Thursday, 6 December 2018

Friday December 7th

There’s some really good racing at Exeter and Sandown tomorrow - in fact, I would be quite happy if the racing this weekend is of a similar standard !

Exeter, is particular, puts on a couple of outstanding contests, which would grace most Saturday cards…

There’s also a meeting at Sedgefield - though it doesn’t inspire to quite the same extent !

Time is a bit tight for me this evening - so the previews are briefer than I would like.
Still, as they say, it’s quality that counts - not quantity :)


Exeter

2:05

This is the first of the exceptional races, run on the card.
It’s an incredibly strong handicap (far stronger than most class 3 races) - and I’m sure it will pay to watch it closely…
Awake at Midnight and Siruh du Lac were both impressive winners of good races last time - and neither has been harshly penalised for their win.
The issue for both, will be 2m4f on potentially heavy ground, as neither is proven in the conditions.
It doesn’t mean they won’t be able to cope with it - just that it’s impossible to be confident they will.
As a consequence, you couldn’t take too short a price on either…
Rather than side with them at relatively short prices, I’d be inclined to split stakes across Eamon An Cnoc and Zamdy Man.
They are 2 of the more exposed runners in the field - but both will relish heavy ground and will be well suited by the trip.
Eamon an Cnoc ran really well last time in the Betvictor Gold cup; and whilst Zamdy Man has more to prove on his seasonal debut, I’m sure Venetia can be counted on have him ready to do himself justice on his seasonal debut...

Selection: Eamon an Cnoc at 9/1 & Zamdy Man at 12/1

2:35

This is the second quality race on the card - though in truth, it is probably one to watch rather than bet in.
It sees Black Op make his chasing debut - and if he’s as good over fences as he was over hurdles, he will be exceptionally hard to beat.
He would be expected him to win almost any novice chase he contested - so it says much for the quality of this contest, that he’s no certainty…
Topofthegame is the first of his main rivals.
He represents Paul Nichols - and could turn out to be his best novice chaser.
He had a try at chasing last season - but fell on his only outing.
It was therefore put on hold until this season.
He did however manage to put up a series of excellent efforts in top class handicap hurdle races - so there is no doubting his ability.
White Moon is the other one of major interest.
He ran really well until falling at the last on his recent chasing debut at Cheltenham.
That was a very strong race - and despite running for the first time in a year, White Moon would have gone close to winning, without the mishap.
Assuming the incident hasn’t had a lasting effect, he sets a high standard.
Defi de Seuil and Westend Story are good enough to win average novice chases - but they will be relative outsiders in this.
I wouldn’t really want to call the winner - though White Moon is possibly a bit of value at 7/2.
It’s really a race to be savoured, tho…

3:10

This is the third race of interest on the Exeter card - but the interest is mainly because it contains an official eye catcher…
The Two Amigos caught the eye last time, when running really well against the Some Chaos.
That one looked a very well handicapped horse (confirmed by his good run at Wincanton today) - so The Two Amigos lost little in defeat to him.
He was raised 3lb for finishing second that day - but he finished 9 lengths ahead of the third.
If Some Chaos hadn’t run in the race, then The Two Amigos would likely have got himself a 10lb rise in the handicap.
I therefore think he is probably still well handicapped.
Tomorrow's trip of 3m6f is a step into the unknown for him - particularly on heavy ground.
As a consequence, I again would be wary about taking too short a price.
That said, the opposition doesn’t look overly strong.
Garrane has a similar profile - and similar questions to answer; and whilst Firebird Flyer is potentially very well handicapped and will be well suited by the test - he is also nearly 12…
The Two Amigos looks worth a risk to me, at a price of 3/1 or bigger (I would suggest he should be about 5/2).

