FRODON 7/2 generally – 1.25 POINTS WIN
FRODON X THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE – Reverse Exacta – 0.25 PTS R/EXACTA
I am going to preview this race and go through each of the runners and end it with my conclusion on the race.
We start off with the favourite and work our way down the list.
Prices are at the time of writing last night:
Paul Nicholls targets this race and has won it in 4 of the last 6 seasons, so anything he enters, you have to respect. He takes two horses to this race, Frodon and Threeunderthrufive.
This is a horse who was 4th in last season’s Ayr National off the same handicap mark as today and he is obviously capable. I do think good ground is important to him so the drying ground will enhance his chances, but even so, I still think he would want the ground a bit better.
I respect him and think he has an outstanding chance, but he is plenty high enough in the handicap on 147 and something in the back of mind tells me they may be getting him handicapped for something later on in the season (spring). Harry Cobden on board is obviously a big plus and following a wind operation, he makes the frame at the very least.
Now an 11 year old who is coming to the end of his career and what a career he has had. He does not owe anyone anything but what a way this would be to go out. He won this race last year off exactly the same handicap mark and although he didn’t win again, he was clearly trained specifically for this race. I am sure this will be the same once again, this will be his Gold Cup and he will be absolutely primed for the day. No other races would have been the plan, it is this race only and he will be a very fit horse. If he does win this race, I am sure they will go out on a high and following the race will possibly be retired.
THE BIG BREAKAWAY 6/1
I do think The Big Breakaway has a race like this in him but surely his main aim is the Welsh National in on the 27th December, a race in which he came home 2nd last season. He is rated 149 by the handicapper so I am of the thinking that they will be getting him handicapped for hsi big day over the Christmas Period. A below par run here, and then possibly a below par run in the Coral Gold Cup, would see his mark come down to around 144, absolutely perfect for the Welsh National. A may be wrong but for that reason alone and my doubts about how fit he will be, I have to overlook him.
SAM BROWN 9/1
A decent enough horse on his day and last time out seemed to have the race in his lap but for a fall at the second last fence, at Punchestown. A horse who has been mixing at a decent level for a number of years but I think he may be saved for a marathon trip after Christmas. He is rated 152 by the handicapper and I just can’t have him a 6lb worse horse than Frodon, I think he is at least 10lb or more inferior.
CERTAINLY RED 10/1
A horse who seems to love it around Wincanton with 2 wins at the course last off marks of 122 and 135. On that basis you have to respect him but at this level it is a different ball game. Now rated 140 he would need a massive career best and better ground.
ASHTOWN LAD 12/1
An excellent winner of the Becher Chase at Aintree last December and surely that is the race he is being lined up for once again. On his day he would have a great chance but I don’t think they will have him fully wound up for this. Has gone well fresh in the past so I may have it wrong but for me bigger targets await.
BLACKJACK MAGIC 12/1
Won two races last season and is obviously on the up, but he would need a career best off a mark of 132. I also feel he wants proper heavy ground to be seen at this best. This is a different level against this calibre of horses and I happily take him on.
A horse who started his chasing career off in style with a win at Haydock last season. Since then he has been pulled up twice and was tailed off last time out against Complete Unknown. I do think he could be better than what we have been seeing but you can hardly back with any confidence on what we have seen the last 3 times over fences.
FORWARD PLAN 16/1
Clearly Anthony Honeyball number 2 or 3 on jockey bookings and looks a horse who needs proper good ground. Easily overlooked for me.
Another Anthony Honeyball horse who surely is not good enough to be winning this race.
Outsider of the field and a horse who needs proper good ground to be seen at his best.
I normally try to find the value in these sorts of races but after taking the field apart, everything just keeps coming back to the Paul Nicholls pair who head the market. I am siding with FRODON as he clearly loves it around this course, is likely to be the front runner or at least prominent which is exactly where you need to be around Wincanton, with the tight turns. Ultimately this is his Gold Cup and he would have been trained to be 100% fit on the day. As I often say, Horse Racing is full of stories and this horse deserves nothing more than to bow out with winning this race for the second year running. I have no doubt Paul Nicholls would have left nothing on the training ground and you are going to see the very best FRODON (best you can get at his age).
Not much separates FRODON and Threeunderthrufive and if it is nip and tuck coming to the last, Harry Cobden really could win the race for the horse.
As a cover bet I will also be having a little go on the reverse Forecast.
I think FRODON will dictate the pace out in front and then from the 4 fence out marker, start to wind it up, catching a few of these flat footed in behind. It will be hard work getting to the line with the weight he carries but I can see him just holding on for a day of celebrations for Dicheat.