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Lord Heathfield- 1 point win – 11/1 (general) 2nd, 10/1 (5l)
Wellforth – 1/2 point EW– 40/1 (general) UP
Ah. Never quite getting there although I lived in hope in the final couple of furlongs that the leader may have done too much at some point and his legs would go to jelly. They didn’t. I won’t complain when they give me a run for my money like that. He clearly stays this distance and was doing his best work late, and may pick up a minor event over that distance at some point. But, he is just one paced. And I was right to take on those near the top, a small consolation. Barton Gift had the signs- namely the headgear change again- and he was 2/2 here over fences, and a proven stamina. A bit put off by fact he would need a career best, in the OR anyway, and I wasn’t certain he would get a comfortable lead- for the most part he got to go the pace the jockey wanted, and that won it. He just kept going. I did think if Barton Gift ran well, Wellforth might, and the 6lb pull may make a small difference. It didn’t, but I don’t mind 40/1 pokes on 13 yos, one day!
Clearly I am flailing around like a catherine wheel at the moment and while I as yet haven’t lowered my own stakes on my own tips, that day may not be far away until I recapture something of past glories, or indeed re educate myself about how to bet in a 3m+ handicap chase. So, treat these with some caution… but..
Lord Heathfield- he may just be slow, he may not be good enough and in this race they may even go a pace he won’t live with, but visually, based on those last two runs, I want to see how he goes at this distance. The price allows me a dart to find out. He is unexposed over this trip and on recent evidence he will just keep going. Whether or not 3/4 others are a furlong+ ahead when he keeps plugging on is a different matter! The trainer is in form and he is 2/4 here with his chasers in recent years. While he is 11 this is only his 3rd start under rules and I was happy to have a go. I just hope he travels ok and can keep tabs on the rest. His jumping has been fine in recent runs and while I have doubts, the price has just lured me in. I will have more confident picks, although they haven’t been running great either!
Wellforth… well 40s just tempted me in. In recent weeks he hasn’t put two good, or two bad, runs together, with a PU usually followed up by a decent run. He likes the course, he has a low weight, and he stays. There is a chance a few in this drop away and while I would fall off my seat if he won (but you never know) I think he could grab a place, and if you think that, there is always a small chance they may actually win. That may be tough in this line up but if he repeats that run behind Barton Gift he may be thereabouts. He could just be out-classed of course, but he is 40s.
Of the rest..well clearly a case can be made for a few and I am running out of time this morning so won’t go into detail. I think every horse in here has some kind of question to answer, whether it is a step up in trip, recent form, some of which looks regressive, horses getting older and looking like slow plodders etc- on that basis I can’t back any of those 6/1 or shorter- I wouldn’t have the confidence for any of their chances, linked to their price. One of them will probably win but I am happy to take them on. Battle Dust is the really unexposed one in the race but this is a tough ask for one on his 2nd chase star and who was pulled up LTO. His trainer is in better form but just a few too many ifs, even at that price of 16s.
Pace..a few can get on with this so it will be fascinating whether it falls apart, which would help the selections. The more taking each other on the better. I can’t think any one horse will get an easy time on the front but we shall see. It should be informative enough for what feels a rather open race.
Good luck whatever you go with, if anything.
Handicap Hurdle/Chase Portfolio – Live Test
3.10 Kemp- Gorsky Ireland / Rhapando
3.55 Banfg – Isabellesprincess
that is all for today.