Well that is Cheltenham over for another year and it was one hell of a ride. I backed a few winners, highlighted a few more, and backed plenty of losers. Thankfully there were not too many clunkers but Friday was a bit of an all or nothing day! Coneygree slightly surprised me but boy was he a joy to watch. I didn’t think he would get that easy a lead but as soon as he did he was always going to go close in my opinion. He jumps for fun and he gallops. I am surprised he was never challenged but they couldn’t get to him. Road To Riches ran a cracker. What a crop of 3m+ chasers we have to look forward to over the next 5 years. It was technically a loss of 5 points on the week for the blog and I have learnt a few things for next time. All in all happy with how it went but it could have been slightly better with a bit more luck and some better decision making on my part. Aintree is next.
I hope you had a great week and backed a few winners.
Midlands Grand National
Goonyella 9/1 (general, as of 22.16)- 1 point win
(1/2 point saver on the Jonjo hotpot if you wish at 3/1, I have. He is the most likely winner and is a ‘Jonjo March Handicap Chaser’)
This is a decent trends race…
- 16/16 were 9 or younger
- 0/16 carried 11st-7lb + (0/25 runners 2 places)
- 11/16 Top 3 in the market
- 16/16 OR 143 or below (o/21 2 places above this)
- 11/16 Top 3 LTO
- 0/16 French Breds – 0/38 runners, 6 places
Hobbs is 0/7 0 places, Nicholls 0/15 5 places
My shortlist was Bob Ford, Whywoods Brook, Global Power, Goonyella, Bertie Boru, Cadeau George, Woodford County, Foxbridge, Catching On.
The rest are too old or have too much weight. The age trend is very strong although there are some decent beasts in here who could break it.
I think I have backed over half the field in this race at one point or another over the last 15 months or so.
So, the first thing to say is that Catching On is the most likely winner. He has been found in the market at 3s is about right. We backed him last time at 6/1 when he hacked up. He could do so again. Although he does have a good chance his best performances so far have been on galloping tracks so it will be interesting how he handles this track. I suspect he wont have a problem but he does have it to overcome. And, although his last win was impressive, he wasnt up against much. In general they were and inconsistent or out of form bunch. He did look special and full of potential. But sometimes, when it looks to good to be true , it can be. However he is a perfect trends fit and profile for this race and he will stay. He will go very close and could smash them but 3/1 is not 9/1 and there is just something there which makes me want to take him on. As loyal readers will be too aware I get a bit twitchy backing anything under 4/1 and generally like to look for something at a bigger price.
In addition to the fav I narrowed the shortlist down to Global Power and the selection. I was keen on GP based on his win last time out where a more prominent ride saw him to better effect. He is a very good jumper and is still open to improvement. My concern came when I realised he was a distant fourth in this race last year and his stamina found him out again at Exeter. I have a suspicion this trip may stretch him. I think he is a better horse than last year and could be more developed. If he does see this out he will be in the top 4 and could even win. But, that doubt was just enough to put me off. I don’t think the rest of the shortlist are good enough. There is a lot of ‘Ffos Las’ form amongst some of them, which tend snot to work out that well given it is a bog most of the winter. I would be surprised if something else from that list won.
Goonyella stays all day and has been running in some decent races. You only have to see how a couple of the horses in front of him ran at the Festival. One of them nearly won the Gold Cup! The Tony Martin horse in front of him ran well also. He has promised quite a bit over a staying trip and has so far failed to deliver. He is normally a sound jumper and just gallops. He is used to big fields and I do think this is a step down in class against inferior opposition. He was a decent 7th in an Irish Grand National adn has been racing in Grade 3s, 2 and 1s. He is a decent trends fit and the Irish have a decent record in this race. I would like to think they are not sending him here as a prep for bigger targets later on. He is being backed which gives me confidence and he should be in the places at worst. He could well chase APs horse home when the rest have had enough.
I backed ShotgunPaddy last time out and he has become frustrating. He still gets low at his fences even when seemingly jumping well like last time. An error came from nowhere. He has a lot of weight here again and is difficult to place. Hawkes Point owes me nothing and while he may run well, something should improve past him. I would expect him to be in the places though if tuned up for this. He jumps and stays. Samingarry has a big race in him in the future i think but he has been out of form and the visor has been reached for. It could spark him into life but he needs to prove his stamina and wellbeing. He is yet to win above class 3 and although I backed him last time I am leaving him tomorrow. He is also french bred- they have an awful record in this race so far. I would be gutted if he trotted in at 33s but he just hasnt done enough this season yet. Maybe the visor will do the trick.
It looks like a cracking race in prospect and hopefully this is more to Goonyella’s liking. If he gets outpaced by this field then he is a very slow horse indeed!
A few horses to keep an eye on
While I am here a couple of other horses to highlight…
Jonjo has two other qualifiers on the ‘March Handicap Chase system’
2.40 Uttoxeter – Bandit Country
4.40 Kemp – Favoured Nation
I havent looked at the form of either yet but it may not matter!
In the 3.25 at Newcastle James Reveley will do all he can to lead all the way on Brave Spartacus. I think he could well do it at 4/1. He is up against a couple of very unexposed horses making their handicap debut. He may well bump into one but he will do his best to stretch them out. He stays further than this and I expect JR to bounce him out. The track may not suit front runners quite so much as where he normally gets his wins but he could force errors from those in behind.
Reveley also rides Dystonias Revenge in the 2.50. This horse is a ‘long distance jockey’ qualifier. Reveley has been racking up the big priced winners over 3m+ including this horse last time out. He is just a master of his craft. I back all such qualifiers and will do so again. I haven’t looked at the race yet but you should before placing a bet. I couldnt tell you what he is up against although given it is a system I follow, i never look at the form anyway.
Paddy Brennan also has a qualifier in the 4.40 Kempton – Bayley’s Dream. He is due a winner for this micro angle! Again, I have yet to look at the race/form.
Finally, BG and Henderson have a great record when teaming up at Kempton. The micro angle (trainer/jockey/track combo angle i build) for them throws up Theinval in the 2.20. It will be interesting how he goes given their strike rate is north of 30%.
Good Luck with your Saturday punting!