Vino Griego – 1 point win – 8/1 (gen)
Lithic – 1 point win – 10/1 (bet365/BV) 9/1 (gen)
Maybe I’ve been on too much Vino…poor. the old boy went well for a log way but clearly has now fully regressed I think. Maybe he will pop up one day but I won’t be on. As always when a big priced horse goes in that I wasn’t near it is frustrating. I gave him a good look but clearly not close enough. Right to take on the fav but that’s as good as it got. My ‘meh’ junps season continues.
This feels an open enough race and I suppose it depends on whether the fav turns out to be a machine, which isn’t impossible. He is the thoroughly unexposed/could be anything type but he is just a shade too inexperienced for me and he looks on the short side given what he has to prove. First run at the track, in a much more competitive race than LTO and there is a chance that he ‘bounces’. He can beat me at 5/2. He’s the type you’d like to land on at 8/1, backed into 3s, makes all. But he isn’t 8s and has to be taken on. Who to do that with is the question…
Vino Griego…he ran the last day as if he could be about to strike and I just wonder whether he may be spot on now. He led 3 out the last day in a much much stronger race than this I think, and was up there for a long way. That came on the back of an early unseat the race before and he was sent off 25/1. I wouldn’t be surprised if he still needed it and in any case may not be up to that level anymore. He is on a basement mark and in a basement class compared to his very best and I think there were enough signs last time that he could be good enough still to win this. Jamie will be aggressive on him and I suspect Nico, given his mounts inexperience, may be happy to let him get on with it. The visor returns, he drops in class, and if he can get into a rhthym on the front he could be hard to catch. He does like the mud and a few in here have that to prove, esp if more on the heavy/sticky side. Nothing on his back either. Maybe the old legs have gone but he had 2 years off before his latest return and they must have persevered with him for a reason. He looked more interesting than most in here.
Lithic… well I generally want a double figure price with a Jonjo horse as the yard is so in and out. I don’t think they are really out of form having had a flick through recent runners – many big priced horses not expected to do anything or horses not running in ideal conditions. Capard King gave some indication that the odd one is going well. This one is the other interesting horse in the race – he has chase experience but is unexposed and untried at this trip. He runs as if he may relish it and I am banking on the step up bringing about improvement. He has won after a break before and maybe they think he is best fresh. He also ran well here LTO when running on late and I found it interesting that they bring him back here. Aidan keeps the ride and he will race prominently I think, if here to run his race. Race conditions look fine and if he runs his race I don’t think he will be far away. At 9/1, 10/ I couldn’t help myself. Jonjo’s overall track stats look poor here, but he is 1/10,3p in C3 handicap chases in the last 5 years, which looks a bit better than the 2/65 for all runners.
Of the rest…well the other two on the shortlist were Potters Legend and Bally Longford. They will probably rub salt in the wound and finish a 1-2 now! The latter.. well he was a PU the last day having never gone a yard and that Ascot run suggests he does have a stamina question also, esp in this ground. The yard is in their best form of the season and maybe that has been the reason for his poor efforts. He can clout a fence also. In the end, 8s wasn’t big enough for me. Potters Legend…something in my gut just said no I think, at 7/1. I wanted 10s+ given how disappointing he has been. There was so much hope for him last season but he just looks out of sorts this year. There were signs of life LTO and maybe the return of Leighton will help. Wadham is also in some decent form for the first time this year and I can see the case. I may have a saver on just in case. (I have had a saver on) But he can be held up and he has started to hit the odd fence also. He should be good enough to take a race like this. He has to prove it on heavy also. Something just niggled at me, I couldn’t work out why he would just bounce back into winning form. It is a marked drop in class from LTO and a step up in trip – but 2m5f around Cheltenham isn’t exactly a breeze on the stamina front, and he went well for a long way in the Hennessy so it wasn’t a lack of class that got him so far back for me. We shall see. He is the potential clanger but I think I can live with getting him wrong at his price.
Trainer/Jockey Combo – Live Test
4.05 Sand – Vino Griego (14/1<)