Selection: The Two Amigos at 7/2


Sandown

1:55

This is the most interesting race on the Sandown card - but it’s frighteningly competitive !
If asked to select the most likely winner, I’d side with Glen Rocco - but 5/1 is too short in a 16 runner novice handicap chase.
Lithic probably sets the form standard, on the back of his second to Springtown Lake over course and distance, last month.
8/1 is probably about the right price for him tho…
In terms of a ‘value bet’, I’d side with Secret Legacy.
He was a fair novice hurdler last season - and should have benefited from his debut run over hurdles at Bangor, last month.
He didn’t really feature that day, but should be better for the outing.
He can be backed at 20/1 this evening - and that could be worth a small risk, in what looks a relatively open contest.

Selection: Secret Legacy at 20/1

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Thursday December 6th

There are 4 NH meetings tomorrow: at Wincanton, Market Rasen and Leicester in the UK - plus Clonmel in Ireland.

A host of racing - but it’s definitely a case of quantity over quality…

The Leicester card is again all hurdle races - and only marginally better than the card they staged on Sunday !
Things are a little better at Market Rasen - but it’s low grade stuff and relativity uncompetitive, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see favourites dominate proceedings…
The fields are bigger at Clonmel - but it’s a typical Irish mid week meeting - better watched, than punted on !

Which leaves Wincanton…

In fairness, their card is pretty good - for a mid week - though there is a big question mark concerning the state of the ground, so I would advise treading cautiously, until there is some clarity in that area (it’s currently reported to be good - but a lot of rain has been forecast).

There are 2 class 3 handicaps on the card - which are by some margin, the best 2 races of the day.

Here are my thoughts on them both…


Wincanton

1:30

Three interesting horses head the market for this - and whilst I’d be a little surprised if they finished first, second and third - I’d also be a little surprised if one of them didn’t win…
Cobolobo is the market leader, on the back of his short head defeat by Kilbricken Storm.
The winner is rated 152 - Cobolobo races off a mark of 123 tomorrow.
If the form doesn’t flatter him, he will absolutely dot up !
In fairness, it almost certainly does - but that doesn’t mean he still won’t win.
He’s very much the one to beat…
Second favourite, Some Chaos, has already won races 2 races in impressive fashion, this season.
On his seasonal debut, he hammered Cuddles McGraw - and that one won comfortably next time and is now rated 14lb higher.
Some Chaos has gone up 20lb - but he’s probably worth that rise.
Heavy ground would be an unknown: and Cobolobo a worrying opponent - but I still wouldn’t be surprised to see him win.
Reikers Island is third favourite - and it says much for the strength of the race that there are 2 ahead of him in the betting…
He ran well to finish third in a strong novice handicap at Uttoxeter, on his seasonal debut - and running off the same mark, that form would be strong enough to make him favourite for most races of this nature.
Of the 3 market leaders, he looks the one most likely to run his race - he just hasn’t quite got the upside of the other 2.
Maybe EW, at 5/1, is the best way to play things (as he should place - and could win).
It’s hard to seriously look beyond the 3 mentioned for the race winner - though if there is to be a surprise, Royal Paladium looks the one most likely to cause it.
He fell at the first on his seasonal debut: but has a very good record fresh and has run well at Wincanton in the past.
Venetia's horses are also finding their form - no doubt helped by the softening of the ground (which would also suit him).

2:05

There is an official TVB eye catcher running in this, in the shape of Our Merlin - and I would expect him to run very well…
In fact, I would nominate him as the most likely race winner - provided the forecast rain does materialise.
There is little doubt he wants soft: he finished second to Call me Lord and third to Remiluc last season, in much better races than tomorrows - and both of those were on heavy ground.
Since then, he's run 3 times on quicker ground - and has not performed as well.
However that has seen his handicap mark drop - and I thought he showed definite signs of a return to form, in his most recent run at Newbury.
That should have put him spot on for tomorrow - in which case, he could prove hard to beat.
He may also get an uncontested lead - which on a sharp track like Wincanton, will be a big bonus…
Of his rivals, then Darling Maltaix and Jaboticaba both look potentially dangerous - but both have been well found in the market.

Selection: Our Merlin at 12/1

Monday, 3 December 2018

Tuesday December 4th

As you will doubtless have noticed (!), it’s been a few days since I last posted on the mid-week blog…

The thing is, when I do post, I like to cover 4 races - and there hasn’t been a mid-week day since last Monday, when there were even close to 4 races of interest !

