2017 Total: 18/167, +99.5 points
(all 1 point win, 4 points total)
Whisper- 8/1 2nd (ahh , heartbreak)
Pleasant Company – 25/1 NR
Missed Approach – 25/1 UP (great run for money, excited turning in)
Vyta Du Roc – 14/1 UP (still running??)
Regal Encore…as per write up/stats shortlist… 3rd 100/1>66/1..maybe you had an EW flyer or backed at 27.00 for 3 places on Betfair 🙂
Wakanda – 1 point win – 11/2 UP
Boric – 1 point win – 11/1 UP
Oh, that looked good turning.. both ran poorly in the end, esp Wakanda…Boric was worth a stab to my eyes but not good enough, maybe ground took it’s toll in the end. I wouldn’t have ever found myself backing the winner at the prices. On we go. Close to a good day, in the end a mediocre one. What a game.
3.00 Newb –
My word, this feels as tough as any Festival handicap and a rather open renewal – even at the top end of the market. I have gone with three horses that were on my stats ‘long list’ below and we shall see if that holds or not. It isn’t the strongest race on my stats so not something I have clung to. I’ve looked at every runner, stared out the window pondering for an age, and this is where the pins have landed. I nearly bottled it and put 1/2 points on all four…but ever since I did that with a 33/1 Becher winner on here (Oscar Time), I’ve always sworn i’d have at least 1 point on the win side and 4 points is my max for any race. I don’t think i’ve had a ‘biggie’ go in since with less than 1 point on the win side, but I could be wrong. Anyway, you have to back up your opinion, so it’s all or nothing… and likely the latter… there is every chance I haven’t even pondered the winner for any amount of time.
Whisper… he is the one I like most at the top end of the market here.. he ticks my stats and along with SingleFarmPayment appears in the top 3 of at least 2 of the 3 ratings sets I use as some sort of pointer (HRB/Geegeez Speed/Inform Speed)… so, there are some ratings to back up my view that he is one of the better ones in here on what they have achieved to date, on paper at least. I think 8/1 is fair for a trainer who knows how to win this race and who has targeted him at it since Aintree. There is every chance he has been chasing home the King George and/or Gold Cup winner in a few of his chases and the horse he beat the last day has franked it since. Horses at the top end of the market (10/<) have a very good record in this race and I was loathed to leave him out. This will be a new test for him and he may not cope with the field size and pace… his jumping will be put under pressure like never before. He is a trier though, rarely finishing unplaced. If he jumps fine/gets the luck I will get a run for my money. Hopefully DR tracks the pace here, of which there could be plenty.
Pleasant Company… well the price has lured me in here… Mullins has an awful record in handicap chases over this side of the water and I wouldn’t want to touch any of his at single figure odds, or probably under 16/1… but this one hit my stats, he is lightly raced over fences, has a good record fresh, Mullins is in superb form (as he usually is), race conditions look fine (ground/distance) and he does have a touch of class. He could cause a shock here in a race that feels like there might be one. I couldn’t leave him at 25s with that profile/connections.
Missed Approach… this one is a flyer but I wanted something onside that I think will be up there, pushing the pace… he is unexposed over fences and it looks like the run LTO was to set him up for this.. the PU would be a concern but I think this one’s issues are in his head…what tipped the balance was that his best ever run to date, at the Festival, was in first time Cheekpieces. He gets first time blinkers here…now that may light him up and if he gets surrounded by horses that restricted vision may be a negative. But I hope Dickie is aggressive with him and I could have some fun…the heart may be racing as they head down the side for the final time…before he fades tamely turning into the straight! 🙂 Again, 25s, there was just something there. My gut, which is often way off the mark, says there could be an upset this year, so I wanted a couple of rags onside.
Vyta Du Roc… it could be I am still remembering his agonising defeat at Sandown when tipped on here.. Jacob (who is at Bangor, and not riding any for his owners, odd) rode to the wrong finishing like that day albeit I’m not sure it made a difference as he was driving along after the last. I like the fact Coleman has been booked as there is a chance he could have ridden a couple of others in this… he can hit a fence also but he ran well in this race last year and with more chase experience under his belt i hope he can go closer. 14s seems fair. I did want one who I am confident will be staying on at the death. He just gallops and the run over hurdles LTO suggests this has been a plan also. With any luck AC doesn’t have him too far back here and can get after him early enough. If he gets into a rhythm he could be in there pitching down the straight, especially if 4-6 of these have gone off far too hard.
