Cracksman a cracking bet at 8/1 to win the Arc

Two fine horses fought out the finish of today’s King George at Ascot, although it’s unlikely they’re both world beaters, and I cannot fathom why Cracksman has been pushed out to 8s for the Arc. He was only a baby when beaten a length in the Derby; wasn’t much older when failing by a neck at the Curragh where I think he would have won the Irish Derby under a better ride. Since then he went undefeated until meeting fast ground for the first time (also getting upset in the preliminaries and at the stalls and never travelling in the race). He went down to today’s King George winner Poet’s Word.

Highly unlikely to meet fast ground in October, he’s 2 from 2 in France and very probably still improving (Gosden reported him in great order today even though he withdrew him because of the quick ground, having said at the start of the season the horse had matured massively since last year).

Other than his defeat last time when most good judges reckon he was not himself, Cracksman has been beaten only twice in his ten-race career: 3rd in The Derby and 2nd in the Irish Derby.

8/1 for the Arc is the best value I’ve seen this Flat season, although it’s essential that you understand and are prepared to risk the downside of antepost betting: if for any reason Cracksman does not turn up for the Arc, your stake is lost.

Cracksman to win the Arc at 8/1 (Betvictor) is a strongly recommended* bet.

Good luck

Joe

*See here

 

Back Pravalaguna EW at 50/1

The Mullins mare Pravalaguna won at Punchestown on Wednesday in the style of an improving horse and she turns out again on Saturday in the 3.50. She has much more on her plate here with the likes of Apple’s Jade and Cheltenham festival winner Benie des Dieux dominating the betting, but 50/1 is a huge underestimate of her chance. I’d have her no bigger than 16/1 making her well worth an each way bet.

Pravalaguna is a “strongly recommended” (see here) bet each way at 50/1 in the 3.50 Punchestown – Bet365, Hills and a handful of others.

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.

Joe

 

Back Min EW at 20/1

Update: Min is now a non-runner

Most of the noise today surrounds Samcro who’s favourite to win the Punchestown Champion Hurdle (5.30). This is his first proper test and he might well be up to it. But so far, although his form looks solid, he has not posted a speed figure that would entitle him to go off favourite here.  Speed figures are a useful cross check against form ratings. It might be that the races he’s contested have been run in such a fashion that they haven’t lent themselves to a high speed rating for the winner. Also, he has just 4 hurdling runs to his name so it can be rightly argued that he has plenty more races – certainly in comparison with his rivals here – in which he’ll have the chance to show how fast he is. Today might not be that day, though, unless connections decide to jump him off and try to make all; this is unlikely on the evidence of his past runs, but it’s far from impossible as there is no confirmed pace in the race.

A fast run race would bring Samcro’s proven stamina into play, and the same could be said for Supasundae. It would suit Melon too as he has proved difficult to settle in the past. But where is this pace to come from? The only one who makes a habit of front running/ racing prominently is Melon’s stablemate, Coquin Mans. Although this one is an outsider in the betting, his form is probably smart enough for the others not to let him get too far in front. I am assuming he will set the pace.

Min is pretty much being ignored in the betting, probably due to having been beaten in a steeplechase here on Tuesday by stablemate Un De Sceaux. This followed a defeat by Politologue at Aintree on April 13th. Min ran a fine race that day and was just outbattled. I think he had a hard race too, and his trainer said on Tuesday that he believed Min had had a tough race at Aintree.

So why run him not only on Tuesday but again today? Who knows? The only thing we can be fairly sure about is that Min is sound and in good enough shape to run. The other thing we can be sure of is that on his best hurdling form he should be nowhere near the price he is today.  The last time he ran over hurdles he finished second in what has become recognised as the best modern-day running of the Supreme Novices. He finished 2nd to Altior that day. Third was dual champion hurdler Buveur D’Air.

Min is two from two over hurdles at Punchestown. He has never looked a natural steeplechaser to my eye, seeming leggy and awkward sometimes at his fences (although he jumped well at Aintree). There’s a fair chance, I think, that Min will appreciate a return to hurdles. Despite the perceived drawbacks, I think he is far too big at 20/1 in this eight-runner race. I’d have him as about an 8/1 chance, so he must be backed each way.

Min is a “strongly recommended” bet (see here) each way at 20/1 (several bookies) in the 5.30 Punchestown.

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.

Joe

 

Back Un De Sceaux EW at 11/2

The Punchestown festival starts tomorrow and I fancy Un De Sceaux to upset his stablemates Douvan and Min in the Champion Chase (5.30). He looks a solid bet each way at 11/2. The ground should be fine for him and he ought to settle better over this shorter trip than he did at Cheltenham where he raced much too freely to do himself justice.

