The Bobby Renton handicap chase run at 4:00pm today at Wetherby is one of my personal landmarks in the jump season.
This race has been won by the fav (or co-fav) on 5 of the last 6 years, so (normally) it may pay not to stray too far from the market leaders when looking for the likely winner. Hewever, this years race looks a weak renewal and that is reflected in the odds of 4/1 for the fav.
The race is the first of 4, Class 3, handicaps run at the course today, there being 2 chase handicaps and 2 hurdle handicaps. Unfortunately I don't think my Alert List will help me in the "Bobby Renton" as the only runner from it is The Grey Taylor and he ran a stinker on his seasonal debut last month. He jumped well enough that day but, when push came to shove, he found nothing at all. It may have been a fitness issue, but I'm not sure.
The current fav is Art Of Logistics but that opinion is on the basis that he recovers his form of old. He may well have hinted at a return to that sort of form since joining Phil Hobbs' stable, but we have yet to see it. For some reason (see my comments above) The Grey Taylor is next in the betting at 5/1, but I think this trip may stretch him even if he is race-fit now. I much prefer Lord Wishes who won a handicap hurdle at this meeting last season, but he's been off the track since July and (looking at his record) he runs best when he's been kept busy. As such, he may come on for this outing.
I can't see much room for more improvement from Degooch, and Gurkha Brave ran very poorly LTO even tho' he had little chance of winning that particular race. As such, one that comes into the frame for me is Presenting Junior. He is a standing dish at northern tracks being a multiple winner at Ayr and Hexham. He never won last season, but was mainly racing on ground softer than he likes.
He last won at Ayr in April 2015 off OR124 and he runs off OR127 today having been rated a lot higher in between. However, he does appear to be a horse with only one gear. That said, he does jump a fence very well and he keeps going at a good pace, so he's the sort of horse who should be in the 1st-3 and (if he's a little fortunate) could make it into the winners enclosure. This looks a weak race on paper, and weak races are won by horses for whom everything falls right. And Presenting Junior does come across as a reliable horse.
All-in-all, we can't place wagers on a wing and a prayer, so no advice today other than to keep your money in your wallet and wait for a better opportunity.
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