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Thursday 27 October 2016

Durham National at Sedgefield

An interesting day of racing with a couple of meetings at Sedgefield and Stratford.

The day at Sedgefield opens with a 4-runner chase over 3m2f and there is only proven stayer over 3-mile as a chaser amongst the four, and that's Court Dismissed. The early 13/8 fav Jimmy The Jetplane has come 2nd in all 4 of his chase races and looks as slow as a boat over the final quarter-mile.  He has won a 3-mile hurdle which suggests he will stay todays trip, but how long will he take to finish?.
The mare Western Jo looks the least likely stayer amongst them, and the 6yp Tickenwolf has been reported in his 4 hurdle races in the region of 22f-23f as one-paced, and comes here today to contest just his 2nd chase race. He did win his chase debut but that was over 2m4f and he only just led on the line. I reckon it is a big ask on what we know of him to expect him to win this at odds of 7/4.
Whereas Court Dismissed has won a chase over 3m1f at Catterick in March and, in his races since, he two runs at trips under 3-mile suggested he wants this sort of trip. He should be fit for this as he ran 4 weeks ago over 2m4f and I think he's well handicapped as, after his win last March he was raised to OR120 and he races off OR114 today. He's 4/1 generally and 9/2 with Bet365 and it is hard for me not to see him being in the 1st-2 home.

At 3:35pm I will be looking forward to the return to the track of DOING FINE who will be having his first run for Neil Mulholland since transferring from Rebecca Curtis. The ground could be a bit lively for this horse, and it is a hurdle race (and not a chase), but the trip will be up his street, and I'm expecting this to be a perfect confidence booster before a likely attempt at the Welsh National in December. Soft ground and an extreme trip are what this horse wants so keep an eye on the result of this race.

The Durham National run at 4:10pm looks a race lacking in depth, and so it is no surprise to see last year's winner Royale Knight heading the market at 11/4. He is going for his 3rd win in the race and the only thing that may prevent him is fitness and whether he will act on the ground. Personally, although he ran 4th in the Scottish National last April, I think this ground will be too lively for him and he really wants the word "soft" somewhere in the going description. However, which of these rivals is likely to beat him?  On my own ratings I feel Ready Token has been pushed beyond his ceiling at OR131, and he also looks vulnerable to me. For the 8yo Five In A Row, this extreme trip is a step into the unknown - he may love it, but I doubt he will.  I prefer his stablemate Jac The Legend, and he will certainly stay the trip but when will he get there? If there was any horse with only one gear, it is this one. However, this extreme trip of 3m5f may be what he needs to bring out the best in him.  He would also prefer softer ground, but he has run well on "good" ground.  Of the others, the only one that catches my eye is Buachaill Alainn who was at his best this time last year when 2nd at Chepstow on similar ground, and ran well on his seasonal debut back at the same track in the same race earlier this month. He looked sure to come on for that run, and now I wish I'd taken the early odds from Bet365 last night, as he's best-priced at 9/1.

This does not look a strong race, and therefore it would come as now surprise to see Royale Knight win the race for a 3rd time. But, at odds of 11/4, there is no value in him. I was going to put up Buachaill Alainn as a selection, but it would be more speculative that measured - and we are under no pressure to place a wager.

At Stratford there is a good looking race at 4:30pm and I think the fav Gabriel The Great should prevail.  His win LTO looked very strong and though he meets No Likey on 9lb worse terms for the 8-length beating he gave him, there looked to be a lot more in the locker. I'm not convinced Johnny Og is worthy of his rating of OR132, and so the odds of 7/2 about the fav Gabriel The Great look fair to me (only BetVictor offer 7/2, he's 100/30 generally)

No selections advised today.

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