Tag Archives: Selections

Grand National Day Selections

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5.15 Aintree: Grand National Chase

The yearly lottery of finding the winner in the Grand National is nearly upon us once more. Twelve months ago I day-dreamed for a few moments…. here it is, finally I break the duck as Blacklion travelles like from another planet….

It wasn’t to be, as we all know. Will it be today? Possibly. One more time I put my trust in the Twiston-Davies runner. Much closer to top weight today, 9lb higher in his rating in fact – it looks a tough ask on paper.

However, connections had this day in mind ever since he faded into 4th twelve months ago. That day, when he travelled like the winner, he also pulled himself to the front way too soon. He made too much too early and that cost him dearly in the end. That’s my assessment, at least.

Same can happen today. Though, Sam Twiston-Davies may have learned from that day. The additional weight, mainly received for his emphatic win in the Beacher Handicap Chase here in December, is probably fair overall.

Fact is, Blacklion enjoys this course, he has top form in tough going conditions, had a wind OP since his last run, and according to connections as perfect a preparation as you there ever was. Today is D-Day!

Nonetheless, as much confidence I have in Blacklion, this is the National after all, hence you can never have too much confidence in any runner. Luck plays its part. That says, course form is something noteworthy, and as such it would be foolish to rule out The Last Samuri.

He absolutely loves the National fences and was runner-up in the 2016 National. A good deal higher in the weights today, he hardly appears well handicapped.

Regardless, with ground to suit, first time tongue-time potentially a help, and a fine prep run in the Cross-Country at the Festival (as much as Cheltenham can ever be regarded a ‘prep’), The Lat Samuri should be thereabouts.

Slightly more speculative is my final selection: Final Nudge. From the bottom of the weights, he is an interesting runner. He clearly stays and loves the mud as proven in the Walsh National.

On paper he was slightly disappointing in anything he did afterwards, though, personally I think his Kim Muir performance was better than the bare form suggests. He needs a good round of jumping, which can be an issue for him. Still, he looks one of the more intriguing runners, and at 50’s I take a punt.

Selections:
6.5pts win – Blacklion @ 17/1 Matchbook
2pts win – The Last Samuri @ 31/1 Matchbook
1.5pts win – Final Nudge @ 49/1 Matchbook

………

9.00 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

Logi hasn’t been firing for his new yard in two starts, however, dropping below a rating off 70 for the first time in his career, with a fine 5lb claimer in the saddle, he looks ready for a big run.

The four year old was unlucky not to win three starts back over course and distance in a similar race, so has proven he is well home on this surface and this class in and around his current rating.

He finds himself in this race today on much better terms and only the wider than ideal draw is a slight concern.

Selection:
10pts win – Logi @ 7/1 Matchbook

Monday Selections: April, 9th 2018

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8.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 8.5f

Despite having his season reappearance run, It’s How We Roll is an intriguing contender. Dropping down to a career lowest mark first time on Tapeta on his third run since being gelded, this son of Fastnet Rock could be hard to beat from a good draw.

I feel his performances at Chelmsford and subsequently Windsor, when not far beaten in fourth place off seven and nine pounds higher than his current rating, is form good enough to have a big say in this race.

It’s How We Roll also ran well off breaks in the past; first time Tapeta could eke out a bit of improvement actually, given Fastnet Rock has a pretty fine record with his offspring at Wolverhampton generally.

Low mark, job jockey Luke Morris in the saddle, fine draw and a trip and track likely to suit: It’s How We Roll should go really well.

Selection:
10pts win – It’s How We Roll @ 6/1 VC

Thursday Selections: February, 22nd 2018

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8.00 Chelmsford: Class 4 Handicap , 1m 2f

A competitive race as it’s hard to rule any of the eight starters out completely. However, Ourmullion is the one that catches my eye for a variety of reasons.

The four year old gelding found 11- and 12 furlongs too far in his last two outings, although the Kempton run looks a solid form in general.

Down to 1m 2f again, he looks competitive in this contest. He won two on the bounce over course and distance in September, followed up in December here with an excellent effort in a red hot contest.

Ourmullion still hasn’t too many miles on the clock, particularly on the All-Weather and the 10 furlong trip. His current handicap mark off 77 is workable and from a good draw he should have not too many excuses today.

Selection:
10pts win – Ourmullion @ 8/1 Bet365

Friday Selections: February, 16th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.35 Lingfield: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

Down to a very dangerous mark, as well as down in class on the back of an encouraging run, Van Huysen looks to be in with a major shout in this contest.

The six year old is a multiple Course and distance winner, he won of 77 and 80 respectively back in 2016 here and ran well of even higher marks.

The son of Excellent Art has been rather disappointing on a number of occasions ever since, however, dropping to a very low mark now, I thought his recent run a muddling class 3 Handicap was as good as his best.

He was left wanting in a very undesirable position once the pace increased over 3f out after the field was crawling along for most parts, that meant he didn’t really have a chance to better than the bare result – however he finished as fast if not faster the last three furlongs than those horses in front of him.

The handicapper drops him another couple of pounds and in this easier grade and bigger field things might fall a little bit more his way. If they do, he’ll be bang there.

