(2016: +75 points ; 2017 18/185, +79.5; 2018 4/42,14p, 0)
No Duffer – 1 point win – 14/1 (gen) UP 25/1
Fox Appeal – 1 point win – 12/1 (gen) UP 16/1
hmm…both have gone ok for a time there, got the heart racing for first 2/3rds of the race…in the end they both faded out a bit tamely really – on this occasion the market signs pre race where correct as they both went for a walk. The fav was too strong in the end…no bounce, LH fine, held his position well enough, jumped well, outstayed them…touch of class. Happy to take him on at 3s, the moment you stop is when the 12s+ shot you fancied bolts up. Halo Moon ran a cracker…that would have been mixed emotions if he’d have got up!
A couple of pokes here on some old favs in what is a decent veteran’s contest.
No Duffer… well I am going to assume that he needed the run first time up and that he hated the ground LTO. He has won twice after a PU last time out and also finished second a couple of times, so is used to bouncing back. There is a strong chance this has been the season’s target. Tom George is going through what I call a ‘meh’ (shrug of the shoulders) period..his horses are not in red hot form, yet not totally cold either- enough are running ok for me not to be put off at the price. I wouldn’t want to take a short price on any of his at the moment though. What lured me in with this one then? Well Paddy B takes over and he does get on well with him… 5/8,7p in handicap chases, including a victory over CD. The horse gets 1st time CP which may perk him up and I also think Paddy will be aggressive. IF the horse is in ok form he will either lead this bunch or be in the first 3…probably along with Sego and Killala. If he struggles to hold a position then it would indicate those Ps are just down to him being in rotten form, no excuses. But that’s why I wanted a price. Donny is deceptively tight/fast as a chase track, it isn’t galloping really and it can be hard to come from too far off the pace. So, at 14s, i’ll take a stab that the return of Paddy, 3rd run of the season, a return here and a return to decent ground, will see him out-run these odds. Happy to take a chance at 14s.
Fox Appeal.. ah. We all know he may capsize here, taking a fence or five with him. He would be some animal if he could jump but when he gets it all together he is decent enough and more than good enough to take this. Emma Lavelle’s form lured me in… 3/11,5p in the last 14 days and she generally does well at the track. Bar the fall LTO where he appeared to struggle out of the ground, he has a handful of decent runs to his name this season which can’t be said for a few in here. I thought a repeat of either of his 3 runs before Sandown would be good enough to put him in the mix here. I just found it hard to leave him alone at 12s. He is also the only horse in this that is top 3 in the three ratings sets I glance at, as a guide.. HRB/Geegeez Speed/Inform Racing. I just hope he has a clear round as I don’t think he will be far away if so. He knows how to win at more speedier courses (Kempton/Ludlow/NewtonA) and that is no bad thing around here where they can trap along and if you lack some speed you can find yourself with an awful lot to do…
… it’s that thinking which has made me want to take on the fav. He may well bolt up again and is entitled to on old form and the fact he arrives here at the top of his game. He could ‘bounce’. He is also 0/6,0p going LH over fences, and 0/7,0p in his career. That could just be random and the result of the tracks he has raced at, but it is something he has to prove. They won’t hang around here either and he does look a true stayer, especially in the mud. I wondered whether he may lose his position and get a bit far back, then having to make up ground. If it’s clear mid race he is happy lobbing along just off the pace then i’ve clearly got that wrong and i’ll be in trouble. I was happy to take him on. I have similar fears about Indian Castle around here, who is running out of chances for me and at single figures I could leave. I’m sure he will bolt up again one day for connections but i’d want a bigger price. If he repeats either of his two Cheltenham runs he won’t be far away…hopefully No Duffer may be away and gone by the time he gets going.
Sego Success keeps running ok and maybe the fact that he arrives here in form, along with his trainer, and races prominently will be enough. He is another who I wanted a bigger price for as he tends to flatter to deceive more often than not these days.
Halo Moon…. Now he is interesting and was high up on my list… he just has a different profile to many in here and is unexposed over this trip. He also arrives here in form and is no forlorn hope. The niggle was that he may not be good enough and the fact he has to find 20lb on a few of these IF they run their race. There is a chance many in here do not run their race though and it falls apart. You can’t say for sure this is beyond him and there is nothing in the jockey bookings… NF doesn’t ride below 10-5, or hasn’t done in the last 12 months anyway. He is the one at a price in here that I fear may leave me cursing. He will get some change just in case. In the end I thought he wouldn’t be good enough, but has younger legs than most in here…very lightly raced for his age.
Not much else interested me… Killala Quay.. well I may have him wrong but he just looks bang out of form for me and I wasn’t sure there had been many excuses for that… it could all be about the yard form of course.. Longsdon is now ‘in form’ and maybe that will see a revival in the horse. This race is much stronger than last year’s and I wasn’t totally convinced by the level of his form. But the yard is in form and he will be up there in the right spot, so 12s isn’t awful in that context. Maybe a return to Donny will spark him up again.
Carole’s Destrier just looks out of sorts but could bounce back and there are possible excuses for those two runs… he is a proper stayer though and 3m around here, on decent ground, could be sharp enough. He does have a touch of class though and if repeating his Hennessy 2nd from 2016 would wipe the floor with this lot. At a single figure price, given his recent profile/form/running style, I was happy to leave. The GN looks to be the main aim and maybe we will just see a different horse today. Out of the single figure priced ones he is probably the most interesting.
Knowing me one of the other four I have yet to mention will bolt up! But, I couldn’t have them.
It feels an open race here where provided the fav flounders, you could make a case for plenty. In that context I wanted a couple at decent prices.
GL with any bets.
Trainer/jockey combo – Live Test
3.00 Lud – Voodoo Doll (12/1< guide)
5.10 Lud – Bonnets Vino (any odds)