Well I have had a good few weeks since Boxing Day. Picking the winner of the King George and the Welsh National were two highlights and both were picked out on the blog. I haven’t had time to blog recently but was pleased to pick the winner of the Somerset National, Flying Award, who returned at a very generous 14/1. Looking at my own records I am about 85 points up this National Hunt season so far,to level stakes, which I am more than happy with. Anyway, there is no point in dwelling on the past, and we move on to a testing, competitive Saturday where I have an interest in 4 races…
American Life – 7/1.
I backed this horse on his last run, where the race was not run to suit. He is a real stayer who relishes heavy ground. He is in good form and did well to get so close in his last race. It is fair to say that he lacks a change of gear, but given today’s conditions I am expecting him to gallop the opposition into the ground. There is a chance it may not be far enough, and he may just get outclassed by a younger improving horse, but I am happy to take my chance. This will be a slog and there are no doubts about his stamina. He looks primed to strike some time soon!
Citizenship – 10/1
On only his second start for the in form Venetia Williams LTO this horse won comfortably and looked to have a bit in hand. I also think he has a touch of class and I think the trip will be fine. He has only ever had a few runs beyond 16f but i think he should be OK. Given the form of the yard, the fact he should like the ground and his overall form, I think he could run a big race and 10/1 is too big EW.
Big Fella Thanks – 9/1
This is a profile pick – He has ran 4 times in January and won every time, including once in January 2009 and last year. He is a class horse on his day who ran well for a long way, yet again, around the national fences over 26f. I think this is his trip and his ground. With the 5lb jockey claim he looks all set to run a big race at a time of year that he comes into his own. Again, in my opinion 9/1 is too big, The only slight doubt, which is built into the odds for me, is that he runs best when returning within 30 days of his last run. But he has run ok returning after a slightly longer break and it looks to me that following his aintree run, this race was penciled in as the target.
Night Alliance 8/1
Chance Du Roy 12/1
These are the races i enjoy and on this occasion I found it quite easy to narrow the field down. This may be a mistake but I am dismissing Vintage Star and Merry King because of the hard races they endured in the Welsh National which was only 21 days ago. That was a slog. Now, if both are over those exertions, as the market suggests, they are entitled to go close. But, not for me. Vino Griego looks too high in the handicap for me, Sydney Padget has something to prove after pulling up LTO. Again, if back to form he should run a big race. But, there is a big question mark for me. It may be that he wasnt able to dominate last time and sulked- if getting an uncontested lead could be dangerous. Numbers 9 and 10 do not look good enough for me, and certainly have not proved themselves yet in this type of company. 20/1 the pair says it all, not today. So that leaves Katenko, The Minack and my two selections. In truth these two could go close. I like Katenko, and given he was talked up as a lively Gold Cup outsider last year he is clearly highly regarded. However, we all know he suffered a bad case of colic and I want to see more evidence that he is back to his best. There are valid excuses for his last two runs and we know he loves heavy ground. I think he will run a big race but 4/1 is just too skinny for me. If he were 8/1+ I would be on. Nichols has said the Minack may need the run. However, his horses are normally tuned up and he will be fit enough to go close. He is still unexposed and has class. At 12/1 he is not out of the equation.
However, given the odds etc I have gone for Night Alliance and Chance Du Roy. Night Alliance – is in red hot form and is progressive. The distance is fine and the ground is perfect. I think he could defy this rise and improve again. The jockey booking is significant, no claimer is employed which maybe suggests that the trainer is not worried about the rise. He does have the tendency to clout a fence, but despite that he keeps on winning. Another slight doubt is that he has won most of his races when returning within 15 days from his last race. However, I think he should go close. Chance Du Roy ran superbly last time and proved his liking for this trip. Other than the fact that he is in form, he has won at the course and the ground should be ok. The stable is on fire and for me 12/1 is too big. I dont know how he can be twice the price of Merry King. He will clearly be aimed at the Grand National I believe, and I hope that they will not be protecting his handicap mark in this race!
It is a busy day, and could be an expensive one, but hopefully I have found a winner or two!