The 475th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.
I was right on the button with my assessment of the 3:20 at Wolverhampton yesterday – which was the only race I looked at. Sure, I didn't find the winner, but then I did not put-up a selection in the race. My advised play was a back-to-lay on ALL RIGHT NOW who I expected to lead into the final furlong, and that he did. I was able to obtain 10.4 on average on the exchanges (when I wrote my blog, he was at odds of 9/1) and, as I expected, he started at the shorter SP of 13/2. I laid-off at 4.80 in-running to secure my stake, and at 4.10 to take a profit.
We have plenty of racing today, but the weather throughout the UK and Ireland is wet, wet, wet. Much of today's focus will be on Punchestown where the Grade 1 chase over 3m1f at 5:30 which brings together a mixed bunch of chasers. Unusually, I agree with the write-up for the race provided by Tom Segal (Pricewise) in today's RP. If the going were better (ie. no worse than good-to-soft) then I'd be lumping on Captain Chris who – despite not winning yet this season – has run 3 very decent races from 4 starts. His 3rd in the KGV on Boxing Day demonstrates that he's capable of staying 3-mile in top company and he was staying-on well in the Ryanair over 2m5f at the Cheltenham Festival. This is his trip and with his trainer Phil Hobbs conjuring-up one of the training feats of the decade in producing SNAP TIE to win off a 992 day break yesterday at Punchestown, then we can be sure Captain Chris will come into the race fit to win. But the problem is the soft/heavy going and odds of just 4/1 are not tempting enough. What must be taken into account is that this is a weak Grade 1 chase over the trip, and therefore the going could bring one of the outsiders into contention. One with winning form on heavy and with top-class form in the book is Bostons Angel, winner of the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival in 2011. Yes, his form this season has been near useless, but this slower ground and the trip should allow him to get into a rhythm and, at odds of 25/1, he's a small eachway wager.
We have the Derby Trial meeting at Epsom today, but the going is soft and I expect it to get softer. I will avoid this meeting like the plague and handling Epsom even in perfect conditions is too much for some horses. It looks like the jump meeting at Hereford is unlikely to go ahead this evening. Catterick's meeting looks very low grade stuff, and so that just leaves Perth.
The class 3, 3-mile handicap chase at 4:05 looks very interesting, and SUMMERY JUSTICE looks capable of taking this race. He's the only runner at Perth for Venetia Williams, and makes the long journey from Herefordshire for this. The going and trip are perfect for him, and he should be fit to burst having been prepared for a run at the Cheltenham Festival last month (was well fancied for the Kim Muir Chase).
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