Friday, November 03, 2017

Slow Horses

I'm currently reading Mick Herron's Slow Horses, a copy of which I received as a birthday present. The tale centres around a bunch of MI5 misfits who have displayed varying degrees of incompetence in the field and as a result have been kicked into the long grass and left there to fester.

Plagued by self-doubt, I simply had to ask Mrs Tips whether this choice of text had been in any way influenced by my own career to date.

'Oh, you bet,' came the immediate reply, 'that, along with the tips you tend to give out on your blog.'

Acerbic. Here are a couple of slow selections for tomorrow.

The Charlie Hall Chase (3.15) is the highlight on the Wetherby card. Race conditions certainly favour the talented but fragile Coneygree; layers have priced up Mark Bradstock's charge favourite although the handler is keen to point out the gelding will come on for the run and is a little heavier than ideal.

Colin Tizzard reports Cue Card in fine fettle; this remarkable horse turns 12 on January 1st.

Several in the field appear to be using this as a stepping stone. Bristol De Mai has the Betfair Chase at Haydock as his target while Blaklion and Vieux Lion Rouge are being aimed at the Ladbrokes Trophy (formerly the Hennessy).

Definitly Red looked good winning the Rowland Meryck over course and distance on Boxing Day but I've never been totally convinced by his jumping.

Village Vic took a crashing fall at Chepstow three weeks ago in the race in which Double Shuffle finished second; at 33/1 with Paddy Power Tom George's charge looks the most interesting of the potential improvers but I'll watch this one from the sidelines.

The official going at Ascot is currently described as good.

Eleven go over two miles one in the Byrne Group Handicap Chase at 2.25 but only three have run recently - favourite Marracudja, Little Pop (kept busy over the summer) and Exitas.

Theinval and Calipto finished third and sixth respectively behind Rock The World in the Grand Annual with last year's winner Quite By Chance down the field in thirteenth - Colin Tizzard's charge tries this time off a mark nine pounds higher.

Spreredek has shown most of his form on soft ground so I'll take an each-way interest in Somchine who finished third behind Vaniteux and Romain De Senam at Ayr in April. He has made the frame in 15 of his 21 chase starts and is currently a 12/1 chance.

Dolos runs in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle at 3.00 and is a horse I like. He has performed well at this track previously and Stan Sheppard claims three; that said, he's probably a little too high in the handicap at present and four-year-olds don't have the best record in this event.

I'm interested in Ben Pauling's High Bridge who has won three of his four starts over hurdles and finished ninth in the Supreme last March - the trainer's comments in the Weekender (25-29.10.17) are illuminating:

"He wasn't really himself for various reasons that day and it was possibly my fault for giving Alex [Ferguson] the wrong instructions. He looks fabulous after his summer holiday..."

Alex rides tomorrow and takes off seven; at the time of writing High Bridge is best-priced 14/1 with Sky Bet and is worth an each-way wager in a competitive event. The good ground will suit; connections intend to go for the Gerry Feilden after this...


Anonymous said...

The going at Ascot is still Good, Good to Firm in places after only 4mm of overnight rain. But further heavy rain will pass over the course before racing and this could well ease the ground further and have an impact on racing so I’m working on the basis that is will be more Good, Good to soft come post time.

I’m with you with Somchine, it looks quite a tight affair and Marracudja deserves to be favourite but is priced up about right. The 14’s (Paddy Power) about Somchine look generous so I’ve taken this in the hope that he can be competitive off his mark of 136 and is fit enough to do himself justice. My top 3 are:

RTG Horse Target Odds
166 SOMCHINE(GB) 8.6

However, I’m less enthusiastic about High Bridge off 141, he may have had excuses at Cheltenham, but it could also be that his limitations were exposed in the race? My top 3 [and High Bridge] are:

RTG Horse Target Odds
160 DOLOS(FR) 10.5
157 CAID DU LIN(FR) 12
161 FOU ET SAGE(FR) 14.5
… ………………………… …….

And at current odds I’ll take a chance on Caid Du Lin at 14/1.

It looks a great renewal of The Charlie Hall and there could well be EW value in Double Shuffle at 33/1 but it is hard to look past Coneygree:

RTG Horse Target Odds
194 CONEYGREE(GB) 2.52
187 CUE CARD(GB) 10.5

As ever feel free to not approve these missives....I'd not be at all offended!

Best of luck


GeeDee said...

Thanks for your ratings, TW.

Yes, I've been wondering how the rain will affect the going at Ascot; at the time of writing they're still reporting good - good to firm. Speredek is a non-runner in the 2.25.

High Bridge falls well short of what's required on your figures - the archetypal 'slow horse' perhaps... ;) I'll just sit and suffer.

I'm interested to see Fou Et Sage rated so highly - I looked closely at this one and the jockey booking catches the eye. He's 50/1 in a few places at the moment which certainly represents value but he's been around a bit and, on balance, I suspect he'd prefer more cut underfoot.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

On my ratings Fou Et Sage is the top rated horse in the race but concerns over recent form and the ground being soft enough (it’s now officially Good and the chance of a further heavy shower before 15:00) meant that system downgraded win chance behind the lower rated Dolos & Caid Du Lin.

Pre his Market Rasen race Harry Whittingham said:

"Fou et Sage is set to have his first start in almost a year at Market Rasen tomorrow. It is a competitive listed handicap hurdle but the handicapper has given him a chance by dropping him to a mark of 136. He isn’t short of speed so the track should suit and the switch back to hurdles won’t inconvenience him either. He ran subsequent Aintree winner Double Ws very close over fences off 1lb lower last year, so he certainly isn’t without a chance here. The forecast rain won’t be an issue for him."

And post the race he noted:

"Fou et Sage finished 11th in the Listed handicap hurdle on the same card. He jumped well on the whole and travelled nicely, but the way the race panned out meant it was difficult to make ground from off the pace. It was his first run for a long time and he will improve for it. His next start will be in the listed handicap hurdle on Sodexo Gold Cup day at Ascot."

He certainly has some very good form in the book, mainly in France, so perhaps a dabble at the now 50/1 might not be the worst bet ever!


Anonymous said...

Somchine never got involved and was beaten a fair way out.

But very well done with High Bridge (so much for my system ratings!), he put his Cheltenham run well behind him and looked the likely winner for much of the home straight. Well supported in from 14/1 to 7/1 a great selection. Caid du Lin plodded on once pace to finish 7th.

A dramatic, but perhaps unsatisfactory, Charlie Hall chase.

GeeDee said...

They went hard up front in the Byrne Group Handicap Chase and finished well strung out. From the off selection Somchine (16/1) didn't have the pace to go with them; towards the rear of the field, he looked laboured at a couple of obstacles and made no impression on the leaders as they rounded the home turn, trailing in eighth, some 72 lengths behind facile winner Exitas (11/2).

A better showing from High Bridge (7/1) who was in the mix coming up the hill to the last; he eventually gave way to Elgin (6/1jf) and Limited Reserve (8/1) but held Air Force One a head to finish third.

Bristol De Msi (6/1) held stablemate Blaklion (5/1) half a length in the Charlie Hall but favourite Coneygree was pulled up after a circuit after a couple of errant jumps while Cue Card fell at the final flight in the back straight second time round when in with every chance. Connections of both the market leaders blamed the low-lying sun.

Correction: Blaklion is being aimed at the Becher Chase and not the Labrokes Trophy as stated in the original post.