This is the 296th edition of the daily blog page.
It is not often that I get annoyed with a jockey’s performance in the saddle as (not being a jockey myself) I reckon they have a difficult job, but Jim Crowley on FOUR NATIONS did not do a good job yesterday. Being a tall, long-striding horse FOUR NATIONS is not blessed with instant acceleration and needs to be ‘stoked-up’ for a run; but he was ridden yesterday as if he had speed to burn. Had he been shaken-up passing the 3f-pole rather than 250 yards later, he would not have been caught flat-footed when the winner quickened away at the 2f-pole. By the time FOUR NATIONS got going, it was all over bar the shouting, tho’ he managed to reduced the winning margin to under a length. On the bright side, the handicapper cannot raise FOUR NATIONS by more than a couple of pounds for this and he still looks like he can develop into a 90+ performer and so he stays in the Notebook.
Late last night at Haydock, we saw a stonking performance from GOOD BOY JACKSON. I wrote about him y’day then, just as I posted-up the blog, my confidence wavered and I deleted the planned wager at odds of 11/2 and suggested a “forecast” with the fav, May Be Some Time. Personally, I placed the forecast but also had a ‘saver’ on GOOD BOY JACKSON to win, and I’m glad I did as he romped home. He’s due out again at the weekend and if he runs he’ll be as good a banker as you’re likely to see. Even the professional race-readers get it wrong sometimes, as the “Notebook” comments from the Racing Post for the previous race won by GOOD BOY JACKSON were… “it is hard to believe this will prove strong 3yo handicap form.” Well, that 5-runner race has now produced 4 individual winners who have won 5 races in the past month, and GOOD BOY JACKSON was followed home in 2nd y’day by the only non-winner Number Theory to result in an Exacta payout of £48.40.
The moral is, if you find a strong race then follow the form.
Trainer Roger Varian continues in good form and his LDT yesterday, NAHRAIN won (as expected) at odds of 8/15.
I had a good day yesterday, despite my “nap” not winning, and it’s been a good week for me. What I tend to do on these very busy days of racing is look for horses at false prices and place-lay them. The first of these I came across by chance when I was sat in Ladbrokes waiting for some photos to be printed at Boots. The 2:20 class 6 h’cap at Nottingham over 6f had 14-runners, but the 9/2, 2nd-fav Delaware Dancer had the worst of the draw and had also been off the track 193-days. Throw-in that he starts his races slow and last ran over 7f, he was never a “evens” chance (2.00 on the exchanges) to be placed even if Betfair were still paying 4-places due to non-runners. I took those odds and my money was never at risk. I followed that up with a couple more successful place-lays on Sir Michael Stoute’s 3rd runner of the day Hairstyle (which I broadcast on Twitter) which I laid at 1.51 (SP 7/2) and later, the extremely slow Night Orbit in the 2-mile class 6 handicap at Yarmouth (this horse would be best in a 3-mile race).
Sir Michael Stoute is having a rotten time of late – as I wrote in yesterday’s blog – and I did say his horses, who were all at short odds, should be laid to lose. His 4/11 chance Floral Beauty was beaten in the opener at Newbury, and it was downhill from there. I was also right about the fav’s at Newbury yesterday when I said they should be opposed (laid on the exchanges). From the 8 races, only Rumh at 5/2 was a winning fav, with losing fav’s being at odds of 4/11, 5/4, 9/4, evens, 7/2, 11/4 and 5/2.
Plenty of racing again today with 2 meetings this afternoon at Sandown and York, and Goodwood and Chepstow this evening. There is nothing running from either my blog Notebook or my personal alert list today.
At Sandown, Sir Michael Stoute has only one runner MARKAZZI in the 4:35. Not sure what Stoute is up to with this one as it was a promising 2yo and it was his entry in the Craven as a 3yo. But, it wasn't supported that day and has run like a non-stayer ever since. The dam-line is filled with horses that have not won beyond 7-furlongs, and I reckon Stoute is barking up the wrong tree with it in this race as 10 of his 14 rivals have winning form at this 10 furlong trip. If there is a significant market move for him (and he starts under 9/2) then I'll think twice, but if he starts at 7/1 or about 2.45 - 2.55 in the place-only market, then I'll be laying him to run unplaced.
At York in the 2:40, I cannot get my head around why MOHEEB is the 5/1 fav. The horse has not won at York from 4 visits there, and has only won once in 17 attempts at trips beyond 1m1f & 170 yards. Add that he’s never won from 13 races on good-to-firm going (needs good or softer), and this has to be a weak favourite. Sure, he ran well at York when 3rd in Aug-2009 off OR91 (runs off OR78 today) but he was in the form of his life that summer. He looks like another that I will be place-laying.
An old friend that catches my eye is Peter Makin’s runner HAND PAINTED in the 7:30 at Chepstow. He was hampered at the start LTO, and on both his latest runs he looks like he needs a return to 7f (he won over the trip in Aug-09). He loves to hear his hooves rattle and GF going is what he needs. He has a fair bit of speed at this level as his close 2nd to Humidor last Sept proves, as he’d meet him on 19lb better terms now for a ½ length defeat. The more I look at HAND PAINTED, the more I think he should be a lot shorter in market than the 10/1 he is now. He is 6lb better-off with Emiratesdotcom on their last meeting and form of that run is good (Collect Art was in 2nd). He is a “grinder” and with Makin out of form and his rider Travis Block getting very few rides, I will probably just go place-only tonight.
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