The Last Post from Lazybet

The start of a new jumps season is an appropriate time to sign off from this blog, I think.

I’m going to be concentrating on fiction writing for the foreseeable future. Any blogging I do will be from my Steeplechasing site Please sign up on that site if you want to see future blog posts (there are three wee dots on the top right of the page on my new blog: that’s where you sign up).  I’ll still blog on racing matters that spark me into action and there’ll still be the occasional tip from me if I think a horse is exceptional value.

This site will remain online for a while. Many words have been written on it over the years and it still gets visits around National time and the Festival due to Google searches sending folk here.

Thanks to those who’ve found the time to read some of my posts. Attention spans are getting so short these days I fear that articles any longer than twitter’s 280 characters will struggle to find readers.

All the best.
Joe

 

 

Cracksman – what might have been

Followers of this blog who watched Cracksman annihilate the opposition in today’s Champion Stakes can be forgiven for feeling aggrieved at the way this horse’s career has been managed.

I’ve said more than once that I don’t think there is a horse standing in a stable anywhere in Europe that could beat Cracksman over 12 furlongs on soft ground.  You could count fast ground runnings of the Arc on one hand in the past 30 or so years and that was given as the main reason for the horse missing the French race for the second year in succession.

The reality appears to be that his trainer John Gosden was once again masterminding his pursuit of prize money.

Gosden had Enable in the yard, hugely well treated in the 2017 Arc and stil looking good after coming back from injury this season.

Last year Gosden discovered (or had reinforced) that Oppenheimer is an owner who never questions his decisions. The trainer can be pretty sure he’s the only danger to Enable and that he’d be a hot favourite to win the Champion Stakes.

Why not – as a trainer – grab two big races rather than one?

This year, Enable bounces back nicely at Kempton and in what looks a comparatively mediocre Arc (if Cracksman doesn’t run) he plans to do exactly what he did last year. Oppenheimer, predictably, rolls over.

Reality is that Cracksman was never seriously being prepared for the Arc. I had thought his price a few weeks ago of 8/1 to 10/1 was a crazy overreaction to a comparatively disappointing season. I strongly suspect now that the key bookies knew that Cracksman was never likely to run.

Any doubters on that theory should note Gosden’s post race comments today, when he pretty much summed up his approach to the horse’s season – not a single mention of the Arc.

“He won the Prix Ganay in explosive style and I don’t think he was quite the same after that – I think a few things were bothering him. Obviously, he got very distracted at Royal Ascot by the girls coming back from the Windsor Forest and then we went for the King George, where it was too firm, and the Juddmonte [non-runner for the same reason] then packed in and freshened him up to come here, where he was back to his best.”

An unusually loose-tongued Gosden pretty much admitting he’d done Oppenheimer over again, as well as Cracksman’s fans and bettors.

I don’t blame Gosden in the least. His priority is to do what is best for his yard – he has done that in magnificent fashion.

Oppenheimer is the villain of the piece. Had he shown some backbone and nous, he’d have fought for what was best for the horse rather than what was best for Gosden and Dettori.

Aside from the money lost in antepost bets (last season and this), my main grievance is, as with an NH favourite of mine, the late Vautour, the horse was never given the chance to prove himself on track, despite the fact he is now likely to be voted, as he was last year by the BHA, the best middle distance horse in Europe.

 

 

TV Tips Thursday 12th April 2018

Post racing update: a mixed day and I must now accept that Bristol De Mai is not the horse I thought he was, although his second place did get us a small profit. Grand Vision fell, Diakali carted his rider, who did the right thing in not fighting with him. Hard to believe that given the ease with which We Have A Dream won, allied to his strength in the market, they bothered bringing the disappointing Beau Gosse from France. Anyway, Bentelimar scooted home in fine fashion, helping ensure a £7.10 profit on the day. We go into Friday carrying a deficit to £1 stakes of £24.22

Another Grand National meeting rolls around, extending what is already a long path for me back through the years. My first vivid memory of Aintree was when I was out with my father one afternoon. We met a friend of his who set about describing with considerable drama how a rank outsider, Foinavon, had just won the Grand National.

More than fifty years have passed since then, five of which I spent working at Aintree in the mid 1990s. The meeting always brings excitement as well as memories for me and I hope I can tip and back some winners.

Let’s get started.

