Brian Ellison had two qualifiers at Catterick from the micro system I researched for my new guide. Thankfully for my bank balance one of them one at 6/1>11/4. Hopefully he can have a few more as the season progresses. I had a good bet also on Dark Ruler that came to nothing. Most of the others were unfancied and ran as such.
Anyway, a video will follow when it has ‘rendered’ with me having a quick flick through Day 1 of Aintree. No tips as such but hopefully something of interest.
Don Poli – 2 points win – 11/2 (PP – money back free bet if 2nd to fav / Bet365/Coral/WH) 5/1 (general)
I have to smile as over the course of 48 hours I have gone full circle on this horse – I told you about those emotions and attachments to horses you backed at the Festival – well, this is one. Last chance saloon. It has rained a lot up here in the last day or two. I was right by the track last night for a preview evening (and very entertaining it was too, Warren Greatrex is a good laugh) and it was raining late into the night. It has been belting down this morning. It must be at least soft by now. And, that increases our chance – not least the added emphasis on needing to be a grinder. This could be some slog, and we have king of sloggers. At the preview night there was a theory that his Gold Cup run may have been a prep for this -which, thinking about it, given the owners had a more fancied one, Mullins had a more fancied one, and he is chasing the trainers title – makes some sense. Certainly at the time most felt he was given too much to do. Warren also thinks the horse is ‘just thick’ – and will just keep running and doing what you ask him too. He is a tough horse also and fingers crossed he is over any exploits LTO.
11/2 feels rather big now, what with the rain, and if he runs his race he shouldn’t be too far away. On Good ground I would have been worried about him being outpaced around here – but the ground should slow things down a tad and you do have to stay here – he has a long home straight to wind up. His jumping is usually very sound.
Of the rest. Well, surely one of the Top 3 is winning this? I know there have been shocks in this before but I can’t remember if 3 horses from the Gold Cup have lined up in this. There are reasons why all three could bomb out but I am not sure what chases them home – Jonjo’s on softer or SDR for Nicholls maybe. On ratings and all known form, one of the top 3 should be winning this. I would love to see Cue Card win but it was a very heavy fall last time out and he may not be over that. If he is, with a clear round, he should go close. But I can’t touch his price. Djakadam had a hard race LTO to my eye, but if over that, is entitled to run his race. On this occasion I want the grinder onside again.
Viconte Du Noyer – 1 point win – 8/1 (general)
Katachenko – 1 point win – 16/1 (general)
I have spent enough time head scratching on this one and in the end have gone with two still ‘could be anything’ types in handicap chases who, out of all of these, look like they have been targeted at this very race.
The rain does make a difference here and I cant see how there will be any good in it. If is ‘only’ on the soft side that will help plenty in here, if it is genuinely soft that could be a problem for a few…
Victonte Du Noyer – well who knows how good he could be. He had a break and returned over hurdles LTO. The trainer is 0/4, 2 places in this race. It looks like a plan – this race is no afterthought. The ground is a slight question but he has some form on soft and once chased home Vautour in 3rd. He could be smart and will show plenty over fences one day, and it may be today. He is a prominent racer and will come here fresh enough. At the prices he looked interesting. He may not be good enough but, if handling the ground, we should get a good spin. He should be progressive and ahead of his mark.
Katachenko – clearly more of a punt at the odds. He goes for McCain here and this track hasnt been much of a happy hunting ground recently but maybe he hasn’t had the horses. He is also hitting one of his ‘in and out’ periods again but despite a ‘poor season’ he has had 50+ winners. We know he can train. This one has been in the tracker after his Donny run where I thought a stronger pace would have seen him to better effect – and softer ground. He must go LH over fences. Again, given the rest prior to his last run, and his owner who loves a winner here as we know, and who this race is named after etc, I can only think this has been the plan. He is unexposed and will be up there, and he will relish the ground. Now, he may not be good enough when all is said and done but at 16s I am happy to take a chance. We don’t know how good he could be in handicap chases, in a race run at a decent pace. That win over the ill-fated Mon Successeur 4 starts back catches the eye and shows his ability.
The Grand Annual form may well repeat, but Solar Impulse – all his wins have come on decent ground and soft would be a question – it wouldn’t help his chance. He may also not react to the blinkers again, and may feel that last run (albeit he did it well). Nicholls is 1/25 in the race, suggesting it is an afterthought where he just throws a dart or two, maybe. IF he repeats that last run then he will go very close. Those carrying 11-11 or more in this race are now 0/12,0 places – small numbers but given they are the best horses in the race on form, a surprise none have placed. It would suggest that some ‘lurkers’ normally take this. Dandridge – well if he jumps fine he should be very close to Solar Impulse – he is also unexposed. That race may have taken plenty out of him mind – to make that error and having to work hard for that second place. His best form is on decent ground also. Minella Present – I remembered late yesterday that I have been waiting for him to return – he would have bolted up at Cheltenham before Christmas but for being stopped a few times, the odd error etc. I am sure he was meant to run at Cheltenham so I can only think there was a problem. He is by Presenting as well and in theory won’t like it soft. If he handles the ground he could take this well – but he is a hold up hose and will have to do it the hard way. Now, with the ground changing, it may no longer be a front runners paradise (easier to get away on Good etc) – we shall see. I cant have Fayette County at that price.
It feels open enough but hopefully these two give us a good spin.
That is all for Tips.
DAY ONE NOTES
Race 1 – Arzal could have a chance here, being fresher than most. His trainer was rather bullish last night (he was the other trainer at the preview) well, very hopeful. He likes to bully the oppo and will be sent to the front. He settles much better now and the trainer has no problems about the distance. He looks interesting and will be in my favourite place here – right out the front. The other I want onside is L’Ami Serge – this track could be perfect and he will stay – which is a question for a few in here. He will also like the rain softened turf. I will have a nibble at both of those, track side I think – for ‘interest’! I have talked myself out of GLV due to his jumping – but I hope he runs a good race. A decent little contest.
R2 – The rain won’t help the fav but he may have the class. This change in ground may switch things in favour of Apples Jade. For fun money I may take them both on with Diego Du Charmil – although he was lucky the last day it was a good race, and Andy Holding (who was also at preview, WH radio I think,tipper on odds checker,speed guru,knows his stuff) said the time was very good and marked it down as a decent race. The question is whether that run has taken anything out of him – it being his first for some time – he could fold. Sceau Royal is better than he showed the last day and the ground may help. A small ‘track-side’ EW bet I think at his price.
R4 – not much to say here. The fav should win and I can’t even think of a creative ‘way in’. A horse to watch and enjoy for me. I wont be betting in it at all.
R5 – a tricky race and I have no strong thoughts. You would think one of the top 2 is winning this – at the odds maybe the ‘value play’ is on Pacha Du Polder. Mendip Express could go well, and I may have small EW nibbles on Dineur (66/1) and Major Malarkey (20/1) I dont really expect to be collecting but I will be there and will have to have something on this race!
R7 – Greatrex really rates his horse, who is 9/4, and was rather bullish last night. The other to catch the eye is the Elliot horse, and I may have a small nibble on that one. A trainer based bet I suppose, and not an overly confident one.
So, an interesting and ‘classy’ day ahead. I can’t wait to see Cue Card and to watch Annie Power will be memorable. Hopefully I can get a return for the main bets. There will be the odd shock today, but who knows what races they will be in. As I have said, this meeting is usually tough for me, punting wise, but I will be having a great time whatever happens.
Oh, and the sun is starting to make an appearance!
Have a great day.
3.15 Taunt – Horace Hazel (12/1 or shorter)
4.40 Aintree – Aye Well (12/1<)