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Friday 4 November 2022

Saturday 5th November - Aintree and Wincanton

Not the best of Saturday's lies ahead.  Even though we have meetings at Aintree, Wincanton and Kelso the level of racing available to the punter is fairly ordinary. 
I'm going to take a look at Aintree first, and the 3-mile handicap hurdle at 1:01pm looks an interesting place to start.  I've said before that stayers' hurdles are - in my opinion - a good betting medium (I'm setting myself up for tipping another loser here), and this race has the feel of an upset. The early betting was dominated by Gericault Roque, who spent last season novice chasing and improved hand-over-fist; and Milan Bridge who, though being the same age as Gericault Roque at 6yo, is less experienced. I think this could be a step too quick for Milan Bridge, and David Pipe - trainer of Gericault Roque - also has Remastered in the race. I'm never comfortable when a trainer has a double-entry.  This race looks a big ask for Flight Deck, coming off such a long break; and so I'm drawn to ASHTOWN LAD. He stays really well, as proven by his 5th in the Scottish National in April, and he wasn't far short of being one of last season's best novice chasers - but he was also a very adept staying hurdler before going chasing.  His last hurdle race was at Aintree over this trip when he wasn't disgraced. Odds of 8/1 look very decent, especially as Skybet are offering 4-places to 5th odds. 

More to come.... All the above was written on Friday afternoon, and Ashtown Lad is now a best-priced 6/1 with Milan Bridge the 11/4 fav. This is pure speculation on Milan Bridge; yes Paul Nicholls has his horses flying (16 wins from his last 41 runners) but that does not warrant sending him off fav in this decent handicap. Flight Deck is now the 2nd-fav on 4/1 and he looks handicapped to the hilt will little room for further improvement from the 8yo. So, hoping you read this blog on Friday evening and have taken advantage of the pointer on ASHTOWN LAD.

What else do we have today?  The "Grand Sefton" handicap chase over the National fences at 2:11pm will be exciting to watch, as the race is over 2m5f and will be run at some pace. With Al Dancer apt to make mistakes with his jumping, I would be looking to oppose this 4/1 joint-fav but with what?  There's a couple of old favorites of mine in the race: Spiritofthegames and Senior Citizen. Both have performed well over these fences before, with Senior Citizen coming 2nd in this race, and he looks poised for a good run in this.  Senior Citizen goes best off a good break, he has won his seasonal debut in 3 of the past 4 seasons and was 2nd in the race he didn't win. He looks sure to go well so long as he gets around and in 4 races around these fences he has never yet failed to finish. Odds of 15/2 (5th odds a place 1,2,3,4,5 with Skybet - others offer just 4-places) look very fair given his record. Sure, Lifetime Ambition comes over from Ireland for this, but his run at Punchestown LTO probably flattered him, and he's not value at 4/1.

I'm trying not to look too hard for winners, studying the form too long can make you force the form to fit your (subliminal) selection. There are strong reasons for the above couple of selections (Ashtown Lad and Senior Citizen), and the odds available when advised on this blog (Friday evening for Ashtown Lad; Saturday morning for Senior Citizen) make an eachway wager on the pair available.

At Wincanton, the "Badger Beer" handicap chase over 3m1f at 1:50pm is always a solid race, and this year it has punters-pal Frodon as topweight with 12st to carry. The 10yo will need to be at his best to win off this mark, and his last 3 races were not good enough.  Potterman has run 2nd in this race twice, and there's no reason he wont be in the places again, while Rocco (last year's winner at 40/1) hasn't shown similar form since.  Lord Accord won well LTO (beating my selection The Wolf, in the process) and comes here proven fit and in-form; the 7yo is my idea of the fav and he'll be carrying just 10st 6lb, which suggests his current odds of 6/1 look fair value.  Also in the race is Neville's Cross who pulled-up behind Lord Accord at Cheltenham: he is interesting as on his day he is more than capable of running well off his current mark of OR142  - he beat Danny Kirwan at Kempton easily in May, and that horse ran a cracker at Ascot last Saturday. Odds of 22/1 look enticing for those who like a more speculative wager.

Aintree 1:01pm - ASHTOWN LAD @ 8/1 (advised Friday) £5 eachway (5th odds a place 1,2,3,4)
Aintree 2:11pm - SENIOR CITIZEN @ 15/2 - £5 eachway (5th odds a place 1,2,3,4,5 SKYBET)
Wincanton 1:50pm - LORD ACCORD @ 6/1 - £5 win (Bet365 and William Hill
Total Staked - £25

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