A fun start to the Aintree meeting for me, Flying Angel 7/1 and Dineur 25/1 the highlights for my ‘at the races’ 5s/10s, as mentioned in the notes on Day 1. Doitforthevillage – frustrating, i think that was ‘the’ bet in the race based on morning odds given how it turned out. He was punted into 12s and was tanking, creeping into it down the side, before seemingly clipping heels after landing. It was a long way from home but given how he was going and how the race finished (all rather in a heap) I suspect he may have been thereabouts. But we will never know. Rock On Rocky just wasn’t good enough to lay up/jump at that pace.
Aintree Day 2
Rather Be – 1.5 point win – 12/1 (BV/PP/BetfS)
Sky Khan- 1 point win – 14/1 (general)
Crystal Lad – 1 point win – 25/1 (Bet365/Sporiting Bet/SJ) 20/1 (general)
Looking at my stats, those of interest:Had run over 2m3f+ (0/60,12p had not in 20 years) and won over 2m3f+ (10 years.. 1/107,17p had not,216 total runners-may have crossed off winner) did not run 46-121 days ago (0/28,3p), and ran in a race with 9+ runners LTO (0/43,4p 8<) I think that would leave a shortlist of: A Hare Breath, Rather Be, Allee Bleue, Sky Khan, Crystal Lad.
If something else wins, which is more than likely, then I wasn’t destined to find them. I am not trawling through 22 runners with my ‘form/profile’ eyes on in a handicap hurdle like this, with many lightly raced types vs hardy battlers. This approach will work fine over time, as it has done this season, maybe again today… (although you will find stronger stats hurdles than this..)
A Hare Breath ran over fences LTO which is a negative, as is not running over 2m4f-2m6f LTO. The rest look solid. On ‘form/horse’ analysis I can’t be having Allee Bleue – out of form and wants it deeper I think. Happy to leave I think.
The other three look very interesting to my eyes.
Rather Be- I am rather pleased he is on this shortlist, as I was wading into him whatever having tipped him up LTO at the Festival. In the end his unseat/BD didn’t matter (we found the 25/1 winner :)) . I think it was a BD as he couldn’t get out of the way of a fallen horse. One of those things and I believe connections fancied him to run a big race that day. He travels well, jumps well, and is still open to masses of improvement in handicaps. He stays well enough and seems to handle any ground. I don’t think there is anything in the jockey bookings for Hendo’s in this- each one has ridden their respective horse before, and have never been on the other one- it could be as simple as that. Henderson has won the race before. He ticks plenty of boxes for me. 6 year olds have the best record in this also. And qualifies on some other micro angles of mine for this meeting as well.
Sky Khan – well he was an 11 length fourth in this last year, off a 10lb higher mark, on ground that may have been softer than ideal. It looks like he had a good prep LTO and horses that ran at Uttoxeter LTO are 2/7,4p in this race in the last decade, +78. Interesting. Random. Who knows. He ran in big field handicaps at Chletenham, Aintree and Punchestown last year, and ran crackers in each. Given his mark, and that hardy form, he looks of real interest here. Russell is in some decent enough form also.
Crystal Lad – at 25s I can’t resist on him either. He ran a fine race LTO from the front before fading late on- he may appreciate this flatter finish. I also think he may be able to get an easy enough lead on the front here. There doesn’t appear to be masses of pace based on recent runs, although in this type of race it is rarely a slow pace. But, if they all run as they have been, he could be up there without too much around him. He is thoroughly unexposed in handicaps and given he fits my interpretation of the stats, and his ability to lead, he looks fascinating at 25s.
Henryville – 1.5 points win – 12/1 (general)
Katachenko – 1 point win – 33/1,28/1 (general)
Bright New Dawn – 1/2 point win – (BFSP maybe… 40/1 in places)
The Stats: Well I looked at 11-8 or less / 4+ runs this season / Had run G3+ in career / Did Not Run 31-75 days ago or 91+ / Had won C2 or above / 1+ handicap wins. A win in the last three is a slight negative also (1/115- not enough in hand maybe)
I think that left: Third Intention / Quite By Chance / Bright New Dawn / BallyKan / HenryVille / Ultra Gold / Katachenko / Portrait King
Hopefully I haven’t left the winner on there, if indeed they are even on that list. You know what I am like with my shortlists! I am not overly keen on the Tizzard horses, although Third Intention has form over these fences and is 7lb below his mark when 3rd in this last year. But, he comes here in awful form and has had a busy season, like a lot in the yard. This could be one race too many, we shall see. On jockey bookings he looks the most fancied one. Ballykan- is interesting but ran a shocker in this race last year, but comes here in better form. NTD has won the race before but with chase wins at Southwell and Perth, and a suspicion he might want 24f, I left him. Portrait King – this may be the first time I haven’t backed him over these fences for some time! He is old now, in poor form, and will surely find a few too good in here. This trip will be on the short side for him although were he to grab 5th or 6th I wouldn’t be totally shocked.
