The Last Samuri – 1 point win 6/1 (general) 3rd 5/1 -1
I just spent some time writing out a preview only to just lose it. So, this will now be brief!…This horse is open to any amount of improvement this year, the trainer has a great record with stable newcomers and out of all the unexposed ones in here I found this one the most exciting. If race fit- (market will no doubt guide) and given they pitch him straight in here I would like to think he will be (Bailey has no problem getting them fit at home to win first time up) – i think 6s slightly underestimates his chance. He could be better than this lot. He stays and will relish the ground and I think he should give us a good spin round.
GardeFort – 1 point win 7/1 (PP/WH) PU -1
I previewed this for the Daily Punt blog, link to which is in the comments below. I have sent an update which will be emailed out by them tomorrow morning. He fits a lot of trends, Venetia has a decent record in this race and rain is expected. If he is fit I can’t see him being far away here.
3.00 HENNESSY GOLD CUP
Theatre Guide – 1 point EW 20/1 (Bet365/BoyleS – 4 places) 2nd 12/1 +4 points
The stats I used to narrow down the field, and that arguably look the most robust are:-
Top 3 LTO; Aged 9<; 11-8<; 0-1 Run in previous 90 days; Placed on at least one of last two statrs.
I believe that leaves a shortlist of 4: Smad Place- WON The Young Master, Fingal Bay and Theatre Guide 2nd
So, Theatre Guide ticks the main stats that I have used and out of the four on the shortlist is the biggest price. As importantly he came 3rd in this race in 2013, beating the 4th horse by 9 lengths. While weights and measures do not dominate my punting, he is 6lb lower here but more crucially carries 11lbs less on his back. In what is likely to be a slog that may count for a lot near the end. He was a bit in and out after that but had a decent prep in his last race where he plugged on over an inadequate trip. I am not 100% certain he will handle the going here – but, in handicap company – he has yet to prove he can’t handle it. Given he is 20/1 I am happy to take the chance. He has form on soft – if it turns heavy I don’t really know. But, plenty in here would have similar questions to answer. The trainer is in form and it would be a great story for the connections of Cue Card to follow up in another big race. I cant’t help be drawn into the 3rd place in this race in 2013 and I can’t ignore the odds of 20/1, that appears a bit big. Hopefully we get a run for our money, he is in there pitching jumping the last, and we place at worse.
SDR will have to be a Gold Cup horse to win this off Top Weight given his inexperience and the likely going. It will be some Gold Cup if he does win this, although it looks likely to be a decent race already! But, I cant touch 4/1 – 5/1 and indeed it feels a bit blasphemous touching anything below 10s/12s in a race of this nature – but that is just my personal view. I will sit back in admiration if he puts this filed to the sword but I am happy to just watch him. I am happy to discount all those aged 10+. This race has gone to one more upwardly mobile for a number of years now. The Hobbs pair are interesting but If In Doubt will have to tidy up his jumping. Most winners of this race have had at least 2 chase wins to their name which is a bit off-putting for Fingal Bay and he was a tad disappointing LTO. I do want to see more from him over fences.
When I first wrote this yesterday Smad Place was 13/2 which I though was short enough. Now 8s he could be getting towards a more tempting price. He ticks a lot of boxes here and I suspect he will run his race. He will relish the ground, he will stay and he will keep galloping. I may be talking myself into a saver at those odds although may see if he drifts further to double figures. The Young Master is interesting but this is his biggest handicap test to date. The jury is out as to whether he wants a true slog in testing ground over fences, and yesterday he was half the price of the selection. He dotted up in a few heavy ground hurdles when out-classing his rivals and he is still open to improvement. He could go well albeit I think there are a few in here with a touch more class.
Good Luck with your fancies. It should be a cracker. Thankfully there wasn’t a deluge and the ground remains soft, rather than Heavy, which should improve Theatre Guides chance a tad.
1.35 Bang – Union Jack Dycy (16/1<) WON 8/1
3.35 Newb – Gardefort (16/1<) PU
3.40 Donc – Earth Shaker (12/1<) DNQ
6.45 Wolv – Bionic Indian (12/1<)
7.45 Wolv – Contendit (12/1<)
12.30 Newc – Seventeen Black (12/1<) UP
1.30 Newc – Resolute Reformer (12/1<) DNQ
3.00 Newb – The Giant Bolster (14/1<) DNQ
Lady Persephone (King 16/1<)
For Two (7/1<)
La Vaticane (Pipe 16/1<)
Saphir De Rheu (Nicholls 7/1<)
If In Doubt (Hobbs)
Fingal Bay (Hobbs)
Ned Stark (16/1<)
Mountain King (Hobbs)