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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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Saturday 12 December 2015

An old-timer to take the spoils

Saturday brings us another busy weekend with meetings at Cheltenham, Doncaster and Lingfield.
Yesterday at Cheltenham, the ground softened up a lot more than I anticipated and looked more heavy in places than the reported good-to-soft in places. As such, there were a number of non-runners and my only selection The Romford Pele, was given the run when he probably should have also been withdrawn on ground conditions.  He never looked happy on the ground, and was struggling on the 2nd-circuit when falling. He will be a better horse on proper good-to-soft ground or better. You could tell how deep the ground was as confirmed mudlark Aachen ran his rivals ragged over this stiff course and had them all struggling with half-a-mile to run, before running-out an easy winner.

Onto Saturday and, first, Doncaster where there is an interesting Class 3 chase over 2m3f at 12:20pm This is the one aspect of the jump racing season I don't like, and that is the early start times! You don't get a great deal of time to assess formlines as it is, and then make your selections in a written blog and issue online. There are 2 alert list runners in this race (Javert and Shimla Dawn) and over this trip I'm most taken with Shimla Dawn, who didn't seem to stay the 3-mile trip LTO.

However, the best race at this track is the Class 2, 3-mile handicap chase at 1:30pm. With the ground forecast at good-to-soft, there should be no hard-luck stories. From the alert list we have Indian Castle, Sego Success, and Straidnahanna in the race. Without a doubt, Indian Castle will strip fitter in this than LTO 3-weeks ago, and the ground and trip will be just about perfect for him. Not so Sego Success who will prefer ground a little softer and possibly a longer trip than this 3-mile. When he last ran, I thought Straidnahanna was looking the winner until he fell 3-out at Haydock. I think he'd have won easily that day had he not fallen, yet plenty think the eventual winner Vieux Lion Rouge ran a cracker (he was sent off the fav yesterday off a 7lb higher rating).  Therefore, Straidnahanna should be running-off a much higher rating than OR131, and he will take all the beating in my opinion.  Currently 4/1 with Paddy Power and William Hill, those odds look generous.

Cheltenham holds a cracking meeting yet again.  The Class 2 handicap chase over 2-mile at 1:15pm looks extremely competitive, yet last years winner (Sew On Target) was the longest-odds winner at 13/2 in the past 10 years. Given its competitive nature, I'm moving-on to the next on the card, the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, a Class 1, Grade 3 handicap chase over nearly 2m5f at 1:50pm.  There are a hatful of alert list runners in this, and I'm hoping one will turn out to be the winner. I've been waiting for an opportunity to wager again on Turn Over Sivola but, I fear, this race is not it as I cannot see him staying the trip. No such thoughts about Sound Investment who went close to winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup 4-weeks ago. Unfortunately, having top-weight did for him that day and it will likely prevent him winning again, although the soft ground is in his favour.
Before 2-out in that race, Irish Cavalier looked like running away with it, but faltered and didn't run-on. Even so, I rated it a career-best effort on my ratings and the Curtis stable have blamed the poor run of stable-form (exemplified by this run) to a bad batch of hay. He runs off the same rating and he could have gone close as he's better-off with all those who beat him that day - but I've learned that he's a non-runner. I'm expecting Annacotty to run another good race, but I cannot see him finding much improvement; and Buywise is a horse who needs luck in running and another furlong or two. Even so, he will likely be finishing the fastest of all. Little Jon will love the ground, but I think he will struggle to find more improvement as his development appears to have plateaued. This trip could be too short for Champagne West, who also has to cope with a break of 315-days since his last run. Another from my alert list is Village Vic who will run with just 10st on his back (I expect Richard Johnson will not have eaten since Tuesday), but the soft ground isn't something he will relish. The final horse on my alert list in the race is Johns Spirit, who has dropped to OR155.  I thought he was going well in the Paddy Power as, when his jockey knew he wouldn't win, he was eased over the final two fences. Don't forget, he was only just beaten a head in the Paddy Power in 2014 on soft ground off a rating of OR156 (after which he was raised to OR160), and his form when there is plenty of give in the ground cannot be faulted. He seems to have been around for ages but is only an 8yo. Perhaps the main issue with Johns Spirit is that his regular jockey isn't riding  It would be no surprise to see the same 4 or 5 horses that were contesting the lead at the 2nd-last in the Paddy Power, be occupying the same positions in this race.  However, I cannot ignore the chance of Johns Spirit who looks a juicy 16/1. It is likely that luck in running will play its part in this race, so being up with the pace will be of benefit.

Doncaster 1:30pm STRAIDNAHANNA, £10 win at 4/1 (Paddy Power and William Hill)
Cheltenham 1:50pm JOHNS SPIRIT, £5 eachway @ 16/1 (available generally, and some go quarter-odds 1,2,3,4 even with the non-runner)

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