In today’s blog:-
There were no wins for the blog from the 3 selections put up on Friday evening for Saturday's racing. This was a big disappointing as they all ran well enough, especially THE TOTHER ONE in the ‘Charlie Hall” at Wetherby. He battled–on, under hard driving from Ruby Walsh, to grab 2nd place but never really threatened the winner Nacarat. I did not expect such a good run from Nacarat as he usually shows his best form after Xmas and had not shown himself to be an autumn horse (prior to Saturday he was 0 from 4 starts pre-Xmas). I hope THE TOTHER ONE remains on OR155 and if he finds good-to-soft next time then he should recoup. Also at Wetherby, BLAZING BAILEY never got a look in. You have to go against the crowd if you want to make a profit at racing, as following the herd won’t find you value odds. This one tho’ was a bit too left-wing.
At Ascot, EXMOOR RANGER was very nearly placed at odds of 14/1. His early jumping was a bit sketchy and he really hit the 3rd fence hard. He was still in last place with 8 fences to jump (and was about 20-lengths behind the leader), but from there stayed on strong and moved into 4th at the 2nd-last fence but was unable to pass the 3rd horse after the last fence. He improved a lot for his seasonal debut last autumn (ran 7th in the ‘Badger’) and I expect him to run particularly well NTO. I was impressed with the runner-up Take The Breeze as I did not think he stayed 3-mile at this level. He made me some money last season as I thought he was under-rated as a novice chaser and he is well handicapped. I reckon if racing over 20-22f NTO he should do well. The fact that SAFARI JOURNEY won his race so easily later on the card, suggests the going was on the quick side of good at Ascot as he is a real fast-ground specialist.
There were no blog selections today, but there were 2 horses running from the Chasers & Hurdlers Alert List in WEIRD AL and GENTLE RANGER, both at Carlisle.
WEIRD AL was running over 20f (which is perhaps a bit on the short-side for him now) and giving weight away all-round but, even so, he was well-treated. Race fav Cape Tribulation did not handle this right-handed track at all and was pulled-up. WEIRD AL was out-paced 3-out but stayed on (having been 4-lengths down at the last fence) to get up on the line for a dead-heat with LITTLE JOSH. In my opinion, Little Josh is better than OR140 but his best form is on soft/heavy going (5 wins from 6 starts) and he undoubtedly found this going too lively for him and he ran too fresh. For me, it was a good seasonal debut for WEIRD AL and he will improve for a step up in trip to 3-mile.
It was a big ask of GENTLE RANGER with 11:12 in the 3m2f handicap chase, and tho’ he led to the 12th fence once he was headed he soon threw-in the towel, and was pulled-up. Lucinda Russell had won this race for the 2 previous years, and she won it again with ETXALAR. Last year’s winner Silver By Nature went on to be 2nd in the Welsh National and is now not far off Gold Cup class. It was Etxalar’s 6th chase today, and he’s sure to have some improvement in him.
Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad