Well, that was bloody good fun- my best day at the races by some way to date. Profit, plenty to cheer, Cue Card and Annie Power. Brilliant. I wont reflect too much on Day 1 – But, hopefully many of you backed the tips and may have watched the video/read my ‘notes’. Arzal led all the way for a nice return at 13/2, chased home by my other fancy. Dineur ran a fine race in second at 66/1 to reward my 5ew bet. Clearly, betting wise, the Red Rum handicap chase was the highlight. It really was a day, as it usually is at this track, to be on the speed. A fine ride by Wayne Hutchinson and it was about time I added another 16/1+ job to the pot. I also managed to get the placepot up with one line, albeit it only paid 12/1 – still, a nice enough return for my crisp £5 note.
Don Poli – received a mighty fine ride and ran his heart out. No complaints there. Hopefully some of you may have backed him with PaddyPower and got your money back as a free bet. Cue Card – well there is not much to say about him – it was superb to cheer him home. What a horse. A deserved win and on that form was clearly going to go close in the Gold Cup. (albeit he tried to take two fences with him here also) I am still too one dimensional when it comes to betting – yet again I didn’t even think about the forecast, as a ‘saver’. Next time!
All in all, a very good day, as good as they come -especially considering my past exploits at this meeting. Oh, and Anthony Honeyball had another handicap hurdle winner at 6/1 – a nice surprise when checking my Bet365 account at around 4pm.
Thanks for all of your kind comments. There is no better feeling than cheering home a decent priced winner and there will be many more of those in the years ahead. How exciting 🙂
Tycoon Prince – 1 point win – 8/1 (general) – UP
Thienval – 1 point EW – 22/1 (SB/BV/PP/Coral) UP
Clondaw Kaempfer – 1/2 point EW – 33/1 (general) UP
(4 points total)
Like most races at this meeting the trends/stats profiles are not as strong as Cheltenham and while they help here to a point, a rather long list is left. Where to start?
Tycoon Prince – may or may not be a micro system bet for one of my trainer micro angles (12/1 3rd yesterday in the last) 🙂 That caught my eye. As does the fact that this man knows how to plot one up for a handicap, and given this one is here on handicap debut he could have any amount in hand. 8s was fair in that context. He missed Cheltenham and Elliot has won this race before – I would like to think this has been the target. Stamina looks assured on paper albeit he does have it to prove- could well improve for it. Of the really unexposed ones he looks the most interesting.
Thienval – well this one won this race last year and this could well have been the target for quite some time. He is a flat track bully – ALL of his form coming at Kempton and Aintree which are pretty much the same bar the way round. He hates any undulations. He ran a cracker LTO he came to the bottom of the hill in contention – he just doesn’t like the hill. 6 year olds who are in the top 10 of the handicap at Aintree, that ran at The Festival LTO have a quite remarkable record – hopefully this is another. 22/1 seemed massive for a horse who is only having his 9th hurdle run. He could/should still be open to improvement and he has won carrying 11-11 in a handicap. He has a higher mark than last year when taking account of claims etc (jockey claimed 3lb last year) but as I said we may not have seen the best of him. Ideally he would want the ground a bit better but he has won on soft and I think the flat is most important. He looks sure to travel into this well – then just a question of whether anything in here with more in hand. Top weights have won this race also. IF he runs like he did last year we should be getting an EW return at worse here. Henderson is in great form, all of his usually go well here and this one could add to the pot at what looks a silly price to me. Happy, as always, to take the chance at those odds.
Clondaw Kaempfer – well he is more of a poke and may drop out – but I have a suspicion we will see more from him here than we have. I think we can ignore his last run given the break and the ground – I suspect this has been the plan. He gets a tongue tie and headgear – which on the flip side makes me think they are not 100% happy. But, he could improve for both. Importantly he has dropped a lot in the handicap and is below the mark when he won this race two seasons ago. Also Hutch is back up for the first time since winning on him in that race – how interesting. In general McCain’s were ill last year, so you can forgive everything really last season, to an extent. IF, much like the one above, this one bounces back to the form of his run in this race, then he is no 33/1 shot. Worth a punt, and I may have another 1/2 on win side at the track, just in case!
