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Saturday 5 March 2016

Busy day of horseracing

We have a busy day of horseracing ahead of us with meetings at Doncaster, Newbury, Kelso and Stratford.
With all the racing, we have a lot of runners from the alert list and I’m hoping that 1 or 2 will find themselves in the winner’s enclosure.
The highlight of the Doncaster meeting is the 3m2f Grimthorpe Chase, a Class 2 handicap run at 3:45pm that has attracted a high-class field which, unfortunately, has scared away most of the entries leaving just a select field of 8 runners. There are 3 from my alert list in the race: DROP OUT JOE, THE LAST SAMURI, and SEGO SUCCESS.  Without a doubt, Drop Out Joe could be 7lb better than his OR151 rating, and the ground and trip should not inconvenience him.  Whereas the 9lb hike for his LTO win has almost certainly scuppered The Last Samuri, although he will not be lacking stamina. It is SEGO SUCCESS who has the best form in the book on my ratings, but odds of just 4/1 in this competitive race are not attractive enough. 
Newbury looks an exciting meeting, and there is an interesting Veterans’ handicap chase over 3m2f at 2:15pm. This is a race which has been dominated by 10yo’s, they have won 6 of the last 7 runnings, and I think the winner of this race will again come from one of the 10yo’s.  There are only 4 10yo’s in the race: Masters Hill, Same Difference, So Fine, and Shotavodka.  Masters Hill hates soft/heavy ground, so it is no surprise that he’s struggled this winter to find his form, and the better ground he races on today could see a complete turnaround in his form.  On his day he’s a smart handicap chaser who stays 3-mile plus well.  Same Difference, who won the “Kim Muir” over 3m1f as a 7yo at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival, is also a smart horse on his day – but we haven’t seen that day for a long time and, after running 5th in the 2014 “Kim Muir” off OR141 he’s not completed in his 2 subsequent races. I think this 3m2f trip is too far for Shotavodka and as for So Fine he’s not jumped a fence in 3 years (tailed-off 3rd in a 3-runner race).  MASTERS HILL at 14/1 could be an interesting eachway play.

The Greatwood Gold Cup chase at 3:25pm looks a tricky race for the novice chaser Sametegal, but his trainer Paul Nicholls has farmed this race in recent years. Nicholls also has the fav Art Mauresque, but the value has gone and he's just 5/1.  

Finding value looks tricky today. It’s one thing finding a winning wager, but I’m not going to be tempted to chasing winners just to fill the blog. The opening race at Doncaster could be a wagering opportunity as this 2-mile Calss 2 handicap chase has an open look about it. Top-weight Upsilon Bleu has been on my alert list since this time last season when chasing home Mr Mole in a Grade 2 chase at Newbury. At his best, he’s better than OR140, and is probably more like 150+, but he’s struggled to show his form this season. Another on my alert list is MOUNTAIN KING and his form is more respectable, except LTO he ran a stinker at Ascot. He last won over 2-miles in April last year beating yesterday’s winner Ut Majeur Aulmes giving him 8lb. He ran off OR132 that day and is rated OR133 for this, so he looks well-handicapped.  I feel Pearls Legend is held by the handicapper, while Yorkist probably wants the ground to be even more testing.  Astigos won for the first time as a chaser LTO but I don’t expect him to repeat the feat in this; and Ulis De Vassy shows his best form in the summer months and hasn’t been seen since August.  MOUNTAIN KING is Phil Hobbs only runner at Doncaster and stable jockey (and champion-elect) Richard Johnson rides, so I’m expecting there to be a lot of stable confidence behind this one.  Current odds of 4/1 (BetVictor and Paddy Power) look too generous, and I think he’s more of a 9/4 chance.Unfortunately, after writing this last night, I've found out this morning that the horse is a non-runner.
It looks like today is a no-bet raceday.

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