Which way to go?
As you will all no doubt be aware, this week the Ashes have got under way Down Under, which leads to an interesting thought for this weekend’s punting. Do we still try to hit boundaries or attempt to steady the ship by taking a few safe singles? Mock if you must but I have always thought an occasional long priced winner to keep topping the bank up is a lot more fun than sticking on shorties which needs regular winners to keep the show on the road.
A gloomy old week not just on the betting front, only brightened by a warming 12/1 winner in the Fontwell murk on Tuesday. I like Fontwell for having a bet its idiosyncrasies suit certain horses and the stiff finish means you always have a chance even after the last. It might have been even better week if a 40/1 second at Hexham had got up but there you go, win a few miss out on a lot.
Before moving on I thought Chris’s Dream gave us a good spin in the Becher chase until a strange unseating of Jonjo junior at the Canal Turn. If you watch a rerun the gelding jumped the fence ok, but JJ appeared to step off a couple of strides later. Whether the tack slipped, or the horse corrected itself and unbalanced the jock, we will probably never know but I saw enough promise to chance a little 50/1 for the next year’s National.
Great to find Rachel Blackmore… see below… in the nominations for the World Sports Star category in the upcoming BBC SPOTY awards. Its good for racing to be in the Media glare for the right reasons for a change. She’s up against some big hitters including Novak Djokovic and Tom Brady but she has my vote. I cannot understand why she isn’t in the running for the SPOTY award itself, after her historic Aintree win, but I gave up trying to understand the Beeb some time ago.
So, eyeing the boundary rope what races are there to focus on this weekend?
Selection – 1:50 Cheltenham – Racing Post Gold Cup Handicap Chase
Obviously the first port of call on Saturday is newly named Racing Post Gold Cup Handicap at 1.50pm. This valuable chase never seems to carry the same cachet as its month earlier version the Paddy Power but is always a cracking contest. The first problem before looking through the remaining runners is whether to stick with Midnight Shadow to back up last months win. Sue Smith’s gelding loves the track, will like the forecast ground and the 7lbs rise for his last win doesn’t seem too harsh. Add in the positives that they still have him in the King George on Boxing Day and the most recent form being franked by Protektorat’ s impressive win last week and I seem to be presenting quite a case for the gelding Milud. However, there is one horse down amongst the low weights who catches the eye Venetia Williams’ six-year-old Farinet.
This lad has only had two runs since coming over on a dinghy from Yannick Fouin’s French yard. Williams had the gelding declared for the Paddy Power, but the horse was taken out due to the good ground, second time out over here at Sandown he won a listed novice impressively on soft ground so the forecast ground at the weekend should be ok. He is first time out which is a worry but if he was fit to go in November, he should be raring to race by now, add in the booking of Rachel Blackmore…see above… as presumably Charlie Deutsch is unable to do the weight and what’s not to like?
As usual in these top class handicaps there are lots with chances but taking the weight concession into consideration I am going to side with the youngster Farinet to just pip Midnight Shadow on the run to the post. They will both be decent odds hopefully around 9/1 which is value whichever way you play.
Selection – 1:15: Cheltenham – Simon Claisse Handicap Chase
The other race worth a close look for betting purposes at Cheltenham is the Simon Claisse Handicap Chase over 2miles at 1.15pm so best have an early lunch. I was quietly impressed with Monsieur Lecoq in his last race at Ascot, so I was a bit miffed to see he wasn’t declared on Thursday. Bit of a Monsieur Le Coq up by yours truly.
I think Venetia Williams’ stable is now ticking over nicely so in the hope of a stable double in these unstable times… betting wise… I am going to take a chance with another of the yard’s French imports Frero Banbou third in the good Newbury handicap Il Ridoto won the other week. Before that he had finished a good fourth in another top handicap at Ascot when he went off favourite. He is 7lbs better off with the winner Amoola Gold admittedly beaten 19 lengths, but he wasn’t given a hard time when his chance had gone. He ran a strange race that day being up with the early pace before completely losing position then rallying to get back to the pack three out. Interesting to dee how Charlie Deutsch rides him this week, at around 7/1 the gelding is worth having on our side.
1. Frero Banbou
That’s it for another week and I’ll the cricket references for the time being too…
Have a good one.
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.