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Grand National 2021

Evening folks,

Time to kick off this year's GN thread as we're on the eve of a strong renewal of the Becher Chase and it should be a right ding dong do.

Hasn't been a winner of both Becher and GN in the same season since Amberleigh House scored for the great Ginger 17 years ago. But you'd be wrong to think it's not relevant to calculations for next April. Curiously particularly since the course changes after 2012, the Becher has been a pretty decent pointer for each-way punters and has thrown up some big price frame-makers (in 6 of the last 7 GNs in fact):

2013: Swing Bill (GN 6th at 80/1, close 4th 2L in preceding Becher) - those following my ruminations collected on him in the big one
2014: Chance Du Roy (GN 6th at 33/1, won preceding Becher) - ditto
2015: Saint Are (GN close 2nd at 25/1, close 3rd 4L in the Becher) 
2016: Vics Canvas (GN 3rd at 100/1, close 5th 4L in  the Becher) - ecstatic to have him on my slip in the big one; what might have been for this thoroughly genuine 13 yo but for a major mishap (see below) but extraordinary recovery at Bechers first time around? Yes, that's him kissing the turf. Incredible to think he was upsides at the last!! 

2017: One For Arthur (won GN, close 5th 3L in the Becher)
2019: Walk In The Mill (GN 4th at 25/1, won Becher)

GN success requires a lot more stats-wise than a strong show in the Becher, of course, but I'll be keeping a keen eye on several that could go well and upgrade their GN stat-profiles tomorrow. However, there's only one for whom a win or near-miss would effectively ensure a rating by my model of winning calibre come April - Kimberlite Candy.

Close 2nd last year, he's running for the first time off his new mark of 153 (up 13lbs for his impressive Warwick National win in January) and making his seasonal debut. He's 11/2 fav at the moment, which is too skinny for me. It will be a big ask to reverse placings with Walk In the Mill, who has an 8lb advantage on paper, and there are several other big dangers above and below him in the weights (Twiston-Davies is very capable of delivering a ready-to-win Calett Mad, despite a 693 day injury break). Just to have an interest (as I like to) on an outsider, I've had a tiny nibble each-way at 25s on 11 year-old Smooth Stepper, who won the GNTrial in Feb on a Haydock gluepot with Yala Enki well beaten). This is a race which has had a 12 yo, 13 yo and 14 yo winner in the last 10 years so don't dismiss any on age. Vieux Lion Rouge could easily roll back the years under the wily Conor O'Farrell.

However, Kimberlite showed himself to be a very progressive 8 yo and goes particularly well fresh, winning or near-missing first time out 3 of 4 seasons to date. So, while it is a big ask tomorrow, having been sweet on him and backed him early at a tasty price for the GN that sadly never was, particularly with Soft ground to suit, I'd be kicking myself like Chopper Harris if I saw him score tomorrow and hadn't taken the (IMO generous) 40s offered by Bob's lot (5 places 1/4 odds ante post) for next April. So, I'm on as my single speculative GN e/w punt right now, barring some trading positions on the exchange on Yala Enki and Ramses de Teillee, who also line up tomorrow.

If he doesn't go close tomorrow, KC would still need to do so on another outing over fences prior to April to re-tick the boxes he'd impressively completed last January but I'll happily have this fellow as a passenger on my slip at the price if needs be. 

Win or lose, it'll be a great spectacle tomorrow. As always, let's hope that all 14 (and all who run in the Grand Sefton later) come home safe and sound.

ENJOY!!

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Comments

  • Yesssssssss, the man with a PhD in all 26f+ chases is back! 

    I will be very excited to see how Kimberlite Candy, Yala Enki and Ramses de Teillee all go. Put simply, at the current prices for the GN, they are a relatively decent value bet, and if any of them win or go particularly close, we will see a contraction in the odds (usually a miserly one in this day and age given bookmaker precedents - who's seen the disgraceful antepost prices on Shishkin and Envoi Allen for Cheltenham?).

    Will be keeping a keen eye!
  • Perfect timing - the oracle is back! I was just about to ask a couple of questions about tomorrow on the general racing thread but no need to now. :-)
  • Great insight as ever Peanuts!

