No blog yesterday as, despite there being only the one jumps meeting at Catterick, I just could not settle on a single selection in the feature race which was the North Yorkshire National Handicap Chase over 3m6f. I eventually had a personal wager on the Donald McCain entry Lively Baron in the "place-only" market on Betfair @ 3.05 which I thought was fair enough value as he was trading at <8.50 in the win-only market at the time. In the race, he was in 3rd and clear of the remainder at the 2nd-last fence when he made a huge blunder which did for his chances. He was given an easy time after that by his jockey as he lost all momentum with the error but, I think, had he cleared that fence he'd have caught and passed Night In Milan and finished 2nd to Chac Du Cadran. After he won, I was a bit miffed about Chac Du Cadran as I tipped him to win on his previous outing (see my blog of 20th December) when he ran 2nd to Shaking Hands over 3-mile at Towcester. He didn't have any like Shaking Hands to fight him for the lead yesterday and, in hindsight, that should have been my cue. This 7yo looks to have a future in the marathon chases over the next 18 months and he should be followed until he finds his handicap ceiling.
There are only a couple of ordinary meetings today over the jumps, at Huntingdon and Sedgefield. There is just the one horse running from my personal alert list and that is HIGHWAY CODE in the 1:10 at Sedgefield. He looks to have found himself a decent race to win here as he's shown himself to be a capable novice chaser who probably would have won LTO but for stumbling on landing after leading at the final fence. That was over 2m4f and he's dropped in trip today to an extended 2-mile which should alleviate any stamina doubts. There are only 5 runners in the race and the main danger could be Jennie Candish's Granville Island, who looked an improving hurdler earlier this year before a summer break, and he may improve a lot on his chasing debut of last month. The best odds available on HIGHWAY CODE are 11/8 and so, as I don't recommend wagers at odds under 9/4, it's a no-bet from me. I would not put anyone off him tho' as he looks the one to beat in this but, even so, the current odds look skinny.
At Huntingdon, trainer Nicky Henderson sends the promising hurdler My Tent Or Yours for the 1:20 which he should win easily, tho' he is an odds-on chance for this at 4/7. Had he not failed to win LTO, when he was also odds-on at 4/11, then he'd probably be at very short odds indeed for this. But, he was given a lot to do that day on heavy ground so, if you're a big-hitter, you may think 4/7 is "value"; not me tho'. I can't see anything else worthy of a wager at the Huntingdon meeting.
Looking to tomorrow, there could be some interesting racing with meetings at Kempton, Warwick (Bradley @ 6/1 for the 3:35 looks interesting), and Wetherby (Havingotascoobydo returns to the scene of his last win for the 2:15). I'll be looking at those cards in more depth when the declarations are made.
There was a lot of media attention on C4 Racing yesterday following John McCririck's announcement that he is sueing the tv channel for £3 million. I've no intention of taking sides in this argument, tho' I do think that horseracing is a place for characters and, whether you love him or hate him, you cannot disagree that John McCririck is certainly a character. The man is 72 and, while he may not have had much value left in him in the studio where he was a bit of a loose cannon, I do think that he could still be useful in the betting ring on a Saturday afternoon. I would have kept him on a retainer just for comment from the betting ring as, given his age, he probably is not far off from calling it a day anyway and, while some may hate him, a large part of the betting public on-course like him. It is early days yet for the new production team at C4 Racing but my early impression is that it was a bit sterile and lacking personality last Saturday. I want to see banter and cut & thrust, challenges and opinion. Who will be the next McCririck? It won't be Nick Luck, that's for sure! Who can replace Barry Dennis and his "Bismark"? C4 Racing has lost 4 racing personalities in Francome, Down, Thompson and McCririck and on first inspection, I can't say there's an outspoken character amongst the replacements.
No selections today.
Remember! Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad