2. Summer Jumps Angles (report TBC)
3. Flat Turf Angles (report TBC)
4.Other/Updates (Punting Pointers HERE>>> )
(Members’ User Guide/Info : READ HERE>>>) (to be updated)
x2 from me today, write ups at the bottom…
#1 – 2.20 Ayr – I’m To Blame – 1 point win – 12/1 > 13/2, UP -1 … exciting as they swung for home and then soon swallowed up/going backwards, having settled well enough, does just look regressive now and not one to trust on that evidence given how quickly he stopped. The seemingly out of form Jardine banging one in.
#2 – 4.25 Fake – Game Line – 1 point win – WON 8/1 > 4/1, +8
2. Summer Jumps Angles
(all qualifiers = 0/6, 1p, -6) (star rating ‘ ♦ ‘ = 0/2, 0p, -2)
4.25 Fake – Mercian Knight 22/1 UP -1
4.45 South – Huntsman’s Jog H1 10/3 ♦ UP -1 ..hmm, maybe he’s a lazy sod and/or too high in the handicap/needs a break.
5.15 South – Ballyhill 6/1 UP -1
6.50 South – Billy The Squid 15/2 NR
3. Flat Turf Angles
(all qualifiers = 1/5, 1p, -4.17) (star rating ‘ ♦ ‘ = 0/0, 0p, 0)
Note: I’ve finished the summer jumps research now, i’ll keep access to the full reports (inc Flat) for members only, when the subs return next week sometime, but will send out a free guide with a few of the angles also.
Free Report... someone emailed in asking for an old report I produced looking at the importance of race position in handicap chases… if you’ve never read it, you can flick through HERE>>>
Nothing doing on Monday. I’m still scratching my head with Mellow Ben, seemingly finishing of his race with some running left, which would suggest jockey error – he was moving forwards down the back and looked likely to be around 3rd/just off the pace as they approached the last down the back/swung for home, but in no time at all he was last again and didn’t visually look like maximum effort was being applied from there on in, the race getting away from him. They’ll have their reasons for not adopting usual prominent tactics, possibly how keen he was down to the start/through the early part of the race. (if parking to one side the idea that having been backed from 13/2s into 3s SP, he was never there to win today – this game becomes rather unenjoyable if you assume it’s all a bit dodgy, for all that a certain percentage obviously is)
I had a good ‘twitter chat’ with James Millman (Rod’s son/assistant trainer/RTV pundit) who’s always willing to engage and share his thoughts, and he usually says something intriguing. He said most horses who attempt to make all/or do make all, have very hard races from his experience, and if they go too hard (as he did twice at Kempton earlier in the season) that effort (and dropping back through runners I assume), can knock their confidence. And some connections will switch to more patient tactics, especially if aggressive tactics haven’t been working, in order to try and get some confidence back/rekindle enthusiasm. I suppose if i’m being generous this is the first time the horse has properly finished off a race since his fine Newbury effort back in November. And they have managed to get his mark down. Getting 13/2 about 3s shots is the way to do it long term, but its frustrating when they finish with running left after exaggerated waiting tactics. The race clearly did set up for a closer and he was ahead of Versatility down the back. Maybe next time. For all he’s clearly tricky, but with some ability. Maybe they are just waiting for a return to Fontwell over 2m5/6f, make all. Had Versatility not stumbled after the last he’d have won, which would have been an even more frustrating result given I fancied him at Haydock. This was clearly more his level, he could be a confidence/rhythm horse, and he should find compensation somewhere soon if able to back up. His best form didn’t read as well as Ben’s, but his Ludlow win five starts back was ok, as was his second to St Barts after that on soft, and those two efforts came after a ‘running’ on effort at Bangor – form since franked by Man of The Mountain and Captain Tommy (and in the context of Monday’s race, solid form). He’s clearly well handicapped for all he won’t be missed next time I doubt. He could be worth a go over a bit further also.
Jonjo’s C5 handicapper didn’t run very well, back peddling before falling, I’m yet to see if he got up but fingers crossed. It was a flat effort having been sat in the perfect spot, finding nothing when Junior started to squeeze midway down the back, having been clipped into 9s>6s and travelled well until that point. He’s clearly not one to 100% rely on for the moment, for all that the yard can blow hot and cold. Maybe he bled or there is still a wind issue, as he did stop rather quickly. A former point winner who looks a unit, while he’s clearly moderate, maybe chasing and that tempo will see him to better effect, the fences keeping him more engaged through a race.