I’ve always thought Douvan’s jumping susceptible to the type of massive blunder he made at Cheltenham. Although he can throw some breathtaking jumps, he seems to me leggy and awkward at times and unable to organise himself. That goes for Min as well, although to a lesser extent. Min’s Aintree run was probably the best I’ve seen him jump but I think he had a hard race there. And I think he was outbattled rather than outstayed so there could be a character weakness too.

Anyway, Un De Sceaux is a top notch horse in his own right and might not need defects to show in others for him to win this.

Un De Sceaux is a strongly recommended (see here) bet each way at 11/2, which is widely available.

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.

Joe

Back Regal Flow at 25/1 for the Scottish Grand National

A maximum field of 30 has been declared for Saturday’s Scottish Grand National, and the one who catches my eye right away is Regal Flow. At first glance, this 11-y-o is far from a typical winning prospect for this race, but horses his age have won 3 of the past 9 runnings. It’s his improving profile that most interests me. Many assume that a horse this old simply doesn’t improve, but occasionally one pops up and a little digging can sometimes find a potential reason for the improvement. In Regal Flow’s case this could well be the recent marked step up in trip.

He’d been campaigned at around the 3 miles mark until March 12th when he was put into an extended 3m 4f race. He won that by 3 lengths in the best performance of his career (on Racing Post Ratings), then bettered it by 7lbs when reappearing five days’ later in the Midlands National over 4 miles 2 furlongs: he won by ten lengths. The runner up, Milansbar, went on to finish 5th in the Grand National.

Both of Regal Flow’s victories were in heavy ground, but he has run well on good ground more than once (has won on it). An assumption will be made by some bookmakers that he needs it heavy (it’s likely to be good to soft at Ayr on Saturday), and that has helped keep his price up. At 25/1 with Ladbrokes, I think he’s twice the price he should be and he’s very much worth backing EW at 1/4 odds first four.

Regal Flow is a ‘strongly recommended’ (see here) bet EW at 25/1 with Ladbrokes (also Betfair and Paddy Power) for the Scottish Grand National.

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.

Joe

 

Back Bristol De Mai at 6/1 for the Betfair Bowl

Regular readers will know how much I think of Bristol De Mai. Many experts believe he is a horse who cannot replicate his exceptional Haydock heavy ground form elsewhere, nor even go close to doing so. I’m of the opinion that, given the right circumstances, he can. Not only that, I believe he is not significantly ground dependent.

Why then has his form been so inconsistent?

Who knows? On Thursday we will find out if what the horse has needed all along is sufficient time to recover from tough races. I suspect this might be the key, and have done since his comparatively poor run in the King George, which came four weeks after his 57 length victory in heavy ground in the Betfair Chase. There is no way of knowing how that history-making success affected the horse or how much it took out of him. Most trainers are optimists and Nigel Twiston-Davies who trains Bristol De Mai is at the top of the optimism charts. Nigel believes horses are for racing rather than standing in a box.

I had backed Bristol De Mai  for the Gold Cup and was praying that Twister would avoid the Cotswold Chase with the grey. Again, regular readers will know that I consider that race a graveyard for Gold Cup hopes (Definitly Red added himself to the list this year, despite his trainer saying he had come out of the race absolutely fine). Conversely, Nigel Twiston-Davies took Bristol De Mai, (who finished a gallant but knackered third in the Cotswold) out of the Gold Cup about three weeks prior to the race – an almost unheard of move for the trainer, especially as the grey was his only possible runner at that stage.  Bristol De Mai must have been showing very obvious signs of fatigue or some other ailment for Twister to take him out of the race at such an advanced stage. I see he has also had wind surgery.

Anyway, I think the horse ran a much better race than he was given credit for in the 2017 Gold Cup on good ground. He’s still only 7. I believe he has the talent to beat Might Bite and on Thursday we will find out. If I’m wrong, I’m hoping to find out cost-free in that he’ll be second or third in the eight-runner race where I’ve backed him each way.

William Hill offer 6/1 via Oddschecker although I could not find the race on their site. Nor could it be found by clicking on the Oddschecker link. Ladbrokes are advertising 11/2 and I advise you to back the horse now each way with them as he should be shorter come Thursday.

“I strongly recommend” (see here) – backing Bristol De Mai each way with Hills – if they will lay it at 6/1 – or with Ladbrokes at 11/2 to win the Betfair Bowl.

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.

Joe