Well not much to take from today. King Fontaine drifted and didnt run any kind of race, despsite travelling well for the most part before fading with a few furlongs to go. I was right to take on the two at the top of the market but that is as good as my judgement got. VL ran poorly and unlike Caufields Venture the other day did not respond to the headgear. It looked good for a circuit before starting to crumble as they headed out again. He doesnt look in love with the game but we went of just over half the odds he was backed at. This time the fav did the business and he clearly stays. His jumping was iffy at times but he is unexposed and still learning. Onwards. I wont keep a running commentary on results/profit/loss etc. I am keeping records and will publish them monthly.
There were quite a few of possibles on my notepad and I hope stats guide users ignored my reservations, especially for the 3.35 Southwell. The trainer stats highlighted 3 horses, including the 1st and 2nd at 11/1 and 10/1. Bugger. I backed neither. A decent winner that has got away from me.
King Boru – 1 point win 7/1 (general)
I just can’t get away from this horse and while I think Mr Shantu looks the most likely winner he is now generally 7/2 which is tight enough in a race of this nature, but I will get onto him in a moment..
King Boru has his second start here for the Skelton’s and while he was probably fit enough to do himself justice there is every reason to believe there is much more to come from this horse. He was with Emma Lavelle and has the standard formline of one of her horses, especially post Christmas – where a mixture of the odd decent run, tailed off and Ps is all too familiar – I think, like McCain, Tizzards and Sue Gardner -(a lot of theirs could be well handicapped this year,including all Rooney horses that have left McCain) she had a bug for large parts of last season, but who knows. Anyway, this horse will improve under the Skelton’s and it could well be today. This is only his 11th hurdler start and he had ran with promise on a few times, including last time out. From a limited number of handicap hurdlers at the track to date, Dan S is 2/6, 3 places.
Now, Cheltenham is no Warwick – and that poses the conundrum. On what I can see so far King Boru does look like more of a galloper, and it is no surprise to me that one of his better runs came at Fontwell with its stiff finish. He was getting outpaced at Warwick down the back straight and got racing with the Bowen horse a long way out. He kept on plugging away when Mr Shantou breezed past and the hope is that this track, and this long, uphill finish, will suit him better. He wasn’t stopping LTO, just didn’t have the gears to match the winner.
Now, a 10lb rise would not have stopped Mr Shantu last time out and he should go close. Jonjo is 0/5, 0 places in this race which is only a slight concern but worth noting. The only way he will under-perform is if he doesn’t handle the track and if he finds it hard to quicken up this hill/is outstayed. That is possible, and as such he is just about worth taking on – albeit bar that I couldn’t put you off and he may well be worth a saver.
I think King Boru will get closer here and as such I am happy to take the 7s to find out. I have an image in my mind of him galloping these into submission after the last!
The rest have a few too many questions albeit there are some unexposed ones in there. Saint John Henry is interesting but most form on Heavy/Soft to date and he was winning at lesser tracks. But, he is open to improvement. Dark Spirit has a squeak but has had quite some time off and I am not the greatest fan of backing 10lb claimers against more experienced jockeys- this is a series qualifier and I wonder whether he will be ridden to qualify. We shall see. Ploamco has a bit to prove, especially at the trip and after a break but is another open to improvement. Kilfinichen is a winning machine but could be too high in weights now and you would think something that is more open to improvement would have him here. Another who has been winning at lesser tracks and I think he will need to step up again. Happy to take him on albeit he is in the form of his life. The others I am happy to leave alone.
There is nothing else at Cheltenham I would be overly confident about backing for 1 point stakes. I don’t tend to play in novice/maiden races and will watch for the future. The 3m handicap chase is quite poor in quality and it is for Amateur Riders – there are a lot of older horses in there and it looks a puzzle. You could back Perfect Timing based on the trainer alone – and he has won this race twice – of the younger legs Katie Do looks most interesting if over being BD LTO. Not a race to go mad in although I may have an unwise ‘interest’ bet on those two. Savello catches the eye for the Skeltons in the last as well.