2.20

Given that she never settled in the Triumph Hurdle, Apple’s Shakira did remarkably well to finish 4th in the race having taken so much out of herself, and, at first glance, I thought she’d be my automatic pick for this. But the race also features her stablemate, We Have A Dream, unbeaten in four races in the UK and in the formidable ownership if Munir and Souede, who have some top notch animals.

Trainer Nicky Henderson is on record as saying he wouldn’t like to choose between these two (although Nicky often says ‘more than his prayers’, to quote an old Irish phrase). What struck me when looking through the field is that another Munir Souede horse comes from France to run here – Beau Gosse. He’s 18/1 while Apple’s Shakira and We Have A Dream dispute favouritism at around 2/1.

Reportedly the owners’ retained jockey was ‘given the choice’ and picked we Have A Dream. But why even mention he’d be given the choice when it would seem a no-brainer? Why go to the trouble of bringing the horse across the channel? The trainer of Beau Gosse, Macaire, is no fool, and top NH jockey in France, James Revelely comes over to ride in preference to going to Autueil. Macaire has no further entries at Aintree that I can see.

Beau Gosse ran at Kempton last time when a well beaten third to Redicean. Connections believe the good ground was against him that day.

All in all, I’d much sooner take the chance that Beau Gosse will spring a surprise at big odds than tip one of the shorties and I make him an each way bet.

Beau Gosse EW  18/1 (Betfair Sporstbook)

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2.50

Short and sweet as I think Bristol De Mai  has a good chance of winning this. I explain why in this post, sent on Tuesday to those who subscribe to this blog.

Bristol De Mai  EW at 11/2 (Betfair, Paddy Power and Unibet)

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3.25

Having tipped him for the Stayer’s Hurdle last time, I thought I’d be doing so again with The New One here, but an outsider makes greater appeal. Diakali’s had more than his share of training troubles, eventually leaving the care of Willie Mullins in January in a transfer to Gary Moore.

This will be his first appearance for the yard and his first time on a racecourse for almost a year. But his sole Aintree outing was in this race in 2014 when he failed by just a nose and a head to get to The New One and Rock On Ruby.  He’s reported to be sparkling at home and at the price I’m happy to take an EW chance.

Diakali EW 28/1 (Betfair)

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4.20

It’s always good to watch any race over the Grand National fences, and the amateur riders get their first chance of glory here over 2m 5f. Most of these runners are a fair age. I quite like the youngster Sir Jack Yeats, who’s just 7, but his jumping style suggests to me that he might not take to these fences. I’ll bypass him in favour of Grand Vision, ridden by the superb Jamie Codd.

Grand Vision 9/2 (Unibet)

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4.40

Bentelimar is a hard horse to win with, but he’s been running well over about half a mile farther recently. His last run at Kempton saw him fade rather tamely having travelled well. That was after almost two months off and he should be sharper for it. The drop in trip here should help and first time cheekpieces are tried.

Bentelimar 12/1 (Boylesports)

I’ll be having £1 stakes as appropriate (EW where mentioned) on the above and suggest you do the same. We ought to take advantage of the three places on offer and back Bristol De Mai and Diakali in an EW double to £1 stakes with Betfair Sportsbook.

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile. I’ll update the profit and loss for TV Tips after racing. Going into today, we are running at a loss of  £31.32 to £1 stakes.

Joe

 

 

 

 

 

Munir/Suoede

 

 

Mullins festival fall and unseat record since 2003 Versus NJ Henderson

An interesting piece by Tony Keenan caught my eye, prompting me to take a deeper look at the record of Willie Mullins’s festival record with falls and unseats. Tony mentioned that Mullins, reportedly, is not a big fan of schooling horses.  The trainer’s record at last week’s festival suggested that such a theory was not sound. But it seemed odd for a man who pays such attention to detail to pursue a path that, overall, damaged the chances of his hurdlers and chasers.

Tony looked at the chasers in particular.  Using the superb Horseracebase.com I dug a bit deeper, taking in hurdlers as well and going back to 2003.

2003 onward

Since 2003 Mullins has had 417 Cheltenham Festival runners over obstacles.  35 of those fell: 8.39%, and 9 unseated: 2.15%.

139 of those runners were in chases. 21 fell: 15.1%, and 4 unseated: 2.88%

 

2018 alone

Last week he had 57 runners over obstacles. 10 fell: 17.5%, and 1 unseated: 1.75%

17 of the 57 were steeplechases. There were 6 fallers: 35.2%, and no unseats.

