Full Jack – 1 point win – 12/1 (gen) 11/1 (gen)
Southfield Theatre – 1 point win – 7/1 (gen)
Yala Enki – 1 point win – 9/1 (gen)
Holly Bush Henry – 1 point win – 8/1 (gen)
Full Jack… This is his second run for the yard and I think this is a ‘trainer uplift’ although that isn’t based on any facts as such! Sandy Thompson is very good with these older horses and so is Rachael McDonald. They are very good with them over marathon trips. Given he came a decent fourth in this race last year I would like to think this has been the plan, with a prep over hurdles here LTO. With the jockey claim he is effectively 13lb lower than he was last year, as such has nothing on his back, and he does have a touch of class. He is lightly enough raced for his age, especially over fences, and at extreme trips. The put some headgear back on him which may help him focus also. He can be a bit tricky and I wanted a double figure price. The trainer is 6/21,12p with all runners here in the last year, trainer and jockey are 4/12,7p. I am hoping they are aggressive with him. McDonald is a bit like Bryony Frost in that she can get horses into a lovley rhythm and jumping fence to fence. Usually. There is some pace on here but i’d like to think she could adopt a position in the front 4 and be up there. I don’t like horses coming from a long way back at this track, although Dancing Shadow did just that last year. Of those at a double figure price he looked the most interesting to my eyes. Fingers crossed he can out-run his odds.
Southfield Theatre… I agonised and agonised over this one. My head says I should want a bigger price, 3-4 points more, given his profile and how he can race. I am also hoping they don’t get too much rain and it turns proper soft. I was deliberating for a while but decided I would be more annoyed if he won this and I wasn’t on, than the prospect of him getting outpaced, throwing in the towel, and coming nowhere, another point loaned back to the bookies. I also looked at Paul Nicholls’ stats with handicap chasers that ran in Heavy LTO, that Pulled Up and that today were running on Soft or better ground (ie the Heavy being the reason for the PU)… 6/19,9p,+72 all time, 4/6,5p, since 2013. Those stats tipped me over the edge! I don’t think this horse likes it very soft but he does have a touch of class at his best. With the 5lb claim he is very very well handicapped against some old form and his runs at Sandown over 29f suggest he should stay. He has also gone better for longer on recent starts since they were more aggressive on him. Frost will try and lead here or at least be right up there. Well I hope so, he has tried to make all on his last few starts and has been enjoying himself, until the ground has sapped him a bit I think. The tongue tie returns and Nicholls is in great form again, 4/14,5p the last 14 days. This is Frost’s first ride on him and some of these horses really do respond to her. I thought he was the one in this with a bit of proven class and he could bounce back on better ground. He is well handicapped, yard in form, races prominently, I think he will stay…ticked plenty of boxes and at 7/1 I convinced myself to have a go. If the Heavy wasn’t the reason for the PU the last day (yard was quiet then also) it will be a point gone. Fingers crossed, again.
Of the rest.. Bells N Banjos is a danger but I didn’t think 6s was generous given the 98 day break, the fact he can get behind in his races (generally not good around here) and he does have to prove he stays. Were he a bigger price i’d be more interested as he runs as if wanting a trip. I was happy to leave the rest for one reason or another.
Yala Enki – this looks a tricky race where you could make a case for plenty. I thought 9s was a shade too big here and just allows for the chance that he could be shattered from his last run, and fade out tamely. That is a fear for a few in this, inc Final Nudge. This horse has been running well on recent starts (i’ll blame the CP for his poor Ascot run, and ground not soft enough) and was up there at Haydock for a very long way. That pace battle may have told in the end and there is a chance he is better over a stiff 24f rather than 26f. It won’t be as heavy here and that drop in trip should help. This boy has a touch of class, can carry big weights to victory, and importantly is a prominent racer. That has tipped me into backing him. They will try and make all here.. they may have to sit behind Loose Chips for a time (a chance his legs not as quick/if he is ahead he may be doing too much) but he should fade away at some point! Hopefully. He will be in the right spot to take it up. He is good RH, jumps well, and tends to keep galloping. I don’t think Venetia’s are going as badly as her stats suggest. Plenty of big priced horses that have done nothing, the odd winner and horse going close, and plenty of excuses for a few of them. The horse suggests he’s in form. He is handicapped to go in again. I thought there is a chance he out-classes these. Oh and Venetia has won this race twice in recent years, the horse ticks a few of my stats pointers also.
