Tag Archives: Wolverhampton

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

Saturday Selections: March, 17th 2018

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The week-long Cheltenham Bonanza is over. Native River crowned as the new king. A thrilling finish up the legendary hill of Prestbury Park saw the eight year old edge out favourite Might Bite. While I enjoy the replay of this epic battle one more time, it’s back to bread and butter later on….

……..

8.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

A really poor race, even for this class. Given that I’ll side with Emigrated once more. I did so on two different occasions already this year.

Still a maiden after 13 career runs, there is little in his bare form to suggest he can win. However, closer examination suggests that with a tiny bit of improvement, particularly in a poor contest as this, he can go very close.

Actually, his last two starts on the All-Weather were a lot better than the naked result might tell. Last time out at Chelmsford he finished well among much higher rated horses. Three 60 rated horses only three lengths or less in front of him, a 68 rated individual a nose behind him.

Back in January at the same venue he travelled very strongly and for a moment looked like to be in with a massive shout. He faltered late to finish 6th eventually. He clearly has an issue seeing out his races, so the slight step up to the 8.5f does not seem necessarily ideal. On the other hand, races at Wolverhampton over this trip in smallish fields can be run at a slow pace.

That, plus the appliance of the tongue-tie can help. Main question remains: if he can win with a tiny bit of improvement based on recent runs, where is the improvement coming from?

Surface. This is Emigrated’s first try on Tapeta. While Tapeta isn’t all that different from Polytrack, it still seems some horses tend to prefer one or the other. Emigrated is a son of Fastnet Rock. A key piece in this case I gonna make.

Fastnet Rock offspring has an excellent record on Tapeta, regardless whether it is Newcastle or Wolverhampton. A better one than at any other All-Weather surface. Compared to his overall AW record, Fastnet Rock actually produces profit and solid positive ROI on Tapeta.

So there is it: if Emigrated is ever going to win a race, today is his best chance. A poor field, he has solid enough form in the bock, track should suit and trip may not be an issue either.

Selection:
10pts win – Emigrated  16/1 VC

Wednesday Selections: February, 13th 2018

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

2.20 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Fiery Breath won eighteen days ago over Course and Distance when I was sweet on him – and I expect a similar sort of outcome this time again. Same facts as brought forward the other day apply here:

this son of Bated Breath has a pedigree to do well on the All-Weather and the fact he is still not gelded after his juvenile season suggested there is some belief he could turn out slightly better than anything he has shown to date.

He was not disgraced in three starts in tough maidens last season where he usually travelled well but faded in the closing stages. Connections opted for a wind operation subsequently and that has worked in so far as Fiery Breath won on his seasonal debut, as mentioned before.

He travelled sweetly throughout, clearly suited by the fact pace. The imposing colt didn’t quite shake off hi rivals as easily as one would have hoped given he turn for home on the bridle.

However, first time up from a lay-off and the first run since the wind op, he was entitled find things not all that easy in the finish – he’s likely to improve for the run and the experience of knowing he can properly breath in the closing stages, though.

A 4lb hike of his handicap mark looks potentially undervaluing that performance. Fiery Breath is still very low mileage, it’ll be only his second Al-Weather- and Handicap start  and this looks not an overly strong race in general.

Selection:
10pts win – Fiery Breath @ 2/1 VC

…….

7.45 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 5f

A female dominated field but the cock of the walk Swissie has a good chance to follow-up on his fine Newcastle success over the minimum trip.

He met some of these that day and probably would have won with a bit more in hand than the bare result suggested, if not for an awkward start and finding himself sandwiched and subsequently squeezed out at a crucial stage of the race from 2f out.

Swissie had to find his stride quickly- and go full gear again once in the clear deep in the closing stages; he got up his head in front when it mattered most – quite an impressive finish he produced.

His handicap mark has been raised by 4lb, which looks certainly fair, however, on his only fifth career start with a perfect draw to start the race from, he should have every chance to make it two on the bounce here.

Selection:
10pts win  – Swissie @ 11/2 PP

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

Wednesday Selections, February, 7th February 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.25 Wolverhampton: Class 3 Handicap, 7f

Hot race, with plenty of established form on offer, even though many are well exposed, which leaves the door open for relatively low mileage gelding Mickey.

The five year old returned to the racetrack in December at Lingfield from a 15 months long absence. He was well backed in a tough handicap, however, bottled his chances at the start. He travelled well, though wasn’t really asked for a big effort turning wide and was looked after in the closing stages.

He drops 2lb for the effort, now second up after the long break, also the second run after being gelded, he might well be better for it. He’s got a decent draw which should ensure a good position in midfield with cover, as long as he starts better this time.

Mickey has only eight starts under his belt; he won quite impressively over course and distance as a three year old in maiden company, and followed up with two fine runner-up efforts the same year.

Off his current mark, Mickey could be well handicapped given he promised to be a bit better before his lay-off. Additional positive signs for his chance in this race: the Dascombe yard seems in rude health at the moment and sire Zoffany has a fine record on Wolverhampton’s Tapeta, particularly over the 7 furlong trip.

With all this in mind, I feel the price Geoff Banks offers at the moment is out of line, and offers tremendous value for this horse, taking int consideration the upside Mickey theoretically possesses.

Selection:
10pts win – Mickey @ 15/2 GB

Monday Selections: January, 22nd 2018

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Shame we didn’t get to see Frozen Lake run today – the gelding was withdrawn under current rules after breaking through the starting gate. One for the tracker, regardless. So, a quiet week finds an unsatisfying ending.

……

7.20 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 1.5f

If a nine year old heads the market at odds of 7/2 you know it’s a wide open contest. That says, one who appears overprices is the Jean-Rene Auvray trained Anif as he has plenty going his way here I feel.

The gelding finished a fine third when last seen over CD 18 days ago – fair to say he had the run of the race from the front, though he wasn’t far beaten in the end and the form already works out well enough.

Anif is still low mileage, it’s gonna be his eight career start, only the third on the All-Weather and the fifth in Handicap company. He remains on the same mark as the other day, drops, though, in class, for the first time in a class 5 Handicap.

There isn’t too much pace on here again, so it is likely that Anif might find himself in front again, as he enjoys generally, or at least up with the pace. What could turn out to me a muddling affair, you surely want to be not too far off the speed, that is for sure.

His sire Cape Cross has an outstanding record with his offspring here at Wolverhampton over this trip – so overall it is possible Anif has found a golden opportunity.

Selection:
10pts win – Anif @ 7/1 Bet365