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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.
Thursday, 26 January 2017
Notes from Wayward Lad for 26th January
No success for the selection on Saturday, but I reckon I read the race about right. My error was to overlook the potential for eventual winner Bristol De Mai to improve with the knowledge that he was proven to say the 3-mile trip.
There were no prisoners taken by the strong pace of the race and, by my opinion, this was top-class staying chase form from the winner.
My selection Otago Trail ran a cracker and I thought we had a chance of success with 4 to jump, but the class of the 6yo winner told and Otago Trail was exhausted jumping the 2nd-last fence and we were (perhaps) lucky that he was able to clear the final fence and finish the race.
Is Bristol De Mai a potential Gold Cup winner? He could well be. My only doubt is that he did not stay well at Cheltenham last March over 2m5f and it may be the uphill finish there that he cannot cope with. To be fair, that is my only doubt over Thistlecrack - will he stay the extra couple of furlongs of the Gold Cup trip? We know his stablemate Native River certainly will.
My narrative on Saturday morning looked at three races, but for my advised selection I gave the name of the only loser of the 3. Waiting Patiently easily beat the Nicholls-trained fav Politologue and I hope readers took my advice and had a small wager on him. I'm not sure he's good enough to be a potential "Arkle" winner, but he could be.
And then our old friend The New One came up trumps in the Grade 2 hurdle, but then he did not have to do much to win it as the opposition was poor. In the circumstances, he should have started with an SP of slightly odds-on and so (again) I hope readers took advantage of the morning odds as I advised.
No racing from Fakenham today as it has already been abandoned, and there is nothing else suitable for a wager.
I'm not hopeful that we will have a wagering opportunity tomorrow (Friday) either, as the racing looks ordinary with nothing outstanding.
Saturday though, brings us some top class racing at Cheltenham, Doncaster and Uttoxeter.
The Cheltenham meeting holds a 9-race card with the inclusion of the Clarence House 2-mile chase brought from the Ascot meeting lost to the frost last weekend. That race now looks more interesting with the possible inclusion of Uxizandre (he holds entries in several races at both Cheltenham and Doncaster) and Special Tiara to oppose Un De Sceaux. I still feel that the Irish challenger Un De Sceaux holds the aces in this race.
The highlight of the Cheltenham card will be the Grade 2 "Cotswold Chase" over 3m1f, in which we see Thistlecrack make his next venture of his phenomenal novice chase season. This race will be completely different from the King George VI chase at Kempton which he won LTO as his stamina over these undulations will be put to test by some proven high-class performers in Many Clouds (my selection in the race last year), Smad Place (last years winner) and possibly Silviniaco Conti. Another interesting entry from Paul Nicholls is Vicente (the 2016 Scottish National winner). This race could be all about the ground as it is unlikely to get much softer than the current good-to-soft, although if the frost gets into the ground overnight and we have a thorough thaw during the course of the day, by 2:15pm there will have already been 3 chase races run on the ground and it could be loosening-up. I'm again looking at Many Clouds or Smad Place as being my idea of the winner should the ground become more testing, as neither of this pair have looked to be waining in their powers.
Saturday will be a long day for Cheltenham punters with the first race off at noon (as such it is unlikely that I will be going). That race is the 2m1f juvenile hurdle and it looks like being a duel between the unbeaten pair of Defi Du Seuil and Charli Parcs. Then we have possibly the most interesting race of the day from a punting point of view, with the Class 2, 2m5f Timeform Novices Handicap Chase and, if this race goes to "form", then virtually every runner should be placed into the notebooks of punters. This could be a tough race to crack, so I will likely be focusing more attention on the next race on the card over the same trip and hoping that it does not fall apart like it did last year.
I will be ignoring the Cross-Country chase, and another novice race I will be paying attention to is the 2m4f Grade 2 novices hurdle. This looks like it could have a very competitive look about it if many of the current 15 entries stand their ground.
Last year, I saw Thistlecrack smash a decent field in the Cleeve hurdle over 3-mile, and it would not surprise me to see Uknowhatimeanharry do the same thing on Saturday. Whether many punters will still be on the course for the Class 2 handicap hurdle at 4:35pm remains to be seen.
At Doncaster, the 2-mile Class 2 handicap chase could be an intriguing puzzle, especially if Uxizandre misses this race and goes to Cheltenham instead, as the weights will probably go up 14lb. This Doncaster meeting is one of my favourites and it is a shame that it clashes with the Cheltenham trials meeting as the Grade 2, 3-mile novices hurdle run at 2:30pm always brings together a classy field and is probably a stronger race than the 2m4f Grade 2 novices hurdle being run at Cheltenham.
Then we have the feature race of the Doncaster meeting, the Class 1 (Listed) 3-mile SkyBet handicap chase. Last years winner Ziga Boy runs off just a 4lb higher handicap mark of OR137, and he could prove tough to beat but there are a host of horses above him in the handicap that are possibly knocking on the door of a big win, and my old friend from last season Wakanda could be the one. This time last year he ran in the Cotswold Chase and was completely outclassed, and that race left it's mark on him. He's taken time to forget that race but LTO he ran his best race since winning at Ascot in December 2015.
All-in-all, we have a very busy Saturday coming up.