Friday, 7 April 2017

Grand National 2017

Here I am again once more with my annual attempt at applying statistics and logic to that most illogical luck-fest of a spectacle that we know as the Grand National.

As always with a field of this size, I have weeded out a good number of the runners using some trusty trends:

  • ·         Aged between 8 and 12 (past 61 years)             
  • ·         NOT top weight
  • ·         Official rating of 136+ (and preferably 143+)
  • ·         Has run in the past 53 days
  • ·         Has run in at least 10 chases
  • ·         Has won a chase of 3 miles or more
  • ·         Run between 3 and 6 times since August

At this point, I have cut the field to less than half (17 to be exact) so I’m now looking for a horse who has won no more than 3 handicap chases - another 3 depart the list.  Now I want to lose any dodgy jumpers – preferably having fallen no more than 2 times in their career – nor do I have any confidence with those recent fallers so now we lose Saint Are, Saphir Du Rheu and Vicente.

Now I have a shortlist of 11 to take a closer look at so here goes:

Blaklion will enjoy the good ground and is perfectly home in this graded company.  He has no stamina worries, a very accomplished jockey in Noel Fehily and the Twiston-Davies stable just hitting form

Cause Of Causes seems to prefer Cheltenham and right-handed courses.  Top amateur rider Jamie Codd knows him well and says he’s lazy but he’s another who will like the good going and relish the trip and I can see a decent performance looming.

Gas Line Boy ran in this 2 years ago….well he got as far as the first fence!  I can’t imagine he’ll be filled with confidence when he lines up with the other 39 runners and so I’ll pass!

Houblon Des Obeaux  Venetia Williams famously won this with 100/1 shot Mon Mome eight years ago and this horse has a similar profile – if anything, a little more classy.  He tends to let himself down with his jumping and isn’t so clever in large fields so on a going day with some clean jumping, he has a mere sniff of an each-way chance.

Just A Par One of five runners for Paul Nicholls, Just A Par is effective on any ground and Harry Cobden may have found the key to winning on him last time when they changed tactics to fool him (moody!).  I am seriously keen on his chances so long as he gets some luck in running as he’ll be coming from behind.

La Vaticane Another who’ll need luck in running but likely outclassed in this line up

Lord Windermere 2014 Gold Cup winner with Leighton Aspell, winning GBN rider from 2014 & 2015 booked to ride.  Trouble is, he hasn’t won since that Gold Cup glory and his last 2 appearances haven’t done much to convince that he’s about to win this.

Raz De Maree A game grinder who will be staying on when others have called enough.  Ger Fox has partnered him in his last 5 races (2-1-7-2-2). Irish trainer Gavin Cromwell’s only ever previous visit to Aintree resulted in a win.  A live each way chance.

Roi Des Francs I’m not convinced by his stamina and even if the blinkers work again this time, the fact still remains that he had to drop into a lowly 11k race to gain his first win since moving to Gordon Elliott’s.

Wonderful Charm will be a lot happier on the good ground this year as shown by his very close 2nd in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham Festival this year.  This Paul Nicholls runner was running on at the finish then so the extra distance here will be a positive and history might just be made this year with Katie Walsh taking the ride again.

Wounded Warrior is happiest on winter ground with question marks over his stamina, jumping and recent form.  Underwhelming!

Most bookies are paying each way on the first five (those who should had their heads in shame are BetFred, Tote, BetBright and 188) and some are even going first 6 (kudos to PaddyPower, BetVictor and Betway) so my money will be carried by:

·         BLAKLION
·         JUST A PAR
·         RAZ DE MAREE

Good luck with whatever you choose and may all runners and riders return home safe and sound.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

April Air Kissing

Coleen Rooney, spokesperson for the Merseyside Wag Association (MWA for short) has threatened Aintree with action if there are not adequate and proper facilities for the visiting ladies this year..... 

MWA have demanded assurances that there will be a guaranteed supply of both prosecco and paparazzi at Aintree on Ladies Day or they may be forced to go shopping instead  .....   

Unbelievably Southwell saw a 66/1 winner on Tuesday with an official rating of just 23 and giving weight to every single one of her rivals..... 

There is now a Mahmood Al Zarooni running a builders merchants in Dubai ......

