‘tacky’ – which some horses don’t like at all, even if solid form on ‘heavy’. If he repeats his run in this race last year, his run in the Sussex National last Jan, or indeed that Wincanton ‘win’ (he was probably booked for second before leader fell,but he is a solid yardstick and front two were miles clear of rest) he will out-run his odds here. They are big ifs, but maybe returning here will spark him up. There are reasons to be hopeful. He could just be seriously out of form, but i’ll roll the dice.
Of the rest…
Well Cyclop does have a good chance, but I thought his price felt about right. I don’t think he should be 5/2 say. Court Frontier is interesting but was fancied the last day and seems out of sorts. Maybe he resented headgear and that being removed, and returning to fences, will do the job. T O’Brien has a good record on him. His form ties in with Cyclop’s and if my two fail, that may well be the formline to follow, and as such you could give him some sort of chance. Again, like many in here, he wouldn’t have done what Rathlin did in the Welsh National. No chance. 6s didn’t seem overly generous, only being 1 point bigger that RR. I can’t have Wuff at the odds and I think Themanfromminella will be out-classed- at least he comes here in form but he looks a C4 animal and has gone up 8lb for beating a mediocre but consistent field LTO. I can’t have Venetia’s given her iffy form and the 72 break for the horse- suggests a problem and in any case he has stamina on heavy to prove. Happy to take on. Barton Gift is 0/8,0p on heavy in his career and now 0/6,0p in this band of C3. Asking a horse that age to do something that new, is asking for too much. Even at 25s. He’ll win again around Bangor maybe, at some point!
That leaves the Sherwood horse who is being well backed. She does relish the mud but I am yet to be convinced she has the stamina for this trip in heavy, nor the class- IF a few of these run up to their best. The yard has been a bit quiet although signs of a revival in recent days, and she isn’t in the best of form. They reach for the headgear here which may help, it may not. I’m not convinced in her as a dour stayer in these conditions and can leave at what is now a single figure price. The lurker I may fear most.
Pace…well I’m not sure here… Venetia’s and Barton Gift can go forward, but I don’t think they will stay there. Both Dawson City and Rathlin Rose can race prominently and there should be no excuse. Hopefully they track any pace and are in the right place to pounce.
GL with any bets.
2.00 Lud – Actinpieces