Back in December The New One was a ‘strongly recommended’ bet on this blog for the Stayers at 25/1. He’s half that price now and I’m hoping the old horse can win it, as much to crown his career as anything else.
But since December the race has changed shape quite a bit as Yanworth has been sent back to hurdling to contest this, Sam Spinner won the Long Walk, and Supasundae beat Faugheen 6 weeks ago. The race looks a good deal more open now and I decided to take a fresh look at it.
The one I think could shorten dramatically in the market – especially if the ground steadily dries as we move toward Thursday – is Penhill, trained by Mullins, although it’s his owner who has piqued my interest as much as anything else.
Penhill won the Albert Bartlett last year in the most taking style having been dropped out in a race run at an uneven pace. Making smooth headway approaching the second last, he was forced very wide there by the fall of The World’s End. Jockey Townend was unperturbed as he tacked back over to join the principals battling toward the last where he took it up and scooted away to win comfortably.
He finished 2nd at Punchestown the following month, perhaps feeling the effects of Cheltenham, and there was speculation that he might run on the flat in races like The Melbourne Cup. But he hasn’t been seen since. He had entries at Ascot in June as well as that Melbourne Cup entry. In August his owner reported he had sustained an injury in training and that ‘it does not look good’. I can find no mention of what the injury was nor any comment by Mullins on it.
What I do know is that the same owner, Tony Bloom, had another promising horse who didn’t see the track for almost a year before having a nice prep run over too short a trip. Three weeks later he was backed from – if memory serves – 12/1 in the morning to 5/1 fav by the time he had hacked up in the Cesarewitch: Withhold is his name, and I wonder if Mister Bloom has been withholding Penhill so he can have another mighty crack at the bookmakers. Bloom has a reputation as a big gambler.
I might be putting 2 and 2 together and making 5, but Penhill has just one entry next week – The Stayers Hurdle. Mullins reports him as doing well in training. I smell a plot here and will be backing him for half stake at 10/1 under antepost rules (money lost if he does not turn up) and the other half at 8/1 NRNB with Bet365 who also offer best odds guaranteed.
In fact, given that owner’s report of an injury in the summer, it’s probably wiser to sacrifice the 2 potential points and just take the 8/1 NRNB. If Tony Bloom smashes into the ring on Thursday morning, Penhill will go off a fair bit shorter than 8s.
In conclusion, I strongly recommend* backing Penhill to win The Stayers at 8/1 NRNB with Bet365.
*Best read this for an explanation of ‘betting confidence’ terms.
Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.