We have been knocking on the door of a good win recently, with two named horses on the blog last Saturday but I selected the wrong one for the wager as the other one won at 9/2, and on Thursday I thought we had a great chance of a long-odds winner but the jockey came late with his challenge and was a fast-finishing 2nd.
Today we have several good meetings at Kempton, Wincanton and Wetherby; but the feature race of the day is the Warwick Classic Chase over 3m5f which looks very open.
If Sego Success can run to the level of his win at Doncaster last season then he will be tough to beat if he stays this trip, but he doesn't look a marathon horse to me.
There are no such doubts over Shotgun Paddy who won this race 3 years ago on 2014 (he was my selection that day). He comes here fresh and running off OR139 the handicapper has given him a chance. No problems with the soft ground.
Kiki De La Prix does not look good enough nor capable of staying this trip, and another potential non-stayer is Viva Steve.
The 6yo Ballycross is too young for this trip and it could break the horse. I would like to see a lower-age limit for races longer than 3m1f.
Doctor Harper is the possible value as he is a winning 3-mile hurdler and a good one too. Lightly raced as a chaser, his run LTO over 3m2f at Cheltenham bodes well for this race and he will handle the soft ground. Remember he was the 4/1 fav for the Kim Muir at the Festival last March off OR141 and he runs off OR143 today - odds of 11/1 look fair value as I would have him at the joint-fav for this race.
I cannot see One For Arthur winning off OR137 as that looks to be his ability ceiling.
However, old friend Houblon Des Obeaux showed when 3rd in the Hennessy LTO that there is life in the old dog. Running off OR152 on soft ground will see him in his element and he should be thereabouts come the final fence.
Spookydooky is interesting as he ran well (beaten only 7-lengths) in the Midlands National last March off OR141, and he runs off only OR131 today. He has run only 3 races since then, pulling up in the Scottish National on unsuitable ground, and running without zest on unsuitable good ground twice this season. He could be chucked-in off OR131 in this and Jonjo O'Neill has a habit of getting his horses right on the day that matters.
The only other horse that catches my eye is Knockanrawley who reappears today after 14-months off through injury. Running off OR136 if he can run as well as when we last saw him then he will go close today as he is a prominent runner who stays all day long. Possibly one to wager on in-running after he has jumped a couple of fences to judge if he has come out well.
A tricky race and I would have a shortlist of Spookydooky, Shotgun Paddy, Doctor Harper and Houblon Des Obeaux.
At Kempton, the 2m4f handicap chase at 12:55pm has cut-up and we have only 7 runners going to post including the 11yo ERICHT. He may be long in the tooth but he has been running really well this season, and I thought he was most unlucky to meet Astracad on a good day LTO. That day I rated him at 140, which puts him 8lb ahead of the handicapper as he runs off OR132 today. He won here last season over C&D and if he goes close to that form today then he will be very hard to beat, and odds of 11/4 (he is 3/1 in places) look fairly decent value as he probably should be about 2/1.
Later on in the afternoon, Vaniteux and Vibrato Valtat cross swords in a 4-runner chase over 2m4f which I think puts the advantage with the Paul Nicholls horse Vibrato Valtat. While Vaniteux does run well at this trip, he is vulnerable and he will have to be at the top of his game to beat the consitent Vibrato Valtat who is available at 9/4.
Then at 3:15pm we have a cracking 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase in which SANDY BEACH holds a tremendous chance at the weights. He has won over 2m7f so he should stay todays trip and that is the only doubt over him, as I have him about 6lb ahead on my ratings. The danger in my mind is the top-weight Volnay De Thaix at should stay this trip - he tries 3-mile for the first time - but his rating of OR150 surely underestimates his ability when you look at his form as a hurdler. However, I cannot see him conceding 15lb to SANDY BEACH who could be rated in the 140's after this race. Odds of 9/2 look fair about SANDY BEACH and he is my main selection today.
Kempton 3:15pm SANDY BEACH - £10 win @ 5/1 (Betfred and Tote)
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