Let’s get to it…
Rocky Creek- 1 point win – 9/1 (general) UP
Theatrical Star – 1 point win – 10/1 (general) 2nd 15/2
I have imposed a 2 point limit on myself in any race, after the debacle of the Welsh National. For the most part that will mean no more than two horses in any race (GN may be an exception!) I forget which one of you said it- a Paul maybe from a scratchy memory – but one of you said if you are backing more than 2 in a big race you are unsure of yourself, and are clearly not confident. Or, something along those lines. And, well, I tend to agree. It does help focus the mind somewhat…
Onto these two…
Rocky Creek- well it depends what side of the bed he rolls out of. He had a spell hunting I believe and that has sparked this old boy up it seems. He is the classiest horses in this race for me. He can carry weight. Soft/sticky ground is no problem. This mark is no problem/wont be an excuse. He stays, he jumps, he likes the track, he likes this hill. The first few fences are crucial. If he is in a rhythm on or near the front end after the first few I can’t see him not being there near the death. If he is, he goes very close. Well, I think if he is on song, he is the one to beat for me. He may not be up for it today but at 9/1 I am happy to roll that dice. He beat Morney Wing the last day as well as some others around him and that was a decent race- we know what he did NTO. There is a fair bit of pace on in here, and it could be testing enough. As such his extra stamina is a plus. I can’t see him being out-paced here and he will stay on up the hill, when many others may have had enough. I just hope he pings the first few and the jockey is still. I will be excited then.
Theatrical Star- well a couple of years back was chasing Le Reve home over CD I think, off 139. He clearly isn’t as good as he once was but he likes the track, races prominently,is usually a sound jumper, won’t mind what the ground does- well I hope it is soft- some rain please, and looks like he was given a prep LTO where given he was over hurdles, up against some unexposed types, he ran with great credit. I would like to think canny Tizzard has aimed him at this. Given this may be a slog (not as bad as last year when we had the winner, Soll, and what a race that was!) and run at a decent clip, having this light weight on his back may be a big positive also. I thought he looked solid. He has a touch of class (albeit never won a handicap chase above C3 but he has placed in some C2s) is in form, ticks plenty of boxes, and just looks solid. Very solid. I thought 10s was more than fair.
Of the rest…
Well, as I looked through the market, biggest priced horse first, nothing else really jumped out at me. I suppose Wychwoods Brook is interesting to a point but he is a slow mud lover who won a decent race by default really. I don’t think he has the class and can hit one. If this is sticky/goes on the soft side, a lot of these in here will be inconvenienced. Many in here like a decent surface, historically. Aerial is interesting, but was poor the last day and is not as classy as his stablemate- if Rocky has an off day, he could finish ahead of him. That fontwell win was ok, but I wonder if he is good enough for this.
That leaves a shortlist of 3 main dangers I think… GaslineBoy head the list but has been thumped 11lb for his facile success LTO- and I don’t know what he has beaten there. I wonder whether he is up to this mark,in a race where he will not get an easy lead without going too fast, surrounded by horses, at a course he has never raced at before. In the end, that combination of things put me off. He is the clunker- I thought about it. But fancied the two selections more. We shall see if I have got that wrong. He should run his race.
Shuil Royale is interesting…in the sense that like Rocky Creek he is the only other horse in here that is in the top 3 of both HRB and Geegeez Speed. But, I think he is best on a sound surface and any softening may do for him. Esp in a race like this, here. If I have that wrong, he may well go close. He is in form, goes well after a break and Harry’s horses are flying.
That leaves…Dynatse. They haven’t have they?? Somehow disguised a proper plot by making him look badly out of form?? The headgear changes again but my word he was so poor the last day and surely 7s is just short. He hasn’t shown much. Part of me thinks he is going to bolt up here for last year’s winning trainer. My head says he has gone at the game. Even at his best I am not sure, in a big field in a race run at a gallop, on soft, that he would relish 3m up this hill. So, I won’t back him. It is hard to really. But, if he were ever to discover any form whatsoever, he would be battling it out with Rocky Creek over the last couple.
I struggled to make a case for the rest and if anything else wins I wasn’t really close to picking them. Like I said I am going on the premise that this may be soft and/or sticky ground. If it is actually proper good ground, then that opens this race right up. Some need it heavy also.
Update: I suppose now it is soft I should mention Cloudy Too- I wasn’t sure how much ability remains really and whether he is stil good enough to win a deep race like this. A lot of his best performances have come at LH, flat tracks- albeit wrong to say he doesn’t handle RH/Undulations/Stiff finish. But, he hasn’t raced here before. He may want it even heavier and I wondered if this may even happen too quickly for him. I know the ground wasn’t ideal the last day but he was thumped, albeit ran ok I suppose. I suppose with GasLine he may be the clunker but I left him. Some sort of case can be made.
Many in here just look out of form- and as I think about it, I don’t think I have backed many winners that come into a 3m+ chase out of form. No excuses on that front with our two. I am a bit tired of making excuses for horses too often, esp if they recently run in conditions that were fine for them, with seemingly little excuse…
Well, there is plenty on in here. I am not sure if my thinking that ‘if there is loads of pace you want a hold up horse’ is actually a load of bollocks for a 3m+ handicap chase. I mean, they can only jump at a certain safe speed and it really depends on the jockey. Clearly some horses ‘have to’ lead and sulk if they don’t, but I don’t think there are any like that in here. And lone front runners are a massive way in – another did the job at Wetherby today. I thought The Becher would be frenetic- as it happened HighLand Lodge jumped at his own speed really, with one other. I also thought that in the Potters Cross race at Newbury- James King instead was up there all the way but didn’t kill the horse, he let Financial Climate go ahead at one point, thinking he was going too quick- and he was right. But, that pace duel didn’t do for him.
So, my point – there is a lot of pace on paper, but if the jockeys are sensible, that is not necessarily a negative. If the jockey goes the pace he wants we should be fine. Rocky and Theatrical can lead, they should definitely be front third- others may be up there for a time- Gas Line Boy, Loose Chips. Pete The Feat, but they should be able to travel comfortably on the pace. No issues there. It is always hard to come from behind here, even in a slog. We should be in the right spot. (obviously about 5/6 will now go at it from the off and all fade turning in!!)
Right, that will do. (oh, and there are a few in here who I don’t think stay, either. Lines through those)
Good luck with whatever you fancy.
That will be all for tips
Sat Trainer/Jockey Combo
1.50 Sand- Garde La Victoire H1 G3 – WON 2/1
12.55 Winc- New Republic- WON 14/1
Harry Fry Mares (10/1 guide)
12.45 Sand – Desert Queen 14,30 (UP)
Handicap Hurdle/Chase Portfolio – LIVE TEST
1.35 New – Trickaway- 14,30 G3 – UP
Jan Trainers (pointers)
12.40 Ling – Sate Residence (any odds) 14,30 UP
That will be all for today.
Good luck with any bets.