The first ever ‘Pace Wins The Race’ selection didn’t cover the post, nor myself, in glory. It got off to a poor start with Guna Be A Devil who couldn’t get the easy lead I hoped and faded rather tamely, maybe suggesting that the ground was a bit too soft for him. As it happens even with an easy lead on firmer (soft not heavy) ground I don’t think he would have beaten the Pipe horse that was reinvigorated in first time blinkers and travelled like a horse with lots in hand. He even managed to land on top of an open ditch, pitch Tom Schu in the air and win as he pleased. Thankfully the second race went exactly to plan with Kapricorne winning fairly comfortably. He was 9/2 last night, 6/1 most of the morning and went off at 4/1. Paul Moloney gave him a peach of a ride and landed the win in fairly comfortable fashion.
Anyway, we cannot focus on today any longer…
Al Alfa 6/1 – 1 point win
You have to be a brave man or woman to take on Phillip Hobbs at the moment, and you have to be even braver when Richard Johnson is on top. Therefore I am not going to bother 🙂
Al Alfa is nothing but consistent winning 3 of his 13 chases and placing in a further 6. He looks to be the only front runner in the field and he should get an easy lead, provided King Edmond doesn’t push too hard too early. Although he has yet to win above C4 level, on paper this is a weak race for the grade, and he has placed in a C2 chase. His run at Wincanton on the 2nd April is decent form with plenty of winners coming out of the race. He does need some juice in the ground and although it is Good-Soft at the moment (soft would be better) there is potentially some rain around…and anyway, I find it hard to really trust any going reports so if the price is right I will take my chance. I think he has a race like this in him and given his stable form and the fact that he could still be open to some improvement 6/1 is a decent price.
At times his jumping can be indifferent and in this race last year he made a right mess of one fence and hit a few others, eventually tailing off. However that was only his 5th handicap chase and he now has more experience. With an uncontested lead there should be no excuse on the jumping front. Of course it may transpire that he doesn’t like Ascot’s fences but we will find out tomorrow. All other race conditions are fine and bar wanting it to be a bit softer he should give it a good go from the front. The main negative is he has a Venetia Williams plot job to contend with…
NiceOneFrankie dotted up in this same race last year, after a similar break, and returns on the same mark. He will have been prepared for this race and he will be fit. He will go very close and may well win. However I think his price is probably right and there is no ‘value to be had’. The one niggle is he comes here having shown no form whatsoever at the back end of last season. Now he may well bounce back but his recent form make 5/2 look skinny to my eye. If he hadn’t won this race last year he wouldn’t be that short. Of the rest King Edmund is interesting but he is 11yo now and he is certainly not open to improvement. He does have course form and his profile is pretty sound. While I would be surprised if he won a top 3 finish wouldn’t be out of the question. Lysino looks like a C4 horse, can be head strong and needs to improve. He is entitled to; however there are enough doubts for me. Hacking up at Worcester is a bit different from racing at Ascot. I would be surprised if anything else won. Plenty of fitness doubts over the bottom two and you would like to think Aidan Coleman had the choice of which Williams horse to ride…also Liam Tredwell rides elsewhere suggesting a win for Drumshambo is unlikely. Rum and Butter is out of form and looks like a ‘summer’ horse. He needs to prove himself and I would like to think if he had a chance a jockey higher up the McManus pecking order (no offence to Mr Kennedy) would be on board. I could be wrong but that is what my instinct is telling me. Also Jonjo is only 5/82 in the last 30 days.
All in all, providing he jumps better than this race last year, this looks to be between Al Alfa and the favourite. If Al Alfa gets the easy lead I think he will, he jumps well and Johnson can keep something in the tank, he should have enough to go close. That is quite a few ifs but we are getting 6/1 in what I think is a 4 runner race at best. With 8 runners I would be disappointed if he wasn’t placed. NiceOneFrankie is the right favourite and King Edmund could roll back the years but all in all I am banking on Al Alfa to continue the dominance of team Minehead.
Pivotman 6/1 – ½ point win
Not such an in depth write up for this one and until I have tested this method live for longer I am a bit nervous of low grade All-Weather racing and wading in too heavily, hence the ½ point. But a front runner is a front runner and although it is a big field Pivotman looks like he could get his own way in front from stall 1. Wannabe King likes to lead but he is drawn 11 and will have to use up a lot of energy to get to Pivotman. Pivotman won last time out over 9f at the course in second time blinkers, which clearly did the trick. There is always the chance that they will not work again but if they do, and he is in the same form, he should be hard to catch. As you can see from his form he has a patchy record and has yet to win two consecutive races, and I am a bit concerned about how long he has been off the track, but he is worth ½ point at 6s in a poor race. Memoria is unexposed and she looks like she will give our selection the most to think about.
The next selection will be on Monday.