    Strongest Becher for a few years I would say. Can make a claim for about 10 of these.

    Have followed Le Breuil since he chinned Discorama on the line in the NH chase (who I had AP 50-1 to win - ARGH!), then promptly watched him tank through a host of races including this one last year but look like he needed better fitness and not see it out. 

    However he's now down 8 pounds or so and having been in my GN 3 last year probably needs to just about win this race to get in this year.

    5/1 fav isn't a bet for me in a big field handicap at Aintree (started the week at 12/1) but would be the one I'd put up.

    Lots of class elsewhere though including Kimberlite Candy, RDT and Yala Enki.

    Smooth Stepper is a great shout down the list Peanuts - you make a good case!
  • edited December 2020
    Great insight as ever Peanuts!

    Strongest Becher for a few years I would say. Can make a claim for about 10 of these.

    Have followed Le Breuil since he chinned Discorama on the line in the NH chase (who I had AP 50-1 to win - ARGH!), then promptly watched him tank through a host of races including this one last year but look like he needed better fitness and not see it out. 

    However he's now down 8 pounds or so and having been in my GN 3 last year probably needs to just about win this race to get in this year.

    5/1 fav isn't a bet for me in a big field handicap at Aintree (started the week at 12/1) but would be the one I'd put up.

    Lots of class elsewhere though including Kimberlite Candy, RDT and Yala Enki.

    Smooth Stepper is a great shout down the list Peanuts - you make a good case!
    Cheers @ISawLeaburn - much appreciate your comments and those of others.
    Agree with you totally about Le Breuil - big chance at the weights today - jumped the fences well last year but didn't just finish his race, as in others, which may well have been a reaction to the NH Chase. Way too short though, I agree.
    Smooth Stepper is a little out there, unless they get serious rain today I think but I like the occaisional wild one for fun. If it's not deep enough, he'll get outpaced over this trip I imagine.
    I'll actually be intrigued to see how Calett Mad goes and would have taken a chance on him, given T-D's credentials at the course, if he were a fair bit bigger than the 14s.
    2016 winner, Vieux Lion Rouge at 14s is interesting e/w at the weights, especially with O'Farrell (who piloted Swing Bill round here skilfully several times) on board (he's 1 win from 1 ride on him and a better fit than regular partner Tom Scu, I think, for the race today). Loves the fences and yard in decent nick. Lost a shoe last year but was in contention 3 out, 5lbs lower OR now and, on his 2018 close 2nd to Walk In The Mill has a stone advantage over the hat-trick seeker today. I may well have a shilling on him e/w at 14s.
    But, as the forecast is for showers only, I think the one that represents best e/w value is the one that trounced all opposition (incl. VLR) in a competitive veterans chase over the Mildmay course in October, Minellacelebration at 16/1. He got a 12lb rise to 152 for that win (25f on Soft and his third C&D victory) and is 13lbs higher today than when (on paper, a well) beaten 10th (29L) in last year's Becher. But he jumped the fences well on his GN course debut and was in contention for a long time before fading. Notably, it's reported he had a wind op shortly afterwards and is 211 over fences since February. He finished that last race very impressively and the OR rise was fully justified. Whether it will prove too much over a furlong further, that's the gamble but I reckon he'll give me a good run for my money.
    So, though I'll be really rooting for KC, small e/w interests on 3 relative oldies for me today but it really is wide open and should be a cracker. 
     

  • edited December 2020
    The one that could be anything is Jett. There's a lot not to like - big weight in a race where historically that is a red light, first time Aintree, best form at 2.5-3 miles but that's why he's 25/1 when at level weights he's probably standout horse in the race.

    Last 18 months he's been in races with (and beaten/narrowly beaten by) the likes of Kemboy, Presenting Percy, Delta Work, The Storyteller, Monalee etc. He's also being ridden by an absolute master around Aintree.

    Even though he's been brought over here by the WCs for the GN I wouldn't be bullish about his stamina at Aintree in December with the experience of the opposition but if you are prepared to trust Irish form and take a poke he looks overpriced.