It is April Fools’ Day of course but scarily only one of the above is untrue.....

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Triskaidekaphobia Seagull & Sandwich Gold Cup Blog

Triskaidekaphobia is not just a retired racehorse!  

Since this week so far I've had about as much luck as a sandwich at a seagull convention, the fact that it's Friday the 13th holds no fear for me today. 

13:30 Triumph Hurdle
Hargam is my selection for this first race to give AP another Festival win.  Peace and Co is the  antepost and SP favourite but only 2 have won in the past 10 years and AP riding for Nicky Henderson this year has resulted in 10 wins from 14 runs.  Hargam is a CD winners on good to soft and (naturally being McManus owned) AP was up for both his GB wins.  Such strong stats cannot be ignored and at the current 7/1, this is a super each way bet

14:05  Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle
This race tends to go to an Irish trained winner (there's a surprise!) and it is quite possible that we might see a McManus 1-2-3 over the line here.  Princely Conn (AP) probably could have done without the rain but otherwise would be a very strong contender.  The second McManus runner, Waxies Dargle loves rain but his fall last time out isn't what you want to see before a Cheltenham race as his confidence may well have take a knock.  Sort It Out is my selection.  If anything, he'd like more rain still and has an abundance of stamina to tackle the hill with ......and he sneaks in at the bottom of the weights.

14:40  Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle (aka the potato race!)
I've looked for a progressive horse for my selection in this race (highest RPR on the last two starts) and plenty of proven stamina.  My shortlist comprises of Black Hercules, Caracci Apache, Martello Tower and Thomas Brown.  All four will be perfectly happy on the ground.  Thomas Brown is probably not classy enough when the chips are down.  Martello Tower looks to be short on grit in a finish and possibly needs 2-3lb off before winning again.  Caracci Apache was doing his best work at the finish when winning his trial at Doncaster and showed he is as game as you like to win that.  Black Hercules has been targeted for this and Ruby will likely ride him like he stole him and if he can handle the 11-7 has the best chance here.  The big Q is if he can handle the extra 7lb so I'm hedging here with Black Hercules to win and Carraci Apache each way.

15:20 Gold Cup
My best boy Silviniaco Conti is mature enough this year to do himself justice.  I saw him run at Haydock beating Long Run in the 2012 Betfair Chase and immediately marked him down as a Gold Cup horse.  I think he will win!  However, the stats say that the chances of a horse losing one year then going on the win the next is rare so I have taken a look aroundy for insurance. It would be a dream result for AP to win aboard Carlingford Lough but he isn't the most natural jumper which is doesn't help here! Many Clouds and Road To Riches both have decent claims with some graded race wins under their belts.  So if Silviniaco Conti doesn't do himself justice today then Many Clouds with his course form slightly edges it for me 

16:00  Foxhunter Chase
The amateur riders Gold Cup!  
Ex Paul Nicholls horse Current Event is my selection for his race.  He's a 8yo who was rated 141 at his peak and has been running around the country collection P2P wins recently.  Bryony Frost (Hadden's sister and Jimmy's daughter) is an accomplished and experienced rider so it would be wonderful to see a female jockey win this cup.


16:40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle
The stats suggest looking for a 5 or 6 year old carrying 11-2 or a relatively inexperienced horse as well as rider!  That man Mullins has won this twice in the past four years and he runs three in this race - two for Gigginstown.  I am bypassing Roi Des Frances (fav) in favour of Grade 1 winner McKinley who has far classier credentials and is apparently happy on any ground.

17:15 A.P. McCoy Grand Annual Chase
I think AP has chosen wrong here!  There was some chat earlier in the week that he may jump ship and get on Eastlake.  AP has ridden hold up horse Ned Buntline four times and the best he could get out of him was a couple of 3rds.  Paul Carberry who is an excellent hold up rider is riding Eastlake who needs to be ridden prominently. Makes no sense!  
Meanwhile, course form is hugely important at this distance and Triumph winner Grumeti certainly has that.  It's a big ask for such a young horse but he has taken to chasing and Alan King will have made certain of plenty of schooling after his iffy jumping at Sandown in January.  The first time blinkers can help long time partner Wayne Hutchinson over the line in front.

Same time next year folks and be lucky x