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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.
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Friday, 8 April 2011
Grand National selections
As I wrote in my review of the Mildmay Novices Chase, in my opinion the Irish novice chase form has been vastly under-estimated this season. I pointed out that QUITO DE LA ROQUE should not be easily dismissed having only just been beaten by subsequent RSA winner Bostons Angel on 28-Dec. The “quick” going was put forward as an obstacle, but his half-brother Kazal was 3rd in the World Hurdle on good going, so even tho’ he has never run on ground this quick before, his breeding suggested he should handle it – and did he! Despite 3 horrendous jumping errors which would have stopped a lesser horse, he showed resolution and bravery to run-out a good winner at 6/1 (I managed to obtain 8.00 on Betfair, and he touched 8.40). He was only recommended to a ½pt stake, but it put 3pts in the bag. The form has already been considered suspect as Sarando at 50/1 was only beaten a neck into 2nd, but he’s been slugging around on heavy going this season and clearly appreciated this better ground, and he was only beaten a length by top novice The Minack over hurdles when receiving just 4lb – with the odds-on Master Of The Hall well behind in that race – so this was no fluke for Sarando.
I thought the going would be too quick for Master Minded and, even if it wasn’t, that the 2m4f trip of the Melling Chase would be too much for him – but I was wrong on both counts. He was the only horse still on the bridle with 3 to jump, and ran-out a very impressive winner. I thought he might be a King George horse immediately after the race, but 3-mile at Kempton is asking a bit much, and the Ryanair in 2012 may be more to his liking. But its back to the drawing board for Somersby, who I reckon is an OR162 horse, which is the rating he earned for 3rd in the Tingle Creek Chase last December. He is just too one-paced at this level, and has only one option left to take, 3-mile chases.
Onto Saturday, and we have to start with the Grand National.
First, bookmaker Victor Chandler is paying 6-places at quarter-odds on the National. This is an immense offer and means that there is a good possibility of finding a long-odds selection in the places. Don’t go to a bookmaker paying only the 1st-4 places.
After watching the Foxhunters on Thursday and the Topham Chase on Friday, it is fairly obvious that the going on the National course is quick and it is likely that the 1st circuit will be run at a furious pace which will mean plenty of mistakes and fallers. To avoid being brought-down by a fallen horse, the best place to be is “in-the-van”, that is with the leading bunch. Last year, 5 of the 1st-6 finishers were prominent throughout the race, and the winner DON’T PUSH IT was tracking the leaders for most of the 2nd circuit before leading from the 2nd-last. I think it’s safe to say that if your horse isn’t within 6-lengths of the leader and in the within the 1st-8 jumping “Bechers” on the 2nd-circuit, then it’s not going to win. Mon Mome came from well-off the pace in 2009, but he benefitted from the fall of leader Black Apalachi at “Bechers” on the 2nd-circuit, which slowed the whole race down.
From the top, we have DON’T PUSH IT and if he finishes then he will be in the 1st-6 without a doubt. Can he win again? Personally, if he’s fit to run as well as he did last year, I’d say yes! I reckon this is an easier race than last year, and he’s only 10lb worse-off with State Of Play (btn 25 lengths in 2010), and just 2lb worse-off with Big Fella Thanks (btn 28 lengths); there's nothing from last year’s race that can beat him – but 9/1 is no value. I recommended him at 16/1 on 31st March.
The next prominent runner I like is BIG FELLA THANKS. He was 4th last year (and 6th the year before) so he knows what to do, but he’s unlikely to win as he’s got nothing left at the end of the race to win it – he’ll just plod home in his own time; but at 16/1 if he’s 6th then Vic Chandler will pay you £50 for your £10 eachway wager (£20 staked) on him, at 6/4 to get round in one piece, it’s a no thanks; we want a winner. THE MIDNIGHT CLUB won’t be allowed to be far off the pace by jockey Ruby Walsh, but I feel he is another who is without gears at the business end. Undoubtedly, he’s on a good mark of OR149 (possibly should be on OR156 based on Punchestown 3rd to Kempes) but he would not be able to hold-off DON’T PUSH IT. Other prominent runners I Iike are BALLABRIGGS and QUINZ.
I think BALLABRIGGS enjoys big fields rather than small ones, and that is more the reason he was beaten LTO – that, and the trip was under 3-mile and so suited Skippers Brig more. At 16/1, he looks good value to go close as he’s been prepared for this all season. That’s not the case with the novice QUINZ, altho’ he has improved immensely this season with every race. The big doubt I have over him is the going, as he flopped badly here at the National meeting on similar going, and his best performance by far have come on good-to-soft.
Other prominent runners that are on longer odds are THE TOTHER ONE @ 66/1; KILLYGLEN @ 66/1 and WEST END ROCKER @ 33/1.
WEST END ROCKER hated the heavy going LTO and was pulled-up, so that run can be ignored; but before that he won a couple of races in grand style and he won’t lack stamina for this.
KILLYGLEN is not one to put your faith in and he lost his way last season and has been hurdling in Ireland. He does have ability tho’ and it just depends on whether he can show it, but he does like to lead.
THE TOTHER ONE has bags of ability too, and plenty of stamina judged on his resolute performance in the Hennessey last November when 4th. He does take the odd liberty with his fences, but manages to stay upright, so his rider will be in for a helter-skelter of a ride. But, if Ruby Walsh were riding him, he’d be 16/1, and so at 66/1 he has to be a one for the shortlist.
The horse I expect to win the National is BALLABRIGGS.
Aintree 4:15, BALLABRIGGS, ½pt win @ 16/1 (Stan James)
Aintree 4:15, WEST END ROCKER, ¼pt eachway @ 33/1 (Vic Chandler, ¼ odds to 6-places)
Aintree 4:15, THE TOTHER ONE, ¼pt eachway @ 66/1 (Vic Chandler, ¼ odds to 6-places)
Total = 1½pts staked
Of the other racing at Aintree, in the opener I like the look of RECESSION PROOF at 12/1. He was staying on best of all in the Supreme Novices and this trip looks perfect for him. In the 2nd race on the card, I want to support Ghizao but fear this going is too quick for him. Then again, I said the same about his stablemate Master Minded, so perhaps his trainer Nicholls thinks there is enough juice in the ground to suit him. I also note that Timmy Murphy has been replaced by Ruby Walsh. Still, 100/30 as I write looks inviting for what is, in essence, a 2-horse race. I cannot see PEDDLERS CROSS being beaten in the Liverpool Hurdle, as I think the further he goes the better he is (he is the one horse I think that could give Big Bucks a race), but at 6/4 there is no room for error.
The 3m1f handicap should go to Bensalem, even tho’ he’s been raised 10lb for his Festival win. However, his cover has been blown and it maybe that he is vulnerable to a horse who’s stamina is yet to be exploited. Such a horse is from my Horse Alert List, PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE who tries a 3-mile plus trip for the 1st time since November when unseating his rider at the final fence when running well. He meets the winner of that race, Hey Big Spender, on 16lb better terms and I reckon he will go close in this, tho’ the going may be a bit quick for his and that is a worry. As such, odds of 11/1 are not enough for me, and I’d not consider stepping into the ring unless he goes to 16’s.
That’s it for the “Jumps” Season. I’m having a week off with my 8yo son, and I’ll write-up a summary page for the blog over the next few days. When the blog returns on Monday 18th April it will be focusing on the Flat Racing until the first Sunday in October which, as all flat racing aficionados know, is the day the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe is run at Longchamps.
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