The 472nd edition of the Wayward Lad blog.
No blog yesterday as I had a particularly busy day at the office. It's a long day I'm putting in: up at 5:45 and leaving for the train station at 6:20 for the 7:00am train from Haywards Heath into London Bridge; then a half-hour journey via the Jubilee Line and the DLR to arrive at my office in East London at about 8:25am. The train journey at least gives me some time to review the horseracing, but that's about it.
Today, there are meetings at Ayr and Fontwell over the jumps, and at Newbury and Bath on the flat. There is nothing at Newbury that captures my interest as 2yo and 3yo races at this time of year are almost a lottery – the formbook can be almost thrown away. I've never been a fan of Bath (except for focusing on course specialists) and the meeting is an early evening one, so I may take a look at that this afternoon. The Fontwell meeting has an interesting handicap chase at 2:30 with an old friend of mine, Bishophill Jack, running. If "Jack" can re-produce his Boxing Day form when winning at Huntingdon then he'd be strongly supported today but, given his last couple of runs, that's unlikely. So, the 7yo BALLYVONEEN trained by Neil King who won well at Plumpton LTO, and whose form has been on an upward curve since Boxing Day, looks the most likely winner of this
The Ayr meeting has a couple of interesting races worth looking at, especially the 4:00 which is a Class 2 handicap chase over 2m4f. Topweight Divers is being well-supported in this race following his decent run LTO at the Cheltenham Festival, but I like the look of TORPHICHEN in this race. He has been lightly tried over fences since coming over from Ireland and his recent run over this trip (he has mainly raced over 2m – 2m2f) at Haydock suggest that he's unexposed. As such, odds of 6/1 look more than fair as I'd have him at under 4/1 for this.
The Grand National still seems to be commanding a presence on the twitter-sphere, but the tragic accident that befell the exciting handicap chaser GREAT ENDEAVOUR yesterday – while in a field with just one other horse having been "put-to-grass for the summer – demonstrates that accidents can and do happen in the most unlikely circumstances (to those ill-informed about the management of horses). Horses are not born to be looked at, they are bred to run and the "fight or flight" survival mechanism in their heads makes them jittery and prone to unexplainable behaviour through which they can (and do) suffer injuries which render them helpless. Thankfully, the media circus has moved onto this weekend's Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix and the human rights issues there which, to be fair, have a far greater importance than the Grand National in the greater scheme of things.
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