Qualifiers for now…
This Cheltenham card could need a bit or work…
Sausalito Sunrise (all hncps+ micros TJC/90 days) UP
NOTE: Hobbs runners only going ‘OK’ 5/30,13 places. This horse won the race last year off 14lb lower with 9lb less on his back. He has a good record fresh. Out of all the four on this list he had the best chance to my eye. There are plenty in here who have questions to answer but if he is 100% fit he probably isn’t one of them.
Any Currency (all hncps) UP
NOTE: trainer in form 2/9,4 places last 14 days. 0/11,4 places at listed level or above. Seems a very tough ask for this 13 yo.
Alvarado (all hnc+hncp chase) UP
NOTE:trainer in form, 6/19,8 places last 14 days. can still run a good race as when last seen. Older horses don’t do that well in handicaps here but given his style/profile you can see him creeping into it. I would personally be surprised if he won but this race has a funny feel about it as so many have questions over them. All race conditions fine. Arguably looks one of the more interesting outsiders.
Unioniste (micro – runs this season) UP
NOTE: Nicholls ‘in form’ 10/40, 21 places last 14 days, albeit interesting that they are performing 23% below market expectation which suggests some shorter priced ones are running as well as could be expected. This one looks really out of form and that last run wasn’t good enough to suggest he could get involved here. Also 0/7,0 places all runners 16+ runners now.
Village Vic (all hncps + micros TJC/90 Days) 2nd 20/1
NOTE: Hobbs again. Horse has good record fresh and is on a career high mark, meaning he is open to attack from younger/more progressive legs. He is also 0/4,0 places 16+ runners, 0/4,0 places when going off over 8/1 SP.
More of That (micro – distance) UP
NOTE: Jonjo is going to snap out of his cold spell at some point and maybe this is the one to do it. Now 0/34,4 places last 14 days, 4/81,12 places last 30 days. Theoretically the horse could have a lot in hand given he is a previous G1 winner. Could out class these, if he isn’t suffering from whatever his stablemates seem to be.
Art Mauresque (micro, runs this season) UP
As De Mee (micro, runs this season) UP
NOTE: Both Nicholls. The ground may have gone for Art Mauresque who is 0/6,1 place on good to soft/soft. Also 0/7,1 place above C2 now. 0/4,0 places 12 + runners. You would think some in here may have more in hand for me. As De Mee… seems to be fancied by plenty of respected heads in the game. Certainly has more of the ‘could be anything’ factor about him than his stablemate I think, could still be ahead of the handicapper. This is only his second handicap chase I think.
Fingal Bay (al hncps+hncp H+ micros… TJC/90 days) UP
NOTE: Hobbs again. He has won from this mark and has a good record fresh. He is 0/4,1 place beyond 24f now and was in poor form when last seen. He also isn’t getting any younger- any handicap here is tough to win for one aged 9+. But he is one of the classy ones in what feels an open race, 9/1 the field.
Cottersrock (all hncps) NR
NOTE: Keighley again. Here is that word… unexposed. And with that you certainly can’t discount him. He comes here after jumping errors in his chase LTO. He has stamina to prove, but could improve for it. Certainly looks an interesting outsider and there could be more to come from him at some point over hurdles.
So Fine (all hncps+hncp h+micro 90 days) UP
NOTE: Hobbs again. Ok record fresh. In handicap hurdlers now 0/7,1 place 16+ runners, 0/2,0 places listed level. Certainly one of the more exposed ones in this line up- would have thought Johnson had the choice but can get it wrong.
TheEaglehasLanded (micro, runs this season) NR
NOTE: Nicholls again. Another one who is arguably on the more unexposed end of the scale and has won after a break. Certainly hard to put a line through his chance with any confidence.
For Good Measure (all hncp+ hncp h) UP
NOTE: Unexposed enough and ran a good race here for the stats LTO, just losing out to his stablemate. Interesting that they drop him in trip here and BG up top. There is plenty of pace on which should help and he looks interesting enough.
Carlita Moriviere (NHF) UP
NOTE: Curtis in form 6/14,6 places last 14 days. Market suggests she isn’t going to play much of a role and could be a longer term project. But then is 40s and is clearly unexposed.
It has been raining and continues to do so, likely to be on the soft side. I think for those purposed I will call it soft, and count the two Smith runners below as qualifiers. It may well officially be good to soft come race time but BHA report says it is good to soft, soft in places now, and it is meant to keep raining until lunchtime.
Dartford Warbler (hncp h+ micro GOING) UP
NOTE: Smith ‘in form’ 3/20,11 places last 14 days. They are starting to run well now. Race conditions are all fine, well handicapped on old hurdles form and is 2/3,3 places at the track over hurdles, inc one CD. Was chasing for a long time last season and returned to hurdling a fw days ago and didn’t do too much – but may come on for the run. Could be they are getting some fitness runs in before going chasing again- but some guesswork there and this one is a decent EW price to find out maybe.
