Qualifiers for now…
Loughalder (all hncps) UP
NOTE: trainer is 1/3,1 place last 14 days. 3/35,8 places last 2 years all runners returning after 60+ days off. The horse himself is 1/6,3 places 60+ days off. He is 0/4,2 places 121-365 days off- so he can be readied to compete. He is 4/6,5 places at the track in handicap chases also. All race conditions are fine. He has yet to win from a mark this high albeit with the claim is only 2lb above that last win.
Dr Robin (all hncps + micro TJC) 4th 16s>10
NOTE: Bowen is 0/9,0 places the last 14 days, albeit all bar two have been over 13/2, with a few 20/1+ horses. It may be he is starting to go a bit cold but not conclusive as yet. I was at Aintree when he reappeared LTO after 397 days and it looked to my eye as if he would need the run, and maybe the next one. He ran well to a point, before tiring, and is one of the pace angles in this. It was an ok little contest, with the Pipe horse coming second who would then go on to dot up at Cheltenham. This is only his second chase start so is clearly in the ‘unexposed’ category. Those types are always to be feared. He is a C3 hurdle winner so in theory C4 chases should be ok, if transferring that ability which is never a given.
Farbreaga (hncp c) UP
NOTE: trainer 1/10,2 places last 14 days. He can ready a horse after a break. The horse himself is 1/4,2 places after 121-365 days off in handicaps. This one does have his own mind and is very lazy. Race conditions are fine and his mark is dropping. He is on 118 here, and has won from 126 (3lb claim on) The negatives…well he is rock bottom of the HorseRaceBase ratings in this, which isn’t a great sign. He is also now 0/8,1p in handicaps Nov-Dec, his best form coming in Jan-March (6/11,6places)
Bobble Boru (all hncps) WON 20s>12s SP
NOTE: Sheppard again. Horse on 1/22 in handicaps, now 0/8,1p in handicap hurdles. 4th start for yard, his last two runs have been a bit underwhelming to me eye.
Rock On Rocky (all hncps) 3rd 16/1>
Modeligo (all hncps) UP
NOTE: both, Sheppard again. Rock On Rocky…2/25 in career, this his second chase start. Didn’t do too much on his first chase run and has been hurdling on the 8 runs since. But, he is unexposed in this sphere- and his last two runs could be forgiven, needing the run on the first and not staying 24f LTO. Modeligo – 2/10,3p chasing… rather poor on recent runs but is 1/3,2 places at Chepstow in handicaps. 0/3,0 places in cheekpieces. Suspect jockey had the choice,albeit he owns Modeligo and the booking of Hatch on the other could be of some interest.
Azert De Coeur (hncp c) WON 6/1>9/2
NOTE: Williams 0/6,2 places last 14 days. The way Aso ran at Cheltenham suggests she has been able to get her chasers plenty fit enough as usual at this time of year. This one is now 0/7,2 places over fences – interesting that all those runs have been on soft/heavy – her horses clearly handle that but this is the firmest he will have ridden on I think- so doing something different. Unexposed enough and another year older (still only 6) it waits to be seen if that makes the difference. This isn’t the strongest of races here.
Court King (all hncps + micro TJC) WON 10/1>15/2 (appears he still has something in hand!)
NOTE: Bowen again. Horse in form albeit beaten on last two runs, still running ok. He is now 0/6,1 place in Class 4 races and both wins on good. Career high mark, now his 9th handicap hurdle.
Cafe De Paris (hncp h) UP
Gary Charm (hncp h) UP
NOTE: Both for Pipe.. 5/27,10 places last 14 days, going OK. Cafe De Paris…makes handicap debut and is therefore unexposed in that sense…well in the UK anyway, he is anything but unexposed in general…age 11 he has done all his racing in France and this will be his 74th career start! All of his racing has predominently been up to 20f so a stamina question. Very odd for this yard to recruit one at such an age, same ownership as the other one in this. He was also badly out of form on his last three runs. Plenty of questions it seems, and the market may guide. Does get a tongue tie for first time I think. It is the Pipes after all… Gary Charm…He hasn’t done anything on his three runs over here as yet and was very poor the last day reverting back to hurdles. He gets Blinkers for the first time- so doing something different. Indeed his last 9 runs make for grim reading, and he still has stamina to spare. Maybe one day , when these two marks have fallen some way , there will be an almighty plunge on them both, bringing up a tasty double for connections! They will pop in one day maybe, but both have questions here I think. We shall see what the odds are etc…
One Cool Scorpion (micro age) UP 10/1> 15/2
NOTE: Hobbs…4/33,10 places last 14 days, a bit hot and cold albeit run of Village Vic was decent etc so going ok still. Horse is unexposed, 7th hurdle start, and is a CD winner. Johnson takes over again. He may have needed the run the last day albeit maybe still beaten a bit too far. All race conditions look fine and I think you would have to say he is the pick of this lot – certainly the most upward potential still I think.
Onurbike (all hncps + micro distance) sorry… eyes need testing again… this is John O’Neill, not Jonjo! Ignore him. 50/1 and seemingly without much of a chance…
Broughtons Star (micro/track/distance) NR
Well there are a few at bigger prices that could leave me with that sinking feeling…in the 4.05 I am happy to leave Court King ( i think too exposed now and should be some in here with more in hand I think) and the two Pipe horses…the market will guide for those but they have too many questions for me. Unless money comes I won’t be interested.
The rest I am on the fence with…
2.25 – well I have a mixed record when ‘tipping’ and taking on TTP picks. From those three Dr Robbin is the most interesting at the price- the ground is a concern/unknown – yet to prove he can’t handle cut and if he comes on from last run he could have a say. I did throw something at him at 16s. Loughalder- the break concerned me as did the fact that he is 10 and more exposed, against plenty in here where there should be more to come at some stage. This is a fairly deep race. Again the market may guide and I wouldn’t be shocked if he placed, rather annoyed if he won! But he is the solid one here and I won’t put you off if you like him. I was happy to leave. Farbreaga won’t be carrying any of my money- I can’t see him being good enough even at his best but he had an awful time on his last few runs and I would want to see more. The HRB ratings have influenced me a bit as he is rock bottom of those.
Bobbly Boru is a head scratcher- he is around 20s and this is a weak enough race. There are 5 in here who are 6/1 or shorter but everything has some sort of question. He hasn’t been showing much but a repeat of that run 3 starts ago would be enough to be in the mix I think, even though that was a weak race. There is also a chance he tries and leads all the way here, and if he gets an easy lead even more dangerous. I was on the fence and in that situation when 20s, prob best I trust the stats and have something on. He could run well or still be running come the next race…
3.35 – it is hard to rule out all of those three really. I think Rock On Rocky looks the most interesting and there will be more to come from VWs at some point when she finds the key, that could be today. Modeligo seems to go well at the track albeit he was poor the last day, but is another double figure price. One of them winning wouldn’t shock you, neither would all three tailing off in truth. The market will guide for all three i think.
It feels like a funny day ahead but hopefully one of the bigger priced ones can go in and none of those I have left win.
One Cool Scorpion is probably my pick out of that lot, and Rock on Rocky also looks to have an interesting profile. His winner here at the last meeting was similarly tailed off on his last start before bouncing back.
Good luck with however you play them.