The 369th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.
A great day of racing yesterday and altho’ I was not able to give readers a winner, I was pretty damn close. The big disappointment of the day was DIAMOND HARRY not running in the Charlie Hall chase at Wetherby as he was lame. However, I did write that WEIRD AL was an interesting entry as he also held an entry for the 3-mile h’cap chase at Ascot and so, as such, he was my eachway selection in the race. WEIRD AL looked totally in-command throughout the whole race, for me it was an exemplary performance. First time out last season, WEIRD AL ran a cracker of a race when deat-heating with subsequent Paddy Power winner Little Josh – a performance I rated at 161. My rating of him for yesterday’s race was 160+ and I’ve settled on 163. That therefore puts him within striking distance of LONG RUN who’s winning performance in the Gold Cup I rated at 170 (on a line thru’ the 4th placed What A Friend).
WEIRD AL was one of my Alert List horses last season and my long-term Gold Cup selection. Admittedly, he did run down the field behind Long Run in the Gold Cup after a long lay-off thru’ injury having finished down the field in the Hennessey. He was reported to have bled in the Gold Cup and while that may have seriously affected his form that day, in my opinion he has yet to prove that he’ll stay that trip. If he were my horse, I’d give the Hennessey a miss and go for the either the King George on Boxing Day (for which he is at 14/1), or the Cotswold in January at Cheltenham’s trial meeting. Time For Rupert in 2nd yesterday gave a big boost the the form of the RSA at Cheltenham and the Irish 2nd-season chasers should not be underestimated. WEIRD AL is 20/1 for the Gold Cup and that looks good for an eachway antepost punt (small money) as he loves Cheltenham. But, if he is at 20’s what about the value with the Irish horses? Quito De La Roque is 25’s as is Bostons Angel, and Jessie’s Dream is 40/1.
At Ascot, my selection TAKEROC never looked happy and perhaps this race came too quick for him as he won last weekend at Aintree. Statistically, horses that have run well (ie placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd) and run again within 7-days over both codes (jumps and flat) do well, more so those that have won LTO. As such, I’ll give TAKEROC another chance as he was running respectably off OR148 in the Spring of 2010. Being a winner over 2-mile at Sandown, I don’t think Ascot being a stiff right-handed track, was the reason for his lack-lustre display. His jockey, 7lb claimer Harry Derham won the next race on Brampour with a peach of a ride, and he is a real find and I am sure Paul Nicholls will exploit his 7lb claim efficiently.
My other Ascot selection, MUIRHEAD, was given what I consider was a poor ride in such a hot handicap chase. With 4 to jump he was still well off the pace and altho’ he was hampered at that fence by a faller, it made no difference. With a more positive ride he should recoup the loss, but it was a disappointing result. I also took my eye of the ball in this race as the eventual winner EXMOOR RANGER was on a cracking handicap mark of OR137 considering he ran well off OR145 in the same race last year and ran well off OR144 at the Festival in March. After he was 2nd to Sandown specialist Monkerhostin in Feb 2010 off OR142, he was in my notebook, but before yesterday he had not won since. He can win again.
Today, as much as I am a fan of Qhilimar, he can be upset today by HUMBIE, a 3-parts brother to Denman who got his act together LTO and looks well treated on OR122 in the 2:40 at Carlisle, tho’ the odds are not great.
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