I’m off for a 10 day break in Vegas with the family (missus, son, dad and mother in law) from tomorrow so things will probably be a bit quiet on the blog front until I get back. 10 days of playing poker, eating / drinking too much and enjoying some warmish weather sounds like bliss to me and beats selling calendars any day of the week! If I have any big wins I’ll be sure to let you all know.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and extortionate hotel Wi-fi costs the TrainerTrackStats selections will be available as normal while I’m away and next Saturday’s Festival Trends Guide for the Racing Post Chase will be ready as soon as the declarations are made. The Guide for tomorrow’s Totesport hurdle will remain as per last week but unfortunately I think the ground has now gone against our selection. Where I was extremely confident last week I now remain only hopeful although he does now have less horses to beat. Finding out the result will be the first thing I do when I touch down at McCarron Airport. I reckon the first person to invent a wi-fi connection on an aeroplane should get some sort of Nobel Science award as checking results and playing online poker sure would make a 10 hour flight go pretty quickly. I’d happily pay over the odds for that service!
Those of you still following the AW Jockeys (I doubt there’s many left after the bad run we’ve had this last week!) will find the runners up to Saturday but I won’t be posting any for the rest of the week. The data is only valid until the end of the month anyway, as the Guide will expire on 28th February, so it means you’ll only miss a few days. You can of course work them out yourselves from the free download found on the selections page. Despite the setback this past week over the 4 months it’s performed very well and does show a decent profit so I’ll have a look at redoing the stats for the next few months on my return.
NEWBURY, ASCOT, HAYDOCK & WINCANTON
I’ll stick with my Paul Nicholls Lucky 63 for tomorrow at Newbury….
12.10 Valentine Vic
12.45 What A Friend
1.15 Tchico Polos
2.25 Minella Stars
3.00 Aiteen Thirtythree
3.35 Balding Banker
There’s some fantastic racing set to take place on Saturday and no doubt a lot of Cheltenham dreams will be either ignited or extinguished come the evening.
At Ascot on Saturday I’m hoping Westlin Winds runs in the big handicap hurdle at 3.35. He’s not really built on his good 3rd at Chepstow on his reappearance but a drop in the weights and the step up in trip should make him a bit more competitive than he has been of late. Cross Kennon is declared to run in the Rendlesham at Haydock and may represent a bit of value in this second division staying hurdle race. A good run here would also help my 150/1 each way speculative punt for the World Hurdle look a little less mad. If I wasn’t off to Vegas I’d be attending Wincanton on Saturday for their Kingwell Hurdle day. At the 5 day stage it looked like being a great race but with Newbury now back on it will cut up quite badly and we’ll end up with only a handful of runners. At the weights, and the likely opposition, it looks tailor made for Mille Chief to stake his claim for a place in the Champion Hurdle line up.
The weights for the world’s favourite race were published yesterday and I’ll take an indepth look at the race as soon as I get back. I did have a quick look through them though and my first impressions were that the handicapper has done a great job of keeping everyone pretty happy. I bet Evan Williams can’t believe the weight State Of Play got while David Pipe will be rubbing his hands together over the 10-08 for his previous National winner Comply or Die and Paul Nicholls must be amazed Grade 1 winner What A Friend is 4lb less than the topweight.
But the one that really caught my eye was the 10-11 for Notre Pere. I’ve never been a great fan of his and on more than one occasion I’ve labelled him the most over-rated chaser in Ireland but there’s no mistaking that back in handicap company off that sort of weight the former Welsh National winner looks very appealing. I’ve helped myself to a little of the 33′s……
Hopefully a few of you are sitting on some pretty big prices for Willie Mullins’ chaser in the Gold Cup after I tipped him up at 66/1 a couple of weeks ago. For a horse who isn’t supposed to like testing ground he won very well last weekend and with better ground usually the norm at Cheltenham I reckon he goes there with an almighty chance. There are age concerns about some of the market leaders and in an open year Kempes, who has now won two Grade 1 chases over 3m+, still looks value to me at 16/1. As the Irish number one hope in the race he could easily be a single figured price on the day.
Along with Medermit (Arkle) at 14′s and Kalahari King (Ryanair) at 16′s my antepost portfolio is beginning to look very, very promising. I haven’t given up hope on Starluck making the frame in the Champion Hurdle yet (each way at 100/1) and I still eagerly await the declarations for the Festival Plate Handicap (did I tell you I really fancy Quartz De Thaix for that?). There are two more horses added to my list this week as I backed Sizing Europe at 18/1 for the Queen Mother (previous Arkle winners have an excellent place record in the following years Queen Mother) and Local Hero at 20′s for the Triumph (it’s a terrible race this year but this one’s unbeaten and a C&D winner. He hopefully runs on Saturday which should tell us whether 20′s is a good bet or not).
and finally - I’m not sure if anyone watches ITV’s late afternoon/early evening quiz show The Chase or not but I’ve got an audition for the show on March 17th. It’s bad timing as it’s Cheltenham on that day but if I get through it could all be worth it in the end. I just hope I don’t end up making a complete idiot of myself on national TV…..
P.S. If anyone’s looking for a bet today I quite fancy the chances of Duplicity in the 2.20 Southwell. Looking through his recent form you could be excused for thinking I need locking up as he’s finished stone cold last in his last two runs and has only managed to beat a total of 3 horses home in all of his last 5 races. He’s a horse in massive decline as, since beating Group 1 performer Hearts Of Fire by a length in a Newbury Listed race in 2009, he’s plummeted in the ratings from 100 down to just 70! Connections have now lost patience with him and have stuck him in a seller for the first time. I think the step back up in trip to a mile and the drop in class should bring out some of the old magic and his odds of 9/1 look value.