(2016: +75 points ; 2017 18/185, +79.5; 2018 5/50,15p, +3, Festival week 2018: +92)
Church Hall – 1 point win – 12/1 (gen) UP*
Awful round of jumping…well an odd round, fine at some, rubbish at others. In the end that took it’s toll, in part maybe out of comfort zone jumping at that pace/lack of class. The winner as below no total shock and I’ve got him wrong at 8s. I didn’t spend any time considering that this may be the best ground he’s raced on for a few runs (clearly has dried out a tad I think) and the yard was a bit iffy when last seen. Mark dropped a fair bit, easier race. Ah yes and TT removed for first time in an age, as noted by a member who tipped him! Clearly got him wrong and 8/1+ winners in these races that I haven’t tipped always annoy me. I would have tipped CH whatever, and in truth I’d have been more likely to pick Halo Moon if I backed another. Moving on.
(Halo Moon 3rd and Bally Longford WON 8/1>5/1 made up my list of possibles I think, at the prices)
I think this one is worth a dabble here at double figure odds. He has clearly been hard to train but fitness shouldn’t be a problem if they want him spot on. It could be that he is best fresh anyway, certainly based on that Lingfield canter two starts ago where he somewhat bolted up and never really came off the bridle. You won’t see many handicap chase winners win like that, even if it was a weak enough contest – although the second and third have won races since, so at least there was some depth. This is just the horses 3rd chase start and despite his age is still in the ‘could be anything’ category over fences. He made an early error LTO and then UR at the fence after, so he may need to put that behind him, but given his profile and his odds I’m more than happy to roll the dice. Emma Baker clearly likes to trainer chasers and take her time with them. Her handicap hurdle record isn’t great but she is 13/76,26p with her handicap chasers in the last 5 years. Jamie B is 2/9 on all her handicappers. She is also 3/16,7p with all handicap chasers returning 60+ days in the period also. Given every horse in this race has a question or five, I wanted one at a price. He should track any pace and if he can get into a rhythm may out-run these odds. This extra couple of furlongs is an unknown, but as with yesterday’s winner there is a chance he improves further for it. Again, when you have unknowns, you want a price. He is related to the odd stayer and wasn’t stopping at Lingfield. It may be he isn’t up to this level but there is only one way to find out! (oh, and given I class him as ‘unexposed’ I don’t really care for the rise in his handicap mark, in the context of price- jumping/wellbeing/profile are more important for me with chasers than handicap marks, especially when we don’t know what their ceiling is)
Of the rest…
Given his form the fav is probably the right fav…but he has gone up 8lb…which I am not too bothered about but I am given he is 5/2 – the handicapper may not have got him yet but it’s a short price to take to find out. He also goes LH for the first time over fences which is a question. He may be fine, but in this price range you don’t want many unknowns, and he has to prove his stamina. No shock if he continues his progression but happy to take on at the odds.
The rest are a much of a muchness really… Lavelle’s horse doesn’t like winning chases- 0/11,3p, and as such his odds are cramped enough for my liking. As are the two horses that arrive here on the back of two Ps. Maybe Bally Longford or Mystical Knight will bounce back- the race has an odd feel – but I was struggling to work out why they should. Clearly if the Tizzard horse could repeat that Cheltenham run from earlier in the season he may win this well enough, and maybe 8s is worth paying change to find out. But I thought single figures was short enough given his apparent lack of well-being.
Morning Reggie has questions in the context of his price for me, happy to leave, although another with the ability to take this. I was happy to leave the rest….that leaves one more..
Halo Moon… who I thought was interesting and may be worth a saver given he arrives in form and was going forward at the line the last day. He hasn’t run a bad race since his return from injury and just being in form is a positive in this line up. I doubt he will be too far away but he wasn’t 12/1 and he felt about the right price to my eyes. But, value is always in the eye of the beholder.
So, it has an open feel to it but happy to roll the dice with the selection. Maybe the Curtis or Tizzard horse leave me thinking what if, or indeed another one mentioned.
GL with any bets
No micro qualifiers.