I’m not sure why I think 4 is the ‘right’ number..
I guess it feels sufficient to engage - without being so much, as to bore !

Anyway, I can see that if I try to stick the ‘4 race' rule, I might not be posting again this week, so I’ve lowered the bar, a little..!

There are a couple of decent races at Southwell tomorrow (grade 3 events) - and whilst the Fakenham card isn’t as good, there is one reasonable race.

I’ll therefore preview just the 3 races for tomorrow (could this be the future for the mid week blog, I wonder..?!)

Southwell

1:00

I quite like the shape of this race, with 8 runners, non of whom can be completely dismissed.
That said, I think it can be broken down into 4 ‘pairs’, in terms of the likelihood of winning:
Most likely, are Another Crick and Destrier.
The former sets the form standard - but the latter could possibly improve past him to win, on his chasing debut.
The next pair are Doc Carver and Super Sid.
Doc Carver is held on form by Another Crick - but there wasn’t a lot between them when they met at Chepstow: and Another Crick may have benefited from being held up off a fast pace.
Super Sid is another chasing debutante - and whilst his form over hurdles isn’t as strong as that of Destrier, he has plenty of potential.
The third pair are Castafiore and Walsingham Grange.
Castafiore shouldn’t beat Destrier - as he finished behind him last time, over hurdles and had the benefit of a run; whilst Walsingham Grange has quite a lot to prove on his second run over fences.
The final 2 are Swift Crusader and Eureu de Boulay.
I won’t say they can’t win - but I will say that victory for either, looks relatively unlikely…
With the market dominated by the first pair, I suspect the ones to concentrate on, are Doc Carver and Super Sid.
Both have a chance - and have probably been under-estimated in the early betting.
Doc Carver can be backed at 7/1 this evening: and Super Sid at 12/1.
My inclination, would be to try and get those prices - and then see tomorrow if Another Crick and Destrier drift to around 4/1.
I’d even consider backing Walsingham Grange and Castafiore - but I’d want double figures about both of them...

2:00

I don’t think there is a stand out contender in this race, either - but at the prices this evening, Present Times makes most appeal…
I actually tipped him last season, when he disappointed badly at Exeter, on his penultimate outing (though he was subsequently found to have injured himself).
What was interesting, was that he was backed in to 3/1 that day - in a class 2 race.
His other runs last season, stand up to quite close scrutiny - and I suspect he’s well handicapped.
He won on his seasonal debut 12 months ago, so hopefully fitness won’t be an issue tomorrow.
If that’s the case, then he’s a fair bet at this evening’s price of 7/1…
Non of his rivals have a water tight case: Crosspark has been running over fences: Wemyss Point is rising up the handicap; Saint Ladylime is making her seasonal debut (possibly before returning to fences).
They all can be given a chance - but not really a compelling one.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tomngerry turn out to be the biggest danger to Present Times - assuming the last named runs as well as I hope !

Selection: Present Times at 7/1


Fakenham

1:10

Balibour is the one that interests me most in this…
He’s only run twice over fences and performed creditably on his chasing debut at Kempton, in October.
He finished third that day and on the back of that run, was sent off at just 6/1 for a relatively strong novice handicap at Chepstow, last month.
However, he never game himself a chance in that race, pulling far too hard throughout.
It’s difficult to know why that would happen, with benefit of a run under his belt and not wearing head gear.
If he does the same tomorrow, he’s unlikely to win (though Fakenham is much better suited to front runners, than Chepstow !).
It’s interesting to see Leighton Aspell replacing a 5lb claimer in the saddle - and hopefully he will be able to settle the horse.
He’ll almost certainly need to, with an extra half mile to travel.
Wood Pigeon looks the most interesting of the other runners.
He’s one of a pair in the race, trained by Olly Murphy - and Aiden Coleman in the saddle suggests he’s probably (though not definitely !) the stables number 1.
He’s making his seasonal debut - but I doubt that will be an issue: and has won at the course previously - which is a definite positive, as Fakenham is a pretty unique track !!

