Great day for readers of the blog yesterday, with sole selection IFYOUSAYSO advised at 6/1 in the morning winning in convincing style. I can see this horse improving again and he ran about 8lb better than his Official Rating yesterday. Other highlights from the blog were the wins of ACT ALONE @ 7/2 and FORCED FAMILY FUN @ 5/1. The chances of both of these horses was highlighted strongly in the blog write-up and the only reason they were not nominated as selections in their own right was due to them not being on my alert list. For the notebook, FORCED FAMILY FUN is being aimed at the Cheltenham Festival by trainer John Quinn, where he’ll get the strong pace that he needs (and which he received yesterday) that contributed to his winning effort. ACT ALONE looked immense and massacred this field of maidens.The win of IFYOUSAYSO put another £60 profit into the bank (at advised stakes) and since 30th September last year the blog has now posted 38 wagers with total stakes being £460 (an average of just £12.10 per wager) resulting in an overall profit of £264.10. The results don’t tell the whole story as we’ve had a couple of “winners” in all but name either throwing the race away when well clear (Handy Andy @ 16/1 on 18th October, horse won NTO) or falling at the final jump (Foxcub @ 10/1 on 21st November, horse won NTO); and a couple of close defeats with the winning margin less than half a length (Merrion Square on 6th December @ 7/1, and Firm Order on 10th December @ 10/1).
There is just the one jump race meeting today at Catterick where, unlike Doncaster yesterday, the ground is heavy. This means that the 3m6f North Yorkshire National at 2:35 is going to be a real stamina test.
My only runner from my alert list runs in this, Chac Du Cadran and (altho’ he won this race last season) he looks to have a tough task on this heavy ground. The lightly raced 9yo Merlin’s Wish is the fav, and rightly so given the way he won over 3m5f on soft on Boxing Day. He runs off OR125 today, (up 13lb for that win) but his 8yo half-bro’ Howizee is a OR122 rated 3-mile hurdler so this revised mark should not prove impossible to win from. The 2nd-fav is 2010 Hennessy Gold Cup winner Diamond Harry. If he’s in the mood, his current mark of OR135 could be a gift as when he last completed a regulation race (12th Jan 2012) he ran off OR166 and finished respectably in 5th in a fairly good time. A repeat of that run would see him win this race by a street. Could he do it? Possibly, as he’s mainly raced in Class 1 and the pace of today’s Class 3 race won’t be anywhere near as tough. Sun Cloud won LTO over 2m7f on soft, but he’s not looked like a marathon chaser in the past. I’m not convinced that Wellforth will appreciate today’s heavy ground and he had a hard race LTO on 30th December. Mister Marker has all his best form on soft ground, altho’ his 3rd in the Scottish National last April looks strong form. Even so, you can ignore his last run on good ground and today’s conditions should suit him well. Green Wizard has won 2 of his 4 races at 3-mile or further, but he may be just a plodder.
Merlin’s Wish should be the fav, but not at 9/4, and I’d have him more like 7/2 for this race as you cannot discount fully the chance of Diamond Harry who makes a significant drop in class today which could just rekindle the old flame.
Chac Du Cadran could get into a good rhythm if he goes for an early lead and endeavours to make all as he did last year in this race and, if he does, he could be hard to peg back. Even so, odds of 9/2 are not good enough for me considering his poor effort LTO, and I’d be looking for 6/1 plus for a win.
The one that I do think is well priced and a bit of value is MISTER MARKER who is 12/1 (Bet365, BetVictor, and William Hill) and it is hard not to see him not being placed in the 1st-3 of this 9-runner race given the ground and some who may not stay the trip. I’m not making him a selection, but I think I’ll be having a play in the place-only market for which he is 4.00 or 3/1.Best of luck from Wayward Lad.
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