Just A Par gave us a decent run for our money and turned out to be the right one to take on the fav with. Azure Fly didn’t do much, folding tamely having traveled well. The fav tried to take a few fences with him but had enough up his sleeve. The ‘saver bet’ forecast would have been nice – I never think of that bet! Easy after the event mind.
I should add there will be NO Saturday Trends post – simply because jumping wise, there are no trends. Haydock have a few new races I believe and there are a couple of nice 3m+ chases to get stuck into. There is the Irish Grand National on Monday, and I will get some trends/stats up for that.
Mission Complete – 1 point win – 6/1 (general)
Handsome Buddy – 1 point win – 20/1 (general) *
*prices as of 08.50…20s still with SJ at 0.925,plenty of 16s still about.
Well I can’t quite believe that I find myself tipping Mission Complete in this (a horse that I have had one too many ‘final bets’ on – convinced he would romp away with one of those C5 hurdles!!). Firstly, I have gone with the only two horses in the filed who are proven stayers on decent ground. They both have course and distance form, they are both handicapped to win, they both have past performances in the book, which if repeated, would be more than good enough to take what is effectively a C5 chase. I have stared at this and stared at it some more, and in the end went with the obvious – proven good ground performers, proven stayers with winning form over this distance. No other horse in here ticks those two boxes.
Mission Complete – His price is just about ok and this, much like Firm Order on Saturday, will be the final time I ever back this horse, unless he bolts up today. And, that is possible. The run last time was ok and showed that he is in decent enough form. He has fallen a long way down the handicap, for a reason, but at his best he is a solid C4 performer (and this is a weak C4). He could hit the first few, lose interest, and that is that. But, equally, he could get into a rhythm tracking the pace – and if he does, he will just keep going. He stays well, and maybe he has been crying out for this trip. Also, none of Jonjos have been running that well for quite some time – but, Cheltenham showed that they are starting to fire again. He is the best trainer of long distance chasers in the race, and indeed is the only one to have trained a winner over a similar trip in the last 730 days. 6/1 was just about ok, I don’t think I would have touched shorter than this. I convinced myself that if he is going to get his head in front it is now or never – in a weak race with a load of horses who to date hate good ground, either dont stay, or have it to prove.
Handsome Buddy – I have no idea why he is 20/1 and I don’t know what I have missed. He is 3/21 over fences so does at least know how to win, he stays really well, as demonstrated by a win over CD – well I think it was this race looking at the dates, in 2014. And, he needs good ground. He is a good ground horse – 3/14,5 places on good, 0/9,1 place with any soft or worse in description. (in handicaps) They have been watering this course to maintain good, so it must have been getting pretty quick in places. He should relish that. The break was the one niggle, built into his price, but 4 starts ago he ran a cracker having been off 230 days coming a close second. I assume they have been keeping him back for better ground. The jockey gets on with him and he is well handicapped, esp with his claim. He will be held up, which given the pace on paper in this, may be beneficial. (albeit I never like ones held up right out the back in any race, but he is 20s)
Of The Rest…
Crack Of Thunder – well this is a new trip and that may work wonders. I can’t say he can’t win given this is his 3rd chase start – but, that run in October, on good, in his first chase, wasn’t inspiring. The PUs may be ground related but he has enough to prove. It says something about the strength of this race that he is top weight – a rating based on his hurdles form. 7s was short enough in that context.
Nail ‘M – well he has been tricky to work out. He does stay but my word is he slow – he could be renamed ‘Boaty McBoatFace’! (surely someone will call a horse that, I mean if it’s good enough for a ship!) – Now, that may well be enough in this race as he probably has the best placed staying form on offer. But, over all career runs he is 0/8,0 places when Good is in the going D. He has been best in the mud. He is also out of form having taken a heavy fall and his jumping was scrappy LTO. I think he may get outpaced here and struggle. If I have that wrong, he will at least be plugging on at the end, and if everything else has given up by then, it may be his. He is a system selection also. (jumps handicappers been spluttering mind)
Bebinn – 0/14,7 places C4 (although it is a weak one),0/9,1 p OR 91+, 0/5,0 places Good or better. I think the handicapper may have her and also stamina to prove. An unknown though. Badgers Cove – some ask for a 12yo on his second start after 730+ days off. He could bounce, and he may still need more runs. The trainer is only 2/64 here, horse is 0/5,2 places beyond 24f,0/7,1 p going LH. (4/10,6 p RH – may pop up that way round over the summer) I couldn’t have him here for those reasons. LeathHillLegasi – ground a concern, 0/8,2 places Good or better – best form in the mud. Also looked to run out of gas LTO having got an easy enough lead, so stamina would also be a concern. 0/5,1 p OR 91+. The Last Bridge – he is such a hard ride and was an 11l 3rd in this last year, off the same mark. Johnson can get a tune and if he does, he will keep plugging away – and wouldn’t be a shock winner. His best form is also with cut (probably to slow the oppo down!) On balance I was happy to leave. Depends which side of the stable he rolled out of. I can’t have the bottom two – mainly they both have big stamina questions to overcome, and Fergal’s does’t win very often. Will like the ground, but no staying form over 24f – looks to empty over that trip and plug on – so that raises questions for this test.
That leaves the ‘could be anything’ horse, Midnight Jade – her sire’s offspring have a decent enough record over this trip. But, she won a very weak race LTO where she was able to dictate her own pace – and I think that is what won it. The horse to chase her home had to give her nearly 2 stone, and the race has yet to work out at all. 4 horses have run since, 0 wins, 1 place. She is clearly going the right way though but at 5s I was happy to take on. This will be a new test and she won’t get her own way here…
PACE Midnight Jade (although will they sit off pace in order to get trip?..) Badgers Cove, LeithHL usually like to front run and there are a few pace pushers in here also. On paper at least, it should be properly run, and that will only help the selections cause. The more of a test of stamina this becomes, the better.
So, we have two onside who have the ability and past form to win this, its just whether they can show it today. At their respective odds, in context of their form, the oppositions, and the pace set up, I was happy to take a chance. I am comfortable taking the rest on, mainly on basis of ground/stamina questions. A few are trying this trip for the first time, which may bring about improvement, but this is a race where in then end I have gone with the proven stamina.
That is all on the Tipping front. See in the comments for a discussion on FINE PARCHMENT who went in the tracker earlier in the season. Nick and I have had an interest bet each, but it isn’t a race I would want to tip in, or be overly confident about.
2.10 Warwick: Bellator/Derksen/Neaumond (all 12/1<)
5.00 Hayd: Beware The Bear/Birch Hill (12/1<)
4.50 Warw: Nail M (12/1<)
Pam Sly Females: 4.20 War – Bonnets Vino (ANY oods, 1/16,7 places above 14/1, +35, some big price placed horses)
STATS/ANGLES OF INTEREST