Ah a ‘in hindsight, that was a clanger’ moment in that tipping race at Ludlow. The only horse in the race who was really still in the ‘unexposed’ /’could be more to come’ category over fences, who had yet to show their full hand, won. Tom George is in red hot form and the stats (he was a TTP selection on a couple of angles,also along with Still Believing) were all decent. When they go in at 5s or something that is ok- but he was 10/1- and on reflection that is the kind of price you can take a chance with, on only his 4th chase run. And he was in fair enough form over hurdles when last seen, and his mark in that context was decent. One to ponder. East to say after the event of course but you have always got to be looking at where you can be doing better. Got that wrong. Still Believing just didn’t run her race for whatever reason. By The Boardwalk looked like the winner but I think he may be at his ratings ceiling,or certainly bumped into one with more in hand. The market was going to be some guide given days off, and when he was nibbled from 12s to 8s (drifted during day a bit) I had that uh oh feeling, along with Still Believing drifting. Never mind, we move on… dont discount the unexposed ones so readily, especially when a price, up against exposed types. (and I keep doing it, so something to work on- Antony would be another example at Ascot, a Pipe one at Cartmel over the summer are just two that spring to mind)
(-1.5 points on race)
SILVER GROVE – 1.5 points win – 5/1 (general) UP
TROIKA STEPPES – 0.5 points EW, + 0.5 point win (so 1 point win,1/2 point place) 9/1 2nd 8/1 dec, 11/2 SP (gen)
Well a good race and Troika Steppes ran his usual gallant race, with his customary 1 race error which may have cost him, I am not sure. Silver Grove ran no sort of race really, he was steady in market and one of three paddock picks for RUK pundit, so can only think he looked fit enough- but maybe he wasn’t. This could have been a prep for something – his record fresh/trainer form was enough for me so no issues there. Maybe it is all eyes on The Becher chase,and if he is a lone front runner, he could go well. He needs to win a chase or two to get in the Grand National.
The Winner, well as the write up below indicates, no surprise. I struggled to make a case at his morning price, given his inexperience. I actually thought he had attitude questions and was out-battled the last day. In fairness he did it very well, jumped superbly, and went off a better looking 8/1. Showed no attitude problems there. It would have been a brilliant finish but for Torika’s error, but there we go. Fences are there to be jumped and we got away with it the last day.
Why These Two…
Well having had a good look through this I would like to think, baring accidents, this race is between these two – and it could be from a long way out. As i stare at my notepad I really don’t want to be on anything else- thinking that they are the most likely winners isnt the key to long term success, you have to like the price. And, I think they are fair enough- for some 5s may seem skinny on Silver Grove but…
Silver Grove… well his target is the Grand National this year (Ben Pauling, Mark Howard’s book,albeit that may be widely known) and he is currently rated 139 – in last year’s GN the lowest rated was 145. So, he has to win a staying chase, and win it well. Now, he could not be fit here, and just gallop on for a place- if so, 1.5 points down the drain. But I would like to think they see this as THE race to get his mark up- he was going to win on his seasonal reappearance last year but for the saddle breaking – and that was from a good yard stick. He didn’t do much wrong last season and there should be more to come this year. I would hope his price holds here/some support- any drift would indicate maybe this is a pipe opener. Gulp. He is a bold jumping front runner- his jumping is his main asset and he will take lengths out of some of these at his fences. His run at Cheltenham here last season – his final race of the year- indicated that while soft is ideal, good is no problem. There is a bit of cut here today. No excuse. The jockey knows him well. Oh and Pauling couldn’t be in better form – 4/7,6 places the last 14 days.
Fitness is the question. I judged that given all of his other positives above, that 5s was worth a dart. IF fit enough to win, I think he goes very very close here…
Torika Steppes… and he could be chased home by this one. I think Silver Grove has a touch more potential/star quality about him, but if he falters this one should be in the right place to pick up the pieces. Provided they don’t cut each other’s throats (and depending on what two of the Pipe Horses do- Top Wood/For N Against) these two, or these four, could be up there for a long long time. Bar one error LTO (jockey blamed herself) he didn’t do anything wrong. He was generally 11s last night and won for TTP followers at 25s the last day. I see no reason not to support him again- he is up 9lbs. So what. He is a massive horse, and importantly runs in the same class, and this is only his 9th chase start. That rise is no reason to oppose him at 9/1. Not for me anyway. If he completes, I struggle to see him out of the top 4 here. There are not 4 better, more in form, more suited to conditions, horses in this race. And he will have track position. And he will just keep galloping. And galloping.
So, that is them…Pace wise…well both like to get on with it and hopefully they are sensible. The two Pipe horses can be up there but both may be ridden for the trip, (certainly Top Wood, unless he isn’t here to win) and they are not as good as the selections anyway. It should be a fun race to watch, us casting our eyes back through the field for any closers. These two wont stop galloping though I dont’ think.
