I know I’ve been a bit slow with this, and I’m sorry, but better late than never…..
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Another year over, a new one just begun as dear old John never tires of telling us.
I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas and is now embarking on a happy and prosperous New Year.
My Christmas was very pleasant – too much to eat, too much to drink, too much lazing around! Much the same as every Christmas – I wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course, my Christmas Cheer would have been immeasurably louder if Captain Chris had just a few yards extra life in his legs on Boxing Day!
A great run that and, as one of my favourite horses in training, he deserved better.
I really hope his connections resist the temptation to put him in the Gold Cup – for me there’s no way he’ll stay 3m 2 and 1/2 around Cheltenham.
I might ring Mr Hobbs now and tell him to go for the Ryanair! 2m5f round there will be right up his street this season and in my book he’d be pretty short. He’s currently 10/1 generally but the 28.0 currently available on Betfair makes it seem very unlikely that race is his target. (I’m still going to have a little taste of the 28.0 just to be on the safe side!)
The Xmas tipping Competition was dealt a blow when the Welsh National was postponed due to a waterlogged Chepstow on 27th December. Not a fatal blow though because it’s been rescheduled for tomorrow. Could anybody involved in the competition please get their Welsh National selection to me by noon tomorrow (5th January)
I’ve had a fairly in depth look at the race this year and here are my thoughts:
We have some fairly strong trends for the Welsh National and one that really stands out is the trend on age. No horse older than 9 has won since Riverside Boy (10 years old) in 1993. I’m not saying it won’t happen this time but the balance of probability is against it.
The ideal age for this is somewhere between 6 and 9 and based on that one trend alone we can reduce the 18 runner field to a much more manageable 9.
Let’s look at the remaining 9 in a bit more detail:
Across the Bay – For me, he has far too much weight to carry under these conditions. The most weight carried to victory in this race in the last 10 years is 11-06 – and that was by Synchronised! Happy to leave Across the Bay off my short list.
Teaforthree – Likely to be a big player here based on his win in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last season. However, my concern is his price does not reflect his relatively poor performances so far this season. There is no value for me at 3/1. Backing horses with his kind of profile at short prices is never going to work in the long term – even if he wins tomorrow.
Soll – Looks far too inexperienced and hasn’t won beyond 3 miles which is a serious concern. Not for me.
Universal Soldier – I’d be inclined to dismiss this one for very similar reasons to Soll – were it not for the flood of money that has come for it in recent days. Might be one to keep on the right side of. Small each way bet.
Alfie Spinner – With all the shenanigans of recent days, who knows if this one runs here or at Sandown? I’d be worried that he’s not won beyond 3 miles but he does like some give in the ground. I’ll take a view on this one tomorrow morning once it’s confirmed where he’ll run.
Viking Blond – Fits most of the trends nicely but again hasn’t won beyond 3m. That being said his run last time out behind Monbeg Dude at Cheltenham is a very good bit of form and he gets a 5lb pull for a three length beating. Definitely on my short list and likely to be a decent sized each way bet.
Monbeg Dude – A little inexperienced for my liking but that was an eyecatching win at Cheltenham in November and 14/1 looks like a touch of value to me. Small each way interest.
Harouet – I think this one has had too many races already this season – apart from last year, where Le Beau Bai had 4 seasonal starts prior to this race, every winner for 20 years had no more than 2 previous seasonal starts. Add that to the lower class of his form and I’m happy to strike him from my list.
Our Island – 25/1 seems a decent enough price to see whether he can step up on a decent third in a 4 mile slog at Exeter last time out. Been some money for it and that warrants a small each way interest for me again.
Viking Blond each way at 8/1 with Coral
Monbeg Dude – small each way at 14/1 generally
Universal Soldier – very small each way saver 12/1 generally
Our Island – another very small each way saver at 25/1 generally
Don’t forget to send in your tips if you are taking part in the tipping competition – it’s all still to play for!
That’s all from me today
Have a great weekend
PS I’m intrigued to see what Frankie Dettori has to say for himself on Celebrity Big Brother. There are nearly always some easy trading opportunities during this show and I will let you know my thoughts early next week.