PACE… There isn’t loads of it on paper in this- not packed with out and out front runners. Thienval will track any pace and he is a strong traveler usually. Clondaw raced prominently when winning this and Hutch knows what to do around here, as we saw yesterday – hopefully he rides him more forward. I cant see anything getting loose on the front here on what they have done on recent starts.
Of the rest?…well Blazer in interesting, but did have a hard race LTO. BUT a repeat of that puts him right there and may be saver material. Ma Du Fou could be anything but has small field experience and this is a different ball game. The break is a negative for me and I am happy to take him on. Curios Carlos may be worth change for team Bowen – he could be anything on handicap debut – but Bowen is 0/5,0 places with such types at this track. His form isnt exactly that strong either. He may go close though – a plot job and those after a long break do well in this. Nicholls and Pipe are 0/30,5 places combined in this which is off-putting enough for theirs, albeit happy to take them on anyway, without those stats. We shall see, hopefully a good start for us.
Henri Parry Morgan – 1/2 point EW – 16/1 (1/4 odds Bet365) (1/5 odds, general) 2nd
One of the top two will probably win this but 3rd is up for grabs and there is a small chance both bomb out – and then it could be anyones. Blacklion deserves his chance but has had a long hard season, and had a very hard race LTO. He is tough but it would be a new level to come here and win this for me. In that context 3s is short enough. Pipes – well he has the class and that was very impressive the last day – still annoyed I crossed him off my shortlist! – He would have been tuned up for the minute for that, but then he did seem to do it with some ease. He can race prominently and could take this well – if i was lumping on one of the top two it would probably be him – despite Pipes rather moderate/poor record at this meeting. Native River is more of a boat than Don Poli and I really cant see this track suiting. He would need a burn up I think – and there is not loads of pace on paper in this. Will Ballyalton stay? Big question mark, as well as class. I am struggling to have the bottom three in the market…
So, by a process of elimination, that leaves one. I should probably have had some guts and backed him to 1 point win but I did think I am asking too much for both the front two to fail. (albeit clearly I think they might, I never back a horse just to place) Team Bowen love this place as we know – ‘family Bowen’ like this place as we saw yesterday. This one is improving at some rate here and on his new rating doesn’t have much to find – esp if some underperform. I am concerned that he is usually help up but I don’t think anything will get away on the front (Pipes might I suppose) and that lack of pace may help and put emphasis on tactical speed. He just looks interesting at the prices and I was happy to have a go.
As De Mee – 1 point EW – 16/1 (general,ensure 5 places!) UP
Dare to Endeavour – 1 point EW – 28/1 (5 places, BV/PP/Betway) UP
I am excited about seeing these two around here at the prices.
As De Mee is clearly a talented beast and while he has yet to win a chase, as I have learnt from hard data – that is actually no reason to be put of a handicap chaser!! This is his first handicap chase and he is smart – he could have any amount up his sleeve. Nicholls has won this race before – 1/40, 5 places – clearly throws a few darts but any trainer form in a race is a positive. His string couldn’t be in better form either. Ground and trip look perfect. Clearly, it is all about how he takes to the fences. He has fallen in the past but then again got around Cheltenham LTO well enough, in a G1. He could well track what could be a ferocious pace and IF he takes to the fences (should have been schooled over them), runs his race, and completes, I am really struggling to see him out of the frame. He also has that 6yo Cheltenham LTO angle on his side. Very excited about this one. I just hope he jumps the first few fine and the race isn’t over before it has begun! 5+6 yos have a very good record in this against the number of runners (4 winners)
Dare To Endeavour – went into the notebook after his fine run in the Beecher. This has clearly been the plan since. He has a funny form profile – usually after he has been pulled up he runs a cracker – and has done for two different trainers now. He clearly likes the fences and this could be a slog as they will not be hanging around. This trip has been fine in the past and he clearly has extra stamina if required. I also like the jockey booking. Moloney has a decent enough placed record in the National and it may not be a bad thing to be patient this time – by patient I don’t mean held up out the back – but being back of the front third/mid division may be ok. You never want to have to make up too much ground here though. At the odds, given his course form, I had to have a go. He will be fresher than some and we should at least get a spin from him. Heavy ground would have been far from ideal LTO, and it was his first run in 99 days, over hurdles. This has been the plan, it must have been.
