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Saturday, 11 October 2014

Hobbs to recoup losses at Chepstow

Not a good start to the jumps season for the blog yesterday, with Black Thunder running well below his best in what looked a scrappy race and one that - had he been in the right mood - he'd have won easily when looking at the race in hindsight.
I was right to have my doubts about the Colour Squadron, as that horse threw the race away and is becoming unreliable from a betting position. Full marks to Wonderful Charm in pegging back the leader and winning the race, but the performance is difficult to assess. Clearly Wonderful Charm goes best when fresh and on ground more "good" than "soft", so we may not see much more of him before the spring of 2015.
What of Black Thunder? My initial assessment is that he's lost his confidence jumping fences following the fall at the Cheltenham Festival. I'd expect Paul Nicholls to give him a lot of practise on the gallops at home prior to his next race, which could be the Hennessey at Newbury.  He is on my list of potential wagers for that race as his handicap mark of OR149 is very lenient when you look at the best of his form as a novice chaser.

On to today, and there is a great meeting at Cheptsow over the jumps. My focus is on the handicap chase at 5:30 over 3-mile. There are several in the race from my alert list:
Cloudy Bob / Handy Andy / Gas Line Boy / Twirling Magnet
The trip looks to be on the long side for Cloudy Bob. I do like Handy Andy as he goes well fresh (should have won at Cheltenham on seasonal debut last year) and todays ground should well be soft enough for him. Twirling Magnet runs well on his good days, but his attitude is indifferent. As such, a wager on him carries additional risk and this looks a race he will either do well in or throw-in the towel early on. The one that I think will do best of my alert list horses is GAS LINE BOY. He ran in the novice chase at this meeting last season, and then won NTO looking a very decent chaser in the making. He's re-united with Richard Johnson today and odds of 16/1 look generous as I think he's a potential OR140+ chaser.
The market leaders look a bit short in the betting. I think Highland Lodge needs a stiffer test than he'll get today, whereas the opposite applies to Benbens who will find his stamina stretched. The biggest danger to GAS LINE BOY could be his stablemate De La Bech who is a course and distance winner, but I feel he wants softer ground than this today.

Chepstow 5:30 GAS LINE BOY, £5 eachway @ 16/1 (available generally - quarter odds a place)

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