A great start to 2016 for the ‘tips’ (including Big Race Previews) with two winners from the two races looked at on New Year’s Day = +11 points to the pot. Perfect Candidate won as I expected Loughalder to do the day before.
That takes the tips to +49.25 points since start of October when my attention switched to the jumping game – something to try and build on.
If you check the home page you will see a new ‘January Trainers’ post. There are a good selection there that will hopefully prove profitable for us in the next few weeks. Do take a read through.
BIG RACE PREVIEW
Pearls Legend – 1.5 points win – 11/2 (BetF) 5/1 (general)
The thought of this horse going in again without carrying any of my money is unpleasant and I cant leave him alone here. I put him in the tracker, and was an eye-catcher, after his seasonal return. I then backed him at Cheltenham where only a strong headwind cost him the race for me. I left him at Newbury and then left him again LTO when he won at 8/1. Damn.
There are a few trends/stats for this race of interest…
11/12 Top 6 LTO
10/12 Top 3 in market
NOT -1-15 days ago last run
V Williams: 0/9, 2 places
In truth they do not help narrow the field down by much, bar being wary of the William’s runners, and esp the fav. He has gone up a lot in the weights and I don’t know what he beat last time out. Given her record I am happy to leave him albeit he looks progressive – but will have to be having gone up 15lbs from his last run. Under 10lb rises I don’t really pay much attention if the price is right, horse looks progressive and/or is in great form, running well in decent races. But, 15lbs is a big rise and you have to notice it. But, he will like a slog and clearly looks likely to run his race.
Pearl’s Legend – 5/1 is fair enough given his form. He has gone up 6lb to a career high chase mark and that may be enough to stop him but I am happy to take a chance. He is 2/2 over 16f at the track and really likes it soft (not heavy mind). His form is very strong this year, much the best on paper in this race for me. His liking for Sandown and Cheltenham indicates that he prefers a stiff finish. He could get an easy lead here albeit a few pace pushers in the race. However the last race showed he doesn’t have to lead. He showed a great attitude last time and if he is leading at any point over/after the last it will take a very tough horse to get past him. I think he is sure to run his race and won’t be too far away. A Barrakilla or Just Cameron may end up having a bit in hand, but they have it to prove at this level. Given this will be a tough test, I am happy to side with the battle hardened campaigner here. His jumping will stand him in good stead also.
Reaping The Reward – 1.5 points win – 7/1 (general)
Soll – 1.5 points win – 8/1 (general)
This race looks ripe for the taking for one of these and the odds are fair enough. I am struggling to make an overly strong case for anything else, even those at bigger prices. Benbens made my shortlist but NTD is now 1/34 in the last two weeks and I am also not sure just how much of a slog, with a stiff finish, he really wants. He is relatively lightly raced but is also on a career high mark and his jumping is questionable at times. Also 0/6, 1 place 16+ runners. But, he could run his race. Relax looked interesting but Soll has beaten him the last two times they have met and I see no reason – with luck in running and assuming both run their race – why he wont beat him again. A lot have big questions to answer and many have proved they cannot handle conditions. Quite a few don’t appear to like big fields, on what they have done to date and a a few are being asked to do something different for first time in careers.
Soll – He ran a cracker last time out and a repeat of that will see him go close. He is 4/17 over fences and comes here in good from, for a trainer who is also now finding some form after a quiet spell. He ticks every box and likes the track. He is a slogger and stays further than this. There is a lot of pace in this race which should suit and he will be able to gallop past tired rivals after the last. He is usually a sound jumper and looks sure to run a big race.
Reaping The Reward is the only ‘could be anything’ horse in the race – he is unexposed, and I didnt expect to see a profile like his in this race. The booking of Johnson looks significant and he will be able to hunt them up out the back before coming with a run as the many pace pushers start to feel it. This is only his 12th chase start and he looks sure to appreciate race conditions and be spot on from his reappearance. The trainer has had 4 runners here since 2009, one won, and one further placed. He just looks interesting and given his profile, in the context of this race, looks like one to keep onside.
There is a lot of pace on paper in this with 6/7 horses who like to lead and/or get on with it. It looks sure to be a real test of stamina and we have two onside here who should relish this race.
1.50 Sand – Bold Henry (11/1<)
3.35 Sand – Leviathan (any odds)
That will be all for Saturday.