I am struggling to then make a compelling case for anything else. Village Vic would have a chance and will try and lead all the way. BUT on strict handicapping terms, boy does he have a lot on his plate. He is 12lbs above his last handicap win, where he carried 10-10 that day. 11-11 today. If he wins this then credit to the horse, but there should be better treated ones in here. He has also had a long hard season. Bishops Road is interesting and clearly has a chance. Those carrying 11-9 or more are 0/34,5 places in this. Those dropping in trip by 4.5f or more since last run are now 0/46, 2 places. He may be worth a saver but is up in the weights and that was a tough enough race LTO, even though on the eye he did it well enough. It was a slog. On form and horse profiles I am struggling to make a case for anything else in here to be honest, Many have proven they dont stay this trip, many have proven that they do not have the class for this race. Pips is 0/13, 0 places in the race – I was interested in La Vaticane but may be a bit too inexperienced, but could go well. Maybe that is the other that caught the eye. Top Cat Henry – maybe his run around here before Xmas was a sighter – or maybe just not good enough. I can’t think he has the class for this – albeit the line of blue on oddschecker catches the eye. Fairy Rath may pick up some place money based on last year’s run – but isnt in the same form and lost by 10l that day. I would think there is something better than him in here again this year.
You should never be bullish in a race like this. But, if you said to me that these two will run to their best and will jump every fence – then I would say we have the winner 🙂
DAY 2 NOTES
Race 2 -Hendo has a great record in this and his one may take the beating. Mullin’s hotpot may be too good but this is a much deeper race, albeit they think she could be group class on the Flat – if that is the case, around here, that could be game over for the rest. They are both short enough. For some trackside ‘fun bets’ (£5 in my speak) I may have a nibble at Agrapart and Ball D’Arc. Take that with a pinch of salt!
Race 4 – Can’t wait to see Vautour in the flesh. He should be a joy to behold. £5 EW on Clarcam 11/1 without the Fav? This horse fits Elliot’s profile of winners here – now he won’t win but can finish 2nd or 3rd if V wins. Albeit, that isnt even going to win that much. For interest. I wouldn’t be betting in race if I was at home on my couch.
Race 6 – Blimey, no real idea. NTD may get a winner at this meeting, and maybe BallyOptic can be the one to get him off the mark. He is 2/16,4 place in this race. He will carry something of mine. If Elliot’s wins the opening handicap, then Bellshill would be of interest, given their past form.
Race 7 – NTD loves this race also – but his may be short enough and he needed every yard up that stiff hill LTO, having been shuffled back. He could win this well again though. Bolving was eye-catching LTO and must be well thought of to be put in this. Jonjo has won this before so Utility is interesting and so is Ben Pauling’s at a price (sent out last years winner). I may try and use my dodgy paddock eye for this one!
That is all.
April Trainer (16/1<)
1.40 Aintree: Melodic Rendezvous DNQ
3.15 Newc: Turtle Cask (12/1<) 2nd 17/2
3.50 Newc: Dalby Spook (12/1<) 3rd
4.25 Newc: King of the Worlds (12/1<) UP
K Lee Chasers: 4.05 Aintree: Bishops Road (12/1<) Fell