Well, Grand National day at Aintree went well and I hope that you were with me on Pineau De Re (in the middle), my early selection. He was my first winning selection of the National since Comply Or Die (10/1) but last Saturday’s 30/1 on Betfair was very welcome.
I’m very much more circumspect about tomorrow’s card at Ayr. I haven’t seen today’s racing but I know that there is a tendency for the ground at Ayr to be much faster than is found over most of the season even if, as today, it’s officially good to soft. Anyway, on to the selections.
1.30 Class 3 Hands and Heels Hurdle 2m 4f
The conditions say it all. I don’t know the horses and I’ll go with Silsol just on the basis of the yard.
Silsol 4/1 *
2.05 Grade 2 Class 1 Chase 2m 4f
Now this is a lot more straightforward. Valdez is miles better than the rest. The increase in distance is a positive.
Valdez 5/4 **** (bet of the day)
2.40 Grade 2 Class 1 Hurdle 2m
On the face of it My Tent Or Yours is miles ahead of the rest. However Nicky Henderson thinks that he doesn’t settle in his races so he’s wearing a hood. I’m with Montbazon even though he’s technically out of the handicap (only by 1lb).
Montbazon 6/1 *** (next best)
3.15 Listed Class 1 Chase 2m
I’m being very biased with this one. Valco de Touzaine was beaten by Balder Succes (horse of the year) at Warwick so, in this company, that’s a win really. However that was on heavy ground and that could be the decider so I’m cautious.
Valco de Touzaine 9/2 **
3.50 Scottish National Grade 3 Class 1 4m 110y
So, here’s the big one, at least from a betting perspective. Recent runnings have been bookies’ benefits so caution is required. Tidal Bay’s participation has seriously messed up (translation of what I was going to type!) the handicap so that, without him, all are running within 7lbs of each other and the vast majority are on 10st. Incidentally credit to all those jockeys making the weight (assuming that they do) including P Carberry, the Moore brothers, Scudamore, Choc (10st 1lb) and Johnson. Of those, and taking that compression of the handicap into account, the outstanding candidate is Dickie Johnson on Roalco des Farges. For the record I don’t fancy Green Flag (most people’s choice). I think that Trustan Times is nailed on for a place (look for first five). I’ve been a big fan of Sam Winner over a couple of seasons but I want to see him him stay this distance before betting on him. If he does, there are big opportunities next season.
Roalco des Farges 12/1 ***
Of the remainder watch out for Brother du Berlais (4.25), Tony Star (5.00) and watch and enjoy the bumper.
I understand that there is some serious flat racing at Newbury as well. I’ll watch but, as those who know me are well aware, that’s just a filler. I’m delighted that several UK trainers are targeting Auteuil, let alone Punchestown – NH is far from over!!