Well no hiding here, not even getting the Winner of the King George could save the day, although it helped. If getting 3s on Conti you would have lost 2 points if following below. I wont discuss Presented, Galway Jack or Withy Mills as they were all poor. Kudu Shine was a decent bet, backed at 7/1 he was smashed into 11/4, and then duly fell at the first fence. That is racing.
Cape Tribulation was rather frustrating. I think he should have won for what would have been a very decent day but there we go. We benefit from poor rides on winners as much as they frustrate us so that is racing. I personally think if you are riding a stayer who takes a while to get into top gear you need to be much closer to the action. I thought he was far too off the pace. He had lots of horse over the last 3 fences but had to slow down into them in order to jump them safely. The problem was the other horse was already a few lengths ahead and he could only get into him after the last, at which point he started to pick up and finish like a horse with plenty left. If he was jumping the last upsides the other one it would have been game over. But that is racing and it was a canny ride on the winner. Anyway, a line through that, we move on.
That is the one day in the year I probably spread the net so wide and unfortunately it didnt quite come off. Thankfully it wasn’t disastrous.
Boxing Day promises to be a a cracker. On days like this you need some kind of strategy as there is so much racing you cannot hope to go through every race sufficiently to make a shortlist. Hopefully you know by now that other than systems, Pace, trends and profiling, I like to focus on 3m+ chases, handicaps and graded races. Today isn’t the day to abandon the approach that has served me well in the past. . I have gone through every 3m+ handicap chase and have some strong fancies, plus a Pace selection in a 2m4 chase. I have gone a bit crazy and have thrown around 10 points or so and because it’s Boxing Day I have a few 2 pointers. You can of course treat 2 point bets as 1 point, and 1 point as half a point, back them as you please, or just ignore them! They could of course all lose but over the last few weeks this blog has made plenty of points and it is good to have some fun every now and then.
So, here we go…
Kings Apollo 9/4- 1 point win
Nothing like a poor quality C5 Handicap Chase to start the day with! I have said it before, and I will say it again, usually I am a proven form punter in handicap chases, I want horses to have shown something, ideally winning form in the race conditions, but if not some consistency with potential to improve. All of the horses here have one question or another to answer, hence why they are running at C5 level. However I think this horse has a solid chance. He is young, open to improvement and has been consistent in his last few runs. He has also been running in some better races than this. He is the PACE horse in the race, he should get an easy lead on the front and I dont think they will catch him. This flatter track may help as well.
Roseneath could be given a chance but he is 10 now and is very inconsistent. He does have a good record over course and distance but I would like to think something younger will beat him here. His last 4 runs have been rather uninspiring. The rest have far too many questions to answer for me and are not horses that I would ever back. Their chase form is awful and a couple are returning from long breaks. All in all a solid bet in the race and I think 9/4 is more than fair as he should probably be 7/4. I think a repeat of his last two runs will be enough here.
Cape Tribulation 13/2 2 point win (was 1.5, i have become more bullish!)
13/2 is too big for a horse that hacked up in this race in 2012 off the same mark and who came 3rd last year off an 11lb higher mark. My gut says he has been aimed at this. My head and my heart says he is going to dismiss these rivals with relative ease. Of course it is never that easy but this old warrior has so much going for him I couldn’t let him pass. He is the class horse in the race. If he runs anywhere near his best form he will win. It really is that simple. He has had one Chase race since contesting this race last year off 153 and now races off 142 – amazing!! That is some drop and it is not because of a dip in form. He has run 3 flat races since this race last year and returned to jumping at Cheltenham in a very hot handicap chase. I have watched that video twice now and can only conclude this has been the target. Now, this horse has never stayed much beyond 3m1f, that was 3m3f. He was cruising 4 from home and jumped the fence like a fresh horse. The jockey never really moved, and never picked up his stick, never put the horse into the race. He jumped the 3rd from home still like a fresh horse but didnt go anywhere. If that ride was on the All-Weather in a C6 handicap serious questions would have been asked. I think he was just being saved for this. All race conditions are fine, he is a multiple Grade 2 and Grade 3 winner (you cannot say this about any other rival) and the Gd-Soft ground will be fine. I see the Racing-Post write up says that he wont get his favoured Heavy Ground…they must be looking at different form to me as the two, 20+ runner G3 handicap hurdles he won at Cheltenham/Aintree were on good ground, possibly Good-Soft. The ground wont stop him especially as nearly every other horse in the race would probably like it heavier as well. His class will see him through.
I hope you will excuse me from writing up about why every other runner cant win. Suffice to say I have a couple of pages of notes and every other horse has questions to answer in my book and reasons for why I wont back them in this race.
2.10 Market Raisen
Presented 9/2 – 2 points win
Another who I am fairly confident on. Presented is the horse with a touch of class in this race and is still open to improvement. This horse was 6th in the Eider Chase which is the best form on offer here by some way. I think he failed to see out the 4 miles+ there, or may not have been good enough, but it demonstrated that he will stay this trip no problem. He jumps very well and he just keeps galloping. He is also very consistent and we will get a run for our money. Now, he can be a bit lazy, and may well have to be ridden with a circuit to go but that is him. He never throws in the towel and comes here on the back of a decent win last time out. The trainer also has a solid record at the track and on this day of days where jockeys are riding horses for the first time, on this occasion we have one who knows the horse. I think he will win 🙂
Many Stars is unexposed, but a bit too unexposed for me. Yes he could be anything. Will he stay? I would be guessing. Guessing is fine if they are 5/1. or 10/1, 7/2 is a bit skinny for me. We shall see but he may be one for the future. Chac Du Cadran deserves to be near the head of the market because he is still well handicapped, is in form and we know he stays. He has first time blinkers here which I rarely like. It is never a good sign when they are applied and we shall see if he handles them. Anyway, he has won some weak races and I think Presented is a better horse, who also stays. Carla King is ok but has been beaten by Presented before and also has a question over his stamina. Minella Bliss hacked up here a couple of runs back but that was a very weak race and faces much better horses here. This may be one run too many as well. The rest i simply couldn’t back for one reason or another.
