Royal Palladium – 1 point win – 11/1 (PP/BetfS) 10/1 (SB) 9/1 Gen 3rd
Swincombe Scorchio – 1 point win – 12/1 (bet365/SB/Coral/BV) UP
You Say What – 1/2 point win – 20/1, 18/1 (gen) UP 7/1
*no excuse there…i’d have preferred the second to have got up for a members’ system, or Royal Palladium to have held on… credit to the winner, in that ground, given his unknown quantity under rules, I was happy to take on at 10/3 and can live with that. To lug 12-4 around in that ground is rather impressive – he clearly has stamina to burn and you could see him plodding to victory in a muddy Welsh National say, or other long distance chases. I get the impression he may just keep galloping in those conditions. The Pipe horse was very well punted and ran ok for a time.
Well the rain has come to a degree and that has made me get off the fence- were this ‘good’ then I think i’d have left it. But they had 6mm overnight and a band of rain is expected between 11am-2pm- we have been here before! Either way I will just assume it may be sticky and hard work. Here’s hoping.
Royal Palladium… this is the true test of whether Venetia is in or out of form. There is more to her figures than meets the eye – for example 8 of her last 20 runners, since that winner at Carlisle (which gave the impression she had been able to get them fit at home), have been sent off at 16/1 or bigger, and she doesn’t have many go in at that end of the market. There have been plenty of handicap hurdlers, the odd horse run well, the odd one not so well. Either way, for the last two years this horse has run his best race on his first start of the season, including a win here. With the claim he is handicapped to go well enough again and races where I like them to be – up there on the front end. He will try and lead and if on song should travel sweetly enough, either out on his own or ready to take it up in the final mile or so. A bit more rain would help but he has won on GS. He is being well backed, no doubt tipped in a few places, and if a1 should go well. Double figures looked a few points too big, as does 9s or so. He was worth a dart. I don’t think Venetia is ‘out of form’ as such, but we are about to find out I think. No excuses here for a bold show.
Swincombe Scorchio – hmm… 12s/14s, allows a dabble here. If he were trained by a bigger name he would be a bit shorter in this I think. He simply ‘could be anything’ in handicap chases this year, including handicapped up to his best! But, this is only his 3rd handicap chase and second with ‘soft’ somewhere in the going description. He fairly bolted up at Chepstow two starts ago and I think may have hated the going/found it happening too quick, at Cheltenham on his next start. The trainer can ready them after a break and has had a few winners in the 14/1-20/1 range, so a lack of market support wouldn’t concern me too much. Clearly at this time of year you are taking a chance on fitness and that is why I want a price. In his last Novice chase he finished a length behind Rock The Kasbah who was rated 144 at the time. He came out a couple of weeks back and won a decent C2 handicap chase at Chepstow. This horse has something about him. He likes to race up there, if having the pace to do so, and with any luck can get into a rhythm. RH is a question, but only that. He just has a very unexposed profile and I thought looked interesting in this line up. He will stay and handle soft if more rain comes. I was happy to roll the dice.
Of the rest… well I decided I was happy to take on Jonjo’s, it would have been a cop out not to do so. If this goes soft, 3m around here, RH, undulating track, big field of hardy sorts- well it will be a totally new experience. That makes his price short. He may handle it fine and bolt up but he has plenty of questions to answer, in the context of his price. Definitley Grey has some going concerns esp if even more rain comes and he has been hammered by the handicapper. Soft and RH are both unknowns over fences. He has a 17lb rise in the handicap and a step up in class to cope with. All in all, just a few too many questions given he was 8s, but no forlorn hope. I won’t fall off my seat if he runs well. Ask The Weatherman- well he is just hard to weigh up and I would be guessing a bit really as to how he will cope under rules. He does have a big weight if this turns soft. I will just leave him and hope he isn’t chucked in, the handicapper doesn’t appear to have been lenient.
Dangers… well, Wizards Bridge is probably the main danger…if on a going day/running as well as LTO…that was a much weaker race and he can tend to hit a fence, lose his position, and then rally again. He usually follows a win with a shocker and isn’t one to trust but 11/1 is probably too big. I’m not convinced by him. He and my two were on my shortlist of 3, at the prices, and we know how this goes! He has the form in the book to figure and a jockey who can clearly get a tune out of him. Castarnie… has a class question I think and can need the run… has two ways of running as well- they can hold him up, in which case he will probably hit a fence when trying to close, or they have tries to make all. I think he may find this a bit too hot but again isn’t a forlorn hope, albeit he is on a career high mark. Walford’s handicap chasers sent off 14/1+ are now 0/18,3p, so the market appears to be some sort of guide. Small numbers though.
You Say What is the dark horse and a bit of an unknown.. second start for Pipe, headgear/TT on, he had some decent enough hurdle form for Neil King before losing his way. He is completely unexposed over fences and ‘could be anything’. As I ponder this one, and how strange a race this feels, I have convinced myself to have a dart at that price… he could cause a shock here on only his 4th chase start, I wouldn’t put it past him. He has course form over timber, stays, handles mud…could be thrown in! (or useless)
PACE… well my two will try and be up there and hopefully RP can get the lead, with the other just tracking him.
V Williams (16/1<) (she is now 0/15,1p last 14 days…)
3.05 Exet – Royal Palladium 3rd
K Lee (12/1<)
2.00 Exet- Gino Trail (x 2 angles) 3rd
Trainer/Jockey Combo – Live test
2.00 Exet – Gino Trail (12/1< ) 3rd
G McPherson (any)
3.35 – Rio Bravo
That’s the lot for today. GL with any bets.