Poor day, no hiding from that… it was horrible, and although not too much damage done everything was poor. Two horses I thought would lead (their preferred running style on most recent starts) were held up and never looked dangerous. One profile horse ran ok in second, the other was up to his usual tricks. The Last Bridge isnt really one to trust but he does normally come good at this time of year – i will want a decent price if I am to back him again. The 4.30 was a great race and well done to those who got double figures in Knock A Hand. STD sent him to the front and he lead all the way, relishing the rain softened ground and outstaying them Big Water ran well but couldnt catch the leader and Maggio ran a decent race in third at good odds. Sir Mangan was poor. I hope you had a better day than I did! Those who follow the Sue Smith Handicap Chase system which I have discussed/given away a few times, will have backed Bennys Well with any luck, who ran well at 8/1. In hindsight he could have been a pace bet but when I looked I was slightly put off by his recent form and I thought he would be taken on for the lead. I got that wrong. I havent read the pace right all day,which goes to show you that even with decent tools this sport can smack you in the face from time to time 🙂 I will go again tomorrow, if i can find anything worth backing.
Hopefully something for everyone today, starting off with a ‘Pace Wins The Race’ Selection…
Brunette’s Only 9/2 1 point win. UP -1 point
UPDATE: Well not a horse i cant get right but I found the tactics odd. She drifted badly suggesting that today maybe wasnt her day. Andrew Thornton, on a horse who likes to dictate, had her right at the back as they approached the tapes..baffling. Then there was a standing start and throughout the race she gradually got into it but never looked up for it, before fading tamely. The race, a c5 handicap chase, was won by a horse I could never have picked out at 33s! Tarabella ran well again in the month of February but just bumped into one, beating the rest of the field well enough in second. It looked as though I would be collecting on one of my two bets but sadly the leader kept on going. Brunette’s Only will never be a selection on this blog again! 8/42 = + 11.83
I can’t seem to get this horse right. I put her up as a pace bet a while back and she ran OK but didn’t ever look like winning. Last time when she won I backed something else! I think this is a fair price and she has the least to prove out of these. She is in form,has won here,is still handicapped to win (has won from 92) and although she has never won back to back races 9/2 looks too big to me. She will lead or track the pace if taken on which is important when it is a bog (in my opinion anyway, it is much harder to come from behind in these conditions if the horses in front are not slowing down). Most of these are even more inconsistent than the selection and have a lot to prove. Many have their wellbeing to prove and generally look out of form. The selection beat a couple of these last time as well. It is a class 5 race and because of that nothing would surprise me but I think this is an OK bet. Victory Gunner is interesting but he is now 17 and he has never won, let alone placed, carrying more than 11-4 on his back. 18 runs with more than 11-4 and not a single place to show for it. This would suggest he isn’t built to carry bigger weights.
Two Profile Horses
1. In the same race as the Pace selection I have also backed Tarabella at 8/1 with betfair sportsbook. (backed last night) She is a profile horse…in handicaps she is 5/6 in February and has never finished out of the frame. This record stretches across a few seasons and for more than one trainer. I would have preferred her to be running over hurdles but she is a c4 winner , has won a chase (1/6) and looks interesting. Ground and distance is fine (in fact she has a great record in Heavy 4/8) and if the pace selections fails hopefully she picks up the pieces. She is 12 now and this may be the last time to back him during the month of February and I hope she puts up a bold show.
2. In the 3.15 I have backed The Last Bridge at 7/2. While not as clear a ‘monthly’ profile as some, his record (in handicaps) in February and March reads 1,1,2,1,4,1 and outside of these months reads 8,9,6,2,2,2,PU,2,3. Now he has clearly ran well a few times outside of these months but all of his career wins to date have been during February and March and he appears to peak at this time of year. He enjoys heavy ground, the break isnt a concern, and he has something that most of these rivals do not – a certain level of consistency. 7/2 is just about fine but I wouldn’t want to take shorter. A click on the Instant Expert tab in the Geegeez Racecards also shows me that he is the only horse in the race with winning form on Heavy. He is only one of five horses to have won in the class and one of four to have won at the distance. Even without his ‘time of year’ profile he looks a very solid bet in what is another poor race. He will do for me, and if today isnt the day I expect he will win before the month of March is out!
