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Friday, 6 January 2012

Weekend whispers

The 416th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

No selections yesterday, tho' in hindsight I missed a winner in GOING
WRONG, my only horse alert runner of the day.

My opinion before the race was that 2-mile was too short, and it
certainly looked that way 3-out when it looked as tho' he'd only stay-on
for 2nd, but the odds-on fav Realt Mor had run himself ragged early on
disputing the lead with the 8/1 chance Laterly, and he faltered on the
run-in allowing GOING WRONG to take up the lead close home and win at
11/4. He went into the race with a rating of OR130, but I've always felt
GOING WRONG was capable of being much better than that, and this race
shows that "class" can prevail when a horse meets lesser opposition on
unsuitable conditions. We won't see the best of GOING WRONG until he
tries a trip in excess of 2m4f and he remains firmly on my alert list as
one to follow.

Today, the Chepstow meeting has already been cancelled due to a
waterlogged course, and the remaining meeting at Bangor is a
hurdles-only meeting as the chase course is un-raceable. I'm giving the
meeting, and the day, a miss.

As such, I'll take a look at Saturday's racing and we have 3 meetings
planned at Sandown, Wincanton, and Newcastle.

Looking at the race programme, there's not much to excite the punter but
it's better jump-racing that we've seen all this week, so we'd best make
the most of it. This time of year is very important with regards to the
Cheltenham Festival as most winning horse at that Festival will have
their last race in the period between Christmas Day and Valentine's Day
(14th Feb) and, as most punters know, the majority of race winners at
the Festival won last-time-out (LTO). So, as with Going Wrong yesterday,
pay particular attention to all race winners and try to put yourself in
the trainer's mind to see if there is the potential for a Festival
winner and antepost touch.

At Sandown tomorrow, pay attention to whatever Paul Nicholls sends to
the track. He has 4 entries (as I write this): Hold Fast, Prospect
Wells, Neptune Collonges, and The Knoxs.  I'm not sure about Hold Fast,
but Prospect Wells should win the Tolworth Hurdle. Neptune Collonges is
probably being prepared for the Gold Cup and a pace-setting role for
stablemate Kauto Star. The Knoxs is on a very lenient handicap mark of
OR139 for the 3-mile class 2 chase at 3:10 if his jumping holds

Nicholls runners also should be noted at Wincanton where he has 7
entries: Hold Fast has an entry along with Pasco in the 2:50, and I like
Pasco in this race, altho' the presence of HAVINGOTASCOOBYDOO could
upset Nicholl's plans. Martin Keighley's horse has a handful of entries
this weekend (hurdles and chases) and he should be noted wherever he
runs. Nicholls won the novice chase last season with The Minack and he
has 2 entries (at time of writing); Doeslessthanme and Garton King.

Other interesting entries at Sandown are: David Pipe's Kazlian (1:35);
Cottage Acre (2:05) who is Tom George's only entry here; Phil Hobbs
Colour Squadron (2:35 who could push Prospect Wells; and Charlie
Longsdon's Qhilimar (3:10).

At Wincanton, Phil Hobbs has 3 of his 6 course entries in the opening
novice hurdle (a race he's targeted in the past). Tim Vaughan has a
great strike-rate at Wincanton, so pay attention to which of his 6
entries take part. Nicky Henderson has 6 entries in the 2m5f novice
chase at 4:00, of which 3 unseated their riders LTO.

I'm not really a fan of Newcastle as it always seems to be a right slog
on soft/heavy going there, but it may be worth noting that David Pipe
has a couple of entries here and it's a helluva long way to travel from
Wellington on the Somerset/Devon border. I'm not follower of "bumper"
races, but the one at Newcastle that close the meeting has a couple of
interesting entries, notably Karen McLintock's Madame Blavatsy, and
Keith Reveley's Oaklands Elise.

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