Being a race with a long history, there are lots of statistics. As with all statistical trends on horseracing, the first point of call has to be the strongest: stick with lightly raced chasers, as 11 of the last 17 winners had fewer than 10 chase runs, and only 1 of the last 27 winners had run more than 15 chase runs (Gingembre in 2002). If you take out the anomaly of 10yo Sizing Tennessee, only 1 horse older than 8yo has won this race since the 9yo Teeton Mill in 1998 - step forward Denman. There's no Denman in this race, and so I am content to put a line through Lostintranslation, Remastered, Potterman, and Diablo De Rouhet. Back on 30th October, I had an early look at this race for some antepost value, and came up with 3 horses: 2 are not running (Bravemansgame, and Fantastikas) but Fiddlerontheroof - advised at 16/1 - is, and his hurdle run on 7th November will have set him up for this. He was unlucky to be beaten in this race last year, and I think he has every chance of winning. I don't think the fav Le Milos, will have ground soft enough, and his odds are too short to suggest value. There's never been a 5yo winner of the race although (to be fair) very few have tried. Even so, I can't have Busselton running off OR149 as despite winning LTO in the Kerry National, he's not shown form suggesting he can win off this rating.
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Friday 25 November 2022
Saturday 19 November 2022
It's a big day for Haydock racecourse, but the weather hasn't been kind and the races on the soft ground there are likely to be gruelling. Before heading into today's races, a quick look at last weeks blog: and we were close with the main selection Il Ridoto, who looked poised to take the feature race of the day as they leaders approached 2-out, but although staying-on to be 4th he had nothing left in the tank. He is only a 5yo and there will be opportunities ahead for him. Although not a selection (the odds available were below my 9/4 threshold for selections on the blog), there was plenty of confidence on Tea For Three at Uttoxeter, who travelled well and found plenty to win well.
The feature race today is the 3m1f & 125yds (Grade 1) Betfair Chase at Haydock. The soft ground has reduced the field to just 5 runners, however the Gold Cup winner - and winner of this race last season - A Plus Tard returns, and looks near impossible to beat today. There's no certainties in horseracing, but it may pay to have "straight forecast" wager on the race to put the 1st-2 in the right order. What could come 2nd? On their best recent form, my rating suggests that there is little to split the other 4 runners in the race. Bristol De Mai is a 3-time winner of the Betfair Chase, but he pulled-up last year and I can't see him being 2nd unless the other 3 run exceptionally poorly. Frodon was a mighty winner with top-weight just 14-days ago, but he won't be able to bully Bristol De Mai who also likes to lead, and if things don't fall his way he tends to lose interest. He may throw in the towel with half-a-mile to go. Protektorat won a poor Grade 2 over 3m1f at Aintree last December, but was beaten before the final fence in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, and plodded on to be 3rd - I'm not convinced he's a true 3-mile-plus chaser. Remember, he couldn't beat the current OR147 chaser Empire Steel over 3-mile when conceding him just 4lb. And that leaves Eldorado Allen, who was a good 2nd in the "Charlie Hall" over 3-mile at Wetherby, and also beat top stayer Royale Pagaille over 3-mile at Newbury. He comes here race-fit, in good form and the ground isn't an issue - I can't see him winning, but he can be 2nd.
What other races are worthy of interest today? Earlier on the Haydock card at 12:40pm there a Class 3 3m4f handicap chase, and stamina is really going to be needed in this race. One that stands out for me on form and on the odds, is Innisfree Lad: he ran a great race 20-days ago to be 2nd to improving Houston Texas (runs in Haydock 3:35pm) and was not beaten far when 3rd in the 4-mile "Eider" at Newcastle in February. He ran off OR135 that day, now he's on OR129 and with stamina no problem he looks a value eachway wager at 14/1 (Skybet are 5th odds 4-places on this race). The market leaders Wouldyoubewell and No Cruise Yet are priced on potential and not form (both only beat a couple of horse's LTO).
The card at Ascot is disappointing; nothing wrong with the races on offer but with 6 or fewer runners in the 1st-5 races on the card, betting opportunities are few - I just don't like betting at short odds, there is so little reward for the risk. The only race that's interesting is the extended 2-mile (Class 2) handicap chase at 3:15pm. A few of these met here at Ascot 3-weeks over this trip, and perhaps the winner that day - Thyme White - can follow up again. However, he meets Frero Banbou (who was 2nd) on 7lb worse terms, and Frero Banbou looked sure to improve for the race. The 7yo Boothill currently 3/1, won LTO but that was only his 2nd chase, and he's going to be mixing with some solid handicappers here. The Irish raider So Scottish is also a novice with 2 wins from 2 chase runs and looks well handicapped on OR135, but the same applies to him as Boothill. With ground likely to be too soft for top-weight Third Time Lucki, for me the value is with Frero Banbou who is 11/2 with Bet365 (5th odds a place 1,2,3).
Friday 11 November 2022
New comments added this morning (Saturday) are in blue.