A quick word on the Grand National Trial…
I am not sure if there are any excuses or not for my selection Rigadin De Beauchene. The official going was Soft, gd-soft in places and I must admit having just watched the replay there were some parts that didnt look to be cutting up at all and ‘looked’ on the good side. He travelled well in the back straight on the final circuit but then started to fade. Whether he couldnt go the pace in firmer ground than ideal I am not sure- maybe he just isnt spot on at the moment however his record in this race, 2,1, suggested he would be. He is best in Heavy ground, however in all honestly if I was putting up the selection on the Friday I may have still stuck with him (telling the true going is tricky, especially at Haydock). I may have had some cover with a win bet on Harry The Viking and it was nice to see him run well. I do need to go with my instinct as everything screamed a big run and that 25s was massive mid week. However, it would have been an agonising defeat, but exciting nonetheless. I dont think I would have backed Lie Forrit. I am pleased he has proved, over fences, that he can track the pace rather than having to lead, although when he didnt get the lead early there were times when the jock had to niggle him. However, with the wide expanses of the track he was able to have a lot of space and air, which may have helped him. He also proved that he truly stayed this trip which was a slight unknown. All in all a brave run from a horse that always tries and he is one to keep onside for some time yet. Yes he is 11 now but I think that was only his 11/12th chase run. Mountainous also traveled well turning for home before fading and it looks like he may have a race in him still. Harry The Viking got to the front and either shirked it or was just outstayed. He doesnt win that often and is clearly a bit tricky but it looks like extreme distances will be right up his street, given at one stage he looked to be outpaced, before staying on stoutly.
A couple of observations that I took from the race…
Firstly Lie Forrit reminded me of something I read about ‘class’. Now, this was about the ‘class’ a horse shows through effort and determination. Something that makes them stand out. In essence horses that stick their neck out and who want to win, as evidenced by winning close duels, are always worth following/keeping onside. I backed Lie Forrit at Aintree earlier in the season and he won a duel there. He has been in form all year and won another tight finish at Haydock. Quite simply it’s clear he wants to win and will always try. His record in tight duels suggests he has something extra when needed. He can dig into reserves of energy and mental toughness to see off his rivals. This in essence is another dimension to his ‘class’/ability. So, next time you see a horse fight of rivals in a tight finish, track them and see how they do. Punters can get sucked in and think because it was a tight finish any rise in the weights will do for them next time. However, from my limited observations, the weight rise doesnt really matter as you have just witnessed a horse with a winning attitude who more often than not will out-battle his rivals. (of course there will come a point where the handicapper stops them). Anyway, something interesting to keep an eye on. It is never a bad thing backing a trier who hates losing.
Secondly… Veteran’s Chases. The first and second in this race both competed in a Veteran’s Chase last time out. In the past I have been guilty of looking at these races and assuming they are made up of old boys/girls who may be getting past it, and maybe not taking the form seriously. On reflection this is completely the wrong attitude. Not only do these chases now have a lot of prize money, but they are obviously being contested by experienced horses who know how to win, jump, and compete. As such, every horse is facing battle hardened warriors and, on the whole, they take some winning. Now, at the moment, I don’t have any stats to back up these thoughts, but from now on I will be watching veteran’s chases to see how horses perform subsequently. There may be nothing in it but I suspect some veteran’s chases, not all, will end up working out quite well.
Donald McCain…1st Time Blinkers…
McCain’s horses wearing 1st Time Blinkers, when Jason Maguire is riding, and are priced 16/1 or under (although only a handful of horses above this price so far) are: 20/59 ; 29 wins or places. A 33% win strike rate and a near 50% win/place strike rate. +67 points at BFSP. I started tracking this in 2013 and had a few winners. Indeed 2012 and 2013 were brilliant years, with 11 winners from 25, and + 72 points profit at BFSP. The other years have been a bit disappointing. 2014 was 0/7 with only 1 place and 2015 is so far 0/2.
So, something to track and keep an eye on. If he has a year like 2012 or 2013 again it will be very profitable. He usually knows which horses need blinkers and they usually run well, even more so in non-handicap races. Whether 2014 is a blip only time will tell. Maybe the horses he has applied them to recently have simply not been very good.
