UPDATE: (more for my records)… Tips = +0.8 points / BRP = + 8 points…. +8.8 points total.
Well the big day is here. I am hoping a more focused approach pays off and I have had a good look at three more races, in addition to the King George. Unfortunately Wetherby has been called off, as well as Chepstow. The Welsh National will now be run on the 9th Jan.
There are also a handful of ‘Today’s Stats/Angles’ horses for you to have a look at also, if you wish.
Right, let’s start with the micro systems…
1.20 Hunt – Mansonien Las (14/1<) PU
2.00 Kempt – Tea for Two (12/1<) WON 5/2
2.45 MR – Ubaltique (14/1<) UP
1.05 Winc – Master Neo (12/1<) UP
1.10 Weth – Silver Shuffle (12/1<)
1.35 MR – Fergal Mael Duin (14/1<) UP
2.05 Font – Beau Lake (20/1<) UP
2.40 Font – Anda De Grissay (12/1<) UP
2.55 Weth – Firth Of The Clyde (12/1<) NR
3.45 Kempt – Little Boy Boru (20/1) NR (ran at Wincanton, unplaced)
BONUS…not that we need any more micro system horses to look at but there is a qualifier for the G McPherson revised system from last week’s Diary Post…
1.00 MR – Money Maid (any odds) UP
There is also a micro angle for Sue Smith looking at her chasers at Bangor, Carlisle and Sedgefield…she is 28/100, 51 places with this angle in last 5 years…
2.30 Sedge – Red Danaher (12/1<) 2nd 6/1
1.05 Winc – Cardinal Rose – 1 pt win – 7/1 (B365/PP) NR
2.10 MR – Barton Gift – 1 pt EW – 14/1 (PP) 12/1 (general) 3rd (14s became more widely available for a time after posting) +1.8 points
3.25 Winc – Minella Definitely – 1 pt win – 13/2 (general) UP – 1 point
I wont write up everyone of these races in same vein as KG below but suffice to say I have been through every race in depth and haven’t cut any Christmas corners.
Cardinal Rose – 7s is big for me here – the only real question is the ground but it is an unknown, rather than she definitely doesnt handle it. I think 7s allows the chance, especially as her sire’s offspring generally dont struggle in soft/heavy. She is 2/5, 4 places now over fences and looks to be going the right way. She could get an easy lead here and has jumped well to date. She was an ‘eye-catcher’ of mine in a weekly diary post when running at Ludlow – I then missed her when winning at 5s LTO – idiot! There is every chance she comes on again for that and if going through the ground could take some pegging back.
The fav is also progressive but is short enough here given he does have to prove his stamina in this ground and is also stepping up in class. The Venetia Williams horse has to be taken seriously and my gut says this may be his race – but I cant touch 7/2 about a horse who is 0/14, 6 places. His placed form is decent but he is frustrating and he also has to prove his stamina. I am happy to see him win as I am content for why I am taking him on. If he were 8/1 + say, given trainer’s boxing day record etc I would have had a go I suspect.
Barton Gift – 14s with PP seems an insult to me for this horse. Now, first things first, if this ground is genuinely soft, with not too much heavy in places, he should run his race. If it is actually heavy, than I/we have just lost 2 points. He has three PUs to his name on Heavy ground – he just doesnt like it. You can excuse both runs this season – firstly he has never done much on his reappearance and the ground LTO was a valid excuse. On soft ground over fences he is 3/6, 4 places. The blinkers return (2/5) which could add an extra spark. Most importantly he stays very well and if his occasional shoddy jumping holds together, he will make this price look silly.
Ultimatum Du Roy -5s- looks the main danger and I have had a saver to cover my stake – I deliberated making him a bet also but decided to stick to just the big priced one. The trainer has a good record here with chasers and this horse is progressive. You are taking a chance he improves for the step up in trip but that looks likely. NotABotherBoy is progressive but short enough having won weak chases at Sedgefield. The trainer doesnt have the best record with chasers here either. Soudain is a stayer and I believe won this in 2012. That was for a different trainer, who could get him ready first time out. But, this is a tough race after such a break against race fit rivals. If he is spot on he would run his race, that is the chance you take. The Newland horse gets first time blinkers,which is the only way in as his form to date is uninspiring. He is 0/4, 0 places beyond 3m in handicaps so far.
