Friday, January 21, 2011

Ascot and Haydock

Both Haydock and Wincanton hold early morning inspections tomorrow but there's nothing planned at Ascot where the feature is the Victor Chandler Chase at 2.25. Last week Paul Nicholls' odds-on chance Kauto Star was turned over in the big race of the day - he won't want a repeat with Master Minded who is priced 4/6 favourite with most layers. On official ratings Master Minded has fifteen pounds and upwards in hand over these rivals so there will be plenty of us trying to pick one at a price that can run into a place. Earlier in the week Ferdy Murphy was upbeat about Kalahari King's chances but I've always felt this horse is better on decent ground; the Ryanair at Cheltenham is his target which would suggest connections think he may prefer further now he's getting older. I'll take an each-way chance with Nick Williams' Gauvain (20/1 Stan James and bet365). This one fairly bolted up at Cheltenham on his first run for the yard but then failed to build on that effort when a well-beaten fifth behind Master Minded in the Tingle Creek. The stable wasn't in the best of form at that time but things look better now with three winners, nine placed in the past fortnight - I'm hoping Gauvain can bounce back.

Last Friday I pointed out that Paul Nicholls' win strike rate in the previous two weeks was 11.11% compared to Nicky Henderson's 36.84%. A week later and the Nicholls figure has improved to 19.35% but Henderson's is an incredible 42.86% (18 wins from 42 runs) - his runners are likely to prove popular tomorrow at a track where he has traditionally done well. Carole's Legacy will be amongst the best supported and on form and official ratings she's the one to beat in the 1.50 but I'll chance L'accordioniste if the mare is priced around the 11/4 mark. Sparky May isn't lightly dimissed.

No selection in the 2.55 but there are some interesting contenders nonetheless including Soldatino (last year's Triumph winner), Notus De La Tour (second in the Fred Winter) and Walkon (second to Zaynar in the 2009 Triumph), although Walkon only goes here if Haydock is called off. Writing in the Weekender Alan King has a mention for new arrival Bygones In Brid now owned by Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. I thought I saw the horse declared here but the similarly-named Bygones Of Brid is trained in Newcastle by Karen McLintock and is owned by Mr James Callow. Bygones In Brid is expected to run in a bumper before the end of the month.

Some small fields at Haydock where Peddlers Cross bids to keep his unbeaten record in the Champion Hurdle Trial - of course, he'll be no price whatsoever. Thirteen go in the Peter Marsh where Nina Carberry's mount Becauseicouldntsee and Maktu, fifth in the Welsh National, caught my eye but also everyone else's unfortunately. Palypso De Creek was second to Our Vic in this last year but has been well out of from this term. In an open event Trevor Hemmings' course and distance winner King Fontaine (13/2 Coral) is the tentative suggestion.

The Liverpool Echo Novices' Chase is intriguing. Course and distance winner Wymott receives weight from all his rivals and is marked up favourite but on their day any of the five could win. Robinson Collonges looked highly tried when ninth behind seasoned handicappers at Cheltenham the last time - on the book he appears to have the beating of Philip Hobbs' Wishfull Thinking, one held in high regard by his handler. Cape Tribulation is talented but something of an enigma while the marvellously-named The Giant Bolster fell the last time when in the mix in a race won by Time For Rupert. For those prepared to oppose, Robinson Collonges would appear the percentage call (9/4 generally) but Stan James' 16/1 about The Giant Bolster is too big and can be taken each-way a quarter the odds.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

To paraphase the great Jeffrey Bernard on the subject of betting,sometimes you'd be better off taking your money out of the bank and flushing it straight down the toilet.

That sentiment perfectly encapsulated my feelings after watching both Ascot selections run like drains. The game was up with Gauvain (20/1) after the first fence - he came home fifth but was never in with a remote chance of making a place and on occasions showed a tendency to drift left at the obstacles. Master Minded (4/7f) barely clung on to take the spoils by a short-head from Somersby (8/1) who would have won in another stride. Books have eased MM out to 5/2f for the Champion Chase but I buy into McCoy's explanation that he sent his mount on too early on ground that was plenty soft enough. Given the stable's in and out form at the moment, I'm sure a different Master Minded will turn up at the Festival - for me he's still the one to beat. I don't tend to bet ante-post but if this horse drifts out to 3/1 or bigger in the coming weeks, I'll reconsider. Kalhari King ran a stormer in fourth after being practically carried out at the ninth - he looks worth bearing in mind for Cheltenham.

L'accordionsite (100/30) disappointed badly and didn't hurdle fluently enough to have any chance of winning -the mare came home a distance behind the winner in sixth. Carole's Legacy (even money) had to settle for second behind the game Sparky May (7/1); Pat Rodford's charge is 11/1 with Paddy Power for the David Nicholson mares' hurdle on the opening day of the Festival.

Despite plenty of bullish noises from track officals on Friday, Haydock's top class card was called off after overnight temperatures went down to -4C...