Summary: There are tips in the 3.10 and 3.30 Newcastle, plus some thoughts on 1.05 Bangor. Plus the jumps angles. That is all for today.
Blacklion – 1 point win – 11/1 (PP) 8/1 UP
Saphir Du Rheu – 1 point win – 10/1 (PP) 9s,8s UR
*Hmm. Blacklion ran well for the most part and looked be coming into it before cutting out tamely which isn’t like him – jockey said he stopped fairly quick and unsure if a wind problem. Anyway. Saphir didn’t get very far- he jumped well at Ascot and had no excuse here, plenty of space and time to measure his fence- maybe he couldn’t handle this pace over fences.
The main shortlist of 8 included the winner and the 2nd who flashed home late at a big price, so some positive for those. Native River did it very well and ran as you thought he might – to keep up that pace for the whole race, and still have plenty after the last, showed true guts. True stamina won out there.
I found it rather difficult to get away from these two, and am rather confident both will give me a cracking run for my money here. I am as confident as you can be in a race like this but if I got rewarded for recent mis-placed confidence I would be a very rich man!
As always in races like this I will use stats/trends as a guide.
5 main ones stood out to me: Age 6-8, 23 or fewer career runs (not many fail on that in truth), 2+ chase wins (0/37,5p only had 0-1), had WON at Class 2 or above, No Jockey Claims (those claiming, 3 of them,horses fall down on a few others also)
Using those leaves you a shortlist of: Native River WON (G1 winner also), BlackLion (G1 winner), Spahir Du Rheu (G1 winner), Vicente, Henri Pari Morgan, Coologue, Carole’s Destrier 2nd , Vyta Du Rock.
Other big positive stats for me also are: placing on at least one of last two starts, 0-8 runs in all handicaps and NOT running over hurdles LTO (0/25,2p- Native River and Pipes have questions there)
A strict application of those stats would narrow the shortlist down to: Blacklion / Saphir Du Rheu / Vicente /Coologue…
I can’t quite see the latter two winning this but such are their prices I may have another look down the side of my sofa for some throwaway change (albeit I may have exhausted that source of loose change by now!)
General… both are G1 winners and there are 4 in this race (Holywell and Native River the others) I don’t think there are many, or any, others who could win the G1s they have in this field – it has a classy look to it. Ignoring Holywell- those other three all like to be front rank as well- what with Smad Place in there (and I reckon Double Ross may be in here to push it for Blacklion) they won’t be hanging around- I can’t see these strong G1 winners coming back to this field of handicappers- I think this little group may gallaop and jump the rest into the ground and a breakaway group of 5/6 may have it between them from some way (Saphir/Native/Blacklion/Smad/poss Untemps) With the rest trying to grab a place or two as a few of those tire late maybe.
Well, we can but dream!
It is really hard not to like this little terrier- he has a touch of the Bob’s Worths about him,albeit not quite as good. He is fairly small but 11 stone on his back shouldn’t be a problem and he is an RSA winner. ‘oh but it was a rubbish RSA’ – you have to have class to win any Cheltenham Festival G1. Simple as that. Some are better than others, clearly. But he is better than a handicapper. It looks like this has been the plan to my eye and he ran a decent prep in the Charlie Hall LTO. He was upsides Cue Card at one point and was bang there 3 from home or so, before tiring a tad. I am interested to see what he can do on handicap chase debut here,and whether he has anything in hand. Good ground is fine (and it is good, according to Noel Fehily there is no soft on the chase course), he races just behind the pace, he travels, he jumps, and he fights for you. He has had 18 races, has won or placed in 12 of them. He also stays really well and has guts. He won’t go down without a fight here. If he doesn’t make any mistakes here- and he rarely makes any- I really can’t see him being far away- I would be shocked were he not to place at worse.
Big Nige has won this race before also which is always a plus and the yard are in decent form again- 7/34,15 places last 14 days. Decent enough.
He ties in closely with Native River, who beat him at Aintree- Blacklion has beaten him twice before also/finished ahead of him. In that Aintree race Native River led all the way under an inspired ride- and in any case he was probably knackered from the RSA but still ran well. On this ground I reckon he may just have an extra half gear that may do for Native River in the final furlong – that is what I hope. But, Native won’t be far away-albeit he can hit a fence also,and at this pace,on this ground, he may be taken out of his comfort zone at some stage.
I can’t see what’s not to like about him here. I think he looks a cracking bet to me.