Minella Definitely – This horse won this race last year for his local trainer – who is in form again, if he has ever been out of it – and I wonder if this has been the target. 13/2 felt a tad generous. There is not a single horse in this field who looks like they want a slog in the mud so I think it will be a case of who handles it best. He has won with cut in and won a novice hurdle in heavy – which may not mean much if he was just better than his rivals – but it is a positive. When on song he usually goes from the front – so it was interesting he was held up LTO! He carries 7lb more than for that victory here last season but that wouldn’t have stopped him then for me. He beat the Dartnall horse that day, and I see no reason why he wont do so again.
Key To The West is interesting but does need to get his head infront. He may like the better ground and the fact they put him into a C2 at Cheltenham says something to me. He now 1/12 over fences and does need to step up on recent efforts, which is possible. I am happy to take on the rest. The Tizzard horse needs further but could come into it if this was a real slog – he could be staying on late.
BIG RACE PREVIEWS
1.45 Wetherby Dolatulo – 1.5 points win – 5/1 (BF/ToteS) 9/2 general (as of 15.19, 24/12)
3.10 Kempton: King George VI Chase
Cue Card – 2 points win – 4/1 (Paddy Power/WH – Go with PP, money back free bet is second to SP fav) WON +9 points
Smad Place – 1 point win – 9/1 (PP/BV/Coral – as above, go with PP) UP -1 point
IMPORTANT: There is the PP offer, but one reader has just commented, as you will see, that Ladbrokes will give money back as a free bet up to £25 if the SP Fav (which will surely be DC) wins. That is a good offer. They are 7/2 CC and 8/1 Smad (all bookies 8/1 now) and those two bookies look to be the ones to focus on. Ladbrokes have clearly taken a stance on DC which is no bad thing for us!
There are not too many useful trends for this in truth, nothing that really narrows down the field. And, in any case, given the number of runners a strict trends approach may not be too desirable. Having said that finishing 4th or worse LTO is a negative and that removes Irish Cavalier and Ballynagour – and in any case surely they are not good enough to go close in this.
Let’s start with the selections. Firstly, I believe they have both had the same wind op over the summer and have come back different horses. After Smad’s victory at Kempton, King described the op and how one day his grey was stumbling around the yard like a drunk- simply unable to breathe. Cue Card was going to win the 2013 King George from SS when I think the same thing probably happened, as he just stopped. This issue wasnt a case of ‘you either breathe or you cant’, more a flap of skin that could just move and suddenly stop you from breathing. Once this has happened to a horse once I suspect a lot is psychological from there on in, esp when asked for maximum effort. Anyway, neither have any excuses on that front now…
So, in a sense all form in previous seasons could be deemed a but irrelevant, especially form over a testing trip, in testing ground like this race.
I will start with Smad Place – 9s is a tad generous and at the forefront of my mind is how I left Many Clouds, never to back him again, after he won his Hennessy – and I don’t want to be doing that with this horse. It is hard to weigh up that Hennessy run but I am convinced it is the best run 3m+ handicap chase of the season and he did demolish them. He looks to be getting better. He stays, jumps well (and a tad to the right) and will be in the perfect position – either in the van going a pace Hutchinson is happy with, or maybe striding alongside Cue Card as they let SS and Vautour destroy each other up top. This is only his 11th chase, he has gone close in a few G1s before, and I cannot say with confidence that he isn’t getting better. He could well be just below this level and others have better chase form to date, but I can’t leave him alone at 9s.
Cue Card – I have convinced myself he is winning this – or at the very worst PP are giving me a free bet as he chases home ‘The Don’. He is without doubt a different horses this year and he couldn’t have been more impressive on his last two starts. He handles the track and he has proven his stamina the last twice, following that op. 4s just seems a bit generous to me, and he should not be bigger than Vautour. He is another who could be getting better. His jumping is a massive asset around here, as his is versatility. They may try and restrain Vautour to get the trip and if so he could be sent to the front and that will be that. If not he is now more than happy to sit just behind. As his trainer has said, they can ride him how they like now. I can’t see him not being in contention jumping the last.