Special Wells (micro GOING) UP
NOTE: Smith again. This one is unexposed enough on only his 5th handicap chase run and he will appreciate the rain. There is a stamina question/unknown – wins have been around 2m4f but simply not enough evidence as yet to say he definitely wont stay.
Benechenko (NHF) WON 10/1>6/1>9/2
NOTE: trainer in form, 6/18,9 places and of some interest that Brennan is in the saddle. Point winner it seems. Trainer can win with them first time up albeit rare, 2/25 last 2 years, but 9 have placed, so maybe EW more of an option. One of many ‘could be anything’ types in here. Harry Fry’s is the only one that has both had a run under rules,and had a run within the last few weeks.
Lough Salt (all hncps) WON 12/1>11/1
NOTE: trainer 0/9,1 place last 14 days. He is 0/12,2 places with handicap debutants last 2 years, 3/55,9 places all runners returning 60+ days off. So, a few negatives there. On the flip side the horse is unexposed and ‘could be anything’ and those types are always dangerous to rule out.
Barramundu (micro age +hncp debut) UP
NOTE: Smith again and two solid stats here I think. I think it has to be of some interest that Danny Cook is here today, rather than on her two at Uttoxeter maybe. But, could be best not to read anything into that. He could be here for other rides also. Horse is fit and steps up in trip.
Shadows Lengthen (all hncps) Fell
NOTE: ME 2/19,9 places last 14 days. This one ran a cracker LTO an would have been closer but for a last fence blunder. That was in a decent race and always open to attack from younger legs but IF he repeats that run, he must be in the mix here. Harding has ridden a winner for the yard before, 1/3 over fences. Odd his usual pilot isn’t on, not sure why that is.
Wells De Lune (hnc c) WON 5/1
NOTE: Longsdon 4/27,11 places last 14 days. Going OK. Unexposed over fences and needs to go LH it seems. He is now 0/5,0 p in C3, but they were mainly over hurdles. He could get an easy lead here and be foolish to totally rubbish his chance.
Cornborough (all hncps) 3rd
NOTE: M Walford again, 0/9,1 p last 14 days, actually 0/19,5 p last 30 days. 3/55 60+ days off. This one is unexposed. But he is now 0/7, 2 places, 31-365 days off. ran poorly the last twice. Market may guide. Has ‘summer’ form.
Lightening Rod (all hncps + hncp h) UP
NOTE: M Easterby again. 11 yo open to attack from plenty in here, but all race conditions look fine and is 3x course winner over hurdles. Has dropped a long way down the weights. Not sure if needed run LTO or not, but ran OK, not great, but not awful. The Bell and Skelton horses are the most unexposed ‘could be anything’ types in here but you remove those and it has an open feel and one/both could falter. Maybe a big ask to get involved but is 14s.
Blimey. Well if every day was like this I would have to strip back the stats pack even further as this is too many really.
I will no doubt get some of these wrong- albeit yesterday was a good day for dodging bullets – in general.
Those I am definitely comfortable leaving…
Any Currency, Unioniste, Village Vic, Art Mauresque, So Fine.
The next band I think I also want to leave but am not as confident as dismissing their chance completely…
Sausalito Sunrise (falls down on G3 winner trend,something in here could have more in hand) , Alvarado (too old but is a funny race,could grab a place,odd if he won for me) , More of That (just trainer form in context of his price,if trainer in any form you would have a go,could win well,maybe the one I get wrong), Carlito Morviere (seems unfancied,but massive price and just in case change,could come on for last run,or need 3 miles!) , Lough Salt (market is worth a check, he is unexposed so always dangerous) CornBorouh, Lightening Rod (not one I would put full point on I don’t think,but stranger things have happened)
That then leaves the list I am more comfortable having a play on. As yet I don’t have a penny on any of those above. Suppose I would be doing well to get all 12 beat, but if only one wins I probably come out even (unless a 16s+ goes in) and have saved myself a lot of ‘action’
So, Cotters Rock and The Eagle Has Landed- look worthy of a EW bet to me- market suggests up against it but very open race and former is 40/1- we saw with the Vaughan horse who nearly won at 50s at Ludlow, gulp, that can be silly to dismiss these at times. All three of Sue Smiths looks interesting. Preference for the Wetherby runner but those at Uttoxeter not without chances, happy to trust the stats.
For Good Measure looks interesting enough and does O’Brien’s NHF runner at Uttoxeter, maybe EW again. And after his last run I have to have a go on Shadows Lengthen, and the Longsdon horse isn’t without a chance either, LH again and could poach easy lead.
So, I think that is 8 I am happy to have a dart at and around 12 I am wanting to leave. Some, esp in that second band, will get the odd half point I suspect.
There isn’t a black and white approach to these stats and I don’t have a ‘must back everything’ mindset with them personally- as long as they help me come out in front over the season I will be happy. There probably is a clanger amongst the left pile but hopefully I may have saved myself a bit. But, as we know, trusting the stats has been a good approach – not this week so far, but then given the first 6 weeks we were sadly due a bump – yet to find the money tree it seems.
GL with whatever you back,