REGAL FLOW – 1 point win – 16/1 (general) UP 8/1
SONNY THE ONE – 1 point win – 10/1 / 11/1 (general- drifting this morning, not a brilliant sign given time off!) UP 12/1
Well, sometimes/very often this game makes me look like a right plonker and that is another 2 points loaned back to the bookies.. Regal Flow was well backed but didn’t really run a race. Sonny The One was weak enough and ran as if needing the run.
Clearly I wont be rushing to use the HRB ratings in C4 races again anytime soon- the bottom 5 being 0/45,2 places…which is a small sample I suppose for those but I thought some sort of guide. Those 6 included the top 3! Gulp.
What about the winner? Big price… often you are looking for reasons why a horse may improve on any previous poor form, esp for 10 year olds. Well he had first time blinkers, tongue tie and for the first time in quite some time they decided to boot him right out the front – that change of tactics with the headgear appears to have sparked him into some life again. There was the odd decent runs last year but he never looked to be putting it all in and was pulled up early 4 days ago, suggesting something amiss or he just threw the towel in. I didn’t expect any horse to get an easy lead in this but he did and he kept up his relentless gallop. I wasn’t close to finding him today. The other two were unexposed enough and it was that type of race. Fergal’s continue in fine form, and nice to see Hawke’s chaser run a better race, hopefully he can step forward from that.
This one is as much of a head scratcher as many a Cheltenham handicap – a real puzzle. My working shortlist is 7, there are probably a couple more with chances also- it is one of those. You can make some sort of case for a few…
NOTE… I had a look back in HorseRaceBase at their handicap chase ratings as a guide… so class 4 handicap chases, Nov-April,2013-,8-17 runners…256 or so races… The Top 5 rated won 74% of races in that period…they are in order… Loughalder / Bartons Gift / Sonny The One / Cheat The Cheater / Regal Flow …
Regal Flow… I just can’t let him go off at 16s here. I think it is way too big against his actual chance and I was happy to take a punt at that price. This one is 2/9,4 places over fences and one of those wins was at Cheltenham in a decent enough 25f amateur rider’s race. He is a solid jumper usually, handles some cut (official going Good to Soft/Soft in places) and he comes here having had a run… he travelled well for a long way in that race the last day before tiring up the hill. He is a C3 winner of 118 and with the 7lb claim is well handicapped. The jockey booking is a slight worry but he is 2/27,7p over fences and maybe they just want some weight off. In theory there should be more to come at some point but at the same time he is hardy enough for a race with this many runners. There won’t be much of a hiding place here. Maybe there is a longer term plan but on only his second start for this trainer, following the ‘retirement’ of his first, he could run a good race here. One to watch anyway as he has a touch of quality around the C3 level and there will be wins in him.
Sonny The One… again he looks of some interest for a trainer whose horses are going well…3/13,3 places the last 30 days. I am not sure if you improve a horse out of Colin Tizzard’s but maybe the fact he is on his bike is more of an indication of the rising quality in the yard. He is with a shrewd trainer and I found it of some interest that on his first start for a while, he employs his regular pilot. Again he is in the ‘unexposed yet hardy’ category , 1/7,5 places over fences. Cut is no problem to him and his best run came over a similar distance at Taunton. They kept buggering about with his trip and I have no idea why. He looks a 3m chaser all day long to me. We shall see. He is inly 6 still and he could have developed further from last season. Left handed is a slight niggle, more so in sense he is unproven and he may just have raced mainly RH as that is where the races were. His run 2 starts ago at Exeter was ok but he may have been feeling the tough race only 14 days before that, and his last start of the season was over an inadequate distance again. The trainer is only 5/50 odd with horses returning 60+ days but I found it interesting that 3 of those were this year, and two of them were in the last month, both with chasers. Maybe he has a new gallop or something but either way if he wants to ready them, he can. He is also 2/11,4 places in handicap chases at the track and the horse has run over hurdles here. All in all, at 9s, I thought he was worth some interest.
He will race prominently, with Regal Flow in mid division I should think…
Of the rest…
Loughalder/Dr Robbin and Farbreaga are lining up to give me a good egg wash- all three are TTP horses and I have a bad record of taking on these stats picks when I tip in a race! I think the former may just be a tad exposed now but of biggest concern is the break – he has ran ok after a break but does usually need it and he is 10yo now. This race is packed full of lightly races horses. He is the solid one though and any money may have me running for cover. Dr Robbin- was just a bit too tame LTO having watched it back and I have a concern as to the going – all runs mainly on good, and he has ‘summer hurdle’ form. I worry about the soft elements of this going and he seems to have a fairly low action. Again the market may be instructive. He is 16s which has me on the fence a bit. (I have had something on at that price) Farbreaga- well he is bottom rated on HRB ratings… and with the same ‘system rules’ as above with the top 5 rated…those rated 12 or below (bottom 6) are 0/45,2 places in the period, as some sort of guide. He is bottom and others around him are Achimota/Mountain of M/Allez Vic/Calin Du Brizis/Walk On Al. One of them may buck that ratings trends but there are good reasons anyway to put a line through that lot. Farbreaga has a few questions to answer now and his problems can be in the mind. This looks a deep enough race for him although he is becoming well handicapped after a poor run of form.
