(2016: +75 points ; 2017 18/185, +79.5; 2018 2/17,6p, +6.5)
Wood Yer – 1 point win – 10/1 (gen) 11/1 (bet365) Fell
Astigos – 1 point win – 20/1 (gen) UP *
*oh well, as has been proved before, in general I’m a crap judge of a 4/1 shot, getting plenty more wrong than right, when to go with them, when not, when to leave the race! 4s was overpriced against his SP and the style of victory. And the picks were both crap. A double whammy. Moving on. Poor week
I started looking at this race wondering whether I could justify going with the Daly horse at 4s but concluded that felt about right. He is a young horse, inexperienced, first experience of this galloping track and has 11-12 on his back in what could be a right old slog. They had 8mm on Wednesday, 1mm on Thursday and dry since, with a dry day ahead. This ground could be anything – the type where you simply don’t know if they will handle it until they run on it. IF it is ‘normal’ heavy, he could be fine. But that is a big weight to lug around. The yard is on fire and his patient style will help here. I won’t fall of my seat if he takes this but at 4s I was happy to leave it. Getting myself to a point where I bottle taking this type on will cost me winners/profit in the long run. The same can be said for the fav, who may well bolt up again. However 9/4 seems short enough given he won’t get an easy lead, this is a different test altogether, and it is a deeper race. He faced nothing LTO. Two old boys who needed the run and the second fav was a Tizzard horse (been out of form) that PU the run before. He is clearly progressive but will need to step forward again.
So, clearly, the market suggests one of those two has this. BUT, if they do falter, which isn’t impossible, I’d have been disappointed in myself if I hadn’t taken them on with something. Other than this being stamina sapping ground which can lead to strange results I also thought they may go too hard up front. There are 4/5 in this who like to get on with it and it could be a lesser version of the Welsh National pace. Sometimes when I think that the jockeys decide to be sensible and having said that Sam probably now gets an easy lead! But, they could do too much, and all fall in a hole up the home straight.
Wood Yer – well this is his fourth run after a break and these older horses can take a while to get fit. I just have a few marathon efforts on my mind with him – at Huntingdon where he was going close but for being hampered at the last, Bangor and Haydock, in a better race than this, where but for an awful error a couple out would have been much closer. His mark is falling, he has a good record in this class and a fairly light weight- certainly compared to the market principals. That could count for plenty in this, as we saw at Wincanton yesterday. The final piece in the jigsaw was the visor returning. He has only worn it once a long time ago, on good ground in far from ideal conditions. This will feel different for him and if it could spark him up and make him travel better, he could have a say. I thought there were signs of life LTO. So, we shall see. I thought 10s was worth a dart as it could be argued he is the stoutest stayer in this race. If he can jump and keep going, that could be enough.
Astigos – a real dart who could do anything here. He really does need them all to fall in a hole but that isn’t impossible as discussed. He is out the handicap but the 7lb claim offsets that and also ensures he has nothing on his back in actual weight terms. He also comes here fit and in form. He has run a couple of decent enough runs the last twice, staying on/plodding on at the end, rather than going backwards. Having looked at the runners and then looked at the market, 20s just caught my eye. My instinct said to have a dart. Not many of these come off in time but you don’t need many to hit he bulls-eye. I think he will stay and it could be he just wants a test like this now. Provided he doesn’t get too far back but can just sit and jump away in midfield, he will keep going. 3/4 others may be long gone by then but if not he could take this. No forlorn hope and unlike a few in here i’m confident he will run his race. This is only his 3rd handicap chase run in the mud over 24/25f since December 2015. His last run before that was a 7l second at Wincanton off OR120. He hasn’t exactly been over-raced in what could now be more suitable race conditions. He will need plenty to fall his way but 20s shots do and hopefully I am entertained.
GL if you play, we will need it!
Trainer/Jockey Combo – Live Test
2.5 Muss – Swing Hard (12/1<)