What a day Saturday was!
The blog really hit the target with sole “win” selection BINOCULAR winning like a real good thing, romping home with the rescheduled Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. I advised taking the 11/4 available in the morning, and if you had hung-on you would have been able to obtain 3/1 at about midday. Then the money started to come in, and the selection started the 13/8 fav. The result was never in any doubt and BINOCULAR had the opposition struggling fully half a mile out. The advised 2pts win returned a profit of 5.50pts at 11/4.
Before that, blog selection ZANIR ran a cracker to be 4th at 16/1 in a hot handicap, having been advised at odds of 22/1 eachway in the morning. That advised wager returned a profit of 1.25pts (½pt @ 22/1, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3,4), and the horse looks primed for a big run at the Festival in March.
The King George did not produce a return from the eachway selection in the race PLANET OF SOUND. At one point the horse moved into 4th place with under a mile to run and I thought he’d stay on into a place, but not to be. That race saw the defending champion KAUTO STAR beaten into 3rd behind the Henderson pair of Long Run and Riverside Theatre.
I said in my Saturday blog before the race that I did not think that KAUTO STAR was an odds-on chance as so much was against it, and I really think the decisive factor was Ruby Walsh not being in the saddle (due to injury) and replaced by AP McCoy. Fine rider tho’ he is, McCoy is a “driver” who pushes his mounts into fences, whereas I reckon KAUTO STAR likes to be his own boss, setting his own rhythm. To me, he lost a lot of energy at his fences and it told in the final half-mile when he could not go on with the eventual winner. The return of Ruby Walsh could show that this was a “blip”, but racegoers have to be honest, the horse isn’t getting any younger and has now past his peak.
As for Long Run, I was fully against the horse before the race, as I did not think it would stay 3-mile in this company. Whether or not Kauto Star ran to form, Long Run stuffed the likes of Nacarat, Planet Of Sound, and Albertas Run in what looked a true run race. He was given an RPR rating of 180 for this, which initially I thought was a bit rich, but he is certainly worthy of a rating better than 170 based on this form. For me, the big surprise was the run of Riverside Theatre. He was held up for a long way and sent after the leaders from 3-out; for a first run over 3-mile, this run confirmed his stamina. My immediate reaction was to enquire for eachway odds about him for the Gold Cup, but he’s not entered – he’s in the Ryanair tho’.
My afternoon ended on a high when JAMES DE VASSY won the Lazarote Hurdle. The Coral Cup 3rd went into this lightly raced for a 6yo, but he loves these competitive handicaps as he was also 4th in the Greatwood Hurdle (behind Khyber Kim). I didn’t post him as a selection, but he was the only horse that I mentioned in the race.
I took a look at the antepost markets for the Festival on Saturday evening, in light of the results that afternoon. My aim was to put together some multiple bets, the focus being on the following races:-
Arkle / Champion Hurdle / Ryanair / Gold Cup.
Arkle: For me, there is only one horse in this with the form in the book, and what good form it is too! GHIZAO, currently at 6/1 looks head’n’shoulders better than anything we’ve seen in the 2-mile division.
Champion Hurdle: Despite the performance of Binocular, the proximity of Overturn dimmed the form for me. I know he won the Galway H’cap Hurdle (Grade A) with 11:8 in a canter, but he’s only got one way of running, all-out from the front. Henderson’s Eradicate (OR143) beat him at Haydock in the Swinton Hurdle last May and I’m sure he’d expect Binocular to easily beat Eradicate over 2-mile. As such, with Overturn’s trainer Don McCain firmly on the side of his other horse PEDDLERS CROSS, I’m supporting this unbeaten and as yet unfathomed horse as my Champion Hurdle selection at 6/1.
Gold Cup: This is a tricky market. I would not write off Kauto Star just yet, especially with Ruby Walsh back in the saddle but, having to rekindle his form in the Gold Cup, with Denman in opposition is not the easiest of tasks. Denman, in my opinion, ran a career best effort when 3rd in the Hennessey LTO. History will prove that was a superlative effort. But, he has already been shown not able to match IMPERIAL COMMANDER whose re-appearance was exceptional given that he was completely unextended and won as he liked. As such, I don’t give much weight to the proximity of Planet Of Sound in that race, even tho’ he was well beaten on Saturday behind Long Run. For me, the Gold Cup trip plays right into the hands of IMPERIAL COMMANDER and he’s my 3rd leg.
Ryanair: If you consider that it will be very difficult for Henderson and Waley-Cohen not to go for the Gold Cup in March now; and with Master Minded almost certain to contest the QMCC; POQUELIN at the head of the market looks in a very strong position. Tranquil Sea needs soft/heavy going to show his best, and he’s not as good as POQUELIN anyway. There is the possibility that J’VOLE will return to Cheltenham in March in top form, but that was a particularly good run for her and she always seems to find one a bit too good. As I wrote earlier, RIVERSIDE THEATRE is only entered for this race at the Festival and he’s 16/1 with Boylesports. I am doubling him up with POQUELIN for this as at those sort of odds, having 1st & 2nd will bring a decent payday.
Arkle: GHIZAO @ 6/1
Champion Hurdle: PEDDLERS CROSS @ 6/1
Ryanair: POQUELIN @ 9/2 and RIVERSIDE THEATRE @ 16/1
Gold Cup: IMPERIAL COMMANDER @ 7/2
9 x doubles @ ¼pt = 2¼pts
7 x trebles @ ¼pt = 1¾pts
2 x accumulators @ ½pt = 1pt
Total = 5pts staked
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