Saturday was not the best of days for followers of the blog. It was a complete wipe-out. It was particularly galling as a previous "2pt win" selection RENARD stormed home at Chepstow confirming the faith I had in him LTO when he put in a lacklustre display despite starting favourite. On Saturday, RENARD went un-backed as his morning odds were less than my minimum of 9/4, and he eventually went off at an SP of 7/4.
Having missed a potential big winner on Friday at Sandown with MERRION SQUARE who went down by just a neck at 7/1, I know that all that is missing at the moment is a tiny bit of luck. Looking thru' my results from last year, I note that I also hit a dry spell in December 2012 and perhaps there is a reason for not getting the winners. Finding winners on the Aintree "National" circuit is always tricky, and none of my horse alert runners (of which there were 4) even managed to get a look in for the Becher Chase. Neither did the other couple of selections that I posted on http://www.gallopslive.com/ - ROBERTO GOLDBACK and IKORODU ROAD. Later in the afternoon, MIDNIGHT APPEAL never looked happy over the National fences despite making some progress mid-race before a mistake paid for his chance altogether.
The meeting at Sandown was no better. None of the well fancied runners MRS PEACHEY, WHISPER, UPSWING or BALDER SUCCES found the winners enclosure. I was convinced VULCANITE wanted a drop in trip to 2-mile but, perhaps, he's lost his enthusiasm for the game. Certainly SIRE DE GRUGY won well, but only at odds of 7/4. But BRADLEY, BUDDY BOLERO, and GODSMEJUDGE all ran stinkers in the London National.
At Chepstow, ROUDOUDOU VILLE stayed-on to be 4th and would have repaid eachway punters had the 33/1 UK hurdling debutant Aubusson not stayed best of all. I was gutted there was not a better effort from QUARTZ DE THAIX. This horse came good for me twice last season at this time of year over this sort of trip and ground, so there were no excuses.
So – who did come good at the weekend? It was trainer PAUL NICHOLLS, who sent out 14 runners on Saturday and recorded 5 winners at odds of 9/1, 16/1, 5/2, 13/2, and 8/1. He also sent out hjust the one runner yesterday – MR MOLE went to Warwick where he won at 13/8. There have been some who have wondered when Nicholls would "hit form", but his chasers have been winning well since 1st October – he's had 26 winners from 83 runners in chase races since 1st October, that's a 31%+ strike-rate. In the same period (1st October to 31st December) last year, Nicholls had 25 winners from 97 chase runners; that's a 25.7% strike-rate.
On the run-up to Christmas, I'm taking a bit of a back-seat mainly to consolidate my thoughts on recent formlines as it may be that I'm not being ruthless enough with my alert list selections. The blog is still showing a healthy profit for the season, but nobody likes losing runs.
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