BIG RACE PREVIEWS (‘tips’)
Cloudy Too – 2 points win – 7/1 (BV/PP/WH/Coral)
Katenko – 1 point win – Non Runner – No Replacement
*prices as of 14.30, 22/01/16
The trends are not really that useful here with small sample numbers in places and in truth the 8 that were left on the ‘shortlist’ I didn’t much fancy. So, to an extent, I have ignored them.
Cloudy Too is slowly becoming a cliff horse of mine and this could be the final time I ever back him, who knows. A slightly smaller field would be ideal but he has track form, stays, and should relish the conditions. Having stared at him for a time I have concluded that this has been the season’s target! He has come down quite a way in the weights and in the context of this race, his last race here is interesting. If this is the target you wouldn’t want to ruin his mark and the main jockey returns. He also carried 11-5 that day, in the mud also. Today he has 10-4 on his back, 15lb less. In this swamp, that will surely help. The trainer is in decent enough nick and all things considered, if this is to be my final bet on him, I wanted to go out in a blaze of glory.
Katenko is more risky but they keep persevering with him. He was running well last time at a big price (still a long way from home) before he made a really bad blunder, and was soon pulled up. But, he has ran well in this race before and he does like the mud. With a clear round, were he to return to any of his best form, he would be right in the mix. This is a risky one but 12s, in the context of the race, was worth a dart for me.
Well I would like to think Virak and Third Intention have too much weight here. This will be a really tough test, with ground similar, if not worse, than the Welsh National. The latter also has big stamina questions to answer also. Seventh Sky has been running ok but also has stamina to prove and I wonder if there are a few classier ones than him in here. Fingal Bay just can’t seem to win and he has had a few chances. He clearly has the ability but is another whose stamina in this ground would have to be taken on trust – he is short enough in that context, albeit the National Hunt fan in me would like to see him win a race like this. Algernon Pazham still can’t jump and at the moment I can’t be touching him. He now has plenty to prove, and this race has so far gone to horses aged 8 or older. Splash of Ginge also has plenty to prove now. The rest (bar one, I will get to him!) have plenty to prove for me in race conditions and surely to high heavens won’t be good enough to take this. Famous last words!
So, that leaves one. The ‘if I can repeat my best hurdles form over fences you won’t see the back of me horse’ – Reve De Sivola – who apparently has been schooling very well at home. Well, this isn’t home, it is big boys school. Look, if he jumps well then he may take all the beating. But, this isn’t a hurdle and you don’t want any chinks here. In this ground he can’t afford to make errors. If they let James dictate from the front and allow him to get into a rhythm then my bets may be down the drain. We shall see. I wouldn’t want to be lumping on at 4s I don’t think, but that price isn’t necessarily short enough for me to put you off, if you like him! He is 11 and there is a reason he is rated 139 over fences. Happy to let him prove me wrong and if mine are out of contention I will happily cheer him home.
Tara Road – 1 point win – 20/1 (Bfsports) 16/1 (PP) 14/1 (general)
Benardelli – 1 point win – 12/1 (general)
Write up will be sent out by Daily Punt Blog
1.15 Asc – Mountain King (11/1<)
3.15 Hay – Fingal Bay (11/1<)
3.35 Asct – Royal Regatta (11/1<)
4.30 Taunt – Jayo Time (12/1<)
STATS/ANGLES OF INTEREST
(this is a test section and these are NOT tips. So far, the test is not going to well!)
1.00 Haydock – Horizontal Speed goes here and he was an eye-catcher LTO. He traveled well into the race before fading/being outstayed up the hill. This race is actually one furlong shorter and of course there is no Cheltenham hill. So, he is interesting as he may well stay this far in these conditions. A question, as with most horses at Haydock tomorrow, is how he handles this type of heavy ground. If he gets through it, based on that last run, he should go well.
That will be all for Saturday.
TO NOTE: A note about next week…I am off to France for a spot of Skiing on Sunday, and will return the following Sunday. I will have my trusty lap-top with me and still plan to post daily. Posts will include any potential micro system qualifiers as a minimum. Time allowing I will continue to look out for the 3m+ chases and I plan to look at a big race or two a week tomorrow (Skybet Chase I think). There won’t be a Weekly Diary post and there won’t be much else going on in terms of content. Following my return my eyes will slowly start to turn towards Cheltenham. By the 7th Feb my trends/stats guide should be complete for those of you who like that kind of thing. I think it will be £17+vat, and I won’t be posting any of the stats/trends found in the guide on the blog. Anyway, that is for another day.