Free Tips: 2019 – 2/27, 5p, +8 (+ 21 BFSP)
The Irish Grand National – 5pm Fairyhouse
Any Second Now – 1 point win – 12/1 (gen) 14.00 (BetfExc)
Shady Operator – 1 point win – 12/1 (bet365/Uni/Boyle) 11/1 (gen) 14.00 (BetfExch)
Tout Est Permis – 1 point win – 20/1 (gen) 40.00 (BetfExch)
that’s all for this race, 10.40, write ups…
Well this race has nearly given me a headache and while you can never be confident going into a race like this, not much would surprise me this year… those horses that PU/Fell LTO are a combined 0/61, 8p in the last 22 years. A third of the field this year fell or PU LTO and I never like such a profile going into these feature staying handicaps/nationals. If one of them takes it then so be it, and in any case most of them have a fair few other questions to answer also. I don’t really like how Gordon now just throws darts at this race – I don’t have an issue with the no. of runners, but the 6 that ran at Aintree bug me – as this just strikes me as an afterthought and we will just run them for the sake of it – if one of those Aintree horses leaves those runs/UR/Fell/PU/Didn’t stay efforts behind them, then again, so be it. I didn’t want any of those onside, even though I backed two of them in that! Gulp. Willie Mullins is now 0/34,3p in this race… again this doesn’t seem to be one he targets, and very much running some for the sake of it. Maybe this is the year he breaks his duck in the race, but again I didn’t like any of his, at the prices.
I prefer when this race is proper soft/heavy – as some obviously handle such conditions, many don’t. I was lucky to land on the right Gigginstown horses in this last year, but this Good/yielding makes this race more difficult – most in here want some cut, some will be fine on the ground, some soft ground horses will seemingly get away with it. It’s hard to discount anything on the going, esp as they’d have watered plenty. But that’s the game, and it’s good fun trying to solve these puzzles, especially when they feel as challenging as it gets.
In terms of ‘profile’ for this… well in the last 10 years, those that have placed at least once on last 4 starts, 0-2 wins in handicaps, 1-3 chase wins… all 10 had that profile. That helps get the field down to 13 or so. I used 11 stats as pointers in total, and those that had 9/11, 10/11, or 11/11… Any Second Now / Isleofhopesanddreams / Shader Operator / Gun Digger / Bellow Mome / Whisperinthebreeze / Roaring Bull . As always stats for these races are only a guide.
To the selections…
Tout Est Permis…
I’ll start with him as he’d be somewhat of a trends buster. I just couldn’t leave him at 20s given he’s obviously the best horse in the race on what they’ve done and what they promise to do also – we haven’t seen the last of his improvement and he’s the only horse in this line up that next season could/should progress into a grade 1 chaser. I suspect the Gold Cup will be the long term aim, and what he does next autumn onwards will dictate if he gets there. He’s the classiest horse in the race imo, and this looks to have been the plan. There was talk of him running at Cheltenham and I don’t know if he was scratched or they decided to bypass it with this race the plan. The break won’t be a problem in terms of his profile – he’s won after breaks and goes well fresh. I’d like to think fitness won’t be an excuse but at the price i’ll chance it. He is top weight but ‘only’ 11-7 on his back and the top 6/7 are closely rated. From the various videos of all these runners that i’ve spent my morning flicking through, he looks the best jumper to me also. He runs as if he will relish this distance but of course until they try, you never know. It could be something is better treated in here but i’ve no doubt he’s yet to reach the ceiling of his ability. IF he runs his race, and he stays, I think he’s the one to beat. I couldn’t let that price go, as he could do an Our Duke who was OR 153/11-4 going into this and hacked up. It’s not impossible he’s in that league and he’s well developed/experienced for his age, with big handicap wins to his name already. I’m excited to see how he goes here.
Any Second Now…
He’s the one that initially jumped out in this, even before I did the stats/trends work and took a proper look. 12s is fair and has lured me in. Of those with a recent run, he arrives here with the best piece of recent handicap chase form on offer – in the sense that he won, over 26f, in a Festival Handicap, and he wasn’t stopping come the line. I’m not sure as to the strength of the Kim Muir this year, but he couldn’t have done any more and he cruised through the race, showing some tactical speed as they came down the hill to three out. I don’t think this handicap mark will stop him as he shaped there as if he could improve again for a step up in trip. And he’s still unexposed in handicaps. I do always have a niggle with a horse in blinkers in these big field chases, esp one that isn’t a front runner/runs on the pace. Something niggles at me that he may hit a fence, or be unsighted etc, but then he was held up mid div LTO in a big field, and jumped very well around Chelt. Hopefully MW may run him a tad closer to the pace. IF he runs his race, I’d be disappointed if he isn’t bang there 2 out, and then we will see what happens.
In the end I was torn between the two JP horses and rather than being annoyed at having picked the wrong one – if i’m so lucky that one of them wins – I thought i’d just go with both of them. 11s/12s may be getting on the short side I suppose, but he’s unexposed, his best run came over 25f, RH, Good ground , three starts back, and he’s got nothing on his back. I’ve no doubt he’ll prove better than this mark at some point. He runs as if he’s a stayer in the making. Whether this comes too soon for this 6 year old – an age group that have won this before (2011) – we shall see, but he’ll prefer this trip much better to LTO. He seemed desperately outpaced at Chelt and couldn’t hold a position. Trying to keep tabs on them eventually took it’s toll. All of his best runs have also been RH, and he gives the impression he doesn’t like going the other way round. Hopefully he can hold a handy position, pop away, and again if he’s there 2/3 out, i’ll have something to cheer. I liked his attitude when he won at Punchestown.
So, i’ve gone with three that have a mix of experience, all with the odd question (like many in this) but three who’s best days over fences we haven’t seen as yet imo.
Obviously I may not have mentioned the winner! This looks so tough – so many in here do just look out of form, and plenty have stamina questions also – with many in here without even a win over 24f, which is always a positive in my book.
Of Gordon Elliot’s battalion, I looked most closely at Gun Digger and Roaring Bull. Maybe those two will go well. However, I don’t like the way the former jumped at Cheltenham. He took a crunching fall but it wasn’t a shock to my eyes as he’d been guessy at plenty of fences before that, – Jack may make all the difference, but they lobbed along in that race and they’ll be much more pressure here. However, if he jumps, he looks likely to do the best of his string to my eyes. Roaring Bull… well he’s an outsider and an odd jockey booking – they are 0/11,0p when teaming up – I wasn’t sure if he’d be up to this level and I had a big stamina concern. But he is unexposed, and at least arrives here on the back of running his race LTO, unlike many from the yard this year.
The Mullins fav is clearly well fancied and money has poured on this morning – if he stays, then he looks a big danger, given his recent runs and you’d have to think he’s still very well handicapped. On reflection he could also be a G1 horse in a handicap, potentially, along with Tout Est Permis. It will be interesting to see how he’s ridden but 6s is getting shot for one yet to race beyond 25f, esp in a big field/proper gallop, and I can live in hope that he won’t get home! I could be in trouble if he does, and maybe he’ll be the one to improve on Willie’s poor record in the race to date.
Anyway, I could go on. Hopefully Noel Meade’s exciting grey (he should be easy to spot!) can simply out-class these. And if not, JP can take it with one of those two above.
Best of luck