A couple of big pokes today…
2.35 Doncaster – Blaze of Hearts – 33/1 (name your price on BFSP?)…Dean Ivory never used to train 2yo winners first time out. Before this year he was 0/19, 0 places with such runners. So far in 2015 he is 2/10, 3 places +65 SP. This suggests a change in approach, or he is buying better horses, this one being out of Canford Cliffs. His two winners so far have been a big price so I am not put off on that front. There are some big yards in here, and two well fancied runners – but this is a little angle to keep onside in the coming months/next season. Winners may be sparse, but if he has changed approach with first time out 2yos, and he has them more forward, we could be very well rewarded. He is a very good trainer and very likeable as well. All shortlist horses go down as 1 point win bets in results, but he is an EW price which may be wise given the type of race.
7.50 Wolvs – Kylies Wild Card – 20/1 – Hodgson has teamed up with Hornby at this track to good effect recently – 3/4, 3 places. A small sample yes but interesting. This is a poor race and, like the Easterby horse the other day, is another long standing maiden. But, like that one, this too has plenty of decent placed form. The step up in trip catches the eye as there is plenty of stamina in her blood. She is american bred and has run well at the track over 6f -staying on late. You can put a line through her last two runs on soft/heavy I think. She is well drawn and at 20s I couldn’t resist.
3.00 Newb – Jersey Breeze (16/1 or under)
4.10 Newb – Popeswood (16/1 or under)
What follows are the horses that look likely to ‘qualify’ (based on odds) from the research a couple of days ago, and also that look interesting from the stats guide. This is for info only at this stage. These are NOT shortlist horses, or tips – more info to help in that daily battle against the bookies. None of what follows will count in results, unless added to shortlist/tipped. I have yet to decide if any will become shortlisted or ‘tips’ although out of them all, at the odds, King Boru catches the eye the most in the 3.20…
Elliot (7/15, 9 places 17/2 or under) – Casual Approach
Henderson (10/1 or shorter) – Laurium
Nicholls (12/25,21 places 11/2 or under non handicaps) – Dormello Mo
Jonjo (4/10 under 8/1) – Mr Shantou – he also looks good on the developing ‘trends’ for this race, although so far Jonjo is 0/5, 0 places in last 5 runnings of this race. Based on their running last time you have to like…
King Boru – Skelton 2/6, 3 places with his handicap hurdlers here to date. This horse was making his seasonal debut when behind Mr Shantou LTO – they should be closely matched again.
Saint John Henry – Pipe/Edgar are 2/4 here in handicap hurdles. Unexposed, interesting.
Vincente – Nicholls
Weather Babe – Pipe (7/1 or shorter, 3/11 6 places at meetings, 3/5, 4 places in non handicaps)
Henderson (3/14, 8 places 10/1 or shorter) – Newsworthy
Mulholland (3/5 at meeting, 6/11 with all handicap chasers here) – Perfect Timing
Burchell (3/5 with all handicap chasers here) – Dr Anubis – rated 66, 100/1+ – name your price on BF, surely he doesnt stand a chance??!!!
This is a 3m+ handicap chase so I am automatically interested, however it is for Amateur riders and should not really be a big betting race- albeit something may stand out when I have a flick through.
NTD (10/1 or under, 3/10 ,5 places hncp chase) – Five Star Wilsham (above 10/1 for now)
Savello (Skelton 2/6, 3 places with hncp hurdlers here)
Henderson (10/1 or shorter) – Clondaw Banker (Hendo ‘only’ 1/20 with handicap hurdler debutants here)
So, some horses of interest there. King Boru looks most fascinating at a quick glance, and without looking through the race in depth. In general I think this is a day to watch with the notebook.
3.20 – So far a Top 3 finish LTO has been a decent indicator – that knocks out numbers 2,3,7,8,12. Carrying more than 11st is also a slight negative to date. Mr Shantou is fine with the jockey claim. Although, this stat isnt the strongest.