Selection: Balibour at 7/1

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Monday November 26th

There is some decent racing tomorrow - for a Monday - and in truth, it should probably be even better than it is…

Kempton host the feature meeting - with the high-light, a listed mares hurdle.
However, it’s only attracted 4 runners.
Still, that’s 1 more than in the first 2 races on the card !

Fortunately, the fields have stood up a bit better in the 3 handicaps that close the card…

The days other 2 meetings are at Ludlow and Musselbrough.

Relatively small fields are also the order of the day at Ludlow: and whilst field sizes are better at Mussselburgh, the racing is of a lower standard…


Kempton

2:35

This is the best race of the day - and it contains the days best bet !
Deauville Dancer was due to run at Exeter today, but was pulled out on account of the softening ground.
Assuming it stays quick tomorrow at Kempton, then he looks the one to beat.
There is no disputing the fact he is well handicapped, on a mark 12lb lower than when contesting a similar race over the course, in February.
He ran a good race that day, on ground too soft, over a trip too short - and returning from a break.
He also ran well at Sandown in April, when fourth in a better class contest.
That was from a mark 10lb higher than he races from tomorrow…
He made his seasonal debut at Stratford at the beginning of this month - and again ran with promise.
That run should have put him spot on for tomorrow - and he looks a fair bet at the 8/1 available this evening.

Selection: Deauville Dancer at 8/1

3:10

A price of 4/1 is a bit tight - but I like the look of Its got Legs, in this…
He ran well last time, when second in a hot (for the grade) novice handicap hurdle at Ascot.
He had no chance with the well handicapped winner, that day - but still finished ahead of 12 fairly reasonable rivals.
He gets to run from the same mark tomorrow - which is a bonus: and steps up in trip - which I’m sure will help.
The only concern I have is with the fitting of a first time visor.
I have no issue with that itself - but I don’t like it when combined with an increase in distance (as it’s likely to make the horse race more freely).
The answer is probably to put in a low in running lay, in case he doesn’t last home…
I suspect he will be available at 5/1, at some point tomorrow - and I’d be prepared to take a risk on him at that price (laying to get my stake back, at around even money).

Selection: Its Got Legs


Ludlow

1:05

Again, I wouldn’t want to get sucked into taking too short a price (and 5/2 this evening is probably too short !) - but I’ll find it hard to resist Hugos Horse in this…
He’s making his chasing debut under rules, having run just twice over hurdles.
However, there is every reason to think he’ll improve for the bigger obstacles, as he’s a PTP winner in Ireland.
Paul Nicholls doesn’t train many horses who are only rated 100 - and Andy Stweart doesn’t own many.
I’d be confident connections expect him to ultimately rate a fair bit higher…
The other slight concern, is that that this could be quite a strong race (relatively speaking).
Balkinstown and The Ogle Gogle Man have both got chances: whilst I would be particularly fearful of Baron du Plesis.
He was backed into favouritism last time, on his seasonal debut, in a stronger race than this.
He was also going well enough, when making a race ending mistake at the third last.
He’s clearly considered well handicapped by connections - so it’s unlikely to be easy for Hugos Horse to make a winning chasing debut…

Selection: Hugos Horse - danger Baron de Plesis

1:40

This is another tough race to call - considering there are only 6 runners !
I think the 2 to focus on, are Robinshill and Vivaccio.
The former is 3 from 3 at Ludlow - and is potentially well handicapped.
However, he ran deplorably on his seasonal debut - when drifting like a barge…
That makes me wary: but with 3lb off his mark - and 5lb claimer Zac Baker on his back - returning to his favourite venue, I wouldn’t expect to see that situation repeated !
Assuming he is back to form, then from a mark 2lb lower than the one he was successful from, in the corresponding race 12 months ago, he will take a lot of beating.
Vivaccio is a potential danger, on old form.
If he can return to his best, then he is even better handicapped than Robinshill.
However, he was badly out of form last season - so supporting him would require a bit of an act of faith…

Selection: Robinshill at 9/2

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Friday November 23rd

There are 3 NH meetings tomorrow: at Ascot, Ffos Las and Catterick.