My write ups…
I’m To Blame… and depending on how he runs here could be aptly named! This one is at the riskier end of the scale and I wouldn’t have wanted a single digit price but i’ve been lured in as I just failed to get away from his back end 2019 form into 2020. This horse is very well handicapped again and of what these have done over fences, he has the best chase form by quite some way. It’s a question of whether he can ever recapture those heights – there was some promise LTO over 20f in a deeper race than this, joined 3 out and quickly passed by Cracking Find and Defi Sacre, potentially lacking the gears to go with them, or he wants cut in the ground which after the rain he’ll get today. Or he’s just regressive, but that was the best run of the season from him, having been oddly campaigned to my eyes over trips far too short. They now step him up 1/2 a mile to 3m and remove the hood – we saw with Captain Tommy on Sat what the removal of headgear ‘can’ do, having a positive effect if it’s been on a while. (when combined with some other changes also) He certainly didn’t look to pull LTO and maybe he will feel set free here. Or he does too much. The yard are in fine form and the horse usually races prominently and at his best is a decent jumper of a fence. If he can’t show more in these conditions, they really are struggling.
So, he’s doing a few things differently as to reasons for improvement, on the back of an OK run just 24 days ago. But, even if he does improve/run his race, why should he take this? He’s 1/6,3p over fences (6/17,9p in his career), more to come, and races off 123 here. He started this season on 135, having hit a peak of 137 over fences in Jan 2020, when beating Mahlervous at Musselburgh. That came on the back of an ok run in a C3 Novice chase over 16f in soft, Protek Des Flos, Glinger Flame and Ravenhill Road in behind him, who’d go on to win 6 between them since and came into that race rated in the low 130s. That effort was on the back of ‘the’ best piece of handicapping form in the race over fences I think – a fine staying on second to Two For Gold at Carlisle over 20f, in soft, off 135 in a C3 Novice handicap chase. That race has produced 15 subsequent winners, inc the winner who’s since won 3 and is now rated 147. Behind him he had Chapel Stile and Sam’s Adventure (Eider winner), Hill Sixteen further back, Dominateur a faller. It really is very good form in the context of a race like this and over that CD in soft, and how he ran, suggests 3m around an Ayr is well worth a go and it would also suggest he may have been finding this season’s races all happening a bit too quickly for him. His Muss chase win was over 22f, staying on. He finished that season in Feb when not far off On The Blind Side and Sams Adventure in a jumpers bumper. He was off 315 days before returning in Jan, possibly an injury and maybe he’s just not the same horse.
IF Keith Dalgleish ever gets him back to something like the form above, clearly he’s hacking up of this mark and in a northern race such as this. At 11s or so i’ll pay to find out whether its today.
Of the rest- well it’s mediocre enough. Bootlegger is probably the right fav as there’s more to come from him also, for all that i’m not sold on his stamina as yet and i’m not sure he wanted the rain. But he is the one to beat on recent efforts I think/a progressive profile. He can be ridden more patiently than ideal also though. William of Orange is in decent form and that may be enough, but up in class here, and this looks deeper than his recent races. He is 10 now, up another 6lb, and open to attack. I was happy to oppose but he’s fit, in form and he stays – and that will count for something here. Bafana Blue has the ability, and the mark, to take this, but 9/2 or so didn’t look overpriced to me given he’s 10 and its his 27th chase, open to attack from more progressive rivals – but he does know how to win, all ground comes alike, he races prominently, jumps well, stays and actually of those near the top of the market, i’d probably prefer to have him onside over the fav at the odds. But i’m trying to make cases for unexposed/more to come horses generally, that is the place to focus long term, and he will need more than his Wetherby win where he scraped home from Billy Bronco – so so form, and that may just be as good as he is now. He was bang there in The Highlands National turning for home until stamina gave way, a decent 3rd.
The rest had even more questions for me and I was happy to leave them. Ian Jardine has Exit To Where… i’m not sure what’s happening with that yard at the moment, 0/46, 3p in the last 30 days, only 4/103, 18p in the last 90 days – possibly illness/issues, or he doesn’t have the horses/badly handicapped etc. But something to keep an eye on as if it is illness, when they do come right again, which they will do one day, he could have a few decent handicapped horses on his hands, or horses seemingly bouncing back to life having been running appallingly.