He has one such runner today… 2.55 Carlisle Jonny Eager 4/1
This class 3 handicap chase looks quite decent and very competitive. It has thrown up a few mini system selections as well. Big Water qualifies for my ‘Long Distance Jockeys angle’ – Paul Moloney being one of the three to keep onside over 3m+. Coincidentally Paddy Brennan had a 7/1 winner at Sandown with this angle on Friday. Big Water has a decent record here, is still unexposed, and could be dangerous. He also looks to prefer going this way round although that isnt conclusive. However he needs to prove his stamina and you are guessing as to whether he will stay. The way he runs in some races suggests he will. He won a NHF race which is normally a good sign moving forward although he is related to a fair few flat types, including a July Cup winner. So, who really knows. It is a bit of a guessing game.
Meanwhile Sue Smith has a couple in here, and her handicap chasers are to be kept onside at this track. Lackamon ran in the Veteran’s Chase last time, won by Lie Forrit as above. He looks to need further these days but is back down the handicap and can be given a chance. Although he has never won a C3 worth 10k+ or above. He has never won with a rating higher than 130 so at least he is now rated to be competitive. With no win since 2013 and indifferent recent form I think it takes a leap of faith to back him…or a system. Pinerolo hasnt been in form since around this time last year. He looks to be a bit of a character who isnt in love with the game at the moment. He has the ability to run well if he puts it all together, but it is an if, and another leap of faith is required. The return to this track may help and it may be that he comes to life at this time of year, we shall see.
Indian Castle looks out of love with the game at the moment and I want to see more of a revival before backing him. If he ran to his best form he would probably win this.
Maggio loves Kelso, is only 1/17 RH and he is another that has to prove he stays this far. Not for me today I dont think- although he does promise to stay this far and will like the ground. He also races prominently and he is in form, which cant be said about a few of these. 12s may be decent and it will be interesting how he goes. Samingarry is interesting but so far all of his wins have come when returning withing 30 days and you have to take fitness on trust. He has been in and out of form and I am happy to leave him today, despite connections sending him an awful long way. His novice form was decent though and he is a chaser to keep onside moving forward. He also comes from another trainer who knows the time of day with his chasers, even though it is a small string. If fit, a very good chance.
Knock A Hand ticks a lot of boxes and has been well backed. He is most at home in Heavy ground and although he has won on this going it would be a slight concern. He is yet to win this far over fences and also in fields with more than 7 runners. His hurdles form would suggest there are no issues with either but that is a slight niggle as well. Whats more I have missed the price. He was double figures in places and is now 5/6s.
Howards Legacy has the ability to win this but he is inconsistent. He ran ok last time on a track that didnt necessarily suit and was never going to catch the well ridden leader. If putting it all in he has the ability to go well in this and a big run wouldnt be a surprise. Sir Mangan is very inconsistent and has done his winning in smaller fields to date. It is possible he can lead again here and he is unexposed. Connections are back in form and a big run could be on the cards. He is the most unexposed of these and if getting an easy lead he could put in a big run.
I have written this as I have gone through the card and I have to say, disappointingly, nothing stands out. There are some doubts over most of the runners and indeed you could make a case, based on recent or old form, for most of them. Add into that a couple of unexposed types and horses trying things for the first time (ie Big Water 3m) then you have a very very competitive race on your hands. I like Sir Mangan from a pace angle and although it was a weak race last time out, given most of these have some sort of question to answer and are not in great form, maybe he can see them all off. Maggio is interesting as well as he will track the leader. The concern is his record this way round but all other conditions should be fine. 12s could be worth a small play. I have 3 system selections in the race (not based on form) and as yet I dont know how I will play them, as on paper I dont fancy any of them!
Good luck if you do fancy something. Please let me know.
Blog Profit Update:
Since the first ‘advised bets’ in the Hennessy (that point is chosen as it was first time I had emailed my new list) the blog results so far are as follows…
15/77 = +46.58 points profit.
19.4% win strike rate.
These results are for all advised bets. An advised bet is when I suggest a stake level, such as 1 point win. For example there is only one advised bet in today’s post, and that is the Pace selection, Brunette’s Only. The rest are just my thoughts for you to use as you please, or ignore! 🙂
Pace Wins The Race is 8/41 = +12.83 points profit so far
All other bets, inc Big Race Previews are 7/36 = + 33.75 points so far.
I think all of those results are accurate but will happily be corrected! Pace Wins The Race has been up and down but is doing ok. I am happy with the Big Race Previews but need to improve when I advise ‘other bets’. I have started to put up the odd ‘profile’ horse and these should be profitable long term. I would like the win percentage to be nearer 25% overall but for now I cant really complain and hopefully it is onwards and upwards from here.