The meetings at Ffos Las and Catterick arent bad - certainly when compared to those on offer at the start of the week !

That said, neither can compare to the action on offer at Ascot.

The 6 race card is varied and of good quality.
In fact, it’s a shame that one or two of the races aren’t being run on Saturday, as I might have fancied tipping in them ! (provided of course, that I could get the prices !)

Instead, Ill just have to content myself with previewing a few of the races - using the info and prices available this evening - and you’ll then have to decide yourselves, whether anything becomes worth a bet tomorrow !

Ascot

1:00

It’s difficult to oppose Wenyerreadyfreddie after his demolition job in a novice handicap at this course, 3 weeks ago.
He really couldn’t have been more impressive that day - and if he runs to the same level of form tomorrow, he will take a bit of beating.
That said, he is taking on potentially better class rivals - and has to give them weight.
So whilst he has an experience and fitness advantage, it might not be a formality for him…

Kildisart strikes me as the one most likely to upset the favourite.
His rating of 143 over hurdles is only 2lb shy of Wenyerreadyfreddies rating of 145 over fences - yet Freddie has to give him 5lb.
There is a question mark over Kildisart’s fitness, so that would temper enthusiasm - but if he is ready to go, then I suspect he will be quite capable of giving the favourite a race.

Selection: Kildisart at 5/1

2:40

There is a chance that Royal Regatta might take this race apart…
Rated as high as 158, 2 years ago - he gets to run from a mark of just 145 tomorrow.
The reduction in rating, is because he was disappointing on his 2 runs last season - but that was a case for a lot of the the runners from Philip Hobbs’s stable.
He’s a horse who has run all of his best races at Ascot - and who likes to attack from the front.
If he’s fit enough to do himself justice - and is in the lead over the first fence - I suspect he won’t see a rival !
All this said, he does come with risks…
He’s not run for a year - and doesn’t have a amazing record fresh.
He also wasn’t that keen to set off, the last time he did run !
If you support him, it’s a bit of an act of faith in Philip Hobbs training ability.
The horse is more than capable of winning - but he’s no certainty !
If he does disappoint, then Cobra de Mai may be the one to take advantage.
He’s likely to be overlooked in the betting, as he appears the stable second string, on jockey bookings.
However, William Marshalls 10lb claim more than offsets the rise he got for his last win - and the form of most of his runs prior to that win, would put him right in the mix, under what should be ideal conditions.

Selection: Royal Regatta at 4/1 - value alternative Cobra de Mai

3:15

There are fitness or well-being doubts over just about all of the runners in this, which makes it a tricky race to get involved with…
Minella Daddy is handicapped to win - if he returns to action in top form.
The betting is likely to advise on that score.
Battle of Shiloh is also making his seasonal debut - but I’d feel more confident that he will be ready to do himself justice.
He has a good record fresh - and strikes me as a relatively fragile horse, with whom, connections won’t want to waste runs.
He’s not badly handicapped either - and ground/trip should be fine.
Whether there is any value in his current price of 9/2, is debatable - but it might drift a little tomorrow !

Selection: Battle of Shiloh

3:50

Off a pound lower mark than when winning the 2017 Fred Winter hurdle at the Cheltenham festival , I think Flying Tiger is the one to beat in this.
I expected that victory to be a spring board for greater things - but it’s not happened.
He ran some fair races over hurdles last season - but was ultimately disappointing: and he’s not really taken to fences this season…
In a way, this is his last chance saloon - but I’m pretty sure that he retains all of his old ability - and I’m hopeful that Dickie will be able to get him to delver.
In fairness, he faces potentially strong opposition, so he’ll need to be close to top form.
Chatez is thrown in on his flat form: Whilst Distingo ran very well on his seasonal debut.
Jolly’s Cracked it is very well handicapped - if he retains his old ability, after 2 years off the track; whilst I expect Scheu Time to run a big race under Jonjo O’Neil Jnr.
As a consequence, you would need a price on Flying Tiger - and 4/1 is tight.
Perhaps he’s another who will drift tomorrow !

