(2017 Total: 17/155, +102.5 points)
What Happens Now – 2 point win – 13/2 (bet365) 6/1 (gen) UP
Indian Castle – 1/2 point win – 7/1 (gen) UP
Regal Flow – 1/2 point win – 20/1 (gen) Up
Ah damn. Well it was going to go one of two ways given that confidence! Got that wrong with the 2 pointer… no excuses… jockey had him in the right position. Maybe that last race was his Gold Cup and that was one race too many. I know in my own head what i would have done were that winner 11/1 this morning, and not 6s. That was short for me given form when last seen/the break. 11s a different story. Maybe you had a last minute dart at that price, 15.00 BFSP. Back to +99.5 points I go. Hovering around 100.
What Happens Now…well, what happens next is that come the end of this race i’ll have added +11 points to the pot. 🙂 He may have to work a bit harder here, he may not do it as easily (maybe only win by 4-5l this time!), but in truth I haven’t been so bullish about a horse giving me a run for my money for a little while. Maybe this is misplaced confidence and I will get what I deserve. 2 points win is my maximum stake on the nose these days as I try and be disciplined, albeit I have rarely advised more on a horse. But, IF he runs as he did the last day, travelling near the front end/tracking the pace, jumping, galloping, swinging into the home straight, I can’t see what beats him in this line up. They say it is a stronger race. Well, on the ‘figures’ maybe but when you weigh up the oppo I don’t think there is that much difference. I don’t do ‘weight/ratings’ really with 3m+ handicap chases. It has never been a fundamental part of my analysis. I don’t care for the 8lb rise in the context of his own chance (may bring others closer but I will get onto that)… in the context that to my eyes he still looks unexposed enough over fences- or in any case it is impossible to say he has hit the ceiling of his ability. Maybe after this race, when he comes a gallant 3rd with two better treated horses running past, i’ll then say ok, the rise took it’s toll, he may need to come down the weights etc. But, pre race, as I write, there is no way you can assume that. Show me the evidence. There isn’t any. On we go. He actually carries 2lb less weight on his back compared to the last race which is no bad thing. Unless he falls or is brought down I just don’t see why he won’t repeat that run LTO. I’m not sure 8lb more on his back would have stopped him that day. There is a bit more cut here but he has performed well in softer conditions and I won’t use that as an excuse. 6s seemed more than fair to me. Just on the limit. I have psychological issues in races like this going under that price. His jockey may have been in demand again but why would he have jumped off him. A vote of confidence that he rides again. I’m going to be surprised, all being well, if he doesn’t go very close here. Hence the 2 points. He should be favourite for this. 9/2, 4/1.
Indian Castle – I wanted something on and he did chase What Happens Now home the last day. He was well stuffed though and at the head of a more bunched finish. There is a chance he comes on for the run, or bounces. But he will like the slight cut in the ground and I did note how he had 9lb less actual weight on his back. Over 25f around here that is what may make the difference, and get him closer to the horse above. If he runs the same race of course, but there is no guarantee as to that with him. But 7s seemed fair and if I have got the one above wrong, in theory he shouldn’t be far away.
Regal Flow – 20s does seem a bit big but I would like to see some support. I am a bit ‘meh’ as to his chances in this but I fancied him to run well LTO and the price has just lured me in. He may well come on a bundle for the run and that is what could put him closer to those two above. He hit a fence hard early on the last day as well which knocked him back a bit. He usually races up there and if he can hold position will give me a run for my money. All conditions are fine and he likes it around here. He should be out-running those odds.
PACE – well What Happens Now will run the same race again…he should race prominently. The Bailey and Honeyball horses may take it up but he will track those and breeze past as they come down the hill for the final time :). There will be no excuse on that front. Regal Flow should be in the front 3rd and Indian Castle mid division I imagine. A good spread, and no real excuses. None are hold up horses.
Of the others…
Dueling Banjos… well he could win. I suspect if he had a different jockey on he would be 8s+ here, and that would be a more tempting price. I have put my neck on the line with him- I don’t think he will stay. Or in any case I have yet to see any evidence that he will for a test like this- as ever, all in the context of his price. My thoughts on his stamina make 11/2 short enough and not a price whereby I can take a chance. His chase form has generally been in smaller fields and in softer ground. He ran well for a long way the last day and maybe this has been the target. The track will be a new experience. Again, that isn’t a negative generally around here (most races over the next three days will be won by horses that have never raced here before) (the Festival may be an exception)but it is in the context that he is 11/2. I can live with him beating me here. But I think something with more guts and stamina may put him in his place up this hill. I could be wrong. At 11/2 i’ll cope just fine if I am. I won’t be reeling in shock.
What A Moment- WON 6/1> 11/1 won this race last year arriving fit and in form… he has form/well-being/fitness questions. Again I won’t be shocked if he wins this but at 6s, given those questions, I was happy to leave him. Another that were he 8s, 10s +, then I would have a headache as to what to do. Pipe can ready them, he is in form, and this has been a target no doubt. If you like his price there isn’t much for me to say to put you off! He can be a bit tricky from memory also and this race does look stronger than the one he won last year. But, he should go well. No forlorn hope.
I didn’t really want to be with anything else and will be mildly surprised if one of those 5 doesn’t win this, but I am wrong a lot of the time, and I may be again. I will mention Solstice Son who i am not sure will be good enough but he can go well fresh (yet to win after a break over fences though), Honeyball can ready them, and he races prominently. He is on a career high mark over fences so does have that to prove. But so does my main fancy and you get a big price to find out. He is in effect 15lb above his last chase win, and he has 14lb more actual weight on his back when winning a C3 novice handicap chase here in April 16. That may not be enough to stop him but having banged the ‘weight/ratings’ play little role in my head…there is something psychological when they are 10+ above last winning marks etc. And when they have fitness questions and have already run from a few times around similar marks and not won. He has it to prove anyway, but this is only his 9th handicap chase so you never know. It is impossible to say he can’t win from this mark over fences. There were enough niggles/doubts for me but I can see why some may want a nibble. It would be a bit annoying if he wins but in truth it wasn’t one where I was deliberating for a long time. This is the 5th time in his career now that he has returned after breaks of 150+ days and suggests he is a horse who does have issues keeping sound. Maybe I’ve just blinded myself as to the chances of What Happens Now! We shall see.
And that’s the lot. If something beats me that I haven’t mentioned then so be it, I wasn’t close to finding them today! This Happy Chappy is expecting a big run from What Happens Now. (i really am setting myself up for a fall)
GL with any bets
V Williams (16/1<)
1.50 Chelt – Bright New Dawn
Trainer/jockey Combo – Live Test
1.50 Newc – Cracking Find
2.50 Newc – No Planning
That’s the lot for today.