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Tuesday 3 November 2015

Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter

It used to be that the Haldon Gold Cup meeting at Exeter was the "curtain opener" to the jumps season proper, but the Charlie Hall handicap chase at Wetherby has regained it's lustre and now occupies that position. This Exter meeting though, is still a cracker of a mid-week meeting and we have some good horse running there today.

Before we look at the day's racing, let's recap yesterday; and it was not a good result for the blog as the selection Dreamsoftheatre just wasn't interested, and that much was obvious for the moment the tapes went up. It is a firm reminder that horseracing involves horses, and they are not machines but flesh & blood with minds of their own which will play-up when they want to.  It was no matter that Barry Geraghty was in the saddle, even with his cajoling with the persuader, Dreamsoftheatre wasn't having any of it and he was eventually pulled-up. This was disappointing, as the race fell apart in the final half-mile with Urcalin falling, bringing-down Billy Merriot, and Port Melon merely had to stay-on to win the race.  Had our selection run to the form of his Ludlow race on 7th October, then he probably would have won this.

Onwards and upwards; let's look at today and the feature race of the afternoon: the Haldon Gold Cup at 2:20pm. The race was won last year by God's Own and if he's in the same form then he will be tough to beat as his OR160 rating is about right. If the ground stays good-to-soft (soft in places), then he should be ok running on it, and we know he handles the track and trip. For me, the race-fav Sire De Grugy will have to raise his game about 5lbs to win this giving God's Own 7lb.  The ground is no issue whatsoever, but the trip may just stretch him - we will have to see. The Paul Nicholls trained Vibrato Valtat will need to find 7lb+ on known form to win, but he is just a 6yo so has the potential to find improvement. Dunraven Storm was at about the same level as Vibrato Valtat last season, but he's 4-years older and a 10yo. He will need luck on his side today.  Third Intention is an interesting contender - and is on my alert list - as he's raised his game in his last couple of runs and ran a cracker LTO on his seasonal debut. The worry with him tho' is the soft ground, as his only win on the surface (from 11 runs on soft/heavy) was beating 3 rivals in a graduation chase, and they were outclassed that day so nothing was proved.  At the odds, 100/30 about God's Own looks the best value, but this is a no-bet race for me as if Vibrato Valtat finds some improvement, then he should win this.

The 3-mile Class 3 handicap chase at 3:20pm has been a graveyard for form-students in the past with 5 of the past 8 winners having an SP of 10/1 or greater.  LTO winner Whats Left could be the one to take in this race, as the horse he beat LTO has gone on and won since, so altho' he's up 8lb to OR126 for that win, it may not be enough to stop him.  Trainer Neil Mulholland does not send many chasers here (2 wins from 6 in past 5 years), but you need to take note when he does. Saroque is on my alert list despite being win-less last season.  The reason being his run over C&D in February 2014 (19-months ago) when 2nd on similar ground off OR126.  He runs off OR124 today,  but is he can repeat that Feb14 race then he will take all the beating. Trainer Venetia Williams had another winner yesterday, and when he stable starts rolling then you have to sit up and take notice. The top-weight is another on my alert list, the 6yo Belmount who currently is the 9/2 fav. Without a doubt, this horse will stay the trip, and likely more, and the ground is not an issue with him either.  I just don't think he will be up to conceding the weight in what looks like a handicap chase that will produce a lot of future winners.  It is also interesting that Caroline Keevil sends Midnight Lira for this race as he's not won beyond 2m7f before in 8 attempts; but she's a trainer who should not be underestimated.

All-in-all it is a tricky handicap chase but, with only 14-runners, the bookies only offer quarter-odds a place 1,2,3 and there is bound to be one at 10/1+ that will run a big race and could take a place. If pushed to place a wager I would like to bet eachway on Saroque, but best-odds of just 7/1 are poor, as I'm looking for 10/1 - he will need to be in tip-top form to win but a place is highly likely.

Possibly the best odds are the 7/1 offered by Corals about Whats Left, but this is one of those races when you could wager on 3 and still not find the winner!

No advised wager today.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't quite believe that!
    SAROQUE made-all to win at odds of 10/1.
    Just hope some of you on the email list and other readers of the blog took advantage of the drift in the odds and placed a wager.