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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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Saturday 18 February 2017

Top-class racing at Ascot and Haydock

We had a decent winner on Thursday from our only selection, and yesterdays potential selection was a non-runner which possibly explained the disparity of the early morning odds which were spread between 2/1 and 7/2.

Some good racing today and I will start at Ascot where Paul Nicholls could be in for a profitable afternoon. As I wrote yesterday, novice hurdles are not my game but his runner in the opener at Ascot Topofthegame should not be overlooked. The fav is the 8yo Beyond Conceit who is a late starter at hurdling but a welcome addition to the ranks, but this race could prove a tough assignment.

Whatever happens in the opening race, Nicholls should have the winner of the next, the 3-mile Reynoldstown Novice Chase in Arpege D'Alene who looks easily the best horse in this race at this trip, with Fletchers Flyer possibly wanting a longer trip and Bigbadjohn flattered by his run behind Thistlecrack.  Odds of 6/4 leave no room for error, but the stake money should be safe.

The 3-mile Listed handicap chase at 2:25pm is an intriguiging contest with only 7 runners going to post. I'm not confident that either Go Conquer or Chef D'Oeuvre are capable of winning this based on their form as neither look well handicapped. The 10yo O'Faolains Boy hasn't been seen since running in last years Cheltenham Gold Cup when he was outclassed, and Sausalito Sunrise has been running okay but not as well as last season. I wrote earlier in the week that I am looking forward to the run of VIRAK, and I think the horse could find the winners enclosure today.  Ascot was the scene of his last top-class run back in December 2015, and he could be the answer as he's slipped to OR147.  Tenor Nivernais just does not stay this 3-mile trip and Cloudy Too is regressing these days.   Odds of 15/2 about VIRAK look generous to me.

As for the feature race of the day, the only way Cue Card won't be in the winners enclosure is if he does not finish the race. 

At Haydock, the Grand National trial chase over 3m4f looks a tough nut to crack. There are 14-runners and the market is headed by Blaklion who was 3rd at Wetherby LTO with Wakanda in 2nd over 3-mile.  As such, even on 2lb better terms, I cannot see Blaklion beating Wakanda. The 2nd-fav Vieux Lion Rouge will want every yard of this trip, but I'm not sure he's well handicapped on OR146 following his win over the Aintree National fences LTO. This is a tough ask for the novice Vintage Clouds and I remember his half-bro Vintage Star wasn't at his best beyond 3-mile. Kruzhlinin is in the form of his life but, again, I don't think this 10yo is looking for a trip beyond 3-mile.  I reckon the 7lb hike to OR144 has done for Goodtoknow as I cannot see this horse improving again to win off this rating.  Wakanda we know about as he is slowly coming back to form and while not tried beyond 3-mile there is every likelihood he will stay the trip. Vicente has the Grand National as his target and will likely not run to his best today. The Welsh National run took a lot out of Houblond Des Obeaux and he may not yet have recovered from it. One of the remainder could run a big race but, for me, the form horse is WAKANDA.

Ascot 2:25pm VIRAK - £8 win @ 15/2 (William Hill)
Haydock 3:15pm WAKANDA - £4 eachway @ 10/1 (quarter-odds a place 1,2,3) 

ALSO £2 eachway double (Virak is quarter-odds a place 1st or 2nd)

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