Selection: Flying Tiger at 4/1

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Thursday November 22nd

The lack of rain - and consequential quick ground - is really messing up fixtures at the moment - particularly during the mid week.

At Warwick today, the 2 feature chases managed a total of just 6 runners between them.
That’s not a good situation…

Things aren’t great at 2 of tomorrows meetings, either.
Both Wincanton and Thurles have the word ‘firm’ in their going description - and as a result, there are a number of small field, uncompetitive races.

Thankfully, a bit of the wet stuff seems to have fallen at Market Rasen - and their ‘good to soft’ ground has been rewarded by competitive races…


Market Rasen

12:55

Martila caught my eye on her most recent outing, staying on into fourth place behind Le Patriote, at Ayr.
She had won the corresponding contest, 12 months earlier - and was well backed to repeat.
However, she hadn’t run for nearly 4 months and I suspect that caught her out.
With the run under her belt, I would expect her to go close this afternoon - and Pauline Robson sends her a long way for the race.
A price of 4/1 is tight against 2 or 3 interesting rivals - but probably about right..

Selection: Martila at 4/1

1:25

The Pertemps qualifier is the high-light of the card - and I quite fancy Aaron Lad.
He was progressive last season, before disappointing on his final run at Haydock.
However, he shaped nicely on his return this season, when sixth in a competitive race at Cheltenham.
I would expect that run to have brought him on - in which case, he should go close tomorrow.
Interestingly, he is trained by Dr Newland, who has a decent strike rate at the Lincolnshire venue - and he is the only runner the good Doctor has at the meeting…
The general 7/1 this evening, strikes me as fair.

Selection: Aaron Lad at 7/1

2:00

This is a intriguing novice handicap chase - in which the runners have a real range of experience over fences…
At one end of the spectrum, First Drift is making his chasing debut under rules (though he has won a PTP): whilst at the other, Arctic Gold has already run 10 times over fences (without success !).
I like Drovers Hill best - but he is favourite and there is minimal margin in a price of 3/1.
Lisdoonvarna Lad is more interesting, at a price, for Charlie Longsdon.
He made his chasing debut at Warwick last month, in the race won by Kalashnikov.
Unsurprisingly, he never featured that day - but with that experience under his belt - and over an extra half mile, I would expect him to do much better tomorrow.

Selection: Lisdoonvarna Lad at 9/1

3:05

As a class 5 event, this is certainly not a race to be going mad with (as it could easily be the subject of a plot !) - however, with a straight bat, I quite like the look of Filemon…
He’s shown ability over fences - but has struggled with his jumping.
It’s therefore interesting that connections put him back over hurdles tomorrow…
The handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds for his last run, which will help: and he also has the services of one the best jockeys in the race, in the shape of Page Fuller.
I’m a little unsure about the drop in trip, to 2 miles - but he’ll probably get a way with it.
There are very few in the race who you can fancy, based on what they’ve shown on the track - so at 4/1 he strikes me as a fair bet.

Selection: Filemon at 4/1

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Wednesday November 14th

There are 4 NH meetings taking place tomorrow, and whilst there’s not much of note at either Ayr or Fairyhouse (assuming you ignore Sean Bowens 5 rides for Gordon Elliot, at the former venue !), then Exeter and Bangor both put on some decent races - and there is a potential start turn running at each venue…

Marias Benefit has her second run over fences at Bangor; whilst Black Op begins his chasing career at Exeter.
Both horses have the potential to be top class and could easily end up major players in championship races at the big spring festivals.
Needless to say, I would expect them to win tomorrow (even though victory for neither, is a formality).

The best race of the day, is the Anne Duchess of Westminster memorial chase at Bangor (1:50).
It’s attracted a really good class field - and if it was being run on a Saturday or Sunday, would definitely be classed as a TVB ‘Big’ race !

Run on a Wednesday, however, the early market is unlikely to be particularly strong.
That coupled with the fact that it’s a very open looking race, dissuaded me from getting involved with it - ‘officially’ speaking, anyway !


