From the members’ post, main chase tips – they had a profitable yet underwhelming 2019, and i’ll be working hard to do better in 2020, starting with >>>
#1 WILD WEST WIND – 1 point win – 16/1 (bet365/BV/888) 14/1 (others)
#2 HORATIO HORNBLOWER – 1 point win – 16/1 (Lad) 14/1 (gen)
Wild West Wind –
I try to avoid the Vets chases generally speaking, unless something really jumps out, but I can rarely resist having a go at this Finale – the Vets series one of the better BHA initiatives. 16s seemed generous for this one given the form of the yard and George knows how to win Vets races. Johnny Burke is riding like a man possessed also. This one has travelled superbly the last twice, jumping well and swinging away behind the pace – at Warwick he blew up, seemingly needing it I suspect (although he’s clearly had breathing problems) and LTO at Kelso he ran well- there’s a chance JJ went for home too soon, on a long run in with the last two fences dolled off, as he only tied up late. He may have also been idling, and it’s interesting that George reaches for the CP, and the tongue tie returns. He’s lightly raced for his age and this could well be his Gold Cup. I thought he may swing into this until 2 out, and then we shall see how he responds to pressure/when/if he hits the front. There are reasons to be hopeful to my eyes and 16s looked a tad insulting. It could be he’s just a weak finisher but he won’t be done for stamina I don’t think, and the headgear/TT/JJ knowing him better, and indeed the better form of the yard from when he was last seen (4/19 last 14 days) maybe the reasons for a winning performance today.
Horatio Hornblower –
Seemingly a horse i’ve never got right, having never tipped him before from memory – that was the same for when my pin landed on Buywise in this in Jan 18 and with any luck lightening can strike twice. His price leaves me puzzled somewhat, given he’s in the best form of any of these to my eyes. He’s ‘only’ won 5 chases in his life, but 2 of those have been his last two runs – I do wonder if his last two efforts have caught up with him, or will catch up with him – that’s the only reason I can think of for why he’s this price/won’t run his race – it could be clear he’s just not feeling it early on/hasn’t had a long enough break after Donny – however, if he runs his race, he won’t be far away here. He’s been tracking the pace, or did LTO, and Chester has got to know him/has been riding him well. HH also has course form and that 3rd here in March was solid, with unexposed/progressive horses in front. At his best he just jumps, gallops and sticks his head down for you.
Hopefully both of them race prominently enough, with Japek trying to make all I suspect.
The dangers? Well it’s open and one reason for not diving into these Vets races too often is because these older horses can have a mind of their own and may not decide until very late in the day whether they can be bothered or not – and of course they’ll all have aches and pains now.
The other double figure priced one I was sort of interested in was On Tour, who was around 10s/11s gen – maybe I was remembering Buywise – same owners/trainer/running style – the 1st Visor may spark him up and if he got back to the level of form two starts ago would go close here – I did think some others may see the trip out better up this hill, but I could be wrong on that. And he is usually ridden very cold. I think I wanted a bigger price, but he’s interesting and connections may be left wondering why they’ve never tried this headgear previously. Adam Wedge may have had the choice, which could be significant, but they haven’t just booked anybody as a replacement. The short break may see him in a better light also.
I didn’t like the ones at single figure odds, none of them looked overpriced to my eyes. Vieux Lion Rouge – he only seems to run his best races after a break now, and has generally been kept LH over fences in recent years. Again, like many in here, they could just bounce into form and at their ‘Veteran Best’ would go close. I thought he may just be out of form now but I suppose he was thereabouts in the Becher until just after 3 out, he did lose a shoe and has a touch of staying class. I was happy to leave the other bigger priced ones for various reasons.
Best of luck