A quick recap on last Saturday. The early selection Ashtown Lad was well supported and followers of the blog had the value at 8/1, but he just wasn't good enough - however, he was 3rd so the advised eachway wager was without without loss. Not so with Senior Citizen who never looked happy throughout the race, and the writing was on the wall not long after they started. He's always best fresh, so I'm not expecting having any further wagers on him this season after that poor effort. We very nearly pulled-off a good win with the final selection Lord Accord, who ran an absolute cracker to be the only rival to push the win, the outstanding Frodon. I'd rate Lord Accord a bit higher for this effort, and he looks to be a fast improving horse.
The Cheltenham meeting has the Paddy Power Handicap Chase as the feature race, and the meeting is one of the best of the jumps season. It opens with the Triumph Hurdle Trial and the winner of this race is usually one of the better juvenile hurdlers, so get your notebooks out. I'm probably going to take a look at this race on Saturday morning (I'm writing this on Friday afternoon), so if you are reading this on Friday, please take another look on Saturday after 11am for any updates. The opener at Cheltenham at 12:35pm looks tricky to fathom. I'm not that taken by French imports having their UK debut, so odds of 13/8 about Blueking D'Oroux are very skinny. The interesting ones in my opinion are the next couple in the betting: Scriptwriter @ 4/1 and Mr Freedom @ 11/2. Scriptwriter was near Group-class on the flat, and he's in good hands with Milton Harris. Mr Freedom cost just £800 at the sales - you struggle to find a new sofa at that price - yet he's looking very decent over hurdles for Sheena West. A trainer local to Brighton, Sheena West mainly sends horses to Fontwell and Plumpton, so if she goes elsewhere it's worth taking note. Mr Freedom will not be going to Cheltenham for a jolly. I shall be having a small (personal) wager on Mr Freedom, bit I cannot advise a punt on this race.
The amateur riders handicap chase over 3m1f at 1:10pm looks interesting. A lot of these riders wont be capable of riding a winner here, and those who still have a claim are probably not up to it. The capable Gina Andrews has jumped off Anightinlambourn and onto Bobhopenohope and I expect that pair will try to make all. However, I'm liking the look of BRAVE WAY who has won his last couple of races, stays the trip and is sent over Henry de Bromhead. This mare hasn't many miles on the clock and could be a class above these. Odds of 15/2 (William Hill, 5th odds places 1,2,3,4) look very fair. Now best-priced at 13/2 and shortening, I'd say the value has gone on this horse. Hope readers took the 15/2 on Friday evening. For those looking for an interest in the race, Bobhopenohope is now 10/1 with BetVictor (5th odds a place 1,2,3,4,5) and should be there at the finish.
Now the main event: Paddy Power h'cap Chase at 2:20pm. The early fav French Dynamite won a decent hurdle 3 weeks ago, but his chasing form needs to improve 15lb on what we've seen to-date for him to win this. Stolen Silver was on the upgrade all last season and ended with a career-best in April, but this looks a big ask off OR150. Going left-handed at Cheltenham is a new experience for Ga Law, and he looked listless LTO at Aintree. Yes, that was off the back of a new 2-year lay-off, but he needs to find a tonne of improvement on that run to figure in this race. Galahad Quest was 5th in this race last year when running off OR135, and he's on OR131 now; but he runs like a horse who wants further than 2m4f and he will likely be in the places again. The 5yo Il Ridito won a decent race at Newbury in Nov-21 with Numitor well behind, as well as Frero Banbou, and Grey Diamond. Sent to Sandown on "Tingle Creek" day for the Grade 1 novice chase he was outclassed, and heavy ground did him no favours in a couple of races after that, but at Ayr in April he showed his form again. There was a lot to like about that race, even though he finished tired - he has had wind surgery since - and he looks the sort to go well.
I can't have Coole Cody, at 11yo (he'll turn 12yo on 1st Jan) age has surely caught up with him. The 9yo Deyrann De Carjac has had too many races, but not so Happygolucky but he's been off the track since Apr-21, and previous to that race he'd started fav for the "Ultima" handicap at the Festival and run 2nd. If he's fit, he could go well, but it's a big ask. I'm more interested in Umbrigado who won a grade 3 handicap chase at Newbury in Mar-21off OR144, but then had some problems. He comes here fit from hurdling (won LTO) and trainer David Pipe knows what is needed to win this race, and his horses are in form. There aren't many better 14/1 chances. James Bowen in the saddle and not Nico de Boinville suggests Mister Fisher isn't expected to win, but he's capable of a bold show. This will be a 3rd run in the race for Simply The Betts, and I can't see him winning this now. One I've not mentioned but looks primed for a big run is Midnight River: he tore a race apart 16-days ago when winning at Stratford, and trainer Dan Skelton went close in this race last season when Protektorat ran 2nd. The worry is that he's a hold-up horse, and this race needs to be ridden from the front.
For me, IL RIDOTO ticks a lot of boxes, and odds of 8/1 are fair but not generous. I also think Umbrigado is worth a smaller interest at 14/1 (William Hill and Coral).