Wakanda – 1 point win – 8/1 (gen)
Three Musketeers – 1 point win – 16/1 (gen)
as of 17.55 Friday…
Wakanda – this looks a competitive little contest and the sort I can’t resist, but probably should given how freezing cold my current form is. I’m probably the only one left still backing my tips at the moment but it will turn one day, promise! I thought this one should be a couple of points shorter here. In a way i’ve gone back to basics… the yard are flying – 7/33,13p the last month, 3/5 the last 14 days. Sue Smith is also 3/13,8p in this race, the winning most trainer. Two of those wins were with 10 year olds. Horses that ran at Wetherby LTO are 6/26, 13p in this race, those running at Haydock LTO, 4/19,8p. All of those factors made this one of interest. I think a mark of 146 is manageable given he’s won off 151 in the past, and last Jan just scrambled home in the Skybet chase off 145. Given the trainer’s record in this race, i’m assuming it may have been the plan. He returned over hurdles two starts back, which may indicate as much. He ran ok LTO on livelier ground than ideal and may have done too much too soon. Of course he may not have been fully tuned up, if indeed this has been the plan, but I thought there were encouraging signs there. He has some of the best staying chase form on offer in this – last year’s Skybet Chase was a competitive renewal, and he came a hd second in the Rowland Meyrick the run before that. He’s chased home Definitly Red over fences before. Soft ground holds no fears, he’s tough, and I suspect Danny will be aggressive with him near or on the front end. I thought there was plenty to like about his chance at 8s, and that he could easily be 6s in here.
Three Musketeers – a riskier one clearly and it’s possible i’ve now lost all of my marbles but he just had a different profile to the rest and the yard are in fine form also- 7/25,11p the last 14 days. This is only his 11th chase, and 5th in handicaps. It’s his first chase over 24f+ in soft – I found that interesting and he does run as if he’s well worth a go over this trip with his favoured underfoot conditions. All four of his career wins have been in soft and I’d like to think this ground will be testing enough – possibly that tacky/hard work sort of ground. He was a multiple Grade 2 winner as a 5 year old and finished a 5L 4th in the 2016 G1 JLT at the Festival. His chase mark is starting to look inviting now and i’d be surprised if he doesn’t pick up a race before the season is out. Clearly i’m hoping it’s this one and the 50 day break suggests it ‘may’ have been a plan. He’s won after similar breaks before. Clearly he needs to prove he stays, he may not. But he runs as if he’s worth a go over it and it would be the reason for improvement. With this sort of unknown you want a decent price, and I get that. He ran ok LTO I thought – he was bang there as they turned for home, having been under the pump for an age. They seemed to be going too quick for him there- 20f on GS seemed too short, but there were signs of promise. They remove the CP here and I thought he could be a lively outsider. I’d like to see him nibbled at and won’t hold out much hope if he’s 20s+ come the off!
Daklondike...well I won’t be shocked if he wins this, having tipped him to victory LTO in the members’ club. I’m not sure i’ve tipped many since, such has been my awful form. This is only his 9th chase start and he knows how to win. He’s a grinder who will stay and clearly handles the track. He’s now on a career high mark but could be open to more progress. He’s also usually held up and I didn’t think this would be as testing as LTO- however I could have that wrong. They are due some rain, but any frost etc, may make this ground very holding – which may play to his strengths. He may appreciate this step up in trip. This race is much deeper than LTO though – that race was packed with 130s animals, with the second idling late/stamina giving way. This race is packed with 140s animals and is a step up in class, but of course many may not run to form. All in all I was a bit on the fence as to whether 13/2 was overpriced or not. No doubt i’ve got that wrong as with the Classic Chase winner, and he’ll now storm home! Pipe has won this race before, and provided he doesn’t get too far back, he should be closing over the last couple.
I was happy to leave the rest at the odds. 6s was short enough for Otago Trail for me, given his age and how he ran LTO. Maybe that was just a bad day at the office. He has the ability to feature but does also have to prove his stamina. I didn’t think he was overpriced and nor was Robinsfirth at 6s after 400 days off. He does have a very good record after such breaks though and team Tizzard won this last year. He’s lightly raced for his age but this is the deepest race he’s contested I think. If a1 he may not be far away, but i didn’t want to dive in at that price. Captain Redbeard just doesn’t jump well enough for me and I wasn’t sure he’d be up to this level- he’s got a bit to prove now, having been beaten well enough in this last year when not many finished. Red Infantry – I wasn’t sure he’d be good enough either, but he may prove me wrong. He’s in form, but this is a much deeper race than his last two I think and he’s now 10lb above that win two starts back, so needs a career best. 8s may be fair enough, but I could make more interesting cases for others. I see no reason why Ballyarthur should finish ahead of the Pipe horse and he ran like a non stayer for this trip to my eyes, even if it was heavier. He needs more for me, and no Sam today. I think Ballydine needs to step up also, and may not have the same class as a few of these. He gets CP and a new jockey, and both may have a positive impact.
I assume One For Arthur is here for the day out. He’s being aimed at The Grand National and i’d be shocked if he was fully tuned up for this, esp given his mark of 154. They wont’ want to be adding to that rating before the weights are locked down. And they won’t mind if he drops a few. Cue a demolition job! 🙂 Chase The Spud looks gone at the game I think and I can’t touch him in his current form. This may not be far enough or heavy enough.
Clearly you can make cases for plenty in here but I thought my two may be the overpriced ones. I fear Pipe’s the most, and those three look most interesting to my increasingly dodgy eyes.
Best of luck with any fancies, as always.