Friday, November 24, 2017

Haydock hopefuls

Tomorrow Cue Card bids to win Haydock's Betfair Chase for the third year in a row, for the fourth time overall, and to become the first eleven-year-old to collect the spoils since Kauto Star in 2011. Harry Cobden replaces Paddy Brennan in the plate after that pairing came to grief at Wetherby three weeks ago.

Sizing John didn't make the overnight declaration stage on account of the heavy going but the ground won't inconvenience current favourite Bristol De Mai one jot. The manner of his victory in the Peter Marsh at this track in January left a deep impression and he is expected to improve further after coming home ahead of his rivals in the Charlie Hall (Shantou Flyer beaten 59 lengths).

Outlander has two ways of running; if he puts his best foot forward, he has every chance. Connections retain the cheekpieces which seemed to bring about the desired improvement last time at Down Royal.

And I have only just realised that prior to victory at Aintree in April, all Tea For Two's wins had been achieved on right-handed tracks.

Traffic Fluide tries this trip for the first time and isn't guaranteed to stay.

The Haydock showpiece is full of intrigue but doesn't make much appeal as a betting medium; on ratings Cue Card is the best horse in the race. Colin Tizzard isn't one to continually talk his horses up; throughout the autumn I've been struck by his positive comments about Cue Card.

Just for the sake of comparison, here are the returned starting prices of those who ran in the Gold Cup in March: Cue Card 9/2; Outlander 10/1; Bristol De Mai 16/1; Tea For Two 40/1.

For my longshot wager I've had a look at the Betfair Stayers' Handicap Hurdle (2.25 on the same card).

Sixteen are declared in a particularly competitive event with course and distance winner The Worlds End priced up 5/1 favourite. Tom George's charge held every chance when coming to grief at the penultimate flight in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival.

On 18 November 2016 Gayebury beat The Worlds End nine lengths at level weights at Ffos Las yet Evan Williams' inmate is priced up 22/1 for tomorrow's event.

Granted, Gayebury didn't impress on his return (pulled up in the Wetherby hurdle won by Colin's Sister) but I'm prepared to give him another chance; his eight length second behind subsequent Neptune winner Willoughby Court in Warwick's Leamington Hurdle reads well.

Of course, the field is full of better fancied sorts but several of those at the top of the market are making their seasonal debuts while Fingerontheswitch and Ibsen both race from out of the handicap.

Theo's Charm was second in this last year while in receipt of seven pounds No Hassle Hoff was beaten nine lengths by The Worlds End here in February.

On Perth running in April there wouldn't be too much between Gayebury and Robbin'Hannon (25/1 in places) but I note that connections try cheekpieces on Gayebury for the first time and Mitch Bastyan claims five reducing the weight carried to 10-13.

The ground is key - quoting Evan Williams in the Weekender 11-15.01.17:

"This little horse is proving a star... This term he started off over hurdles at Ffos Las and won well enough on soft ground. That's as quick as he wants it and he'd be fine on very heavy ground - basically the softer the better."

Paddy Power offer 22/1 and pay a fifth the odds five places; Gayebury is the tentative each-way selection in a wide-open event.

Finally, in the Graduation Chase at 1.15 I merely point out that in a recent stable tour Lucinda Russell named Big River the best horse in her yard.


Mulldog said...

It should be a great day- I'm looking forward to it.

GeeDee said...

Good luck, Mully, and wrap up warm!

Anonymous said...

Following further overnight rain the ground at Haydock will certainly be testing.

Evan Williams pre race quote re Gayebury is interesting:

"Nothing came to light after his last run at Wetherby, which was disappointing, brutally disappointing. We've put some sheepskin cheekpieces on him in the hope they spark him. I don't think a mark of 148 is workable on his last run, nowhere near. He ran in a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival off that type of mark and was tailed off and couldn't complete in a Graded race last time. I think we've no chance really."

Perhaps a double bluff?

I am m hoping the form of his Perth win works out though as I think Robbin’Hannon (25/1 1/5 odds 6 plcs Betfair Sportsbook) is a bet to have on side. Totally unexposed, won 3 from 5 & placed on the other 2 runs, race fit, won on heavy, from a top yard and ridden by the champion jockey I expected his odds to be half those available.

I’m not saying Robbin’Hannon will win this, unexposed means just that and he might be far short of what’s required here, but he has to be over-priced at current odds as such I’ve had a biggish bet by my standards!

I liked Philip Hobbs quote:

"He'll be well suited by soft ground. He was going to be running over fences but this is a big pot and we thought it made sense to go for it first."

And Richard Johnson’s:

“We are hopeful of a big run from Robbin’hannon in the stayers’ handicap hurdle. He is unexposed having had just four runs over hurdles and we think he’ll love the going having won really well in similar conditions at Warwick earlier in the year. He is a big, strong, chasing type who I’m sure will out run his odds.”

I’ll post my system ratings as a separate comment so you can approve or decline as you see fit!

Good luck.


Anonymous said...

Betfair Stayers' Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)

TimeForm free race so I've included the TF Rtg along side my own:

TF Rtg,TW Rtg,Horse,% Win Chance
166,172,MINELLA AWARDS(IRE),12.26
164,169,LE ROCHER(FR),8.54
165+,170,NO HASSLE HOFF(IRE),7.39
161,165,THEO'S CHARM(IRE),7.35
167P,171,SAM SPINNER(GB),5.44
166,168,CHAMPERS ON ICE(IRE),4.9
165P,167,THE WORLDS END(IRE),3.94
159+,167,THE DUTCHMAN(IRE),3.92


GeeDee said...

Thanks for your comments, TW. Evan Williams' pre-race quotes has extinguished what little hope I'd managed to muster...

Good luck with Robbin'Hannon - he was the other one considered on the back of the Perth run; Phillip Hobbs and Richard Johnson's comments are far more upbeat. Robbin'Hannon still 25/1, Gayebury out to 28/1.


Anonymous said...

My betting bank took too big a hit there…..I might consider putting what little is let in it towards a subscription with Timeform who top rated Sam Spinner (167P) and also gave him quite a bullish write up.

In fairness to my ratings Sam Spinner was joint 2nd top on 171 but the system’s doubts about his ability to stay the trip meant his win chance was down-graded.

Your reading of the form book was better than mine as Gayebury franked his Perth win by finishing 11th a neck in front of Robbin’Hannon in 12th!!


GeeDee said...

My quixotically crafted case for Gayebury was blown to pieces, firstly by the trainer with his pre-race comments, and then by the horse with his in-race performance.

In the event there was just a neck separating Gayebury (25/1) and Robbin'Hannon (16/1) but the pair finished a remote eleventh and twelfth respectively, some 58 lengths behind runaway winner Sam Spinner (6/1)... The Dutchman (12/1), Theo's Charm (16/1), No Hassle Hoff (8/1) and Champers On Ice (13/2) claimed the minor placings.

Bristol De Mai (11/10f) demolished his opponents in the Betfair Chase with the performance of the season so far, coming home 57 lengths clear of Cue Card with Outlander third. The winning margin represents the biggest in a Grade One event in Britain or Ireland this century.