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Thursday 27 November 2014

Day 1 of the Hennessy meeting at Newbury

What a great day of horseracing for a Thursday, with meetings at Newbury, Taunton and Uttoxeter.
The blog is being posted a bit late (unfortunately, I had a meeting to attend from 10:00 - 11:30) so this is more of a review of what's ahead.

Well handicapped, but roguish, chaser Loch Ba runs over hurdles at Newbury at 1:35 this afternoon, on what is surely a recovery mission to boost his confidence. Running off OR119 should make him the fav for this race as he raced off OR137 over fences last season (has since dropped to OR124) and looked well-in on occassion (eg: when 4th at Warwick in January on soft ground).

Later in the afternoon, from my alert list comes CLOUDY BOB who runs in the 2:45. This 2m6f &110 yard chase should really suit him after he won over a similar trip and ground at Market Rasen LTO. That win earned him a 7lb hike in the ratings to OR128, but he was running well last season off OR125 and he looks unexposed to me and capable of winning this. The only issue for me is that he seems best going right-handed, but he has won and run well going left-handed. The hot fav is the Alan King novice chaser Ned Stark, but he's no price at all at 13/8. The Paul Nicholls trained Ceasar Milan runs in his debut chase and this looks a tough task for him giving 5lb to a competent chaser like Cloudy Bob. The other novice being backed is Liberty One, but he'll need to improve a lot on his debut to be involved in this in my opinion. The other novice in the race Ashes House looks of more interest as the first-two in that race both won NTO and the form looks rock solid. Bet365 go quarter-odds a place 1,2,3 for this and 10/1 Cloudy Bob, and 12/1 Ashes House look interesting eachway chances.

Nothing jumps at me at Taunton, and Uttoxeter isn't much better, but the handicap chase at 3:05 seems to offer an opportunity to those who like to wager on the shorter-odds chances. With Hi Bob being a non-runer, only 4 horses go to post and it looks a match between Mohi Rahrere and Ray Diamond. The latter has been out of form for over a year and has slipped from OR117 in Jan13 to OR95 today. He has won a race in the intervening period, a class 4 at Exeter off the same mark he runs off today. What worries me about him is that he doesn't stay a yard beyond 2m4f (todays trip) and the ground at Uttoxeter is heavy. There are no trip worries for Mohi Rahrere who stays 3-mile well, and this front-runner will surely test the stamina of the others in the race. Odds of 7/4 about MOHI RAHRERE look generous to me, as I'd have him at about 11/10.

Looking ahead to Saturday and the Hennessy Gold Cup, my early selection MIDNIGHT PRAYER is sure to line-up and Alan King has even booked the useful 5lb claimer Tom Bellamy for the ride, as such he'll only be carrying 10st 5lb and I'm on at 25/1.

All the best and vote for the blog in the UK Blog awards if you haven't already done so.

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