Friday, March 20, 2009

Winter Derby

A week on from a vintage Gold Cup and the talk is of Kauto Star running at Punchestown and Denman at Aintree - I'm just finding it hard to get motivated by tomorrow's jumping cards. Newbury looks typically trappy - over the years I have been singularly unsuccessful in predicting the outcome of the mares' finals; having said that, I can't fancy Ping Pong Sivola in the 2.50 just nine days after she finished second in the Festival Plate at Cheltenham.

Funnily enough the ones that catch my eye run in bumpers. The Trevor Hemmings owned pair Peveril and Wymott start at Haydock and Bangor respectively. In this week's Weekender Donald McCain states they intended to run Wymott in the Haydock event 'unless the owner has something better in it'. Peveril, trained by Nicky Henderson, has been declared for Haydock, will have the assistance of McCoy in the saddle and is likely to start the short-priced favourite. Wymott goes to Bangor instead, doesn't want soft, is unlikely to get it and will perhaps start at a marginally better price. In the Stratford bumper David Pipe's filly Sure Josie Sure will be popular receiving weight from all her rivals but I'm tempted to oppose with Tim Vaughan's Daaloob; the Pipe yard has a poor win strike rate over the last fortnight (4.84%) in marked contrast to Tim Vaughan (25%).

All of which leads me on to the weekend's big race, the Winter Derby (Lingfield 3.05), which is run on the first day of spring. Now, if I know relatively little about about jump racing, I know absolutely nothing about the all-weather. Still, for reasons unknown, this race has caught my imagination. Likely favourite Premier Loco has been well-tipped (with accompanying puns about his 'steaming in' etc.) yet, to date, he hasn't won over the distance. Earlier in the week I half fancied Scintillo at a price and swapped notes with Sandracer on his blog about that one's chances. At the time the beast was around 16/1 but in the meantime he went and won a five runner event at Kempton and now trades at 8s in places. In discussions Sandracer mentioned Mick Channon's Halicarnassus and, to my mind, that one now looks a value play at around 16/1. The horse is drawn on the wide outside of the twelve runners which may be considered a disadvantage but the trainer was pretty upbeat about his charge in a mid-week interview, saying the horse was a Group 3 animal that had been running in better class races of late. At the prices on offer, I'm going to chance the top-rated Halicarnassus each-way at 16/1 (or maybe even bigger...)


Sandracer said...

Well pearshaped does'nt explain it Geedee.

You jocked off the winner and went for my donkey, that burst even your each way money by coming in 4th.

& i'm not one for exchanging notes etc that much, as Slippery Toad will tell you.

He's at the track and could have done with Scintillo at 16's in his pocket.

No more all-weather racing for you I think.

GeeDee said...

Sandracer - what can I say, other than pass me the tissues, I'm crying into my beer... ;-)

Of course, we've seen it all before. On occasions such as this, I simply say, 'That's racing!'

GeeDee said...

As you may have guessed from the comments above, 8/1 shot Scintillo, (only *half* fancied by me much earlier in the week) beat 2/1 favourite Premier Loco a nose. Halicarnassus was sent off 20/1 which looked big to me - he ran a decent race from the wide draw, improved into fourth and stayed there for the final two furlongs, thereby scuppering my each-way wager. I was at Stratford this afternoon so haven't seen the race and don't feel particularly inclined to go and watch it just yet; I'll maybe wait until tomorrow...