Bangor

1:50

This race certainly wouldn’t look out of place on a Saturday card - and a case of sorts, can be made for all 12 runners…
Sir Mangan won the race 12 months ago - and looks to have been primed for a repeat bid.
He also somehow finds himself running from a mark 7lb lower - so really should have a very good chance.
The only issue is, this looks to be a much more competitive renewal than last years - and whilst I’m sure he will run well, he just might find one or two of his progressive rivals, a bit too good.
There are 5 second season novice chasers in the race - and my feeling is that one of them will win.
The market favours Barney Dwan - and whilst I respect his claims, he usually finds a way to lose and is also plenty short enough in the betting.
Of more interest, are Rolling Dylan and Back to the Thatch.
The former could easily show improvement this campaign, with his stable in such good form; whilst the latter is likely to have been targeted at the race, by his shrewd trainer.
Full Irish and Sparkling River are the 2 others second season novices - and both have also got a chance.
The latter certainly looks over-priced, at 33/1…
It really isn’t an easy race to solve, as non of the 6 remaining runners can be completely dismissed.
At tonight's prices, I’d be inclined to side with Back to the Thatch - and maybe have a small EW play on Sir Mangan, to cover stakes…

Selection: Back to the Thatch at 10/1 - danger Sir Mangan EW at 10/1

2:55

This is another very tricky race - and again, a case can be made for most of the runners…
Whatmore and Present Ranger head the market - and whilst that is fair enough, I’m not sure I’d want to be backing anything in the race at 4/1 or under…
If I was to get involved, I’d maybe take a chance on Wilde Blue Yonder.
He’s definitely got the ability to win off his current mark - but he’s had injuries and is also making his seasonal debut.
The market will probably advise on stable expectations - but if he is fit and fancied, then tonights 8/1 would be decent value.
The other one of interest, is Ballyhill.
He reverts to hurdles tomorrow, having lost his way over fences.
He’s potentially well handicapped, running off a mark 1lb lower than when he won over fences, at Cheltenham on New Years day.
Again, the market is likely to advise on whether this is a confidence building exercise - or if he will be really going for it.

Selection: Wilde Blue Yonder at 8/1


Exeter

2:35

I’m not surprised to see Just a Sting installed the short priced favourite for this, after his recent win at Uttoxeter.
He may well be capable of following up - but he’s 6lb higher and it’s a deep race.
Certainly at a best price of 5/2, I’m happy to look elsewhere…
Gunfleet is the obvious alternative - but we are guessing on his fitness, and again , the price isn’t great.
I’d rather take a chance on Vodka all the Way and Merry Milan.
Somewhat oddly, they have the same owner - but different trainers.
The former is trained by Philip Hobbs and has Dickie in the saddle.
I suspect he will do better on his chasing debut than he did on his seasonal debut over hurdles at Newton Abbott, last month.
Merry Milan is making both his seasonal debut and his chasing debut - after just 3 runs over hurdles.
He’s a former PTP winner however, and it’s interesting that connections are keen to get him over fences asap.
He clearly comes with risks - but most 16/1 chances do !

Selection: Merry Milan at 16/1 

3:40

Trans Express was an official eye catcher on his seasonal debut at Cheltenham, last month.
He ran perfectly well there, in a better race - and I’m pretty sure the objective that day, was simply to get him spot on for today.
He should certainly strip fitter for the run - and the handicapper also generously dropped him 2lb.
Cheek pieces are reapplied tomorrow - so he must have a very good chance, at a course where he has historically performed well (3 wins and 2 seconds, from 7 runs).
I’m not surprised that he has been well backed - as the early 10/1 was too big.
Even the current 13/2 doesn’t look too bad - as I’ll be a little surprised if he’s out of the frame…
Whether he is good enough to win however, is a different matter.
Sue Gardners few runners haven’t performed particularly well - and he also faces at least a couple of decent rivals, in the form of Nayati and Casterly Rock.
My inclination is to have a small bet on him - possibly EW - but no more than that…

Selection: Trans Express at 13/2