Friday, January 31, 2020

Edinburgh National 2020

On the day Britain officially leaves the EU I thought I'd inform you that hard work stopped in 1940. I happen to know this because in 1973 a bloke on a bowling green told me so. One of those things I've never forgotten; I was 16 at the time.

Whatever, this season has certainly seemed like hard work and it would appear there's more chance of Lord Lucan being found alive than the current state of affairs stopping anytime soon.

The Dublin Racing Festival has established itself as one of the most important meetings between Christmas and the Cheltenham Festival in the National Hunt calendar but to date attendances haven't done justice to the quality of racing on offer; that's unlikely to change tomorrow with Ireland set to face Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in the opening match of the Six Nations championship. Leopardstown's cards on Saturday and Sunday look set to prove most informative with Cheltenham only five and a half weeks away.

The best value on offer today can be found in the Racing Post's 'Go North' Weekend initiative and, just to show I'm not averse to taking a bit of my own advice, I'm off up to Musselburgh for a wager in the bet365 Edinburgh National Handicap Chase at 3.15; ten have been declared with the going currently described as good to soft, soft in places.

Favourite Little Bruce beat Sumkindofking three lengths in the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick 23 days ago with Brian Boranha two lengths adrift when coming to grief at the final flight.

The winner has been raised six pounds for that effort while both Sumkindofking and Brian Boranha remain on their respective marks; at the revised ratings Sumkindofking looks to have the beating of the favourite but the form of Tom George's yard is a cause for concern.

Chic Name enters calculations on the back of his defeat of Scottish National winner Joe Farrell at Newbury last March and his subsequent eighth behind Takingrisks in the most recent renewal of that very race in April; he comes to this in fine fettle after two decent efforts in cross-country chases at Cheltenham.

Wonderful Charm has been competing in hunter chases since June 2017 and is the only course winner in the field. Now aged twelve he may be vulnerable and I prefer to look elsewhere.

Bob Mahler tries this marathon trip for the first time but he beat Little Bruce seven lengths conceding three pounds in a novices' handicap chase at Cheltenham last spring off a mark of 132; in the past trainer Warren Greatrex has said soft ground is important for this one - he should have no worries on that score. 

Age is catching up with Carole's Destrier (12) and Harry The Viking (15), while Blow By Blow looks bang out of form so Arthur's Gift is the one I'm interested in after his recent Welsh National run - and also because I once knew a man called Arthur who kindly gave me a present.

The price has contracted noticeably in the time it has taken me to write this post.

Seventh behind Potters Corner on heavy ground in the Welsh National, Arthur's Gift has been dropped two pounds and Jordan Nailor can claim another five in this less competitive event. The horse held a five-day entry in the race won by Worthy Farm at Wincanton yesterday but clearly connections have decided this is the option they want to take up.

A few layers offer 9/1 at the time of writing which doesn't seem particularly generous (but more generous than the 13/2 offered by Paddy Power); nonetheless Arthur's Gift is the each-way suggestion.

By the way, that bloke on the bowling green - took him corner to corner and beat him 21-5. Told me afterwards he found it hard work.


Sandracer said...

Well I hope you took the 12's before you wrote the blog..

GeeDee said...

Schoolboy error, Sandracer. Didn't see it coming.

GeeDee said...

Frustrating or what?

Under a hold-up ride, Arthur's Gift (6/1) fell mid way down the back straight on the second circuit, long before the race had started in earnest. It was difficult to see from the head-on camera shot but it looked a bit of a nothing fall; Jordan Nailor was up quickly enough to grab hold of the reins and the pairing walked away from the incident none the worse.

9/2jf Little Bruce raced prominently throughout and went on rounding the home turn for the final time but he was quickly collared up the home straight by Chic Name (5/1) who appeared to have the spoils in the bag, some five lengths clear coming to the last. However Richard Hobson's charge tired noticeably after clearing that last flight and was headed on the line by Bob Mahler (9/2jf) whose chance had appeared all but gone after being badly outpaced down the back straight and then making an error three from home. Despite those setbacks, Warren Greatrex's charge came with a fine late rattle to deny Little Bruce a short-head with Sumkindofking (7/1) staying on to claim third seven and a half lengths behind the principals.

Sandracer said...

Good day to miss the price like that Geedee. Bet that won't happen again. Next time it'll win btw. Arthur went to 40's in running after 2 fences. But it was a 4m+? V strange.

The winner found a rip in the time-space continuum after the last I think...

Cheltenham soon..

GeeDee said...


To my untrained eye the leaders went off quickly enough for a trip of four miles one (on soft ground). Harry The Viking likes to race prominently - they said in commentary he was likely to retire afterwards in any case - so it was no surprise to see him have one last blow for old times' sake. Little Bruce paid the price for trying to stay with him IMO.

On balance, was happy enough with Arthur's position towards the rear before he came to grief - the worry was he might not be able to make up ground if those at the head of affairs established too much of a lead. Had he stood up, I'd have envisaged him running a similar sort of race to Sumkindofking who made his bid off the final turn.

That winner though - first try beyond three miles one and he finished like he'd joined in just before the last!