Holly Bush Henry – he raced prominently the last day and I hope James Bowen does the same, tracking Yala Enki- maybe those two will fight it out over the last! This horse is in superb form and is unexposed over fences and at this trip. He stays well and handles the mud and I think this track may suit him. He won a shade cosily at Fakenham and he just arrives here in winning form, not many can say that. Well, only one other. He still has upside potential and should go well. He may be outclassed near the end maybe but it is hard to say what his ceiling may be over fences. He has won a C2 over hurdles. They put CP on his for the first time here. He bolted up in first time blinkers and may be one that needs his mind cajoling as much as anything else. He has been very consistent and barring an accident should be bang there for me. His trainer is one to watch, with some very impressive stats from those horses he sends out.
Of the rest….
Final Nudge/Sametegal/Shanroe Santos made up my shortlist I think. The former was short enough for me given it’s his first run at the track over fences, he is 5lb above that Wincanton 2nd and he had a hard race LTO. Clearly I won’t fall off my seat if he wins and conditions look ideal. (although outstayed/out-battled at Wincanton maybe) But I thought his price was about right and not overly generous. I can live with him beating me at 5s. Shanroe Santos – Wadham has a good record in this but the horse can’t jump. Well he can but this season he has compromised his chances by taking the odd fence with him. They keep holding him up. Idiots. Given his jumping they really should try him from the front one day, setting the fractions. Maybe they will try that today. He has threatened to go well in a race of this nature, but if a few others run their race I think he could be out-classed here. I think they will hold him up, I think he may hit a fence or 5. I was happy to leave.
Sametegal is the interesting one and saver material possibly. Knowing my luck i have picked the wrong Nicholls horse in the two races! I wanted a bigger price given I don’t think he will stay. I can’t say that for sure but he isn’t exactly a strong finisher over 2m4/5f. In this ground it could take some getting. But, it is an unknown. 3m ‘could’ be the making of him. He is the one horse in the race with a ‘different’ and ‘interesting’ profile, generally up against a load of been there and done it handicappers (well, Longsdon’s could be anything but he is short given his chasing inexperience, ridiculous price and I can live with him bolting up at 6s, I could’t have it…this will be unlike anything he has faced…were he 12s+, then a different ball game).. that may make the difference. The yard is in form as we know and he has a touch of class. He should go well and may look like the winner at one stage, just whether he gets up the hill. If he does, I could be in trouble! Cogry may run a fine race but i’ll only back him again when Sam is on I think. (5/9 on the horse). Jamie is now 0/5 and the horse can headbutt a fence as we know. If he jumps to his best he won’t be far away. The Twiston Davies yard form put me off also- so many of his are stopping quickly after cruising- suggesting illness or many have missed vital work due to conditions at home on the gallops etc. (or the flu jab, or a combination of the lot!) I want to see some green shoots before wading into his again. There are none as yet. Bishops Road probably wants further and is another who can belt a fence. He stays well and if a slog, and he jumps, may not be far away. Backing two 10 year olds today who PU LTO was asking for trouble though! I may not have mentioned the winner but was happy to leave everything else.
That’s the lot on the tipping front.
Kerry Lee Chasers (12/1<)
1.15 Sand – Top Gamble (m1) / Gino Trail (m1/m2)
1.35 Weth – Grey Gold (m1)
3.35 Sand – Bishops Road (m1)
Trainer/Jockey Combo – Live Test
3.35 Sand – Vino Griego (14/1<)
1.15 Sand – Gino Trail (12/1<)
That’s the lot for today.
GL with any bets,