Regal Flow – 1 point win – 18/1 (BetB) 16/1 (gen)
Crosshue Boy – 1 point win – 9/1 (betfS) 8/1 (gen)
Actinpieces – 1 point win – 9/1 (betfS/PP/BetB) 8/1 (gen)
I’m in a rush as I write, 10.19, and really need to get my skates on and get to Aintree before the first…
My shortlist: Regal Flow / Crosshue Boy / Missed Approach / Ballyoptic
I had some stats/trends for this in the members’ post which I used as a guide.
Regal Flow…well he isn’t a perfect stats fit as 10/11 year olds haven’t won this in last decade but they have won before and the place stats are fine. This is going to be one hell of a slog in heavy, and this one has the best chase form in heavy for me, certainly over staying trips. He relishes this ground, will stay and stay, and comes here race fit after two spins. The question is whether he takes to the fences. Clearly he may hate them and jump with no fluency but over normal fences he’s a very good jumper at his best. If he’s travelling, jumping and holding a position through this, he won’t be far away at the end and will out-run his odds. He could be staying on when most of these have given up.
Crosshue Boy…he hits my trends profile and arrives here fit after a spin over hurdles. His trainer has booked young Mullins here – he’s ridden in the Grand National three times, winning once and nearly doing so again last season. He knows what he’s doing. This horse is progressive, looks sure to relish the trip, enjoys heavy, and has some upside potential. Again like Regal Flow it’s about how he takes to the fences. He won a decent enough race at Ayr and jumped well and was doing all his best work late. Again if he takes to them he won’t be far away.
Two risky ones as they don’t have experience of the fences which are still visually daunting to a horse, especially when you jump them for the first time. They do build them up higher now compared to when they first changed them, but with softer cores and thankfully fewer deaths. Fingers crossed they can both run well.
I could go through numerous reasons why I don’t like the rest at the prices and clearly I could be very wrong (likely!) Ballyoptic is a danger if fit and taking to the fences- but he has a question in heavy also and in the end I went for two who’d had runs this season. He could be one for the national. He stays well (on decent ground) and is one to watch. If a1 I won’t fall off my seat if he goes close.
Missed Approach would be the clanger… I initially was going for him but the lack of a run put me off, especially on this ground, and there are stronger stayers in this on paper – and I thought he may not actually be that good. I don’t think he’s a G3 handicapper nor a very good C2 handicapper.. I could be judging the Chelt win too harshly (I tipped him there and Chelt Fest winners are always hard to leave again subsequently!) but he got an easy lead, and only just scrapped home. He can hit a fence also, and he can be recalcitrant. He has won fresh before and the jockey booking is a positive – SWC rides these fences better than most. I will likely have a track side saver on, so i’m not in too foul a mood if he bolts up.
BlackLion is the right price/not over priced, may need the run, out of form when last seen and has a big weight to carry in this ground for a small horse. This feels deeper than last year, but I won’t be shocked if he wins clearly, but can leave at 4s.
Pipes just hasn’t shown enough for a few runs now so happy to leave but he likes heavy and these fences.
Present Man is up again in the weights and has a big question over the ground and the ground/trip. I think there will be stronger stayers in this but he will be up there and jump like a stag. He’ll be fun to watch, but I don’t think he’ll have enough to cling on- I could be wrong.
Don Poli and Noble E return after 600+ days and as such I can leave- they may both well need it if connections are to be believed with sights fixed on April. Don has plenty of class though and if a1 and jumping would keep plodding on and probably outclass this lot.
Ultragold has stamina to prove in heavy and he hasn’t even won over 3m over fences. He may relish it of course but owes me nothing having tipped him to win around these fences before. If he sees it out he will be in there pitching but you’d have to side with him emptying out until proven otherwise.
Highland Lodge – well he may place but i’d be surprised if he won. He’s 12 now and was well beaten in this last year in testing ground. I think there will be stronger stayers, but of course said stayers have to jump these fences etc – he loves them and will keep plodding on. He may be leading over the last but i’d have thought something will nab him on the run in. I could be wrong but I was happy to leave him now. I tipped him when he won his first race over these fences at big odds, so again owes me nothing.
If something else wins, then I really wasn’t anywhere near them. They all have a few too many questions to answer for me. I suppose Call It Magic had bits and pieces that interested me but not enough to tip him or even have change on as yet.
Sandown…Actinpieces… I thought she was the one overpriced here and in truth I just wanted to see her run over a marathon trip- she’s often shaped as if she ‘may’ relish it. She generally jumps well and seems to be running into fitness/form. Her yard are going well, and at her best she’d ping these fences and track the pace. What happens after the pond fence we shall see but hopefully she stays on well. I thought the rest looked around the right prices given the questions they have also, but there are some sloggers in here who would go close at their best. Tizzards was worth taking on I thought… I had a niggle about him over this trip in this ground, but he ran a cracker LTO and I could have him wrong. He wasn’t overpriced though. Wadham’s could just be a C3 horse unless his win LTO was a turning point. He can whack a fence and as such 5s or so seemed about right, but no shock winner. I won’t go through them all, maybe I haven’t mentioned the winner! Oh I thought Red Infantry had a very hard race 14 days ago and it would be some effort to follow that up here. Short enough for me but he’s progressive over these trips.
Best of luck with any bets, and apols if any typos, i don’t have time to proof read and have rushed through that!