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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.
Saturday, 6 February 2016
Time for an encore
We have jump race meetings at Sandown, Ffos Las and Wetherby today, with perhaps the best of the racing at Sandown as it is doubtful whether racing will take place at Ffos Las. But first, our selection yesterday Cloudy Joker, fell mid-race when in 2nd-place. Difficult to know where he’d have finished had he not fallen, but it’s unlikely that he’d have beaten the eventual winner Raktiman. By the way, Raktiman was beaten in his previous race by our selection on Thursday, Stilletto – who also fell. My form reading is in the right place, it’s just the fences keep getting in the way! Stilletto, looked capable of winning his race by 10-lengths till he fell when leading - most disappointing as we were on at 6/1.
Sandown is where we will start with a look at the day’s racing, and the ground there is soft/heavy.
There are a couple of chase handicaps that look interesting, the first of which is a Class 2 race over 2-mile at 1:50pm. There are only 6 entries, headed by likely joint-fav’s Bold Henry and Arthur’s Oak. This pair met LTO over C&D on 2nd Jan, and Bold Henry won that day. As such, he 5lb worse off with Arthur’s Oak for a winning margin of just over 2-lengths. That seems tough, but he looked like he won with something in-hand then and he may well hold the advantage again today. However, I may take a chance with Chris Pea Green who could be a lot better than his OR142 rating should he complete the course error-free.
The “Scilly Isles” novices’ chase at 2:25pm is one of the key “Arkle” trials of the season. It is a race that Paul Nicholls strives to win every season, but he’s not had much luck in recent years. Interestingly, Irish trainer Willie Mullins had 5 entered mid-week but has none starting. Essentikally, this race is a “match” between Tea For Two and Bristol De Mai. Both are on my alert list and, on the face of it, I’m more inclined to favour the latter, as the 5yo Bristol De Mai looks to have more speed and potential than his rival. There wont be much in this.
I don’t usually have wagers in handicap hurdles, but I do like 3-mile hurdle races as few horses can stay this sort of trip effectively at “racing” speed. After saying that, you’d expect me to suggest Baywing who is bidding for his 5th win this season; however, his trainer Nicky Richards has a pretty awful record when sending his horses south of Manchester to race. As such, I think there is plenty of value in this race without the fav. Can anyone discount an Alan King runner (Medinas) after last weekend? I’m not sure Ibis Du Rheu will see out this trip as he looked one-paced over 2m5f LTO. And the winner of that race Yala Enki, didn’t stay 2m7f when tried over the trip at Haydock in November. Next in the market is Saddlers Encore, and this horse won over 2m7f in April 2015 as a 5yo, after which he was injured and not seen again till 26thDecember 2015 when he was a close-up 5th beaten just over 4-lengths after being ridden prominently all the way and (most likely) only giving way due to lack of fitness. Currently 13/2 at best with the bookies, those look fair odds about a horse that could be well-treated on OR129 - those on the blog email list were advised to take the 7/1 available last night.
The 3-mile Class 2 handicap Chase at 3:35pm brings a fair few old hands to the races. Last years winner Le Reve returns to repeat the feat, this time off a rating of OR144 which is 5lb higher than last year. If he’s in the same form, then he looks to hold a favourites chance, as he ended the season running 3rdover this course in the Bet365 Gold cup off off OR147. Trainer Charlie Longsdon had entered Drop Out Joe for this, but now relies on the 12yo Pete The Feat who I think will struggle on this ground. Saroque had a hard race in the Welsh National, although Black Thunder was running well until unseating his rider. He’s dropped 3lb to OR149 (he was rated OR155 last season) and he could run a big race. I thought Black Thunder could develop into a 160+ chaser this season, but he's struggled along with others from his stable. But the horse I like is KNOCK HOUSE, who looked like he had a lot in hand when winning at Cheltenham in November off OR140 and looked like running a big race until hitting the 3rd-last fence LTO. He looks unexposed and, so long as the ground isn’t bottomless, he looks capable of winning this race, so odds of 7/1 with Paddy Power look generous.
The Wetherby meeting will likely be run on heavy ground, and holds no races of interest for me. As for Ffos Las, if it goes ahead it will undoubtedly be run on bottomless, heavy ground and I can't consider a wager there.
Sandown 3:00pm SADDLERS ENCORE, £4 eachway @ 7/1 (odds of 13/2 are generally available)
Sandown 3:30pm KNOCK HOUSE, £4 eachway @ 7/1 (generally available)
£2 eachway double on the above selections