PRICES CORRECT WHEN SENT OUT LAST NIGHT
A profitable day courtesy of THYME WHITE who looked very good. I said I thought he was way ahead of his handicap mark of 130 and so it proved. He has certainly developed into a very nice horse. He is going to be some chaser looking to the future.
LANGER DAN disappointed but you can forgive him the run on his first start of the season and he will drop down the handicap a bit more.
We nearly had another winner with Bravemansgame who went down by a neck. I mentioned in the write up that I felt he wanted further than 2 miles and was just done for a bit of speed. I think he will develop into a useful sort this season especially when stepped up in trip.
Getaround was a value bet, I always felt McFabulous would be hard to beat but if he was going to be beat it would be on his first start of the season. Credit where it is due, he was very impressive and looks like a horse who has Stayers Hurdle written all over him.
Joe Farrell was terrible and I expected far better from him. He made mistakes and that ultimately cost him.
Pingshou ran with credit at a big price and certainly outrun his odds. I am sure if he stays at 3 miles he can pick up a race if it is a bit less competitive, especially as his mark should come down 1lb or 2lb.
Happy with our start be it small profit we are off the ground.
Hopefully we can follow this up tomorrow.
DIDTHEYLEAVEYOUOUTTO 10/1 with Bet 365 – 0.5 POINTS E/W (3 places, 1/5 odds)
I have been tracking the career of DIDTHEYLEAVEYOUOUTTO ever since winning at Ascot in a bumper race, very smartly, back in 2017. His career over hurdles got off to a great start with two wins, but since then you could say he has underperformed, looking at the bare form. Knowing the horse so well, a lot of his below par runs are down to the ground. Nick Gifford has often said, good ground in the description is crucial and he gets that here today. Since his first two wins over hurdles, 5 of his 6 runs since, have been in soft ground or good to soft ground, and as mentioned he is just not at home on the ground, a bit of a sulker. In the process of these poor runs, his mark has come down to 130 and I can’t help but feel he is a better horse than 130, particularly on better ground. Jonjo O’Neil Jnr takes the ride which is music to my ears and the price on offer is decent value.
SECRET INVESTOR 11/2 generally – 1 POINT WIN
We were on Ballyoptic in this race last year so it is a tough one to take him on but I just feel he is a better performer in soft ground and he is 11lb higher in the handicap this year, so it is a big ask. If he can win off 163 it will take a huge performance, one that I would applaud.
The horse I am going to take him on with and a horse just like our first selection, ground is so important to, is SECRET INVESTOR. He is a very good horse on his day but does need good ground which he gets here. His last start last season was when coming home 2nd to Native River in the Denman Chase at Newbury. The ground that day was good ground and he got within 3 lengths of a gold cup winner. If he produces that form today, he will be hard to beat. It was also good to see Nicholls having 4 winners today which shows his horses are in rude health and he clearly means business, wanting to get out of the blocks fast this season. SECRET INVESTOR also has winning form around Chepstow when winning the Persian War Novices Hurdle back in 2018 and his form coming back from a 60 day break or more reads 2221222. He has been for a wind operation over the summer and catching him fresh might just be the key to the horse. WIN.
GRAND SANCY 9/2 generally – 1 POINT WIN
All eyes are going to be on Fiddlerontheroof and Fusil Raffles here. Both were very good novice hurdles and I have huge respect for both. Fiddlerontheroof is having his debut over fences and although I think he is going to be very smart over fences, you would have to expect him to make a mistake or two on the way around. Fusil Raffles has had one start when winning at Uttoxeter 2 weeks ago but didn’t beat anything and did not really look a world beater. Personally I think both will turn out to be good sorts but in novice races like this it sometimes pays to go with the horse who has experience.
That horse is GRAND SANCY who is trained by Paul Nicholls who as we mentioned had 4 winners today. GRAND SANCY had 4 runs over fences last season, two in grade 1s and one in a grade 2 before landing a Beginners Chase at Fontwell at the end of February. He was not disgraced in his first 3 runs in top class races and is a very good jumper. He showed this when winning his last start where he was foot perfect at his fences. Over hurdles he also had very good form and is actually rated 152 which is the same as Fiddlerontheroof. Given his experience, I very much feel he is underrated here and the price is too big to ignore. WIN.
FLASH THE STEEL 7/1 generally – 0.75 POINTS E/W (5 places, 1/5 odds)
MARIO DE PAIL 14/1 generally – 0.5 POINTS E/W (5 place, 1/5 odds)
It is hard to look past FLASH THE STEEL in the race as you really can’t knock him. He won this race last year off a mark of 130 and although he is 8lb higher in the handicap, you simply cannot fault a horse who has been here and seen it. After winning this race last year he only had two more starts, one over an inadequate 3 miles at Haydock and then in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He came home 9th of 25 that day and was not beaten far. Dan Skelton will have him very fit for this and imagine this race has been the plan all summer, basically being his gold cup for the season. E/W.
Our 2nd selection is MARIO DE PAIL who now with a summer behind him would have matured a lot. He is only a 5 year old who is trained by Sam Thomas and I know they really like this horse. He is very lightly raced with 3 starts over hurdles so has so much progress to come. He was a winner on his first start over hurdles and then went down by a short head at this course back in January, to Eden Du Houx who went on to finish 4th to McFabulous at Kempton in a grade 3 hurdle. He was beaten 8 lengths but that form looks solid given what McFabulous did in the Persian War today. MARIO DE PAIL was then sent to the Cheltenham Festival for the Supreme and went off a 100/1 outsider. He was pulled up but you have to look past that and to the fact that they clearly rate him, given they sent him to such a hot race at the festival. I feel Sam Thomas is due a good winner in a decent race, he has persevered for a few years now and put the graft in so it won’t be long before he is rewarded. E/W.
SPIRITOFTHEGAMES 4/1 generally – 1.5 POINTS WIN
SPIRITOFTHEGAMES goes down as my NAP of the day. He is a horse who is as consistent as they come and is always thereabouts in all the top handicaps. He was a winner on his debut over fences at Chepstow, back in October 2018 so we know he likes it around here. He followed this up with a 3rd in a hot handicap in January 2019 and then 3rd in the Brown Advisory at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019. Last season he was 2nd in two grade 3 handicaps and then 6th of 23 in the Brown Advisory at the festival. As I say he is just a solid consistent performer who knows his job. He has been floating around this mark for sometime and given this is one of the weaker handicaps he has contested, I would be surprised if he wasn’t involved. He clearly likes it around Cheltenham and Chepstow is a very similar track. WIN.