Friday, February 15, 2019

Racing returns

The show is back on the road.

The stables of Donald McCain and Simon Crisford remain subject to BHA restrictions but otherwise lockdown has been lifted.

Emergency regulations introduced on Monday evening now require any runner to have received appropriate vaccination within the preceding six month period; any horse receiving a new vaccination cannot race for seven days.

Many trainers' plans have been disrupted by the introduction of these measures; the first day of the Cheltenham Festival is just three and a half weeks away...

Still, we're racing again and, with weights announced on Tuesday, the Grand National has helped to dispel some of the anguish of the past ten days or so.

Like every tipster this side of kingdom come, I've taken a cursory glance at the Aintree entries and at this early stage found one or two that look of interest at the weights...

Traffic Fluide (10-10) - Gary Moore seemed quite bullish in his 'Straight from the Stable' tour in the Weekender 16-20.01.19;

Walk In The Mill (10-0) - looked impressive winning the Becher Chase in December;

Allysson Monterg (9-12) - spent Christmas dinner worrying how I'd managed to miss the price about this one for the Rowland Meyrick; in the event, he put in a bit of a stinker but subsequently outran his odds in the Cotswold Chase last month. The National is the target.

It's hardly surprising to see that nine of the sixteen runners declared for tomorrow's William Hill Grand National Trial (3.35 Haydock) hold Grand National entries; the last three winners - Bishops Road (2016), Vieux Lion Rouge (2017) and Yala Enki (2018) - all try to repeat the trick.

January's Peter Marsh Chase provides a key piece of form with Wakanda beating Robinsfirth one and threequarter lengths with Ballyarthur fourth and Red Infantry fifth. As you'd expect, the handicapper has had his say and there wouldn't be a lot between them on revised terms but of the four I feel the additional three furlongs will definitely play to Red Infantry's strengths and could also help Robinsfirth.

Of course, this looks a very competitive renewal.

Course form is always a plus at Haydock so the three previous winners have to enter calculations while both Impulsive Star and Royal Vacation won last time out and boast solid credentials. The chance of current favourite Ramses De Teillee is respected but to date all his chase wins have come at Chepstow.

The drying ground is going to suit some more than others so, with this in mind, I'll take a chance on course and distance winner Red Infantry who has won on good ground previously and has been placed in six of his nine chase starts. Connections replace the visor used last time with first-time blinkers which I hope can eke out a little more improvement.

Trainer Ian Williams has indicated the Aintree showpiece is the plan (his charge allocated 9-12) so you'd like to think the horse will put in a decent show here but the main worry is the stable's run-to-form figure which currently reads at just 9%.

Red Infantry is the each-way selection; Sky Bet is offering 14/1 and pays one fifth the odds five places.

Cards at Ascot and Wincanton will provide useful Festival pointers - I'm particularly looking forward to the Ascot Chase at 3.55 - but Presenting Percy misses the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park.

Presenting Percy is as low as 5/2 with Bet Victor for the Cheltenham Gold Cup but we haven't seen Patrick Kelly's charge jump a fence in public since he won the RSA Chase at last year's Festival.

And in just four weeks' time we'll know the winner of the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup...

Finally, I simply have to share Adrian Brodkin's letter which was published in Monday's edition of The Times and appeared under the heading 'Winner's Post':

'Sir, While I have no wish for the livelihood of jockeys and trainers to be adversely affected by the continuing cancellation of all horse racing fixtures, the longer each day's races are called off, the healthier my bank balance is beginning to look.'



Anonymous said...

Great that racing is back; two speculative darts for me today which will probably leave me in the same frame of mind as Adrian Brodkin come tea time.

I’m pining my hopes on a line of form through Red Infantry [RI] in opting for 33/1 shot Bishops Road [BR]. The old boy is inconsistent these days and no doubt would prefer the ground not to dry out too much. BR finished within 3L of RI in a handicap chase over course and distance back in November, taking in the jockey’s claim BR is 13lb better off today, his record at Haydock reads 132 so the hope, at this course, is he puts in one of his better days today!

I think it is safe to assume Paul Nicholls would not run a horse he thought capable of winning the Betfair Hurdle in a seller so my 2nd dart is even more speculative. 9YO Blue Cavalier [BC] has had an interrupted career that has seen him make the racecourse only 12 times and today he makes his first start in a handicap at odds of 50/1+. He went through a purple patch for Paul Nicholls last spring when he won 3 novice hurdles in succession. He started this season with a disappointing effort over the bigger obstacles before being entered in that selling hurdle. He was sent of at odds of 2/11 in a three-runner affair and finished 2nd in a race run at a muddling pace. After the race Ali Stronge claimed him for £6,000 and he makes his first start for the yard today of a mark of 140 and assisted by 5lb claimer Jonjo O’Neill Jr. I’m hoping his new surroundings and this truer run race will help him out and that he can make one of the 6 places on offer.

½ PT EW Bishops Road 33/1 5 Places 1/5 odds
½ PT EW Blu Cavalier 50/1 6 places 1/5 odds
¼ PT EW Double

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

A nice angle on Bishops Road, TW, and I see he's joint top-rated (with Yala Enki) on Racing Post ratings.

Ar Mest was the one I considered in the Betfair Hurdle. Rob Wright has napped him in The Times but the handler's write-up in the Weekender last month just didn't convince so I'll watch from the sidelines.

Good luck!

Sandracer said...

I think you boiled it down to 2 Geedee and went for the wrong one. How often does that happen ;)

GeeDee said...

Tempted by the bigger price, Sandracer... ;)

Good to hear from you - trust you're well.

GeeDee said...

The official going at Haydock was changed to good, good to soft in places after the second race.

An incident-packed National Trial saw Bishops Road (33/1) and Mitchell Bastyan take the race by the scruff of the neck right from the off, setting off at a clip that soon had several of those towards the rear in trouble. 10 lengths clear after the fourth, the leader was jumping for fun and enjoying himself.

The selection raced in a clear third behind The Two Amigos (7/1) who took a crashing fall at the fourteenth. At that point Red Infantry certainly had every chance if good enough but those pursuing made noticeable progress as they approached the bend out of the back straight and it very quickly became obvious my pick wasn't going to be anywhere near good enough on this occasion; he weakened up the home straight and unseated Tom O'Brien four from home.

Meanwhile TW's tip Bishops Road was still at the head of affairs entering the home straight and looking guaranteed a place at the very least but the petrol began to run out approaching three from home - he was last of the six to finish.

The spoils went to Robinsfirth (8/1) who stayed on stoutly to defy Ramses De Teillee (8/1) on the run-in with Chef D'Oeuvre (12/1) putting in a noteworthy rally late on to finish third, beaten two lengths. The two others to finish were Royal Vacation (10/1) in fourth and Yala Enki (6/1f) in fifth.

Reader TW may have been cursing his luck with Bishops Road in the National Trial but his each-way selection in the Betfair Hurdle, Blu Cavalier, ran an absolute stormer at odds of 100/1 to finish third, beaten three and threequarter lengths and two and a half lengths behind Al Dancer (5/2f) and Magic Dancer (20/1).

Sandracer said...

All good Geedee thanks cheers. If you're gonna get it wrong, chasing the bigger price is the way to go. When you get beat on the smaller price by the biggest it's a nightmare.

GeeDee said...

Agree, Sandracer. Worst feeling in racing - losing money on a 6/4 shoo-in.