 

Final comparison figures

Overall Mullins faller percentage in all festival jumps races since 2003:  8.39%

Faller percentage for festival 2018 – 17.5%

Overall chasing falls: 15.1%

2018 chasing falls: 35.2%

Overall hurdle falls: 5.6%

2018 hurdle falls: 10%

No question this year’s festival was an annus horribilis for Wille Mullins regarding falls and unseats, but his long term record suggests it was a one off.

Still, looking at Nicky Henderson over the same period, Willie has work to do:

 

NJ Henderson festival fall & unseat record since 2003

481 runners over obstacles suffered 17 falls: 3.53%, and 7 unseats: 1.4% (Mullins: 8.39% & 2.15%)

218 runners over fences suffered 9 falls: 4.12%, and 4 unseats: 1.8% (Mullins: 15.1% & 2.88%)

263 runners over hurdles produced 8 fallers: 3.04%,  and 3 unseats: 1.1% (Mullins: 5.6% & 1.8%)

 

Here are a couple of screenshots from Horseracebase.com showing just  two of the many hundreds of queries you can run. There is a three-day free trial although it does take a while to find your way around. Links above are not affiliates; I receive no payment from Horseracebase, I just like what they do.

Mullins all fes

 

hendo all time.png

 

mullins 2018

TV Tips Cheltenham, Wednesday, Day 2 2018

Post-racing update: a somewhat disappointing day although William Henry tried his heart out under 11.10, and Altior was a galloping definition of class, because he was hating every minute and his class got him home.

We carry forward a deficit of £19.52

 

Cracking racing yesterday. I really enjoyed watching it and such a shame we lost two horses; condolences to their connections.

Cheltenham

1.30 Ballymore

Samcro was most impressive last time, but the disappointments Elliot suffered today make me a wee bit uneasy about this favourite. We shall see.

The one that caught my eye is the 100/1 chance Coolanly. I don’t know much about the horse but noticed Brennan had chosen to ride it rather than Aye Aye Charlie who’s rated a fair bit higher than Coolanly. The latter is very lightly raced having run in just one hurdle. But his trainer is no fool, nor is his jockey. This horse must have come on a great deal since that run in early December.

Several bookies offer 100/1, for the brave among you but I suggest you use Betfair Sportsbook or Paddy Power and back him EW without the fav at 50/1.

Coolanly – without Samcro market – 50/1 (Betfair&Paddy Power)

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2.10 RSA

Rather than an EW bet, I’m recommending 2 win bets here – one on Black Corton and one on Elegant Escape. The form of these two is closely linked, but I slightly favour Black Corton who’s had so many superb rides from Bryony Frost, a fine chase jockey who knows the importance of rhythm.

Black Corton 8/1 (suggest you bet with Boylesports; free bet if 2nd or 3rd to fav or if falling at first/last)

Elegant Escape  11/1 (Hills)

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2.50 Coral Cup

I tipped William Henry last time when he won at Kempton. I think this horse is bordering on high class and that there’s a fair bit of improvement in him. He has 11.10 to carry, eased slightly by James Bowen’s 3lb claim, but I think he can win this.

He’s joint fav at the moment, but just in case he does not go off favourite, it’s worth having the bet with Boylesports who offer money back if 2nd or 3rd to the fav, or if he falls at the first/last.

William Henry – Boylesports – 8/1

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3.30 Queen Mother Champion Chase

Altior ought to win this, despite hot competition from Min and Douvan. I’ve always thought the latter over rated, especially in the jumping department, and I’m surprised Ruby has chosen him over Min, who was 2nd to Altior on the 2016 Supreme, probably the best novice hurdle ever run.

You can get 11/10 about Altior who should be closer to 4/6 in my book. Doubtless the lameness scare has affected his price but Henderson wouldn’t risk this superstar if in any doubt about his readiness.

Altior  11/10

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4.10 Cross Country

Many don’t care for this race over the banks and odd fences. I love it. It’s great to see the way the runners handle all the different challenges. Elliott’s pair have been the big talking horses on the run-up – Cause of Causes and Tiger Roll, but I like Enda Bolger’s Auverngat. He was 4th in this last year on good ground, and this soft going should help him improve on that as he’s a stamina horse.

He looked like going past Josie’s Orders last time and surging away but began idling when he hit the front. To his credit he picked up again and battled hard to win by a short head. Fighters are what you need in a race like this. His jumping is a slight concern, but he’s young and, I think, improving in that sphere.

Auvergnat  8/1 with Boylesports (free bet concession as mentioned above)

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile. I’ll update profit/loss after racing.

Joe