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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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Monday 9 November 2015

Coneygree starts on the Gold Cup trail

Sandown was rewarded handsomely for putting on a tremendous Sunday meeting (last year the meeting was on Saturday) with Gold Cup winner CONEYGREE easily beating his 2-rivals as he began his campaign to defend his Gold Cup crown.  
This blog has long been an admirer of Coneygree (since December 2012) and, after he won the "Denman" Chase at Newbury last February, I made the horse my antepost selection for the Gold Cup when he was being offered at odds of 12/1 (see blog dated 9th February 15, "time to bet like a man"). The year looks tougher than 2015, with Don Cossack already having posted his credentials in Ireland, and the likes of Djakadam, Don Poli and Vautour all waiting in the wings.
Paddy Power are offering 7/1 about Coneygree winning the Gold Cup again next March, and while we all know that is a very difficult thing to acheive (only Arkle, L'Escargot, and Best Mate have retained the Gold Cup in my lifetime), those odds are extremely generous, in my opinion, about a Gold Cup winner who (I think) should probably be the 7/2 fav at this time. 

On Saturday, we had a couple of wagers, with the main focus being on the Badger Ales Trophy (handicap) chase at Wincanton.  After reviewing the race, I opted for a split-stakes wager on two horses in the race: A Good Skin and Doing Fine
The performance of the latter, Doing Fine, was disappointing as he's run well in the past on soft ground, but his jumping wasn't good enough on Saturday, with two significant errors at the "ditch" fence on the back-straight. What you have to take into account with this race is the overall pace - it was run at a searching gallop on the testing soft ground, and most of these horses were found-out by the pace. Doing Fine was included in the wager as his form at Chepstow on the 10th October was solid - and that was confirmed as the winner of that race Drop Out Joe, won on Saturday despite having been raised 10lb in the handicap.  What was significant was that Doing Fine was pulled-up after jumping 4-out, with about half-a-mile still to run. As such, he wasn't run to exhaustion and I will keep him on the alert list. 
As the leaders jumped the fence 4-out, it was looking like the blog selection A Good Skin was going the strongest as jockey Paddy Brennan had yet to ask the horse a question, yet he was on the shoulder of long-time leader Royal Palladium. Unfortunately, as he approached the 3rd-last fence it was obvious that he had nothing left in the tank, and he only just jumped the 3rd-last fence and stayed-up. Brennan took the sensible option and guided the horse gently home maintaining 3rd place.  This was only the 6th chase race for A Good Skin and the 6yo (who won over 3m1f at Cheltenham last April) will be seen to better effect when racing over better ground.  The soft ground and strong gallop found him out, but he has time on his side.  He goes onto the alert list.

You may not want to read this but on Saturday but Drop Out Joe (along with Doing Fine) was on my alert list after winning on 10th October when a selection for the blog, and tho' my immediate reaction after that race was that Drop Out Joe was potentially a 150+ chaser. in my opinion the 10lb hike by the handicapper for that win was too much. However, Aidan Coleman rode an absolute "pearler" on the horse to win on Saturday, especially when you consider the horse was giving the long-term leader and runner-up Royal Palladium 20lb. What is also interesting is that the horse did not run well on soft/heavy ground as a hurdler, and both his wins in that sphere were on "good" ground. Hopefully, this race will not have taken too much out of him, as he still looks very exciting going forward, and he could develop into a 160+ Grade 1 horse. 

It was desperate luck for connections of Royal Palladium that he was caught on the run-in after leading for so long. This is another lightly-raced 7yo having only his 7th chase race.  This horse needs soft ground, and a clue to his ability was his run on 15th January when he fell 3-out when leading in the race won by Firebird Flyer. I do not think he'd have won that race, but I'm fairly certain he would have been 2nd, suggesting that he's capable of running to 135+ when race-fit on soft ground. As he was running off OR123 (carried 1lb overweight) on Saturday, he will still be very well handicapped on my ratings even after being re-rated for this performance. He's on the alert list.

My other selection on Saturday ran at Aintree - Upepito.  This was a weak 2m4f Class 2 handicap, and Upepito was thrown-in off a rating of OR128.  What cost him the race, in my opinion, was the inexperience of the jockey, 5lb claimer Bridget Andrews. Now, I am all for young jockeys being given a fair chance, and when you find a capable "claimer" you are onto a good thing, but Miss Andrews has been given a fair crack of the whip by Dan Skelton now (11 rides since 1st October, producing just one winner, and only 2 wins from her last 23 rides) and this ride on Upepito was almost a guaranteed winner, provided the horse finished the race. She presented the horse to the jumps awkwardly (in my opinion) a couple of times, and almost took-out the "wing" of the cross-fence on the 1st-circuit. Hopefully, we will see a professional jockey in the plate next time, as I'm sure with a better jockey the horse would have won this race.  Yes, eventual winner Pepite Rose ran a cracker, but the mare showed us nothing new in winning this race.  As I wrote, this race was weak, and that Pepite Rose had the race won after jumping 3-out and the nearest challenger was the 2-mile chaser Ballygarvey, confirms how weak the race was. 

No wagers advised today,  We have the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham this weekend, and I will be getting some early form study in for what will be a demanding and, hopefully, lucrative weekend of racing.  In the meantime, take note of the racing at Carlisle today as there are some decent looking novice and graduation chasers running there in Silsol (1:45pm); Seeyouatmidnight (1:45pm); Salubrious (2:50pm); and Deputy Dan (2:50pm) - all of whom will likely have a profitable season ahead of them.

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