Saphir Du Rheu
Is it me or do you reckon that as soon as he finished this race last year, Nicholls started plotting to get him back here again? His mark has fallen 10lbs since that race- well done Paul. He also carries nearly 1 stone less on his back. Not many horses carry 11-12 to victory in this and he was only 6 last year. He has more experience under his belt now, is a better jumper (touch wood) and ran a lovely prep at Ascot LTO. Nicholls left a bit to work on there to my eye pre race (from what I could see on the tv) but not so much so that he couldn’t run well. But I have a sneaking suspicion he may come on a bit for it. He travelled and jumped well that day and again will be bang in the right spot. Good ground is fine and he stays well. He has a touch of class. If he can’t go close here then he never will really. Nicholls continues in cracking form and he clearly knows how to train the winner of this race.
Again, given he is a perfect stats fit on those I used, I just had to have a go. The rating/weight/age/experience are all reasons why he should improve on his run in this last year for me. And you just know this has been the plan- there still isn’t a better big chase target trainer than Nicholls really.
So, that is those two. They have class. They can jump and travel. They will be near the front, or should be, just tracking the pace. And they should just keep going. Both could have a bit in hand here. Both trainers are in form and both have won the race before.
They will do.
HenriPariMorgan is the one I have a soft spot for having backed him a couple of times in his career to date. I worry about the lack of run and also his jumping. I fear he could get too far back in this race and he can make errors. A clear round and he could go very close here. I think Nicholls has let him ride this one, as opposed to Vicente. That is some indication I think. They have always liked him and this could be his season. A few niggles as to why I don’t think it will be here but he could place. He could leave me cursing not tipping him.
Coologue is on the shortlist – I can’t see him being good enough for this albeit he is in form and will like the ground. He could out-run his price. He did hit a few at Cheltenham though and this pace will be a whole new experience- interesting how he will cope. Vicente- well if Bowen was on i may be more interested- any market move and I may take cover- again he doesn’t have the class of the G1 winners in the race but he is still open to progress. I suspect this is a pipe opener for ‘National’ targets later in the season (entered in Welsh National) maybe the Scottish again is the ultimate aim, or THE Grand National. If fully tuned up he could go well. We know he stays. He has been well stuffed by Native River and Blacklion in a couple of non handicaps before.
Smad Place- he will run his usual race and will probably place- but his age, 11-12 and more pace pressure here I think, are all reasons why he may struggle to win. Also 11lb higher than the last day. He will give backers a great run for their money but I struggled to see him hanging on personally.
Un Temps Pour Tout- he falls down on only having 1 chase win (albeit was at the festival), running over hurdles LTO and those running in blinkers have struggled in this. He is held by Native River and Blacklion on a few runs and I see no obvious reason why he wont be again. Unexposed though so I won’t fall off my seat if he wins.
I should mention Vyta Du Rock- who would have a chance. He has failed to place on one of last two starts – 1/79,10 places had not done so. He also ran over hurdles LTO, and didn’t run that well, even if needing it. He was stuffed by BlackLion at Cheltenham also, and if they both run their race again, I am struggling to see why that gets overturned- suppose he has 11 lbs on him but Blacklion is a better horse,on what they have done to date. He may also want it softer. But he is trained by ‘Mr Hennessy’ and is unexposed. So I won’t be shocked if he wins, I just won’t be on him. I prefer the other two given they are all a similar price.
If anything else wins well then I was never destined to back them here.
I think that will do for this preview! I am quite happy with those two. Native River is the main danger, Smad will run his heart out and will be up there. Provided no accidents those 4 could finish in the first 4.
I fear HenriPariMorgan as a main danger if he jumps and is fit enough, and at the bigger prices have to take some note of the good trends fits- Coologue and Vicente- albeit if the G1 horses run up to form (or just two of them do) I can’t see them being good enough to win. To place maybe. But not to win.
Finally – it is of some interest, maybe illogical- but on the weight carried front- excluding jockey claims… those carrying 10-1 to 10-3, 10-8 to 10-11 and 11-9 to 11-11 are a combined 0/113,15 places. Maybe a random set of stats but could be some logic buried in there somewhere. Or just luck and how it has played out. But, from the original shortlist, Vicente/Henri/Coologue/Caroles D/Vyta – all fall down on those weight stats.
If you take all my stats/trends together as shared above, the ones I have focused on, only two horses are left. As it happens, ignoring all the stats etc you can make a pretty good case for the pair. They will do.
Good luck with whatever you fancy in this. A toughie as always.
VIRAK – 1 point win – 7/1 (BV/PP) 13/2 | 6/1 (general) UP – rubbish. Stick with Venetia!
I will keep this fairly simple. There have been 17 runnings of this race and clear top weights (excluding jockey claims) are 7/17,9 places, +16 points. I think if we back the clear top weight in this for ever more we may do ok! 🙂 3 of the last 5, since switched to Newcastle, have been won by those carrying 11-12. Whatsmore Nicholls is 4/14,6 places in the race. He is in blistering form again and you just know this has been the target for the horse. He also has the excellent Harry Cobden on, taking off a valuable 3lb. The horse came a close second in this race last year and after taking account of jockey claims (Cobden claimed 7 last year on him) etc, he now has a 6lb swing with Wakanda. If they both run the same race, that puts him much closer/ahead. Of course that kind of weight difference means sod all if you clout one, advantage gone. The horse could still have some improvement in him. He will track the pace I think and at 7s/6s I thought worth a go.
