Friday, October 30, 2020

An each-way chance in the 2020 Sodexo Gold Cup

For starters, I thought I'd bring to your attention a recent analysis of starting prices compiled by the Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF) which concludes that, since racing returned after lockdown on 1st June 2020, 'there has been a reduction in the price of horses at the head of the market and an increase in the price of outsiders'. Interesting.

The pre-race chatter surrounding tomorrow's Charlie Hall Chase (Wetherby 3.20) is whether Cyrname can win on his first attempt going left-handed over a trip of three miles. Connections seem confident - and why not? On official ratings Cyrname is 13 pounds clear of his nearest rival, last year's winner Ballyoptic. Paul Nicholls has indicated the forecast rain won't be a problem but points out that the only thing different from his seasonal debut last year - when he memorably beat Altior over two miles five at Ascot - is that the gelding hasn't had a racecourse gallop. 

All that said, Kim Bailey's charge Vinndication, a 5/1 chance on Thursday, is 9/4 clear favourite with several layers this evening. The yard is in fine form and the trainer is hoping he has a Gold Cup horse on his hands...

Sam Spinner is unbeaten over fences but anyone who saw his third and most recent win - in a three-runner novice chase at Doncaster in December - will know Jedd O'Keefe's charge threw jockey Joe Colliver up into the air six from home and the partnership was extremely lucky to survive. A fracture to the gelding's pelvis was subsequently discovered; Sam returns to the track tomorrow and it's no surprise to see his price on the drift.

This year's renewal has more depth than recent runnings. 

Ballyoptic and Definitly Red both bid to become the first horse since Ollie Magern to win the race twice (2005, 2007); the last horse older than nine to come home in front was Grey Abbey in 2004.

Of the bigger priced runners Aye Right is one I like and his second behind Nuts Well over an inadequate trip at Kelso 27 days ago reads well, given the winner picked up the Old Roan Chase at Aintree last Sunday. He's a 20/1 chance with bet365 but I'm struggling to see Harriet Graham's stable star making a place in this company.

With Cyrname and Vinndication taking their chance at Wetherby, the make-up of the Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Ascot 3.40) has changed markedly. 

Black Corton, third in this race last year behind Vinndication, tries again from a mark two pounds lower having undergone wind surgery over the summer. Mister Malarky beat Black Corton (Whatmore fourth, Adrien Du Pont sixth) in the Betway Handicap Chase at Kempton in February but in the past fortnight Team Tizzard has recorded just one win from 32 runs.

Connections of Walk In The Mill are probably using this as a prep for the Becher Chase while nobody can be really sure what Might Bite might get up to.

Of the two current market leaders Henry Daly (Whatmore) has his horses in fine fettle with a 30% win strike over the past 14 days but Chris Gordon (Commanche Red) is 1 win from 16 runs.

Near the foot of the weights I'm going to take a chance on Andrew Martin's Militarian who won this on his seasonal debut last year at odds of 50/1; he tries again from a mark one pound higher. This looks a more competitive renewal and, unfortunately, those bookmaker chappies aren't offering such fancy prices either but Shane Quinlan helps the cause by claiming five pounds. 

Sky Bet, Paddy Power and William Hill are paying five places in this race and, at the time of writing, Paddy Power offer 16/1. 

Militarian is the each-way suggestion.

To finish, two quick, eclectic pieces of form...

In the listed mares' hurdle at Wetherby (2.10) Verdana Blue is priced a 1/2 chance yet her performance at Kempton 13 days ago was disappointing. That day Silver Streak recorded a time of 3m 39.04s when beating the Nicky Henderson trained mare six and a half lengths over a trip of two miles. An hour earlier Mrs Hyde had won the Racing TV Novices' Hurdle over the same trip in a time of 3m 39.17s; Brian Ellison's charge is now as low as 11/1, having been 20/1 earlier in the week. I feel both mares are likely to be inconvenienced by the forecast rain.

In the Scottish Champion Hurdle Trial (Ayr 3.27) Faire Part Sivola, wearing first-time cheekpieces for new connections, looks overpriced at 11/1, beaten a head by Calva D'Auge at Wincanton in January when under the tutelage of Nick Williams. 


