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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.
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Saturday, 23 January 2016
It could be a big day for Paul Nicholls
Unfortunately, the weather continues to wreck havoc on the racing calender, and we lost Chepstow yesterday, leaving us with just the meeting at Market Rasen. I couldn't see a value wager, so no blog was posted. From the alert list, Straidnahanna was running in the 2m5f Graduation Chase, but the conditions of the race meant that he was giving a lot of weight away and he needed 1 or 2 of the others to not complete to be able to finish in the frame, and that didn't happen. I'm not sure what to think about this horse, it may be he's been pushed to hard at too young an age and is in need of a break or change of scenery to rekindle the enthusiasm.
Saturday brings us some top-class action at Ascot (advance going is Soft) and Haydock (advance going is Heavy), as well as a supporting meeting at Taunton. The meeting at Ascot has a couple of interesting races, the first being a race for amateur riders at 1:15pm and, given the ground and trip and that Ascot is a right-handed track, I'm automatically drawn to Cloudy Bob. He was on the alert list (he's since come off) at the start of the season and was the initial wager for the blog back in September when he ran 3rd. If ever he is going to win, it is with today's criteria which put a tick in every box - however, he has only won the 1 chase race from 23 starts to date.
The feature race at Ascot is the Grade 1 Sodexo Clarence House Chase run over 2m1f. This is being billed as a clash between the old-timer Sire De Grugy and the "new-kid" on the block, Un Des Sceaux. On the face of it, there is unlikely to be a winner of the race other than Un Des Sceaux - providing he completes the course unscathed. He fell LTO, when under no pressure at all, so I expect he's undergone some significant schooling at home since then to ensure his jumping is foot perfect. Even so, I'm sure this field will do their best to expose any potential issues. For me, this race is about who comes 2nd, and that could well provide us with a wagering opportunity. I've never considered Sire De Grugy to be in the same league as most Champion Chasers and, at his peak, I have him at 164 on my personal ratings, and he's not that good now as a 10yo. For me Vibrato Valtat is a 155-157 chaser, and he has been for about the past 12 months, and he's not improving. For me, the value for a straight-forecast wager is Simply Ned who, despite being a 9yo, is relatively unexposed at this level, yet on my personal ratings is capable of running above 160.
Possibly the betting race of the meeting is the 3:35pm Bet365 Handicap Chase over 2m5f. There are several from my alert list in the race, and the one that possibly will do best is SALUBRIOUS. This will be only his 4th chase race, and this trip will suit him a lot better that the 3-mile over which he ran here in December. That was a top handicap chase, and he suffered no disgrace when fading as his stamina gave out on that day. Earlier that same day, Royal Regatta made a fool of me as he was on my alert list as being well-handicapped for 2-mile handicaps, but won that day over 2m5f on his first attempt at this sort of trip as a chaser. Whether the headgear he wore for the first time will have a similar effect is debatable. Venetia Williams loves a winner on the London tracks, and she has 3 entered, but I don't fancy the chances of any of them. Regal Encore looks thrown-in the deep end here. He should stay this trip as he won a hurdle race at Exeter over 2m7f, but his chase rating of OR144 looks a bit steep for what he's done so far in his 4 chase races to date. There is a lot of focus on Reve De Sivola who looks thrown-in off OR139 given his hurdle rating is OR160. but this will be is first chase start since December 2011 (5 years ago) and this 11yo had plenty of opportunity to show his ability then and didn't. He also has an entry at Haydock in the Peter Marsh Chase and is more likely to go for that race.
At Haydock we have the Peter March handicap chase over 3-mile at 3:15pm. This is one of the great staying handicaps of the season and we have a strong field. For my selection, we go back again to that race at Ascot on 19th December won by Wakanda, and there we find VIRAK. This horse has been mighty unlucky to come up against Wakanda twice this season, but this time the way is clear. I think Virak is near Gold Cup class on what we've seen this season and more than worthy of a place in that line-up. He has a couple of possible dangers in the race, one is Reve De Sivola who I think should be 10/1 given the uncertainty of his chasing ability. Fingal Bay is unlikely to stay this trip as he's shown in his past couple of runs. Cloudy Too could recoup his form but I think the next race he wins will be a veteran handicap chase. As for Algernon Pazham, this heavy ground will likely take its toll if he tries to make all, but he has plenty of ability as shown on his seasonal debut.
Haydock 3:15pm VIRAK, £10 win @ 5/1 (Ladbrokes and others)
Ascot 3:35pm SALUBRIOUS, £10 win @ 6/1 (Ladbrokes)
plus £5 win double
Total £25 staked