Apologies for the delayed post-race update – I was away over the weekend and managed to see just a couple of races. Disappointing results, with the Tizzard horses seeming to stop to nothing a long way out and others not running so well. One winner kept a meagre pennant flying weakly but we shall rally and have another go at the weekend. Deficit to a £1 stake for 2018 on the TV Tips is now £10.32.
Once more into the fray, this time on a deficit of £3.15 to a £1 stake
An open race and rather than suggesting an EW bet I’ll nominate £1 each on two selections. The first is King’s Odyssey who has won at Cheltenham and he finished 3rd in a good race here last time. The jockey booking also caught my eye; Barry Geraghty hasn’t ridden for Evan Williams since he was unseated from Lancetto in December 2011. He has ridden just 4 times for the trainer, the one before Lancetto, Buck Mulligan, winning at Ludlow in 2009. His other two rides finished 3rd and 9th. King’s Odyssey doesn’t win that often but it’s encouraging that he has run good races in his first two outings.
Arguably the best value in the race is my other selection, Dream Bolt. He’s another in good form who ran over too short a trip last time and did well to finish 3rd. David Rees, his trainer, doesn’t have many horses – he’s had just 15 runners in the past two months but his strike rate is good at 25%, and the small names mean bigger prices. I think this horse will give you a very good run for your money at a big price.
King’s Odyssey 8/1
Dream Bolt 33/1
I fancy Bristol De Mai in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and am dismayed to see him running in this tomorrow. It is inevitably a very tough race. Many Clouds died after winning it last year and Thistlecrack broke down in training shortly afterwards. I’m not branding the race brutal because of that, but it has a history of winners failing to bounce back after it, especially in the Gold Cup and only one winner since 1997 has won the Gold Cup in the same year, Looks Like Trouble in 2000.
So much as I’d rather he was standing in his box tomorrow, I can’t look past Bristol De Mai for this. He ran no kind of race in the King George and was later found to be suffering from stomach ulcers.
Bristol De Mai 15/8
I fancied Slate House last time having seen him win at Cheltenham and I think he’s worth another chance here over this longer trip. He was keen last time and that didn’t help his cause in making the running. He runs in a new bit tomorrow with the yard hoping that will make it easier for young Cobden to drop him in. We might know our fate quite early if it doesn’t work but at the price I’m happy to take the chance.
Slate House 9/1
Finian’s Oscar is a large and very sticky fly in the ointment here. A Grade 1 winning hurdler who has been chasing, with mixed results, reverts to hurdles in a prep for a crack at the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. I think he’s a very good horse with a big engine and loath as I am to desert an improver in Beer Goggles, I’ll go with Finian’s Oscar and wouldn’t be greatly surprised to see him near the head of the Stayers’ market after this race. He’s currently 12/1 for that and while I think The New One is far and away the best value there, I’ll have a saver on Finian’s Oscar for it.
Finian’s Oscar 3/1
One cert in this race is that Ciaran Gethings will work for hard for his fee on the lazy Classic Ben who has won his last two races under strong driving. He wanders too, not unlike Acting Lass who won well last week, although he looks more honest than the chaser. This is a pretty hot Grade 2 but I think Classic Ben could be the value stepping up in class. Although hard driven and last of the leading bunch of five turning into the straight last time at Huntingdon, he came onto the bit going to the 2nd last and jumped it like a horse with plenty in the tank. He’s not without his quirks but I’m happy to go with him here.
Classic Ben 14/1 (Boylesports)
I’m torn between Irish Roe and Maria’s Benefit but the latter’s hurdling style rather than her price is the deciding factor. She reminded me of Buveur D’Air, the champion hurdler, so slick was she last time when making all in the style of one bound for the top. Irish Roe loves it here and is on a hat trick. She travels sweetly in her races and could well give Maria’s Benefit a race.
Maria’s Benefit 5/6
L’Ami Serge is likely to be a warm order here but he hasn’t won over fences for more than two years, and he’s hard to win with in any discipline having been 2nd 8 times in his last 14 starts.
Tenor Nivernais has plenty of weight and the yard is not in great form but at his best this horse borders on being high class. He has an entry in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and is a big price here given his talent and the skills of his trainer.
The other one who once had a touch of class and is beginning to find his form again is Vibrato Valtat. He ran well here last time giving lumps of weight and just failing to quite get there behind Mustmeetalady who runs again today. He can clout the odd fence but they are pretty soft at Doncaster (touch wood) and he should run well.
Vibrato Valtat 14/1
Tenor Nivernais 18/1
Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.