Definitly Red is a worthy fav at 11/4, and could win this. He likes winning and there is more to come from him this season. He is in form also, as is his trainer. He won’t be far away but I am not sure Virak should be more than double the price. Bristol De Mai is short enough for me given he didn’t jump well LTO and the distance is an unknown. He may improve for it and clearly has class. He could win this well but 4s seems short to me. I really didn’t like how he jumped the last day – maybe the trip will help with that.
The rest have some questions. Wakanda ran a bit too poor LTO and Virak was ahead of him there – Smith is a bit hot and cold also and the horse is not in the same form as when taking this last year. Clearly no shock winner and 10s is ok but I would hope Virak may have his measure this year- just depends if anything else finishes ahead of them. Otago Trail has a stamina unknown, but VW has won this race before and he may relish it. He will be fit. Kerry Lees have been needing the run this year which is a bit of a concern for Bishops Road and surely this could be the first step towards a season plan of sorts- given his haydock win last year, they much be thinking Welsh or Grand National. Market may guide. The rest have questions.
So, I have been led by the stats/trainer/horse form in race last year really. I think 7s/6s is fair in that context.
It’s Nicholls, its a decent chase, it’s a Saturday.
No tips as such but I have simply repeated the race analysis from my TTP Members post. I am trusting the stats from my guide and have backed both. My old friend Askamore Darsi reappears in a visor here- 7 days after blowing out for me at 20s in the 3m4f slog at Haydock. He is now around 11/2 so I have somewhat missed his tipping price of 9s. That is getting on the short side now. I have had my usual TTP 1 point stake (£10) on both of the following. The Jonjo horse is a bit weak in the market but could out run those odds. These won’t count in ‘official’ tipping advice but do with it as you please. Both could run good race, both could run shockers! Visor really needs to work for Askamore- 9s was worth chancing that it does for me,could try and make all….
Benzel (hncp chase + micro distance) (refers to which part of stats pack horse qualifies against)
NOTE: Jonjo, who had a winner on Friday, 4/57 last 14 days before that winner. This horse is 2/6,3 places over fences and is unexposed. The form of his Uttoxeter win a few starts back has worked out well, and when Aidan unseated at Warwick two starts ago his reaction suggested he had just unshipped off one he thought would go close. His last run was poor- but, it could be he hates going RH, all his best form LH, he may prefer flatter tracks and he did make a big blunder there which knocked him a bit. Form of yard may have been to blame also but signs of life recently. Potentially a bit of pace on which could suit his hold up style. Suspect he could be better than this mark. Not one I will be putting you off given profile and odds of 7s/8s.
Askamore Darsi (micro going)
NOTE: McCain again- I fancied this one the last day, and tipped him at 20s. He ran like a pig, never looking interested. He sulked, for the first time in a while. He gets a first time visor on here and will race prominently/try and make all. Given he stays well I suspect they will try and make use of him. The yard form is a concern – I think you are taking a 9/1 chance on whether the headgear works- if it does, and he is obviously travelling well after the first 3/4 fences- he will go close for me. If he fades/sulks again I am not sure when I will trust him again. He does have a patchy profile but all conditions are fine here and he is on his last winning mark.
This looks a fascinating race- Bailey has an interesting one in here who could be anything,and he can ready them after a break. The two above may disappoint but I think are worth a go at the odds. Trusting the stats I think. Reasons why they could improve on recent runs and conditions fine for both, Jonjos still unexposed.
V Williams Chasers (16/1< guide)
1.30 Newb- Waldorf Salad 1.55 Donny – Fionn Mac Cul 3.10 Newb- Houblon Des Obeaux
3.30 Newc – Otago Trail WON 11/1>9/1
Kerry Lee Chasers (12/1< guide)
3.30 Newc – Bishops Road (on both angles) DNQ
3.45 Newb- Grey Gold (on both angles)
Handicap Hurdle/Chase Portfolio – Live Test
2.05 Newb – Oscar Sunset UP 16/1 / Onefitzall WON 5/1
2.40 Newb- Ozzie The Oscar UP
12.00 Bang – Colins Brother- WON 3/1>11/10
1.40 Newb- Waldorf Salad
3.45 Newb- Parsnip Pete 2nd
E Lavelle- 3-5 year olds/November
3.40 Donc- Irish Prophecy (20/1< ) 47/142,73p,+145 points, 2010- WON 5/1
Post Complete… I think there is more than enough for one day there.
Good Luck with any bets.