Loughalder was on my shortlist of 7, along with Dr Robbin, Court Frontier,KilCullen Flem and Paddy The Deejay…
Paddy…his price started to crumble before my eyes and 6s is only ‘ok’ I think given he is now 0/4,0 p in chases, he can hit the odd fence and is usually held up right out the back. He, along with the other joint fav Court Frontier, are going to have to pass the whole field I think, if adopting usual tactics. I think Paddy is crying out for this trip and he may well win this well- and i will be kicking myself for not taking 6s. But I preferred the price of the other two and their chance looks as obvious to my eyes. IF he stays, IF he jumps and if he can close on the leaders up the home straight, he will go close here. That last Fontwell race is working out ok and he stayed on well there. But, they went a pace I think where his jumping should have been better. He can’t afford to make mistakes here. He deserves his place in the market I think but 6s wasn’t a price I wanted to jump at. Could be a clanger and may be a saver.
Court Frontier- is interesting on his 4th start for the trainer and the race should be run to suit for both the horse and the jockey- jumpings Jamie Spencer. He is 1/11 over fences and there could be more to come at some point. That last run suggested the step up should suit but it wasn’t the best of races and it turned into a slog. He still does have to conclusively prove he stays over fences but there is a hurdles run and odd chase run which should give him the benefit of the doubt. Arguably he may want it softer. I don’t know what to make of his Irish form. I wasn’t wanting to jump on at 6s albeit I can see his chance. Not a shock winner.
KilCullen Flem…well I am not sure how good he is and the last day he got outpaced over 26f on similar ground in what was only an OK race. It could be actually that he just needed the run and the trainer is in form. He looks like a proper slogger and the race may set up for him if he can keep galloping. A couple of niggles but is 12s and is another who wouldn’t be a shock were they to win. I think he may need further/softer and as yet he hasn’t proved he can mix it at this level really. One of a handful in here that will annoy me if they win.
I will leave that there for now. I won’t be putting you off something else if you like them but this game is mainly about price and on that basis on my reading of their suitability for this test, they will do. In theory we should get a good run for our money from the pair.
Handicap Hurdle/Chase Portfolio – live test
4.05 Chep – Gary Charm UP (Pipe 7 days) / One Cool Scorpion UP (improve for run/fresh)
2.25 Chep – Kilcullen Flem (unexp chaser) UP
3.35 Chep – Azert De Coeur WON 6/1>9/2 (VW 60+ days) / Rock On Rocky (chase,unxp) 3rd 16/1>8/1
V Williams Chasers
3.35 Chep – Azert De Coeur (16/1<) WON 6/1>9/2
Tom George Chasers
1.00 War – Song Saa UP
K Lee Chasers (12/1<)
1.00 War – Aces Over Eights UP
1.35 War – Lady Markby DNQ
(20/1<…old Lavelle system lurking for Oct/Nov… essentially all races, horse aged 3-5,20/1<… 0/2,0p this year, 47/141,73 places in total since 2010. One to keep an eye on for next couple of weeks. Used to be prolific but very few runners last couple of seasons)
J Fanshawe Kempton
7.10 – Higher Power
STATS/ANGLES OF INTEREST
A couple of bonus qualifiers from my AW stats pack for Kempton…
4.10 – Top Diktat- UP
5.10 – Daschas 3rd 16/1
3.15 Warwick… Midnight Jade...UP (one to watch on next few starts, travelled a bit too well,take on a bit,jumped/travelled well, may come on for run) I will be keeping at eye on this one at 7s,for a few reasons… I noticed that in the last 2 years the trainer is 6/17,8 places with his chasers. This one is top of HRB ratings, top 3 geegeez Speed and likes to lead – she should be up there from the off and while there are a couple of others who like to be up there also, she may just be quicker than those- so a pace angle also. She is lightly raced and there could be more to come at this level I think. The only question is fitness- if he is 100% here, she could go very close. If she isn’t, she won’t. I had a small dart to find out in what is a rather poor race and not one to go mad in. The market may guide- if she drifts from 7s I think she may need the run. One to note moving forward as there are more wins in her.
That will be all. Good luck with whatever you go with today.