Anonymous said...

Re HBF analysis, I think I’ll back all 14/1 shots blindly and get a 25% return on investment!

The going at Ascot this morning is Good to Soft (Good in places), the forecast rain looks less than initially expected so perhaps, at worst, Good to Soft (Soft in places) come 3:40.


It is hard to be enthusiastic about Might Bite & Blacklion; of the remainder there is only 5lb between the field on my ratings in what looks a competitive race.

With most of the field making a seasonal debut fitness needs to be taken on trust.

Whilst 9 and 10yos have won 3 of the last 10 running’s in more recent years younger horses have been to the fore and a little research I did suggests 8yo or less is optimum. This puts a line through Valtor, Regal Encore, Black Corton, Walk In The Mill, Flying Angel, Townshend and Militarian.

There must be some question mark as to whether 3 miles is the suitable for Commanche Red. You need to go back to Feb 2019 since Adrien Du Pont last put in a decent shift which is off putting. As you note, by their standards, the Tizard yard is perhaps not yet firing 100% which puts a line through Mister Malarky. The system suggests Django Django make lack the class to win a race like this.

All of which leaves Whatmore with the least set of questions to answer; alas current odds of 9/2 make no appeal whatsoever so a no bet race for me!

Good luck


Anonymous said...

Only three to focus on by my system ratings.

199 CYRNAME(FR) 45.3
194 SAM SPINNER(GB) 20.6
181 AYE RIGHT(IRE) 0.5

Cyrname’s challenge has been well documented, can he stay 3 miles, can he race left-handed, has he fully got over a heavy fall LTO?

Sam Spinner is coming back from a significant injury and the form of the yard is a concern.

All of which leaves Vindication, but he has been well found and 5/2 makes no appeal so another no bet race for me!

A good day’ racing though…


GeeDee said...

Thanks for your analyses and ratings, TW. Vinndication is my idea of the Charlie Hall winner too; initially I intended to put him up as a win bet at 5/1... Cyranme 100/30 in places now - perhaps that's where the value lies.

A good day's racing.

Anonymous said...

An hour earlier Mrs Hyde had won the Racing TV Novices' Hurdle over the same trip in a time of 3m 39.17s; Brian Ellison's charge is now as low as 11/1, having been 20/1 earlier in the week

Well spotted!

More rain than expected at Ascot and the going now Soft. I see the easing of the ground as a negative for Whatmore so I’m pleased I chose not to play!


Anonymous said...

Cyranme 100/30 in places now - perhaps that's where the value lies.

Of the bigger priced runners Aye Right is one I like

I hope you made a shilling somewhere from that!


Anonymous said...

Militarian is the each-way suggestion.

A number of nuggets in your post today....enjoy a well earned tipple later.


GeeDee said...

Regal Encore (14/1) and Whatmore (4/1f) fought out the finish of the Sodexo Gold Cup with the former showing dogged determination - even at the age of twelve - to prevail by one and a quarter lengths.

Selection Militarian (15/2) raced midfield and made up ground from three out, pinching third spot from Black Corton (11/2) after the last but without ever threatening the principals, crossing the line over 14 lengths behind the winner. Jockey Shane Quinlan reported the gelding had jumped poorly.

In stark contrast Cyrname (3/1) jumped straight as a die in the Charlie Hall; Vinndication (2/1f) appeared to lose ground at a number of flights. Aye Right (12/1) posted a creditable effort in third while Keeper Hill's fourth at odds of 50/1 was noted.

A number of layers now quote Cyrname joint 7/2 favourite with stablemate Clan Des Obeaux for the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Finally, my editor, a fastidious sort, has insisted I acknowledge the following erratum in the original post:

"I'm going to take a chance on Andrew Martin's Militarian who won this on his seasonal debut last year..."

In fact Vinndication won last year's renewal of this race; Militarian won the Handicap Chase over course and distance on 22 November 2020.

GeeDee said...

I've been spooked by the fastidious editor once again.

Militarian won the Handicap Chase at Ascot on 22 November 2019.