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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Super Saturday for Paul Nicholls

The 423rd edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

Today we have what looks to be a cracking days racing over the jumps with top-class meetings at Ascot and Haydock, plus another at Wincanton.
At Ascot, I like the look of the mares hurdle at 2:05 as the market is made by the fav Kentford Grey Lady who looked very impressive when winning LTO. Ordinarily, I would go for the fav but the fact that VIOLIN DAVIS who was 3rd that day is returning for a rematch looks interesting. This race is quite likely to be a severe test of stamina with Kaffie likely to make the pace strong thru’out. I can’t have the Irish challenger Our Girl Salley as I reckon the going will not be soft enough for her, and she’s trying 3-mile for the first time. VIOLIN DAVIS at 11/2 (Ladbrokes and Paddy Power) looks a fair wager, as I’d be happy with 3/1.

The handicap hurdle at 2:35 was a race in which I was hoping to see BOBBY EWING return to the track. Look him up, his form suggests his OR139 hurdle rating is ludicrously low and I can see this horse winning a top hurdle handicap on his return. However, he misses this race and so I have to look elsewhere, and CICERON who won LTO looks the best value at 11/2. Alan King’s Smad Place looks over-rated at OR144 (I’d have him about 7lb less) and A Bridge Too Far has already been shown lacking at this step-up in trip wont help. Both Joseph Lister and Shoreacres want further than 2m3f, and I can’t really see Torpichen (also trained by Alan King) being involved off OR142, and Royal Charm is on a recovery mission in this. Going right-handed could well help Pateese show improved form, but again his mark of OR138 looks a tad high and the going is also possibly too lively for him. CICERON won LTO in a very fast time beating a well-handicapped rival into 2nd and has only been raised 7lb to OR136. Considering he won at Taunton off OR135 last February, this is well within his grasp and he should be less than 3/1 for this.

The Victor Chandler Chase revolves around Al Ferof who, if he’s as good as Paul Nicholls reckons, will win this. Last March, he won what looks to have been a very strong Supreme Novices Hurdle and if it comes to a test of speed after the final fence then he’ll take some beating. However, both Al Ferof and Finian’s Rainbow are up against half-a-dozen high class chasers and any flaws in their jumping ability at speed will be exposed. As such, I cannot have Finian’s Rainbow whose jumping has never been convincing and was fortunate to be 2nd in what looks to have been a sub-standard Arkle last March. SOMERSBY is the highest rated horse in the race by 4lbs and is game and consistent. He will either relish this drop in trip from the 3-mile of the King George (was well there till after 4-out) or he may find things happening too quickly. Wishful Thinking has never looked a natural 2-mile chaser. As for Gauvain, all his best form is usually in the autumn, and he was stuffed in this race last season. He has been made the Pricewise selection so the 8/1 has gone and he’s best-priced at 6/1 generally now. You cannot really take the chances of the other runners seriously as they are well below the standard required to win. SOMERSBY at 11/2 is worthy of a small wager and I’d be very happy if he could win, but I reckon he’ll be seen at his best in the Ryanair at the Festival. As such, I’m strongly tempted by the 100/30 on AL FEROF (William Hill).

Ascot’s card is tremendous and the 3:45 is another exciting race. I could easily name half the field as having realistic chances and with 15 going to post, so only 3 places available, it is too tight a heat; altho’ SA SUFFIT is a horse who looks well handicapped and if the going is softer than advertised he could go well. The 2-mile trip was too short for his LTO even so he was bang there at the finish, and before that he had no chance against Always Right at Kelso over 3-mile on 4th December. He may not have the class to win this but at 14/1 (so long as the going is soft) he is a solid eachway chance.

Unfortunately for Haydock who hold the Peter Marsh Chase, the going there is heavy, and I can see there being more than a few non-runners. I never like betting on heavy going so I’m giving the meeting a miss.

Wincanton has better going, and the class 3 chase at 2:10 could be an interesting opening for ALDERTUNE. Only 3 of the 13 runners are aged under 10yo, so they are all in the main well-exposed and holding no secrets from the handicapper. As such, I reckon the winner will come from one of the other 3 of ALDERTUNE, Zarrafakt and Diamond Brook. I think this 3m1f trip will be too much for Zarrafakt who is probably best at 2m6f. Diamond Brook looks one-paced at this sort of trip and he needs to show improvement. As for ALDERTUNE, he was well thought of as a hurdler by Nicholls and he really should have won more races (has come 2nd 6 times in 15 starts). His form has worked out well this season, especially his close 4th in the Southern National to Giles Cross. LTO he hated the heavy going, but he’s been well rested since then with a 7 week break, and he can improve enough to take this race at rewarding odds.

Ascot 2:35, CICERON, 1pt win @ 11/2 (William Hill, best odds guaranteed)
Ascot 3:10, AL FEROF, 1pt win @ 100/30 (William Hill, best odds guaranteed)
These are my early wagers, tho’ depending on how the ground is, there could well be an additional wagers on both SA SUFFIT (14/1 with Paddy Power, BOG) and ALDERTUNE (12/1 with Corals).

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Thanks from Wayward Lad.


  1. Hello,
    I came to your blog and have been reading along your posts. I decided I will leave my first comment. I have enjoyed reading your blog. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often…

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  2. Many thanks for the comment (which comes from South Africa, I think).
    A day of ups & downs, with both firm selections losing, but of others well mentioned on the blog VIOLIN DAVIS won and ALDERTUNE was a decent 2nd (was 12/1 all morning). I also narrowed down the Victor Chandler Chase to just 2, and they came 1st & 3rd - but the wrong way round to give me the profit.


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