No excuses yesterday, I was happy to go with the horse at the price but he didn’t run very well. I think that was a sign that 3yo only handicaps, and especially poor quality ones, are best left alone from now on. Moving on…
Running Total (trial): 20 bets / 5 wins / 5 seconds / +14 points
Croco Mister 5/1 – 1 point win (SkyBet/PP/betfair sports)
The way in…
The trainer is 4/13, 7 places with her handicap chasers here since 2010-, with all the winners ridden by this jockey.
He is a consistent horse for the grade and always tries, and he looks even more consistent since the tongue tie was fitted. Now, overall chase stats of 2/27, 9 places do not give you too much confidence but in handicap chases going Left Handed he is 2/11, 7 places, as opposed to 0/12, 2 places RH. He looks to have a clear preference. As an 8yo there could still be a bit more to come as well. On his penultimate start he won and he always looks to be staying on suggesting that this trip should be within range.
He raced here in a C3 LTO a long way out of the handicap, carrying 20lbs more than he would have done otherwise. He ran well considering and grabbed third at 33/1. He was up against proven class horses there and this will be much much easier.
While I have a few niggles,(namely slight question over stamina) as you always do at this grade over jumps, he should run his race for a trainer in form.
I would be disappointed if something outside of the top 3 won this. Pistol Basc is 11yo now and as yet has never won back to back. If he runs like he did last time then he has every chance but I am happy to take this sort on and go with a younger rival.
Moorlands George looks to be the main danger and I think he will go very well, as the market suggests. 5/2 is short enough though for a horse that has been off 57 days and whose best form is over further. There is a chance he gets outpaced but he is unexposed with a decent level of form over fences already. He will run well.
The rest have far too many questions to answer. The King Assassin has only his second chase start here, having been pulled up in the first. He has ran quite a few times over hurdles and as such his jumping may be scrappy. We shall see, with a clear round he would go well but I dont like betting on this type of profile against more proven rivals. Tribal Dance comes here after a break as well and after two very poor efforts. The trainer is in form but I would like to see more and he is 0/7, 1 place with 8+runners in chases. All of those above would have to fall over I think for any of the others to have a chance, but it is a C5 chase so you never truly know!
All in all we do have a selection that should run his race. I may have a saver on the fav to cover my stake as these two look like the most likely winners to me, with Pistol Basc giving them most to do if he repeats his last run. There isn’t loads of pace in here on paper so that could help alleviate some slight stamina questions – the jury is still out as to whether 2m4f is as far as he wants to go but the way he runs makes me think he should have every chance, especially against mediocre opposition with an even gallop. There is also a slight concern that this race only comes 11 days after his last run but we will just have to trust the trainer on this one. He has form against ‘winter opposition’ (much stronger in general than summer jumping) so he should give it a good go.
– Mr Shanahan sends a small raiding party to Ffos Las from Ireland. He is 4/10, 5 places with handicap debutants in the last year so his Kingdom of Alba (6/1) in the 7.15 caught the eye. He has been gelded and if fit, in what is a poor race, could have any amount in hand. King of the Pics runs in the 7.45 and this consistent sort looks likely to run his race again. The trainer has only had 4 runners here but two have placed. Maybe he will go one better today.
Nothing else really caught the eye.