We come into today trailing a deficit to a £1 stake of £12.37 on TV bets. It’s a good day’s racing so let’s see if we can dent the debt.
Post-racing update: A fine day’s entertainment, although the bank is further depleted. Altior the sole winner: one 2nd at 7/1 one at 11/2, and another at 11/4, with a 3rd at 25/1
We are now behind to the tune of £19.76
Good to see Barter’s Hill back, though he’ll face a proper test in his first attempt at 3m2f and I wonder if his trainer might not have found him something over shorter for his first run in 456 days. Lough Derg Farmer didn’t last long as a chaser and should do better back over hurdles here. But the one I like is King Uther who seems a real character. A big, raw, awkward looking galloper and jumper who seems to do quite a bit wrong but is still in there fighting at the end. He’s very likeable and thoroughly game and he must have a decent engine to have pulled out the extra needed last time at Warwick.
Richard Johnson takes the mount here – a wizard from the front – I take him to make all and outbattle late challengers.
King Uther 11/2
Native River has a history of looking quite laborious on his seasonal debut; he has yet to win first time out. Saphir Du Rheu won once on his seasonal debut. He’s a horse I like and I backed him in the Gold Cup where he ran well. He might want farther than this these days and his trainer says he’ll improve for the run.
The remaining runner will not lack fitness after three good performances this season. I don’t think he was outstayed last time, just beaten by a horse much better suited to the conditions in Definitly Red, who went on to win The Cotswold. Cloudy Dream gets the vote here.
Cloudy Dream 5/2
Altior should win with the minimum of fuss.
This is the old Schweppes Trophy, a cracking race and one that all tipsters like to nail. If we had any brains, we’d waste no time on it and look for a winner in a more sensible race. But fortune supposedly favours the brave, and there are three horses in this who look over-priced to me. The first is Spiritofthegames who is an improving young horse who’s been running over longer trips. He’s looked a bit wayward in the finish but it might just be inexperience and the first time cheekpieces should help as will his rider’s 3lb claim.
Next is Divin Bere who’s being talked down by trainer Nicholls mostly on account of the ground. But this is Divin Bere’s first UK outing on soft and his sire’s stock has a better strike rate on soft than on good or good to soft. Divin Bere has won on very soft ground in France. The horse is much better than he showed last time on his yard debut, having moved from Henderson, and he looks too big in the betting by quite some way.
The same can be said of a horse who finished a neck behind him in the Fred Winter last season – Nietzsche. His jockey reported last time that he felt the horse had gone to sleep a bit in his usual hood and the trainer has left it off this time. Nietzsche has won in this ground and I think this sort of race and track will suit.
Whatever you are backing, it might be worth noting that the last horse older than 6 to win this was Geos in 2004.
Divin Bere 40/1
Followers of the blog might remember that Jester Jet is a mare I like, and I won’t desert her in this. Normally very consistent, she ran uncharacteristically poorly last time and I’m hoping she’ll bounce back here.
Jester Jet 7/1
Another old friend I’m standing by is North Hill Harvey, despite him having to concede half a stone to the very talented newcomer Saint Calvados who is going for his hat trick. The ex-French horse has won many plaudits for his jumping and it’s expected to be an asset at this very tricky chase track. But I’m not yet convinced he’s a top notch fencer. He’s looked fast and fluent in both wins but to my eye he doesn’t flex much and looks rather stiff-backed. So long as he’s not leaving his backend in the fence -which, to be fair, he has not done with any regularity so far – such a style can be very effective. But getting just one badly wrong can cost you a race, and the five fences down the back here take some jumping.
Touch wood, I’m confident about North Hill Harvey in the fencing department. He’s the only horse to beat Sceau Royal this season though that one trounced him at Sandown last time where North Hill Harvey needlessly got himself in a battle for the lead. A more sensible ride here back at a left handed track should see him close to his best.
North Hill Harvey 3/1
Thomas Crapper is 11 and hasn’t run for almost 300 days. But his trainer reports him in rude health at home and he gets plenty of weight from Kylemore Lough, who has a touch of class, but has cost his supporters a small fortune in trying to win better races. He always seems to find a way to get beat. I suspect this is the last chance saloon for him, with the shafts of a milk float awaiting on Sunday morning. That might be just enough to scare him to victory here. Getting stuffed by a horse named Crapper would surely mean the end?
Thomas Crapper 13/2
Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.