Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Big Fight !



It's Boxing Day and it's second's out for the King George.
Today's race looks wide open to me with the very heavy going and with nearly all the field having some questions to answer whether it be about going, staying ability or the distance being too short.
For me I am going to take a chance on Kauto Stone who has shown recently at Down Royal that 3 miles in the mud isn't a problem and Nicholls and Walsh have put their faith in him. Okay he hasn't beaten much to date but he is improving and I'm sure this isn't a plan that Nicholls has recently thought up on a whim and he will have been laid out for this.
Of course it's a Grade 1 and the opposition is tough but Long Run has something to prove, Cue Card, Riverside Theatre and Captain Chris have doubts about staying the trip, Grand Cru's is coming back from a breathing operation, The Giant Bolster appeals more as an extreme stayer and Champion Court is out of his depth. That leaves Junior as a lively ew alternative at 25/1.
Kempton is supposedly an easy 3 miles but on this going that goes out of the window as the race will take much longer to complete than normal and therefore the two and a half mile horses will be using their energy much longer than normal and will have difficulty staying the trip.

Countrywide Flame looks to have a favourites chance in the Christmas Hurdle as he scooted through the heavy going at Newcastle when beating Cinders and Ashes and I'm sure McCains horse would have been ready for that as it was a big pot and the horse was on a winning streak that they wouldn't have wanted to lose. Punjabi is coming back from a break and someone of Hendersons training expertise should have little trouble having him right for this even after a 978 day break. This former Champion Hurdler is not out of this and can ruffle some feathers, if you can still get 33/1 you should have an ew saver.

Katkeau was very unlucky at Haydock last time and he can make amends in the 3.45 at Kempton. Being a French bred he will love the heavy ground and he also has untapped potential to boot which is a very dangerous combination to be put into the hands of the Pipe stable.

So they are my three for the afternoon, whatever you choose I hope you have a very good days racing and Happy Christmas to one and all.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sunday 23rd December !



Well Christmas Day is fast approaching and if you havent been for your presents yet you have a monumental task ahead as the shops are packed and probably sold out of what you were planning to get. Still, it's not the end of the world, there is always the racing and you could just as easily sit back down again and pick up the Racing Post and check out the Boxing Day declarations !! 
However you wont find much Christmas cheer in the RP on the weather front, at least according to the front page, "Washout threat to Christmas programme" with seven of the nine boxing day fixtures reporting heavy ground.
With further rain set to sweep the country between now and then things aint lookin good and it's a problem that's troubling Chepstow who stage the Welsh National they are looking at contingency plans should it fall to the weather. If it is abandoned on the 27th it will not be the dear old BBC's last racing broadcast after all but C4's instead, however that wont be a problem for Claire Balding who looks like presenting it for many years to come whatever happens.

Yesterday at Ascot it was also heavy with the times well above standard and the Ladbroke, won easily by Cause of Causes, was the closest to standard, but that was probably more to do with the distance of 2m than anything else. The winner though looks one to keep on side as does Majala who won up at Haydock in the Novice Chase with Denis O'Regan stating "Without going over the top if he improves again he could win a decent race".

Finally with rain we had during most of the summer and what seems like continual rain through the winter so far could this be the wettest year ever on record in the UK, any weather boffins out there know the answer ?

 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Aintree Highlights



There was no blog last Saturday as I was at my local track Aintree. The weather was pretty darned cold and I spent most the afternoon on the move. I was lucky enough to get the first two winners which set me up nicely for the afternoon with both going off at prices that were generous in my view. There was a 2 minute frenzy in the ring when Buthelezi dropped 2 points quickly from 6/1 into 4/1 and later L'Uniique who had been touted as being something special from the King yard, entered here in a Listed Juvenile Hurdle (must have been the plan for a while) was drifting out in the betting !.

The 4 runner Listed Chase went to Wayward Prince from Across The Bay in second with Quito De La Roque, who appeared to run below form, in third. The second was running for his connections who hail from The Scotch Piper Pub in Lydiate just up the road and he ran a fine race considering he didnt seem to handle the track.

The Becher Chase was the first over the big fences and I had been informed by a source pre race that West End Rocker would not act on the going according to his owner so I steered clear. Apparently he was nearly pulled out of last years race because of the going but in the end remained in and won. However the going was a lot worse this time around as it had been raining heavily for most of the week. Interestingly his trainer blamed the poor run on him not liking the track because of his experience in the National last year when he fell at the second fence, which I find strange as he had also fallen in the 2011 National before he won the Becher. Whatever the explanation he has been dropped in the handicap by 2lb to 140 and he should be kept on side.
There were a few that ran well behind the amazing winner Hello Bud, namely Join Together, who I had backed to win but in the end I was shouting home the winner because of his age, Problema Tic and Ballabriggs, the latter has been dropped a useful 4lbs to 152 - won the National off 150 and was 6th last year off 160.

The runaway and most impressive winner of the day was Henderson's Bear's Affair who turned into the straight going great guns and duly waltzed away from the field to a 10 length win and a 12lb rise looks fair and the team will surely be planning away.

It was a great day for the Twiston Davies family with 3 winners and I was thrilled for Sam who is so enthusiastic for the sport and is a great advert for anyone wishing to be a jockey. He got a great reception after winning the last as he returned under the stands. Myself I tried to pass on congratulations to Nigel but I got a look of "What the bloody hell do you want"...they are the complete opposite to like father like son in the personality stakes.

Hopefully I should be able to do a post on Saturday morning.
Keep Winning !

 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Big day at Newbury !



I have always loved the Hennessey Gold Cup from when I was young nipper so I'm really looking forward to this aftrenoons race with 19 runners set to line up. The race has been a very good pointer for the Grand National in the past and there's every chance we may see the winner of that here today.
It is very good field though for the race and it's going to be difficult to pick a winner with 14 of the field covered by 8lbs.

Apart form the big guns at the head of the betting there are a few long priced contenders who are not out of it by any means. Soll is down at the bottom of the handicap on 10.00, 1lb out of the handicap and he will be having his first run for Jo Hughes having been transferred from Willie Mullins yard. Mullins said in March "He's a big staying type and a horse we like a lot" and connections think that he has a big future. A seven year old with limited mileage on the clock he remains unexposed and capable of better and 28/1 is a fair price.

Another who should run better than his price is last seasons Irish Grand National winner Lion Na Bearnai who won 3 times from 5 runs last term and has been raised 48lbs since his first handicap win in May 2011. As I said earlier this is a good indicator for the National and we have seen in the past what Irish National winners have achieved at Aintree. Bookmakers are at odds over what price he should be with 25 points covering his price on oddschecker with the top being 50/1.

Harry the Viking is another to consider at big odds with his trainer Paul Nicholls saying "I know Harry The Viking is a 25-1 chance, but I give him a big each way shout at those kind of odds".

Although Paddy Power do 5 places on the race they have factored that into all of the prices.

I had a winner yesterday in Bless the Wings courtesy of Wayward Lad's, blog link to the right of page, who has been in excellent tipping form over the last week with several winners and it will be interesting to see what he selects today.

Good luck whatever you choose to put your money on.