Oh and they are both in the top 4 of HRB ratings. In Class 3, 8+ runners, Top 6 win 72% or so of races. (Godsmejudge bottom rated, they usually struggle)
Who are the Unexposed ones… if I post a chase write up and never ask that question again, shoot me. Well Silvergrove is. Kilfinichen Bay is for me – but he was too poor LTO for my liking and that wasn’t a strong race before that. Capard King is – but jonjo is badly out of sorts,he is 0/4,0p 12+ runners,0/3,0p in handicap chases (not novice handicaps) Questions. Long Lunch is but has stamina questions and I doubt he is good enough for this. Trokia Steppes is. Tick. The Man From Minella is… but was well held when seen in similar conditions over CD before,0/4,0p 24.5f+ , 0/8,2p Left handed, and may need the run.
That leaves two ‘unexposed’ ones of most interest Our Sox… well he could appreciate this stamina test but he was poor LTO in an awful race- well compared to this anyway. He had every chance the last day and didn’t take it. He also didn’t jump very well so I don’t know what to make of that. He is a lurker but this is a tough test. Not a total shock though. And finally..
What A Moment…His price is an insult to racing – que hacking up.(oh, he did!) Pipe is in and out, and has a poor record with his handicap chasers at this meeting. He looked a shirker at Aintree in a race that is nowhere near as deep as this – Scu couldn’t get his head in front when looking like the winner- he was out battled there to my eye. This is only his second chase start – too unexposed? This is a tough jumping test for one so inexperienced and he is a hold up horse- he will be surrounded by horses and WILL have to make up ground at some point and one or both of the selections won’t be coming back to the field in a hurry. If he were 10s/12s maybe, but 11/2 feels short to my eye. Clearly he ‘could be anything’ – but at that price he can prove me wrong and I can live with it. Quite comfortably.
Of the older brigade. Well all handicappers aged 9+ at this meeting generally struggle as a rule. But not impossible. So a few in here. I can’t back 13yo Your Busy, i just cant, or 10yo Twirling Magnet – who has been poor on his last 2 runs. Fayette County- well he is unexposed actually I suppose- or there could be more to come. But Vaughan’s record here continues to be a shocker. 0/105. He won a weak race at Worcester LTO and has it to prove. Not for me. Top Wood – 0/3,0p cheltenham, a stamina Q for me, and is 0/5,0p 16+ runners. Bertie Boru- interesting I suppose but he can’t jump, and coud struggle around here..any money may make me take note as he is well handicapped and Hobbs farms this meeting. He does have a stamina Q still, 0/15,3 p beyond 2m6.5f, and rather just galloped at same pace in that 29f Sandown race. 0/4,0 p 16+ runners, 0/8,1 p very undulating tracks,0/10,2 places last 2 years. He has a bit on here. He will clout the odd fence. Even Dickie and Tom O Brien couldn’t stop him doing that last year.
Saint Ralph – trainer in form and suppose unexposed enough also. Won his last two but,with odd exception, trainer’s usually need the run- those wins in small field C4 races, this is much different- 0/7,3p LH. Happy to leave. Money may be interesting. Needs a career best. Got thumped 11lb for winning that weak race LTO. Poor bugger.
Godmejudge is just well out of sorts and I would want to see some signs of life before backing. He usually needs the run and is 0/4,1p at the track. He is so well handicapped on old form that if they got him back, he will dot up one day. Hopefully not today. For N Against goes without headgear or tongue tie again and has yet to win when doing so. There is a class Q for me and a stamina niggle. He was running OK lto before unseating but wasnt going to threaten. Won’t be good enough I don’t think. Can be held up or can try and lead.
I think that is the lot. I think those two selections stand out to me and I was content with their prices.
I suppose early market signs would make you take note of Top Wood, who will be in front 3rd and was going well here in Kim Muir 4 our before falling but that was a long way from home and didn’t do much after that. 16s could look a bit big for Kilfinichen Bay, maybe ground too soft the last day, best on Good. Official there is some soft in this going but not impossible he runs ok. Making excuses for very poor runs, like LTO, can get you in trouble though.
I will leave that there. Good Luck if you follow me in.
A rare sighting here…
V Williams November
12.55 Chelt – Bennys Mist (16/1<) UP
Handicap Hurdle/Chase Portfolio- live test
3.50 Chelt- What A Moment WON 11/2>8/1 (11/1< guide)
STATS/ANGLES OF INTEREST
2.50 Newcastle – ZARU -(UP, led until 3 out from home or so before fading) … I clearly should have got up at 7am as usual and not 7.30am today as I have run out of time… this one caught the eye the last day returning after a long time off and going well from the front for a long long way. He is a better chaser and is a PACE angle- i think he will try and make all here, and has a good chance of doing so IF he doesn’t bounce- second run after a long absence he could end up tailed off when asked for an effort. 7/2 is just on my limit of that being ok and I may have 1/2 point to find out. He was inconsistent as a chaser but if getting into a rhythm could be hard to peg back. We shall see.
That is all for today. GL with any bets.