Of the rest…well I don’t know where to start…the three above Whisper were too short for me given some of the questions/stats around them… Singlefarmpayment may well win this, he probably deserves a big one, but for a hold up horse (they may change tactics) on sticky/dead ground, that looked hard work yesterday, I wanted a bigger price. Cogry… well he is a favourite of this blog and it would be bitter sweet if he won this… I tipped him the last day when he won.. I do wonder if the pace/competition for the lead here may take him out of his comfort zone, and on ground that may take some jumping out of at pace… were STD on I may have been swayed but I think he may belt one or two around here. JB rode him well at Ayr but this track takes a bit more jumping I think. If he jumps as well as he did the last day he will be right there at the death… he was on my shortlist, and 16s is probably fair- especially in relation to Singlefarmpayment’s price. Something just niggled at me with him, and if he does win, at least I have backed him to victory at least once. It could be he is a different horse now and runs a massive race. I hope he does, but a solid placed effort at best!
I looked longingly at Royal Vacation... I decided I don’t think he will be good enough, may be handicapped up to his best, is slightly more exposed than some, and I am not sure he will have enough stamina. (not 100% convinced he will see out this trip as well as some..he was going to be a well beat 2nd at Kempton when Might Bite fell) I could be wide of the mark on all those points but there were just enough doubts. I pondered him plenty but decided to leave. We shall see if that’s wise come about 3.10. He is a big price. Ah, Coneygree… well I can cheer him to victory here without backing him… he will try and lead but I think his best days are behind him and I would like to think something younger will take this. No 10 year old+ has won this in 20 years, albeit only 0/44 or so, and it will take an almighty effort. Were he coming here in form with a perfect prep it may be different, but I will leave him. Present Man…has raced LH once in his career over fences where he did win at Doncaster but jumped violently to his right..that would be a concern here, as would that last race leaving a mark, and the fact there will be better treated rivals in here. Clearly no shock if he wins but I think his gold cup was at Wincanton. I will mention Regal Encore… he is on the stats shortlist below and is 100/1…probably for good reason but I wouldn’t fall off my seat if he ran on into the top 7 here. He can hit plenty of fences and depends if he is up for it today. At his best I don’t think he is anywhere near good enough to win, but if you wanted a small stakes EW flyer, there ‘could’ be worse bets. I definitely wasn’t close to backing any of the others and if one of them wins then so be it. Although I have mentioned a fair chunk of the field. It is that sort of race.
GL with whatever your pins have landed on.
i’ll keep this shorter… Wakanda… a previous winner of this and it is a race that has thrown up a few multiple winners down the years. I do not know what went wrong last season but maybe a line should be put through that. His seasonal reappearance was much better than last year’s and I would like to think this has been the target. All race conditions are fine and so is his handicap mark… what tipped the balance was that Cook will try and make all here. He will be very aggressive and might get the better of Yala Enki. He could make all…or be in the right spot if/when VWs fades.. (Yala could win, but looked the right price to me)… they could go too quick and set it up for..
Boric… I thought 11s was a tad generous here for a horse who looks to be in the form of his life, who is fit, has course form, and who stays very well. It could be he isn’t good enough and this happens too quickly but I am guessing a bit there and the price allows the play… the softer ground may help him and he will keep going. If there are chinks in any of those near the top of the market he may exploit them, and there has been the odd nice priced winner of this, and the odd one from the bottom of the weights.
Bishops Road is probably the main danger but 4s wasn’t overly generous to my eyes for a hold up horse… he will have to make up ground on those in front at some point as they won’t be stopping and that always spells danger. Similar reasons for dodging Singlefarmpayment I suppose… he may jump just fine when doing so but again, it’s all about price. 4s seemed about right… no doubt Jamie will now ride him up there!…he also has a big break to overcome and a PU when last seen, even if that was understandable. Clearly on paper he has the best form in this and if you like his price there isn’t much for me to say to put you off. Obvious chance if he is ready to go.
That’s the lot for today. It could be a 6 point bloodbath… I haven’t felt ‘in form’ as such for a while, nor out of it… today may tip me one way or the other! Still, whatever happens between now and Dec 31st it has been a decent year on the jumps tips front but I would like to push through the +100 points.
Some stats/trends… i’m not sure they’re overly useful but all of the last 10 winners… had won at listed+ level in career, 5 or fewer runs in the last year, 0-1 run in previous 90 days. They are the only 10/10 stats that I could find, using my approach. That leaves 9, which may or may not be a useful starting point…
Total Recall WON / American / Whisper 2nd / Vyta Du Roc / Coneygree /
Pleasant Company / Caroles Destrier / Southfield Royale / Regal Encore 3rd
Using those three 10/10 stats….those with 0 handicap chase wins are 7/34,11p…. Whisper / Vyta Du Roc / Coneygree / Southfield Royale
Tom George (any odds)
3.00 Newb – Singlefarmpayment
K Lee Chasers (12/1<)
3.20 Newb – Bishops Road
Sat Trainer/Jockey Combo
12.45 Newb – Wait For Me
Trainer/Jockey Combo – Live Test
12.30 Newc – Maced Out King (12/1<)
3.20 Newc – Wakanda (12/<)
3.20 Newc – Bishops Road (12/1<)