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Friday 28 October 2016

The weekend starts here

Yesterday, I did everything bar tip the winner in the Durham National at Sedgefield.

It was a tricky race, and the fav duly flopped (almost certainly due to the ground being too quick).  It was one of those races that you wanted to tell everyone what to put their money on after they had run a mile of the 3m4f trip. Buachaill Alainn looked an almost certain winner a long way out (when Ready Token blundered away his lead at the 16th of 24 fences) - yet was still available at around 5/1 in-running on the exchanges. He has probably been aimed at this race since the summer by his canny trainer Peter Bowen. Don't read too much into this race though as, I wrote yesterday, there was no depth to this race at all and this form may not be worth much going forward.

I know a few readers of the blog placed their faith on the horse and were rewarded, well done to you!

Before we move on from Thursdays racing, a word for DOING FINE who ran a good race to be 2nd in the 3m2f hurdle on ground that was certainly too quick for him.   This should set him up well for wherever he goes next and, as I wrote yesterday, I reckon the Welsh Grand National will be his target.

Onto Fridays racing and we have a couple of meetings at Wetherby and Uttoxeter.
The feature race at Wetherby is the 2m3f (Listed) handicap chase at 3:20pm and, after missing the 11/1 about Buachaill Alainn on Wednesday evening I'm a bit gutted that Abricot de L'oasis is only at 5/2 as I write.  Pair Of Jacks is a safe jumper of a fence but almost certainly wants 3-mile these days, and was beaten for speed at this trip LTO. The 9yo Theatre Guide is using this race as a springboard for the season, as he did last season when he was 3rd. However, this time last year he ran off OR140 and now, after winning over 3-mile at Kempton in February, he runs off OR149. He needs 3-mile (and to be at his peak) to win off that rating.
More interesting is the mare Indian Stream but whether she will be good enough off her current rating is debateable. She does not have the stamina for 3-miles, and she looked flattered by the margin of victory of her win over 2m5f in June.  She will need to run very well to win this giving 16lb to ABRICOT DE L'OASIS. 
The 7yo Degooch is another thoroughly exposed horse and the more I look at the race the more that the fav looks the most likely winner. Is he value? Given this will be a seasonal debut run over fences after a season of hurdling, odds of 11/4 are probably about right.  However, we do know he can jump a fence as he won 3 of his 5 novice chase in April/May 2015 (he fell in the last of those races and was transferred out of the Donald McCain stable to Skelton).

Looking at the formbook, I'm fairly confident that ABRICOT DE L'OASIS will be rated much higher than OR127 by the end of this season so (for me) the question is more of fitness than ability and trainer Dan Skelton does pride himself on ensuring that his horses are fit to run well. Three of his 9 runners have won in the past 7-days with a 2nd and 2 x 3rds amongst the other 6. There are odds of 11/4 available at BetVictor and William Hill (mainly 5/2 elsewhere) and I would expect this horse to start around the 2/1 mark today.

There is a tip-top beginners chase at Uttoxeter at 3:45pm which will be well worth watching.  No betting on this race as on paper it looks super competitive and all the runners are having their chasing debut.

I have my eye on the Saturday cards and once I know the final declarations later this afternoon I can make a few decisions.

Just the one selection today, and the Wetherby 3:20pm does look a weak race for the grade, so we are opting for the fav who looks a generous 11/4.

Wetherby 3:20pm ABRICOT DE L'OASIS, £10 win @ 11/4 (BetVictor and William Hill)

PS: since posting this at 7:30am, there has been a slight drift in the odds on Abricot De L'Oasis and 3/1 is now generally available, with 100/30 in a place (Skybet). The reason for the drift appears to be money coming in for Theatre Guide (now 7/2) but I cannot understand why (see narrative above).

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