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Record of the blog selections

Profit for the 2016-17 Jumps Season = £84.38

from wagers on 26 individual selections (4 winners, 6 placed)

Total Staked = £280.00


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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Big weekend of racing on the way

Reading todays Weekender on the train into London, it seems that it’s not just me who is concerned that the continuing heavy ground is playing havoc – not just with racing generally but, also, the preparation plans of trainers for the Cheltenham Festival in March.
As I’ve written before, in the period between Christmas Day and Valentine’s Day (14th February) it is near essential to race your horses if you are seriously considering having a winning chance at the Festival.  That’s not to say winners cannot emerge from the period before the Festival but, generally, horses need to come into the Festival fresh.
For the punter, the form of the past month – which has mainly been raced on heavy ground – could be inconsequential when considering Cheltenham; as that meeting will almost invariably start off on good-to-soft ground which (barring a downpour of epic proportions) will get quicker as the meeting progresses.  For the form-student, it is essential not to be drawn into false hope, giving greater emphasis to races run on heavy ground than would normally be the case.
Let’s take Saturday’s race at Haydock (the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase) in which our selection Virak ran 2nd to the well-handicapped Cloudy Bob.  The winner (Cloudy Bob) had started the season as one of the 99 on my initial alert list, but he’d dropped-off the list as he appeared to be lacking “zip” when placed on his previous run. I thought he would continue to struggle against younger horses, but trainer Sue Smith has managed to reinvigorate his enthusiasm and confidence, and he stayed-on strong.  After he won the “Rowland Meyrick” in December 2013, I thought he was a 160+ 3-mile chaser, and he confirmed that ability when chasing home Captain Chris NTO at Ascot.   He won’t be getting back to that level again, but he should continue to pay his way for the remainder of 2016. As for Virak, when he was left in 2nd place (behind Cloudy Bob) after the long-time leader fell, I thought he’d almost certainly win; however he was giving 24lb to Cloudy Bob and that was too much in the circumstances.  Even so, it was another exceptional effort by Virak, and reconfirmed the form-lines involving Wakanda.
Our other selection on Saturday was Salubrious who, in the circumstances, was given too much to do by his jockey and finished a gallant 4th.  By way of a bonus, he’s been dropped 2lb by the handicapper to OR144 and this horse (in my opinion) is a good winner waiting to happen, as if my judgement is anything to go by he’s a 150+ chaser.
Looking at the changes in the BHA official ratings – see the Weightwatcher section of the Weekender – I’ve noticed that Straidnahanna has been dropped 3lb to OR128, and What A Good Night (this pair finished 1st and 2nd in a decent handicap chase earlier in the season) has been dropped 2lb to OR129.  This pair will be in the winners’ enclosure soon.
There is some very good racing this weekend, and I’m planning on being at Cheltenham for the “Trials” Day meeting on Saturday.  I’m hoping the rain stays away and that the ground description has the word “good” in it, but it is more likely to be soft ground. Altho’ all eyes will be on the feature races (Cleeve Hurdle and Betbright Chase), my attention will be on the novice chase over 2m5f at 1:15pm as this race invariably brings together some of the top novice chasing talent to be seen before the Cheltenham Festival.  If nothing else, make note of what runs in this race.  There is also top racing at Doncaster, where the ground is more likely to be good-to-soft than soft, and that is a great bonus.  The feature race there on Saturday is the 3-mile Skybet Chase and this usually goes to a 7yo or 8yo.  With Holywell looking to use this race as a “prep” for the Gold Cup, there are some attractively weighted horses, and the Rebecca Curtis pair of Doing Fine and Audacious Plan at the foot of the handicap could give their best on Saturday.
That’s it for now.

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