Henryville- Everything looks right here. I know. Too good to be true. But at 12s I will have a stab. I don’t know why Fehily isn’t on either of Fry’s in here, I have no idea. Maybe I missed something. But, Aspell may have been booked in any case given we know he rides these fences so well. So, that is a positive. As is the fact he ran well in the Sefton here before Christmas and this just looks like a right old plan. He had a short break before returning at Cheltenham where nothing went right, he was far too keen, and was held up right out the back. He did travel into it well up to a point. It looks like that was a run to get him spot on for this I suspect. The hood returns, which is a big positive and another sign I think. Harry Fry is in great form also. I hope they race him prominently enough, I hate proper hold up types around here, although there is some pace on. But, rarely is there a pace collapse. He just ticks plenty of boxes, well, all the boxes. He is also lightly raced enough over fences. He looks solid. He can hit the odd fence but hopefully he runs as he did in the Sefton and goes two better.
Onto the pokes..
Katachenko- well I have had an eye on him all season, mainly as I tipped him for the Red Rum last year at 16s on these pages and thought he may go on from that. He didn’t really. I just wonder whether this has been a plan. It’s McCain. It’s the GN fences. It’s Hemmings. His mark has come down a tad. It has either been a plan, or he has just regressed. We will find out today. My head says the latter, my gut the former. I find it interesting that they remove the hood this time having been on for an age. ‘Doing something different’ at least and maybe that will spark him up. The trip is an unknown but he ran well two starts ago at Carlisle over further to make me think this may be ideal now. And, if this was a plan, you can ignore that last run to a point. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrendous. He usually races prominently as well which is a positive. So, he ticked my stats approach for this, and you can create a ‘story’ around his chance I think. Worth a stab at those odds. He may tail off. Only one way to find out.
Bright New Dawn- a proper poke but Venetia knows how to train a winner over these fences and Treadwell is another who rides them well. At 40s, or name your price BFSP maybe, I thought why not. He is ‘unexposed’ at this distance and I have doubted whether a Venetia horse will stay before, only to be left with egg on my face. She can train stamina into them and it looks like he probably wants a trip like this, finding 16f a bit sharp these days. Hopefully they race him prominently also and that he takes to these fences. I could think of some negatives for the others I left on the shortlist, but I couldn’t really for him. While there may not appear to be many positives either, that was enough at the prices to have a dart.
Of the rest.. well the winner probably hasn’t been mentioned. It looks very open, and good luck with wherever your pins land!
I doubt I can add much to any of the other races but…
2.20 – better judges than I in races like this seem to be keen on Mount Mews and we know connections are in form. He is top rated on Geegeez Speed also, with River Wylde not far behind. Maybe they will dominate the finish, one winning, the other coming second. A muggy ‘track side’ reverse forecast maybe!
2.50 – I will probably have £5/£10 on Whisper as I am there, on the off chance Might Bite has an ‘episode’ again. It is probably wise to back him for the King George right this minute, (if that is your thing) as if he doesn’t ‘have a moment’ you can see him dotting up in an impressive fashion. If he falters, Whisper won’t be far away.
3.25 – Sub Lieutenant? – Bromhead doesn’t bring many to this meeting but they usually run ok, and this one again is top rated Geegeez Speed. It looks to be between him and Gods Own, but I have spent about 2 minutes having a glance! Gigginstown horses that are fancied tend to do well at the meeting.
4.40 – The World’s End? Well I backed him the last day and he needs to tidy up his jumping. He is 5/2 which may be sharp enough but it would be good to see him bolt up. Debece- interesting they pitch him in here. Vaughan really really likes this horse and they clearly want to see just how good he is. He looks very interesting EW and is certainly one to keep an eye on moving forwards, esp when tackling a fence. He may not be good enough, but an interesting runner.
5.15 – no idea. I will end up doing what I did yesterday and hunting out Paul Ferguson of ‘Jumpers to Follow’ – he knows his young/unexposed horses and told me to back the winner, which at 16s was a nice bonus to end the day. He tipped it up on Monday I think at 66/1!! A nice pay day for him, sadly I missed that price.
Trainer/Jockey combo – Live Test
3.50 Sedge- Jockers And Rogues
That’s the lot today. Good luck with any bets.