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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Friday 2nd December

We have some interesting racing today at both the meetings at Exeter and Sandown.

At Exeter in the 2m3f handicap chase at 12:55pm we have a couple of promising 6yo's in Present Man and Wishing And Hoping heading the market. However, it is the 7yo Dark Flame who went into my notebook when he won his debut chase on 06Nov at Sandown over 2m4f giving 3lb and a good beating to the well-fancied Paul Nicholls horse, More Bucks (more of him later).  He has been rated OR134 for that win, which appears fair and the only reason that I am not making him a wager at 7/1 for this is that he probably wants longer than 2m3f. That and the Alan King trained Wishing And Hoping also has a lot of scope to improve and is on a very favourable mark of OR128. That 3 promising novice chasers are in this handicap suggests they are all expected to do well this season.

The next on the card at Exeter is a handicap chase over 3m6f and this race always takes some winning. It can be a very gruelling slog and it is interesting to note that younger horses do not seem to do well in it, with 6 of the last 10 winners aged 9yo or older. With 7 of the last 10 winners also carrying 11st plus, it is worth noting that the 9yo Barton Gift with 11st 3lb to carry is 20/1 with some bookies, especially as he was a C&D winner last April. Raised 7lb for that win, his next run was his latest when tailed-off a Chepstow on 16Nov. He ran in this race last year, but that was on heavy ground (which he absolutely hates), and  was pulled-up. If he gets into a good rhythm early on, then he could have a great chance, and he's one to probably wager on in-running after taking the first few fences. I don't think this is a suitable race for the 5yo Cyclop, and Woodford County ran a stinker LTO, and the stamina of Vice Et Vertu is in doubt as is that of Bear Rails.  This race looks ripe for a long-odds winner.

Earlier this week, I anticipated finding a wager at Exeter over Sandown, but the way the field for the opening 3-mile class 3 handicap chase for amateur riders has cut-up has left me considering that the 8yo AZURE FLY looks value at 6/1 for the 12:40pm at Sandown. The fav is the Paul Nicholls trained More Bucks but, although this gelding is related to Big Bucks, he does not have anywhere near the same ability.  In fact, he has yet to demonstrate that he will stay this 3-mile trip and he looks more of a grinder.  Next in the market is Vikekhal and he is another who does not appear to stay this 3-mile trip.  Beating just a couple of rivals LTO does not convince me that the horse effectively stays 3-mile off a rating of OR122.  However, that race does produce a line of form linking up with AZURE FLY through the runner-up in that race (Brownville) who finished behind Azure Fly LTO at Cheltenham. On that form AZURE FLY holds Vikekhal, and he also holds Dreamsoftheatre on their meeting at Ludlow last season. African Gold has never taken to chasing and the remainder of the field look an ordinary bunch providing a safe seat for their riders rather than winning chances. I'm happy with the 7lb claimer Mr Nailer who rode AZURE FLY well enough at Cheltenham LTO, and I believe that this horse also goes best right-handed.  

AZURE FLY will have no trouble with the trip or the ground and, if you consider that he was running off OR136 this time last season, then this 8yo looks well handicapped running off OR122 given that we know he's fit and well. Providing they don't go too quick for him early-on (which is unlikely, as none look quick horses) this looks a fairly safe eachway wager. Of course, More Bucks could improve 10lb for the step-up in trip, but I'd wager that he won't

I advised those on my email alert list to take the 6/1 available last night which was a good move as the money has come in and he's at best 9/2 now, 4/1 generally.

Finally, we have a cracking novice chase at Exeter at 3:15pm which will be worth watching. Talented hurdler The New One goes chasing, possibly a season too late at 8yo, and he faces some excellent rivals in Rock The Kasbah and Frodon, as well as Barney Dwan. Given the support Frodon had at Cheltenham LTO when he started 6/1 for the Bet Victor Chase my opinion is that he's the one they have to beat.  Certainly, The New One will need his A-game today over a trip of 2m3f that may well stretch him.  As such, odds of 7/2 about Frodon look tempting.

Sandown 12:40pm AZURE FLY, £5 eachway @ 6/1 (advised to those on my email list on Thursday evening)

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