Game Line – I thought this race was between the top four in the market and I couldn’t work out the price disparity between this one and the other three. Baffling to my eyes. While this is his 19th chase he does appear to be progressing, aged only seven, since switched the Bowens, the blinkers being applied and since he returned after a mid season break, with the yard going better. (fingers crossed a typical Bowen bonanza over the summer, the string having been ill for at least 12-14 months I think before Christmas, they look back to normal again now) The horse hasn’t really run a bad race on his last six starts (when the blinkers went on) and he comes here on the back of a career best (on RPRs anyway, a 115), winning that Newton Abbot race fairly comfortably come the line. It’s his three runs before that which interest me from a ‘hot form’ perspective and he does have the strongest form on paper of any of these I think, certainly in recent weeks. At Ffos las, for all a C5, it was a race of well handicapped horses. 4 subsequent winners in and around him. His Carlisle win is ‘the’ piece of strong form though – he did that easily, 26f, heavy, 8 subsequent winners including the two who chased him home, High Counsel further back. None of them are world beaters, but in the context of this race it’s solid form and again indicates he was beating in form and well handicapped horses. Always a positive. Two starts back at Sedgefield he looked a bit tapped for toe heading for home, in a race dictated by the winner Gran Paradiso. He was chucked in that day and has hacked up again since (add to notebook, withdrawn from Highland National, he’s still very well handicapped, esp ‘up North’) and the second, Another Emotion, then won a C2 series finale at Carlisle rather comfortably. (for all a weak C2, but still decent). Game Line did stay on that day.
So, he has the form, what looks a progressive profile, and he usually tracks the pace, in the right ‘no excuses’ spot. I thought he’s been shaping over 26f as if he’s well worth a crack at this 29f as it ‘could’ be the reason for unlocking further improvement. Maybe he won’t stay, maybe the handicapper now has him, but 8s just looked too big. He has form around The Newton Abbots and Stratfords, to give me hope he will handle Fakenham- it is his first go here, and whether it’s too tight for him, I don’t know. Again, I think that’s built into the price. I do think he will relish the distance. Lots to like about him for me, at the prices.
Strictly Dancer may take this at 4s for all I couldn’t be tempted in at that price – when second to Friends Don’t Ask here three starts back, he was outstayed by the winner that day and only plugged on. There is a stamina niggle for me. However, he has since had a wind op, returning after a short break at Haydock in an ok C2 (which on paper is the best race any of these have run in recently, class wise) where he ran ok, 4th, beaten 9l. Maybe he will now overturn that previous Fakenham form and see his race out better. He is unexposed over fences, the yard are in form and do so well in marathon chases. I probably would fancy him of the top three for sure. Although in saying that…
However, Friends Don’t Ask should run his race and is a CD winner in soft, and he did it well that day. He is only six for all there’s a class question I think, but he hasn’t done much wrong and I suppose you could argue he should be shorter than Strictly given he’s duffed him up once, and the wind op may well not make him stay any better than he did that day. So, maybe he will have him held again. Robin Of Sherwood arrives in form, but 5s didn’t look overpriced to me – he can lose his position a bit and did LTO at Warwick over 3m5f, getting going after the last to haul High Counsel (who won NTO in a weak race) – he will be dangerous if not getting too far back and he clearly stays well.
Were Game Line around 9/2,5s and in line with the other three i’d have left this race I think, but I really don’t know why he’s 8s, I don’t get the disparity. Maybe i’ll find out soon enough.
Boughtbeforelunch is being nibbled at but he’s 1/16 over fences, finds it hard to win, and can beat me here, hardly one to trust and i’m not sure he’ll stay. I didn’t like him or the rest for one reason or another and if one takes this I haven’t read it very well this time.
Pace wise… Findusatgorcomebe may be up there, if able to hold a position around here, Boughtbeforelunch can be handy and Jack may be aggressive on Mercian Knight in his first visor – James shouldn’t be that far away on Game Line, and depending on what those three do may try and take it up/dictate sooner rather than later. The rest should slot in behind him, Jack Tudor may not have Strictly that far behind, Friends Don’t Ask in and around.
Fingers crossed they can give me a run for my money, but as always there’s some method to my madness and it will start paying again soon enough.
Ah… Huntsman’s Jog… a ‘star rating’ pick who I hope runs better than yesterday’s. I was going to leave the race, given its a novice handicap chase, his first start over fences under rules. But then I saw he was 2/3 in the pointing field, and that experience and his race fitness may count for plenty here. He’s been running well over hurdles in some ok races, but fences/tempo etc could really transform him here. He won’t mind the rain. I didn’t think it looked a great race, Heavey has been well supported, first start 150+ days, unexposed and going well over fences once when BD four out, not that he did much after that but maybe his confidence was knocked. He’s unexposed and I suspect rather well handicapped, maybe more in hand than mine, but 10/3 looked big enough to have a go in this race. The others have a few questions now.
Some stats... this summer angle looks at Fergal when teaming up with Paddy and Max Kendrick at x3 summer jumping tracks (May-Sept), at which Southwell is one. Looking at Geegeez Gold – Fergal is 8/28,11p here in the last 365 days, all runners, +25 SP, 8/17,9p +36 when Paddy is riding in the last year also. The yard are going along fine – they never really appear out of form these days, 5/21,11p in the last 14 days, 67% rivals beaten.
As always, GL with any bets. Josh