Galway Jack 8/1 1 point win
PACE WINS THE RACE SELECTION…. (+15.5 points up)
Galway Jack represents the connection who won this race last year with a similar type of horse. He will lead. He could get taken on by Alderbrook Lad but he should be able to see him off. He ran very well last time out, which was effectively his seasonal reappearance given his early fall on his first run of the season. He has the class to win this, all race conditions are fine, and he is a course winner. I thought 8/1 was too big given he could get these all on the stretch and has the form to stay there. Stagecoach Pearl has a touch of class but isnt getting any younger. I cant really work out his best trip now. He looks like he doesnt stay this trip, but has ran well over it and placed over 3m at Aintree. But I am happy to take him on. Ballymoat is very progressive and must be given a chance. However he does have the tendency to hit the odd fence and this is a step up in class. He may well handle it as he won easily last time. Premier Grand Cru and Clondaw Knight are also unexposed horses open to improvement. In truth if it wasnt for the pace angle I probably wouldnt play in this as it is rather competitive. However I think those behind Galway Jack will have to pick up speed to catch him in the latter stages of the race and in doing so may be prone to mistakes. On this occasion I want to go with the hardy handicapper.
Silviniaco Conti – 2 points win 11/4 – 3/1
I could list the trends etc but this race has been talked to death. Suffice to say this horse is the best trends fit in my book. However, on all known form he has the best chance as well. I wont (or will rarely) back a horse unproven at a distance like this, in a race like this. That is my style, that is what I have always done and it works for me. Hence no bets on Champagne Fever or Al Ferof. Breeding says the distance will be fine but this is a G1 race, one of the best steeple chases of the year, and i want a proven stayer. I see no reason why Menorah and Dynaste should suddenly finish ahead of the Nicholls horse. The first is a doubtful stayer (transpires the Charlie Hall trip was under 3miles) who was also out stayed by Conti in the Betfair Chase. If he wins this I will cheer him on but not for me. Conti has beaten Dynaste the last 3 times they have met, including on Good ground at Aintree, and I cant see him overturning that form. Cue Card is interesting and is another I will happily cheer. It would be superb if he were to win this but he needs to quickly get back his A game. There must still be doubts over the trip as well, albeit the good ground will help him. In any case his price has gone now, having been 10s earlier in the week. I also think he and Champagne Fever may end up taking each other on which will dent both their chances. The rest are surely not good enough. Conti won this race last year, jumps for fun, is in form, will stay and has beaten most of these before. He really is a worthy fav. I have just finished reading Dave Nevison’s book and he always starts his analysis by working out whether the fav can be taken on, or whether they weak. In this case Conti is bombproof and is the one to beat. It will be a cracking race.
Withy Mills – 1 point win 11/2
Maybe this is only one of those bets you place because it is boxing day. It certainly goes against my normal mantra. An unexposed horse, unproven at the trip and who is taking a massive step up in distance. (it isnt a G1 though!) Maybe I was drinking too much last evening as I was looking through the racing but I came to the conclusion that every other horse in this race is awful, isnt doing anything different, and is generally unreliable. In saying that I like the chance of Vilio Vincente, but unlike Kings Appollo, I think 9/4 is skinny. He has a decent CD record but is in and out. He will gallop, he will lead, and he will stay. If the selection doesnt stay then this is the most likely winner. Cruising Bye doesnt win that often and has tried the trip a few times without totally convincing. His consistency may see him go close however. The other two have too many questions to answer for me. Withy Mills is related to plenty of 3m+ chasers and stayers, hence why the massive step up in trip interests me. His trainer is also 6/18 at the course since 2009 and I just thought at 11/2 he was the most interesting horse in the race. Now, she may simply not stay, but if she does I think she is a better horse than all of these and will go close.
Kudo Shine 1 point win 7/1 (i got this yesterday afternoon, now bet price 5s across board)
He is another who is unexposed and needs to prove himself. But having gone through all of those with more proven form there was nothing I could back with confidence. The Venetia Williams horse is interesting but I dont like the 48 day break and he also has to prove he stays. Master Neo has run in some decent races but the trainer is 0/47 here and his experience at Aintree may have left its mark. There is also lots of pace in the race. Sarouque, Best Boy Barney and Master Neo all like to get on with it and they could set it up for a closer. I couldnt make a strong case for anything else as they all have form and consistency questions to answer.
I am not the biggest fan of Denis O’Reagan but it is a jockey booking that catches the eye. Kudo Shine won a few points so chasing will clearly be his game. He made a decent chasing debut last time on his seasonal reappearance, jumping out to the right. He will come on for that run and again is the most interesting horse in the race. I thought 7/1 was too big yesterday and 5/1 may just be fair enough.
That is it on an unusually busy day. As always I have backed everything above with my own money and hopefully we can make a few quid. And if not, we will get it all back tomorrow in the Welsh National 🙂 I will be back tomorrow morning with a look at the afternoon’s racing. I doubt there will be as many selections as today but thankfully Boxing Day isnt everyday!
Happy Punting and good luck whatever you back. As ever comments and your own fancies are welcome!
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