My racing mind continues to play tricks with Pickamus yesterday making a real monkey of me by staying-on to hold off the one horse in the race that I thought looked value, Cootehill in the 2:10 at Ludlow. I did write that Cootehill was a bit one-paced at the business end and, sure enough, that was his only fault yesterday (tho' a poor jump at the 3rd-last didn't help). I did think Pickamus had run out of puff about 5-out when he really clouted a fence and looked unsteady afterwards but, fair play, his jockey coaxed him back into a good rhythm again. Cootehill cruised thru' the 2nd circuit and looked the most likely winner before 3-out but a mistake at that one did for him and he had nothing left in the tank to pass the leader. Still, I hope readers took the 10/1 eachway (as I did) as you certainly got a run for your money.
As for Pickamus, I have a long connection with this horse as he was on my horses-to-follow list for the 2010-11 jumps season when I thought he'd develop into a 140+ chaser over 20-22f. I've never really thought of 3-mile (or further) being his optimum trip, and I still don't. He's not had much luck since I put him on my alert list back in 2010, but his best ever performance in my opinion was his 2nd at Stratford on 22nd October 2011 over 2m6f when he ran to a speed rating of 131. That matched the speed rating he achieved at the same track on 18th April 2010 over 2m4f.
There are a couple of meetings today at Leicester and Market Rasen, but the fare on offer looks fairly drab and unexciting. That said, there is a horse alert runner of mine out today, DUKE OF MONMOUTH in the 1:20 at Market Rasen. This is a 3m1f novice chase, and Duke Of Monmouth won LTO on his 2nd chase race. I always thought this horse was only lacking a change of gears at the business end to be a decent staying hurdler last season, as he is very game but just a bit one-paced. Chasing could well be the making of him and this race looks a bit weak, apart from the promising John Quinn trained Distime. That horse has been off the track a long time, not having run since 27th Oct 2012 and, altho' I respect John Quinn a lot, Distime hasn't shown the stamina to stay this trip in a couple of attempts over hurdles and his best form in that sphere was over 2m4f. There is also some support for Young Hurricane who also won LTO and trainer Dr Richard Newland has secured the services of AP McCoy in the saddle. DUKE OF MONMOUTH was a much better hurdler than Young Hurricane and is only conceding the latter 1lb today and, at 5/1 (available generally) the value looks to be with DUKE OF MONMOUTH to come on again for his recent win.
This weekend, the racing available is top notch and there is probably too much quality racing for one day. We have a couple of races over the National fences at Aintree, the fantastic "Tingle Creek" meeting at Sandown, plus supporting meetings at Chepstow and Wetherby. I've already scanned the entries this morning on the way to work and there are a couple that stand out for me, and we could be having a maximum wager on Saturday. The only disappointment is that my recent 25/1 winner MIDNIGHT APPEAL goes for the "Grand Sefton" chase over 2m5f & 110 yards, rather than the Becher Handicap over 3m2f. I think the race his trainer (Alan King) has opted for is the more competitive, and I think he'd be a shoo-in for the "Becher".
Just the one selection today and, being a novice chase, just the minimum wager.
Market Rasen1:20, DUKE OF MONMOUTH, £10 win @ 5/1 (Bet Victor, or Betfred who both go best-odds-guaranteed)