Selection:
10pts win – Van Huysen @ 8/1 Bet365

……

8.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

There is no doubt in my mind that Alfonso Manana is a well handicapped horse in this race today. His penultimate form of a four pound higher mark in very competitive Chemlsford Handicap gives him a big chance here.

This four year old son of Dutch Art has only a win in a claimer to his name, however, he ran well in a handful of decent maiden races last season.

I believe you can forgive him his comeback run in early January this year and his most recent Southwell performance, but his Chelmsford run and some other performances from last season do give him a big chance, if he runs to that sort of level today, off 59 mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Alfonso Manana @ 5/1 Bet365

Monday Selections: February, 12th 2018

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7.40 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

I was keen on De Vegas Kid when he returned from a break at Lingfield last month. Things didn’t work out that day for him. A wide draw, a less than perfect start, he always raced wide and didn’t receive the smartest of rides challenging the pace throughout widest of all.

Given the circumstances, he ran well in a very competitive race. On the other hand one could say it fits the narrative of his career, as De Vegas Kid always finds a reason to get beat, it seems.

As noted the last time, he has ran some fine races in the past, knocking heavily on the door, more so on the flat than the All-Weather, where he was unlucky not to get his head in front.

Potentially stripping fitter now, another pound off the mark and dropping to the minimum trip might offer a way out of the misery, though. With a good draw, in a very winnable race, De Vegas Kid has no excuses today, but the best chance ever to get this elusive first victory under his belt.

Selection:
10pts win – De Vegas Kid @ 5/1 Bet365

Thursday Selections: February, 8th 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

2.40 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 4½f

Small but ultra-competitive field. Paddypley drops in class and went close the last time; he’s sure to have a big shout. French recruit Stonific is an interesting contender for David O’Meara. His opening mark looks very workable. Recent CD scorer Theglasgowwarrior may not be stopped by a 5lb hike in the mark.

Yet, The Resdev Way seems to be the forgotten horse in the race, certainly in the betting. The five-year old gelding, however, has a sensational course and distance record. From five runs he won three and was placed in two others, while his last CD effort, back in 2016, when he finished third off 4lb higher than his current handicap mark, is quite a strong piece of form as well.

Things didn’t go to plan for quite a while afterwards. Neither on the flat nor over hurdles did he show anything, until he returned to his beloved Newcastle mid-January, then over 2 miles – he travelled strongly, looked like the winner when approaching the final furlong, though, he bumped into a well handicapped individual who found more when The Resdev Way tired in the dying strides over a trip probably stretching his stamina.

Still, a fine piece of form, given the winner has won subsequently again. The Resdev Way returned ten days later at Chelmsford over 1m 5½f, without landing a blow. I wouldn’t judge him too harshly on that, as clearly here at Newcastle he seems to be an entirely different beast.

Finally he returns to Newcastle over his optimum trip; with Paul Hannagan booked for the ride, I feel The Resdev Way is overpriced in this race, despite its competitive nature.

Selection: 
10pts win – The Resdev Way @ 14/1 VC

…..

9.00 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile

Gala Celebration returns from a break for a new yard. He has shown in the past he can win fresh; in fact 11 months ago fresh reappearing from a 156 day-long break, he got off the mark in a 7f Handicap at Lingfield, putting up a near freakish performance from the front – in the context of the class of the race and level of the horses involved – when overcoming a wide draw and coming home strongly totally unchallenged.

He didn’t strolled along that day, he set good fractions, yet nothing in the race could get by him, he ran them totally into the ground.

He was pretty on and off in all his next starts. However, now back from a break and 2lb lower in the mark than for last year’s Lingfield success, he seems dangerously weighted in this contest.

That says, Gala Celebration needs to stretch out to a mile, a trip he has tried twice before. He didn’t run too badly on turf in softish conditions and certainly it looks possible on pedigree.

Interesting jockey booking with Jamie Spencer taking the ride on what is Ian Williams’ sole runner on the night. Both enjoy an excellent strike rate together and with the additional aid of a good draw it looks likely that Gala Celebration is ready for a big run.

Selection: 
10pts win – Gala Celebration @ 9/2 GB

Tuesday Selections: February, 6th 2018

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4.40 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

A poor race, where the favourite looks solid, but vulnerable after a 4lb hike in his handicap rating after a recent success. This race could well turn into a muddling affair and I’d rather be a layer at odds-on for Star Ascending.

A speculative punt on Clayton Hall looks more interesting. Visor is back on for the second time, the five year old finally has the aid of a good draw here at Southwell, and that could help him to be in a better position than certainly five days ago over course and distance.

He didn’t start all that quickly from the second widest draw but also got bumped by the horse drawn beside him; subsequently Clayton Hall raced wide throughout. Turning for home widest of all, he didn’t seem to go anywhere, however, the gelding stayed on quite well in the closing stages, finishing the last two furlongs fastest of all.

Clayton Hall is five pounds out of the handicap and on overall form has a lot to find with the market principles, nonetheless. However, he won a class 4 handicap on turf off 72 back in May 2017, so there is clearly a bit of talent there.

With his recent slight improvement, a low weight, a better draw and a trip he seemingly stays, he could be the one causing an upset in this race.

Selection:
10pts win – Clayton Hall @ 14/1 VC