Not a great start to the week but I have no complaints with the run of Harris. I will never knock a trier and he just found a few too good on the day. I was pleased with the analysis of the race and the shortlist of 3 dangers included the 1st and 2nd however Harris ran out of puff late on and faded into 4th. Just one of those races and I think the winner is the only one to take out of that race. In fact she could well be a future Pace selection as without Harris she would have had an easy lead and maybe won by further. She jumped slightly out the right as well and I suspect this thorough stayer will rack up a few wins over the coming months.
Anyway, another point ‘loaned’ back to Mr/Mrs Bookmaker leaves us on…
6/23 = +18.5 points
Arkaim 4/1 (b365, BV, PP, Coral)
UPDATE: Well we have bumped into one there. Indeed the only one we didnt really know enough about – backed from 8/1 into 11/4 suggested more was expected in this race and despite pulling won with any amount in hand. Arkaim ran to form, beating Sir Valentino and returned 15/2 – a price i would have gladly taken last night. One of those races and i think the only way you could have backed that horse was once you started to see the money come, and or close to yard, and/or had a system of sorts. Venetia did win the race last year but not the type of horse I generally back, but he did make 8s look massive last night! Definitely one to keep onside over that trip as they were decent opponents (i wonder if he will be campaigned with a Cheltenham handicap in mind)
This is an interesting little contest and in truth a weak Class 2 race. Notarfbad ins’t arf bad on some old form, being a Listed winners in the summer but he is terribly out of form and I couldnt back him until he shows a bit more. Unless there are compelling ‘profile’ reasons to back a horse out of form, generally I want to avoid horses who are obvioulsy out of form. He clearly has ability and I hope he doesnt show it tomorrow. Le Bacardy has also won at C1 level but was beaten comprehensively by the selection last time out. I see no reason for that to be overturned. None of the others have won at Class 2 level which makes me happy to go with a C3 horse stepping up.
Arkaim also beat Sir Valentino last time out over course and distance. Sir Valentino jumped poorly and if he puts in a better round he will go closer. However he didnt find much off the bridle and Arkaim also made a serious error at the second last and was able to pull away near the end. I would like to think Arkaim will hold Sir Valentino again. He should get an easy lead and he jumped superbly for the most part last time. I dont think the 6lb rise will stop him and he should put up another bold show.
Swift Arrow could be given a small chance but he is another who comes here hopelessly out of form. McCain has started to fire now and maybe this horse will put in a better show, during a month where his handicap chasers can be backed blindly for decent profits,as explained in a previous blog post.
Gardefort is young and unexposed and will clearly progress at some point but he has yet to run well in the UK and I want to see more before getting involved. You would just be guessing and the only way I think you could back him with confidence was if you were close to the stable. Oyster Shell could go close but he is a moody sort and refused in the race Arkaim won lto. Who knows what Oyster Shell will turn up. He does have to prove his liking for a bit of cut in the ground and his class having only won in C3 races worth less than 10k.
The Paul Nicholls horse (along with Tom George’s runner if he jumps better) looks like a live danger. He’s clearly well thought of given how highly tried he has been and he is only 5 and open to improvement. He is taking a drop in class here however he has generally been getting out-paced over this trip and it may be that he needs a big field and scorching pace to be seen at his best over this distance. Again he is another who I would like to see more from in this company before getting involved. A bold performance wouldnt be a total surprise however.
To summarise I think we have a live chance who is maybe 1 point bigger than he should be. He should get an uncontested lead, jumps very well and is clearly still improving. The others all have to improve on their current form to get past him which I am hoping they will all struggle to do. He looks like a real trier and we should get another good run for out money. He is also only 1 of 2 course winners (Oyster Shell is other) so we know he handles the track.
There are no other front runners or ‘pace burn up races’ that caught the eye tomorrow. The 2.25 looks a corker of a handicap chase for a Wednesday afternoon and I will see if there is a bet in there somewhere. I am backing Gorsky Isand as he comes up on a couple of micro systems of mine (handicap chase trainers/P.brennan long distance jockey) and I of course tipped him last time when he won. He could go in again however there are some in form proven and unexposed horses in here from powerful yards and it should be an informative race. i may just leave it at him. I do hope Opening Batsman returns to form at some point. You would have to think According To Trev is overpriced at 10/1 given he won a Class 2 Handicap Chase last time out. Although he has yet to win a chase RH (only 3 goes though) or in a field with more than 11 runners (only 3 tries).