SEBASTOPOL 8/1 generally – 0.5 POINTS E/W
This is a very competitive handicap chase and without looking at prices, I was drawn to Bothwell Bridge. I think he could be a decent horse over fences and we could see him win this comfortably. Trouble is although a nice winner on debut over fences, he is far too short at the prices, so early in his career over fences and he is priced up on potential. If I see him drift to the 4/1 mark, I may get involved but that is highly unlikely. This game is and always will be about price and you have to have the edge or at least feel you have the edge in terms of price. The dictates the probability of the outcome and if the probability is in your favour over a long period of time, the profit will swing in your favour, it really is simple maths. The key is spotting value and spotting bad value and currently Bothwell Bridge is not great value but it does not mean he won’t become value, so look out for that 4/1, you never know.
A horse who is a massive value is SEBASTOPOL and they have the price all wrong here and I am confident we are ahead of the trader. I actually have him in at a 9/2 chance which tells you how far ahead of the trader we are.
He has come 2nd in his last 7 races and should have won his last race at this course last month. In fact the race was already won and all he had to do was jump the last and he would have won on the bridle. Unfortunately he over jumped and fell and it wasn’t a bad jump, just too big a jump. He travelled smoothly through the race that day, jumped very well and came there on the bridle and would have won with any amount in hand. It also showed us that he likes it around Kempton.
On his penultimate start he was 2nd the Third Time Lucki at Cheltenham in November and was closing coming up the hill, only going down by 5 lengths. That is a decent bit of form as Third Time Lucki is a decent horse. The trip was 2 miles that day and I would say that trip is too short for him and SEBASTOPOL is a better horse over a further trip. Even when falling with the race at his mercy last time out, the trip was 2m 2f and today’s trip of 2m 4 1/2f is going to be much to his liking. SEBASTOPOL lines up here on a handicap mark of 139 and given how he has performed on his last 2 runs, he could still have more to come. With Danny Kirwan in the field he is going to get a decent pace and I am expecting him to travel nicely through the race and hopefully go away from them at the end. It is worth pointing out that Tom Lacey has had 3 winners from his last 6 runners so we know his stable is in decent form. E/W.