We have an important weekend coming up, one of the crossroads of the winter jumps season, as 95% of winners at the Cheltenham Festival next month will have run (and 55% of Cheltenham winners will have won) their final race between Christmas Day and Monday 20th February. I usually say the cut-off is Valentines Day as that is more easily remembered, but this weekend with the decent meetings at Haydock. Ascot and Wincanton provides ther final opportunity for trainers to get a preparation run into their horses before allowing them a decent break before the Festival.
I'm particularly interested in the Ascot card as it has some good races planned looking through the entries, especially the 3-mile handicap chase, and there are novice races just about everywhere you look.
Today at Leicester there is a good Class 3 handicap chase at 3:10pm with only 6 runners (Morning Reggie is a non-runner), and the obvious place to start is with the early fav Mercian Prince who was going well when falling LTO at Cheltenham on "trials" day. Would have gone on to beat Royal Vacation? I doubt it, he probably would have been 2nd, but I'm not sure that effort will be good enough today. Mad Jack Mytton also looks on a tough rating of OR135 judged on his runs to date, and so the one in this races that catches my eye is Crosspark who was going well before falling here at Leicester. I'm always willing to forgive a fall in a novice chase, and if you look at the run of Crosspark before that when 2nd at Wetherby over 3-mile then he looks very favourably treated. We know he will stay this trip and he has a good cruising speed, so it's very likely that he will be involved in the finish. Odds of 9/2 in places looks a fair assessment, as I'd have him at about 11/4.
Kelso stages a really good meeting, but the heavy ground has reduced a few races to just 4-runner affairs and they look uncompetitve. The 2m6f handicap hurdle at 3:35pm looks a possible wagering opportunity as these staying hurdles can take some winning, and if you find a horse that stays well in the mud it it always worth sticking with them. As such, top-weight Rowdy Rocher who has won his last two races on soft and heavy ground at Ayr over trips of 3-mile and 2m5f could take some beating. For an 11yo he does not have many miles on the clock and this will only be his 17th race of his career, and he's won 6 of his 16 races. He has always hinted that he may be better than average and the handicapper has only put him up 2lb for his latest win. There does not look much depth to this field and it may not take much winning. It is doubtful whether Maxie T has the stamina for this trip on this ground, and it will also be a step into unknown territory stamina-wise for Rhymers Stone who won LTO over 2m4f on soft ground. In the circumstances, odds of 3/1 about Rowdy Rocher look fair.
I'm going to focus on the chase handicap at Leicester for my advised wager, as I think that Crosspark has a strong chance in this race and trainer Caroline Bailey has a good record with her chasers at this track.
Since sending these notes out to those on the email list at 8:00am this morning, the money has come in for Crosspark and (at 11:15am) he is 3/1 generally and 7/2 with only Paddy Power.
Leicester 3:10pm CROSSPARK, £10 win @ 9/2 (BetVictor, Ladbrokes and Coral)
Wins in a canter at an SP of 100/30 - get in there!ReplyDelete