Three winners at Kempton and two seconds at Warwick; good to see all selections running their races.
We are now £2.10 ahead for the year (£1 unit stake singles based on best odds guaranteed)
Coming into this with a deficit of £1.90, let’s see if we can get in front today. Just a note on prices: most who follow this blog will probably bet with online or High Street bookies and normally I’ll recommend those prices. But where Betfair differs significantly, I’ll recommend that.
If you plan to open a Betfair account, it’s worth noting that they have a ‘sportsbook’ (a normal bookmaking service) and their exchange. When I recommend a Betfair price it’ll always be on their exchange unless otherwise mentioned. Worth noting too that the minimum single win bet on the exchange is £2, although that can be overcome by betting under Multiples where you could have £1 on each selection so long as there are more than three. To qualify it as a multiple you might have to add a 25p EW accumulative bet (maybe even 10p EW – it’s worth experimenting if you don’t want to lay out £2 on a particular race).
Also, prices on the Betfair exchange are sometimes on offer only to limited stakes. But at the level we are betting here (on a fun basis, I hope), you should have little trouble getting the price or close to it if reacting within 15 minutes or so to the relevant blog post.
I saw Big River at Kelso and was impressed with him as an individual. His win that day was hard to judge as the favourite was out of the race early. I tipped him last time at Haydock. There was some money in the market for him that day but he looked pretty liefeless from the start and sure enough was pulled up. Atrial fibrillation was the diagnosis and there’s an element of chance tipping him again, but I won’t desert him yet.
Big River 9/2
A tricky race and I’ll have £1 each on Sykes and Malapie. The latter looks to be improving and won last time and Sykes ran with heart and determination when just failing to last home at Cheltenham a month ago. Prior to that he’d won at Ffos Las and he’s another who might have a couple more pounds of improvement in him.
A Grade 2 hurdle featuring some good prospects, and I’m going to take a chance with Paisley Park who has looked very inexperienced in both his races so far, hanging and looking pretty clueless when asked to get involved. But once the penny dropped he got going in the manner of a horse with much potential. The yard has won this twice before and report the horse to be doing well at home and schooling well. He’ll still have a bit to learn and it’ll be interesting to see how quickly things come together for him when they reach the business end in this.
Paisley Park 10/1
Another park for me here – Crosspark who’d been pretty consistent until pulled up last time at Newbury. A P in the formline last time always pushes out the price of a horse, very often well beyond what is merited as almost all have an off day at some point. Trainer Caroline Bailey says the 8-y-o ‘wasn’t quite right’ after Newbury but is better now. This is his first run beyond three miles so stamina is taken on trust, but his sire has a decent record given the limited number of runners he’s had at marathon trips. Gina Andrews takes 3lbs off and at the price I’m more than happy to go with him.
I like the little mare Cresswell Breeze an awful lot and tipped her last time at Sandown where she looked like a horse who needed dropping in trip. But the trainer is persevering at 3m 5f and I hope she doesn’t make a fool of me in this.
Crosspark 31/1 (Betfair) 16/1, most bookies
Some grand old stagers in this, and the new kid on the block, Waiting Patiently, has a real test to face in giving weight to the likes of God’s Own, who is, I might as well tell you, a horse I can never catch right: when I back him he loses, when I don’t he wins. The stats play for you, dear reader, would be to bet him here because I’m going with Waiting Patiently for the north.
Watching Smad Place will be interesting. Rhythm means an awful lot in staying chases and he’s a horse to whom it seems especially important. He never found the beat last time at Ascot and his jumping, normally a huge asset, steadily went to pieces. No matter what you back in races, just watching certain horses can provide a lot of pleasure. Everybody loves Smad Place and I hope he hits his rhythm here but with just enough syncopation to finish second to Waiting Patiently.
Waiting Patiently 7/4
William Henry is a very talented horses who won an NH Flat race here by 17 lengths on just his second outing. Surprisingly, he hasn’t run again right-handed since that day. He was well fancied on his chasing debut last time but didn’t seem to care at all for fences and Russell pulled him up when his saddle slipped.
Interesting that Russell is replaced here by James Bowen, who claims 5lbs. It would be nice to know if this was at the suggestion of the trainer in the hope that the very talented Bowen and his claim can make the difference. Russell is retained in the UK by William Henry’s owner, Dai Walters, although I believe it is something of a gentleman’s agreement and perhaps Russell begged off to ride the good Cheltenham prospect Mengli Khan at Punchestown.
I’m also going to have £1 on Top Ville Ben in this. He won by a street at Haydock last time in heavy ground. Haydock’s heavy going is getting a reputation for ‘freak’ winners but I’m not so sure it’s a deserved one. Bristol De Mai is the main witness for the prosecution in these cases but I think his King George run was too bad to be true and that his Betfair win at Haydock should not be condemned too quickly.
Another impressive winner from the front that day who probably got slotted in to the freak category by some was Sam Spinner; look what he did next. So at around 41/1 on Betfair (28/1) with the bookies, I’m happy to have a small saver on him. It might well have been a freak day but equally, he changed yards in September and has been showing steady improvement since. Also, Adam Nicol took over in the saddle two runs ago and the horse’s best Racing Post ratings have been achieved in those two races. Sometimes a horse and jockey just click.
William Henry 13/2
Top Ville Ben 41/1 Betfair, 28/1 bookies
The final selection of the day was an easy choice: Fountains Windfall. I think this is a very talented horse and I believe he would have won the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices Chase last time if he hadn’t fallen four out when beginning to pull away from the eventual victor. That was his second fall in succession and I’ve seen many folk on forums and social media condemn him as a bad jumper. On the contrary, he’s a good jumper who is getting better all the time. At Kempton last time he just took a step left before taking off 4 out; he got all four legs on the ground for a moment but just couldn’t get his balance back. That followed a Newbury fall, again when he was very much in contention. His jumping last time was noticeably better than at Newbury and I’m hoping everything comes together for him in this.
Fountains Windfall 5/4
Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.