Friday, December 03, 2021

Aintree December 2021 - an outsider for the finale

Some top class racing on offer tomorrow and I usually like a bet in the Becher Chase at Aintree but instead I'm going to take a chance on one in the finale at 3.15: the Unibet - 2021 Horserace Betting Operator Of The Year Handicap Hurdle.

Fifteen have been declared; the going is described as soft, good to soft in places.

A few in the field, having tried their luck over the bigger obstacles, now revert to hurdles. 

Both Midnight River and Carys' Commodity came to grief on their chase debut while Kateson beat Eternally Yours in this race last year off a mark of 134 but was well beaten in a novices' handicap chase here last time out.

Favourite Tamar Bridge made all to win a Wetherby novice hurdle in some style last time. 

His eight and a half length defeat of Bass Rock in a match at Ayr in March reads well as Bass Rock comfortably won a Class 2 handicap hurdle at Carlisle in October (Albert's Back 41 lengths adrift in sixth) and then ran creditably to finish third behind Dans Le Vent at Haydock a fortnight ago. Has Olly Murphy's charge been let in lightly on his first run in a handicap? 

Pounding Poet was second behind Mackelduff over course and distance last time out with Winningseverything fourth; the pair look closely matched once again. 

Winningseverything and Martinhal were withdrawn from the Haydock race won by Dans Le Vent on account of quick ground. Both should find underfoot conditions more to their liking here; Harry Fry's charge is fitted with a first-time tongue-tie.

Martinhal looks unexposed; his three wins to date have come at right-handed tracks (Exeter twice and Huntingdon). Back in January he beat Karl Philippe with the third that day, Gladiateur Allen, edging out Elixir De Nutz by a nose in a hot-looking novice chase on Haldon Hill this afternoon.

Elvis Mail has five pounds in hand of his chase rating but most of his runs have been around the two mile mark - a comment that also applies to Highway One O Two - while Storm Nelson makes a delayed seasonal debut following a dirty scope and doesn't look particularly well-handicapped.

Ballyandy isn't getting any younger but he could easily be competitive off a mark of 140 - and Finn Lambert claims ten pounds.

A difficult race in which it's possible to make the case for one or two at bigger prices; I'm going to chance Straw Fan Jack.

As well as training horses in Brecon, Sheila Lewis also owns and runs a beauty salon and she has made no secret of the fact that Straw Fan Jack is the apple of her eye. 

Conceding 11 pounds the grey was beaten a head by Fifty Ball in a novice handicap hurdle at Ascot (October 2020; Fifty Ball subsequently second in the 2021 Betfair Hurdle behind Soaring Glory) before winning a novice hurdle at this track by 30 lengths. 

Conceding 21 pounds he was beaten a head by Samba Dancer at Cheltenham on seasonal debut before finishing midfield in the Greatwood Hurdle three weeks ago. I think the track and trip here will suit better, as will the cut underfoot; the booking of Aidan Coleman catches the eye.

With Sky Bet paying five places and offering 14/1 at the time of writing, Straw Fan Jack is the each-way suggestion.


Anonymous said...

Unibet - 2021 Horserace Betting Operator Of The Year Handicap Hurdle

Overnight rain has changed the going to Soft.

158,ELVIS MAIL(FR),7.9

A rating of 165 for Ballyandy skews the system outputs; has he still got it?

On a busy day’s racing I think there may be easier pickings elsewhere, if pushed I’d be looking at taking an EW interest [25/1 3 places] in Albert’s Back, happy to dismiss his seasonal debut [with Mick Easterby today may have already been in mind!], he could still be progressive.

The easier ground and step back up in trip might see Straw Fan Jack back in the mix but some concerns that his mark may be about right.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings, TW.

Good luck!

GeeDee said...

There was money for selection Straw Fan Jack, eventually sent off a 7/1 chance.

Showing a hint of reluctance at the start, Sheila Lewis' charge raced prominently behind Kateson on the inside rail; they went a steady enough pace in deteriorating conditions.

As the race developed up the home straight Straw Fan Jack was quickly left behind by the principals, weakening after the final flight to cede fifth place to the strong-finishing Ballyandy (11/1).

Tamar Bridge (2/1f) beat Pounding Poet (11/2) in a photo-finish with Kateson (12/1) seven and a half lengths adrift in third and Elvis Mail (16/1) fourth.

The selection found disappointingly little at the business end of the race; this run provides vindication for TW's view that 'his mark may be about right'.

Anonymous said...

SFJ travelled very well through the race and I felt sure he was going to get involved but, as you note, found disappointingly little when asked.

Just, belatedly, read this piece on the RP:

The effort that goes in to getting a horse to the races for the smaller yards is incredible.

Perhaps Shelia’s husband did put the saddle on the wrong way around!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for that link, TW. Interesting.

Funnily enough, watching the TV pictures, I did notice Aidan Coleman take the horse away from the others at the start - for a moment I wondered whether he was going to be withdrawn.

The jock appeared to ask for assistance and some minor adjustments were made to the tack.

As you say, getting a horse to the races for a small operation takes a huge amount of effort.