Friday, November 10, 2017

Badger Ales Trophy 2017

You know the full horror of Christmas can't be that far away when you see TV adverts for Nick Knowles' debut album 'Every Kind Of People' and Bradley Walsh's 'When You're Smiling'...

Thank God for National Hunt racing.

They bet 9/1 the field for tomorrow's Badger Ales Trophy for which the maximum 18 runners have been declared.

Local handler Paul Nichols has won this event seven times in the past twenty years (Flaked Oats, 1999, 2000; Montifault 2001; Royal Auclair 2004; Cornish Sett 2008; Meanus Dandy 2010; The Minack 2011) and in last year's renewal most observers thought the trainer had pulled off the stunt once again as Southfield Theatre went clear coming to the final fence but then fell with the spoils apparently in the bag, in the process handing victory to Gentleman Jon.

Wearing first-time cheekpieces and racing off a mark three pounds higher, Southfield Theatre represents Nicholls again together with Mr Mix and Present Man who fell at the second last year; he has been trained specifically for this but wouldn't be guaranteed to see out the trip in testing conditions.

The last horse older than nine to come home in front was Flaked Oats (11) in 2000.

Peter Bowen chalked up two victories with Swansea Bay in 2002 and 2003; Henllan Hari races with the pace and is respected on the back of his bet365 Gold Cup victory at Sandown in April.

Yala Enki is another who likes to go from the front while Fact Of The Matter has had this event as his target after winning at Cartmel at the end of August.

The race has the look of a bookmakers' benefit event but that's half the challenge and two have caught my eye.

Double Shuffle was due to run in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby last week but was declared a non-runner - ITV's Ed Chamberlain indicated the horsebox broke down although I'm not certain that story was ever officially confirmed.

Owned by the Crossed Fingers Partnership, Double Shuffle has some decent efforts to his name including defeat of Go Conquer in the Handicap Chase at Kempton over Christmas (Go Conquer won impressively at Ascot last week) and he was subsequently undone by a mercurial ride from James Best aboard Pilgrims Bay to be beaten half a length in the Betbright Handicap Chase at the Surrey track in February.

Tom George's charge had a pipe-opener over an inadequate trip at Chepstow four weeks ago and Ciaran Gethings can claim three pounds; the worry is his very best form is on good ground and he may struggle with underfoot conditions.

On 19 November 2015 Final Nudge beat Present Man seven lengths at level weights in a novices' hurdle at this track. He won on his first outing last year and was in the process of running a big race in second place in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter before coming to grief four from home.

Connections have decided to leave cheekpieces off tomorrow and the handler has stated the horse will come on for the run.

At the time of writing Double Shuffle is 14/1 (Paddy Power) while Final Nudge is generally a 16/1 chance.

Final Nudge is the each-way selection with most layers paying a quarter the odds four places.


Anonymous said...

Double Shuffle’s official Wetherby withdrawal reason was Travel [Horse box broken down en route].

The heaviest of rain now looks like it will arrive after post time so the going for the race should hopefully be no worse that soft and perhaps a little better.

Whilst Final Nudge & Double Shuffle both score well the top rated on my system is the veteran Fox Appeal (25/1 skybet, 1/5 odds 5 places). Clearly he is not the horse he was but I do feel that he can still be competitive off a mark of 142 (won off 141 in April 2017), I’m hoping he needs this sort of trip these days and the form book suggests that his very best efforts have always come with some give in the ground.

The negatives - the most exposed horse in the field, not sure to enjoy the hurly burly of the race and needs to defy all recent trends – have not been enough to deter me from taking an interest in the hope that the old boy can have another day in the sun!

Good Luck


System Ratings

Rtg,Horse,%Win Chance
170,FOX APPEAL(IRE),11.43
168,MR MIX(FR),9.2
169,YALA ENKI(FR),8.21
166,MONT ROYALE(GB),2.76

GeeDee said...

Thanks for your ratings, TW.

Of particular note (to me, anyway), Present Man with just a 4.21% chance of winning. This horse was near the head of the market last night but at the time of writing he's 14/1 in places.

Vic De Touzaine (4.8% chance) is popular but his 20 length second behind our old friend Thomas Crapper at Newbury in March looks short of what's required...

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

An exciting finish and a great effort from your selection Final Nudge who so nearly won and brought home a nice place return.

Present Man’s estimated system win chance was lower than might have otherwise been because of concerns over ground – mirrored in the ring – but these proved unfounded.

Fox Appeal travelled well for much of the race but faded at the business end and a combination of the ground/trip proved too much. He did manage to hang on for 5th to provide a place return.

Well done


GeeDee said...

I'm used to the knockbacks - hell, I've had more than I care to remember. Still, when you've backed a runner each-way at double-digit odds and it's beaten a head into second by one whose trainer has openly told anyone who'll listen that his horse will struggle with the trip in testing conditions, you just sort of need that extra half hour to come round...

The contest was between Present Man (8/1) and selection Final Nudge (12/1) up the long home straight. Bryony Frost rode a fine race aboard the winner, maintaining a two length advantage until after the last; a determined effort from Leighton Aspell up the run-in reduced the margin dramatically - but not by quite enough.

Theatre Guide (16/1) came home third and Southfield Theatre (12/1) fourth.

TW's selection Fox Appeal was bang there for much of the race before fading off the home turn but still stayed on to make a place in fifth at odds of 25/1. Pilgrims Bay (20/1) was the only other horse to finish.

For the second week in a row, Double Shuffle was declared a non-runner; I suspect the ground was behind this week's withdrawal rather than mechanical breakdown of horsebox...