What of the rest…
Valseur Lido is rated 157 and is surely not good enough. Al Ferof is now 10 and I am yet to be convinced he stays this trip – well he has never stayed it under rules, although not many tries. He ran in this last year and plugged on into third. If the main contenders run up to form I can’t see him winning this. SS – well something looks up with him and Nicholls was quick to make excuses last run, saying he wanted two weeks more. Well, CC won that last race with plenty in hand to my eye so even if he does improve again, I would like to think CC will have his measure. That last run was just too poor for me and this KG is arguably stronger than any of those he has won, esp now CC finished off his races stronger.
So, that leaves the Irish hot pots. I can’t have Vautour and if he wins this hats off to him. He is exuberant and he has to prove his stamina. I don’t want to take 10/3 on a horse who has to prove on the track that he stays in what will be the hottest chase of the season to date. The last day he also jumped out to his left a bit and little chinks like that find you out at this level. I am happy for him to prove me wrong – although I do hope he is sent to front and softens up SS, with my two just tracking the pair, ready to pick up pieces. He is an exciting prospect for sure but I cant have him at the prices.
That leaves Don Cossack – without doubt the best looking horse I have ever seen track side. I was at Aintree last season when he won well and he looked magnificent. That was a weak race where he beat CC – who clearly had his issues and was racing over a trip too short, esp on that ground. I don’t know what he has beaten really in truth. Yes he stuffed Djackadam but whereas he had an easy race at Aintree, Djackadam had a very hard race at Cheltenham for a 6yo. Cue Card actually wasnt too far away in that race either, evidently not finishing off his race again. He is entitled to win this clearly, but he is 9/4, and I don’t see any value in that. He may well be held up off the pace as well which is dangerous here. The leaders wont come back which means he will have to jump at an increasing pace, which could lead to errors. This season he has dotted up at odds on as he was meant to do. The 56 day break is a bit more than I would like as well. I think there are chinks and am happy to take him on. If he wons this well then clearly he is a sure thing to go close in the big one at Cheltenham.
So, for me CC at 4s is a tad too big and we are sure to be cheering jumping the last couple. Smad also looks overpriced and although he may crack as the classier ones go on, at 9s, given his profile and form, I couldn’t resist.
Those prices are available as of 17.52 on the 23/12/15.
(remember these are not Tips, more pointers to help in your own analysis. I have looked at the horse in question but not the opposition etc)
12.15 Hunt – Safran De Cotte – 10/1 – Daly is 4/8, 5 places with his handicap hurdlers here which caught my eye. This chaser is completely out of form and returns to hurdles here for the first time in a while. He is now very well handicapped and maybe he doesnt like jumping fences anymore. I don’t really like those switching from chasing to hurdles but this is a weak race and if he ran to his best he would win, simple as that really. But, given his recent form, that is a big if as he does look out of sorts. This could just be a last roll of the dice. UP
1.50 Hunt – Drumbeg West – 33/1 – The trainer is 3/8, 5 places with handicap hurdlers here, this horse 1/2, 2 places over hurdles at the track. All race conditions fine and that price looked big to my eyes, but maybe that is for a reason. The old boy Ratify 10/1 – also looked interesting when just having a cursory glance at those who would be suited to the race (using the Geegeez ‘instant expert’ tab) 2nd (agonising)
2.25 Hunt – Jack By The Hedge 8/1 – I will just mention him as I backed him LTO at a price, expecting a bit of money to arrive, which it didn’t really from memory. He jumped well, and looked like the winner a couple from home, before appearing to tire. (first run in 70+ days) He goes up against some more experienced chasers in here but could get into a rhythm out in front which would enhance his chance. One to keep an eye on moving forward at a lowly level as he is unexposed. UP
There were a couple of pointers for Limerick from the stats I unearthed but that meeting has just been called off.
That is all for today. 7 points across the tips which is manageable and allows the afternoon to be enjoyable whatever happens! Hopefully a few of the micro systems go well and we get a cracking King George.
Good Luck. I will be back tomorrow by 11am latest.