Yesterday’s EW bet went the way of many such value EWs, 4th beaten a neck at 40/1. If you don’t want to read the workings on today’s, scroll to the foot for the selections.
I’m hoping to do better on Saturday where Bristol De Mai goes to Haydock seeking a third Betfair Chase win. It’s a tricky race on the face of it, but I believe the going and the track will be the deciding factors. Lostintranslation deprived Bristol De Mai of his hat trick last year in this, but I thought the Tizzard horse was running out of gas late on. I believe he also failed to stay in the Gold Cup. And I’m not convinced he’s at his best on really soft ground either. He has won on it over 3m1f at Aintree. But Haydock soft is quite a bit more tiring than Aintree soft.
Dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux handles soft fine, but has has not won left handed for 3 years. Nicholls says he’s training well and he’s a different horse this year. He will have to be to win this going the wrong way round.
In February Bellshill ran his best race for some time, but his 3 top Racing Post Ratings feature one on yielding and two on good. He’s 10 now, and even in his heyday this would have been a huge challenge. This is his first run for Sandy Thomson after leaving Mullins. Sandy is a fine trainer, but even he surely cannot pull this off.
Keeper Hill is out of his depth, but there is £4,250 for last place. He’s a horse who can still win a good handicap, I think.
In the 12.40 at Haydock Sam’s Adventure looks a fair bit too big at around 16/1. The ground will be fine and this is just his 7th chase. He disappointed last time on seasonal debut, but that was at Carlisle, a right handed track, whereas this horse’s best form by a country mile is left handed. I’m hoping he can give Danny Cook a boost on his return from injury.
In the 1.15 I’d advise two bets: Commanche Red and Goodboy Bobby. The latter is highly consistent and has been keeping very good company. Nigel Twiston-Davies must think a fair. bit of him to restrict him, at 7, to just five steeplechases.
Commanche Red pulled up last time, but is another who has been consistent in general, and cheekpieces go on today for the first time. His best performance was in beating Simply The Betts 9 lengths. Albeit that good horse had one of his poor jumping rounds. And it was at Kempton, right handed, the tracks Commanche Red has done best on. This gives me a wee bit of pause for thought, but if he fails here, I doubt it will be down to the left handed configuration.
In the 1.50 Le Ligerien is priced at 22/1 as I write (Friday night); most unusual for a Hobbs- Johnson horse who is just 7 and has won 2 of his last 4. He ran well enough to be 3rd on good ground at Chepstow last time (seasonal debut), but three of his top four Racing Post Ratings are in heavy, heavy, soft. Betfair currently offer five places at 22/1 – worth an EW bet.
Third Wind could well win the 2.25. At first I was interested in Collooney,and I’ll have a saver on him just in case Jonjo has been jocked off Collooney by Aidan Coleman. Collooney won well last time under a cool ride from Jonjo, but Coleman has ridden the horse before, and Collooney belongs to JP McManus, a man Coleman seems to be getting more rides for lately (he’s been booked to ride JP’s Champion Hurdler Epatante for the season).
So, there’s a good chance that Jonjo wasn’t offered the ride in this. If he was then he has got off it for Third Wind trained by Hughie Morrison, much better known as a Flat trainer. Jonjo’s had just one previous mount for Morrison, Maridadi at Wetherby in January; it won at 5/2. I’d like to back just Third Wind here, but a saver on Collooney could get us out of trouble.
3.35 Midnight Tune looks the one in this last at Haydock. In six runs last season she was pulled up twice. In the others she finished 2111. This is her first run after a wind op and at around 6/1 I’d back her win only.
2.40 A fascinating wee race with Call Me Lord and Laurina vying for favouritism, and I think the outsider – though at around 5/2 not by much – will go very close. Call Me Lord is known for having his best form going this way round – right handed. On that basis alone, he might start favourite. But for me he’s more a Sandown specialist than a right handed one. Top 3 Racing Post Ratings were at Sandown, and he’s been beaten in both runs at Ascot.
The outsider Song For Someone came with a sustained run at Kempton last time to land the spoils after trading at around 500/1 in running. Going back up in trip here will suit this admirable chestnut who is only 5 and has quite a bit of improvement to come.
Ex Mullins mare Laurina is one I’ve never backed, but I simply have to tomorrow where she has two, possibly three factors strongly in her favour. The first is her chance at the weights here. The conditions of the race put her hugely well in. Racing Post Ratings have her 9lbs clear of Call Me Lord and 17lbs clear of Song For Someone. Next is her record over hurdles before going fencing: F2/1111/114. That 4th was to the freakish but ill-fated Espoir D’Allen in last year’s Champion Hurdle .
Sent chasing, her formline went to pot, but back over hurdles in February she showed signs of enjoying it again, though faded late. That brings us to (potential) asset number three – she had a wind op in June after joining Paul Nicholls for whom this is her debut. If it works first time, she should finish her race off much better than she sometimes has.
3.17 Final bet at Ascot is Drumconnor Lad who is 10, but running the best races of his career over fences, where he’s run up, in order, Racing Post Ratings of 129:134:140:143:150.
He returned over hurdles this season having finished last season on a winning note. He was 9th on that first run back but showed the benefit next time when winning a chase at Ayr – that was his 150 rating, indicating he’s back even better than he was. There might well be more improvement to come.
In summary with guide prices:
2.40 Laurina 6/4 Nap
3.17 Drumconnor Lad 7/1
12.40 Sam’s Adventure 16/1
1.15 Commanche Red 6/1 Goodboy Bobby 3/1
1.50 Le Ligerien 20/1
2.25 Third Wind7/1 Collooney 8/1
3.00 Bristol De Mai 3/1
3.35 Midnight Tune 6/1
Good luck. Go easy with your stakes! These are for fun bets to add to your enjoyment when watching the racing.
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