    To add - the obvious worry with Jett is that the WCs use this as a schooling session and in the meantime lose a few pounds for April
  • edited December 2020
    Added another trading position on the exchanges for the GN in Lord Du Mesnil at 60s. He's available ante-post from some bookies at 66, if you definitely fancy him for April.
    For me it's a trading position as it's unlikely he'll tick all the boxes my model requires but there's no doubting his stamina (100% win or near-miss in 5 chases at 26~30 furlongs, all on Sft or Hvy).
    Not essential that he does but were he to go well with topweight in the Grand Sefton later today (debut over the GN fences), could well see his price for the big one get a lot shorter quickly. But even a safe and steady clear round today may suffice because he's next due to run in the Welsh GN, where both trip and conditions will be right up his street.
    Hoping for a nice turn at some point (or a chance to maybe take some profit and keep a small win position as a freebie). 

  • There is no way Walk in the Mill saw the Chair.
    He literally landed on top of it. Sun directly in line as they approached it. Very dangerous IMO.
  • Another masterclass there Peanuts. Romp for the old boy Vieux Lion Rouge and good trip for Kimberlite Candy. Le Breuil was going very soundly until the mistake then once again struggled to keep toe in the last quarter of a race. Maybe he's one of those that is going to always look like he needs a run but never quite gets there...

    Plenty of GN hopes with a lot to find there - Yala Enki, RDT, Walk In The Mill on a downer, Le Breuil is going to struggle to get in.
  • There is no way Walk in the Mill saw the Chair.
    He literally landed on top of it. Sun directly in line as they approached it. Very dangerous IMO.
    Good spot and agree with you @mid_life_crisis
    That really shouldn't have happened, obviously.  

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  • edited December 2020
    Another masterclass there Peanuts. Romp for the old boy Vieux Lion Rouge and good trip for Kimberlite Candy. Le Breuil was going very soundly until the mistake then once again struggled to keep toe in the last quarter of a race. Maybe he's one of those that is going to always look like he needs a run but never quite gets there...

    Plenty of GN hopes with a lot to find there - Yala Enki, RDT, Walk In The Mill on a downer, Le Breuil is going to struggle to get in.
    Cheers @ISawLeaburnScore
    Win some, lose some but always nice to score in the Becher.
    It was a bit of a strange race for many.
    Not great of course for Yala Enki but a fall on debut over the fences isn't the end of the world as regards GN ambitions - although it's probably screwed my trading position  :0( 
    Pineau De Re fell at the 8th first time he saw them, in the Becher preceding his 2014 GN win - though he did make a lot of mistakes in the big one - and Black Apalachi, who so nearly won it in 2010, fell at the 2nd on his GN debut. 
    RDT's jumping didn't instil any confidence - similar to his GN attempt. He showed a lot of guts, I thought, as he kept responding and coming back to the front but certainly a disappointment for GN aspirations.
    Le B does indeed a higher mark to get a run in April but, though I agree with you that he was beaten once he made his mistake, he did come home only 5L adrift of KC and I think it's one of those races where the big winning distance is maybe a tad misleading. For the trip, VLR was almost thrown in on his GN course form - hasn't run off 140 since his handicap debut 5 years ago and I strongly believe the change of jock to a more patient pilot really suited him.
    Long way to go yet of course.
    Native River up next!
  • Bugger me, what a run by Lake View Lad. Amazing and how fitting.
    Brill.
  • Can't say that my trading positions are going spiffingly after last weekend's Aintree runs but still happy to hold long Win exchange bets on Yala Enki, Ramses De Teillee and Lord Du Mesnil, in anticipation of good shows in the Welsh GN. But it's unlikely that any of them will figure in my team come 10 April, so looking to close them out at some point.
    Added one more trading pozzy this morning that could well turn into a hedge for an e/w bet for April, in the shape of Magic Of Light at a (be rude not to) 50s for the GN (currently 20~40s with the bookies [Bob's at 33/1]). 
    She's reported to have pleased at home (decent enough pipe-opener for the unsuitable conditions last month) and is very likely to go for a hat trick in next Wednesday's Listed Mares chase at Newbury (at the weights and on a decent surface should have a good chance of scoring), before following a similar GN prep to the last 2 years (though maybe all Mares chases now there's one on the Festival card). 
    Stats-wise, the 2019 close runner-up needs to put in a strong show in a Class 1 or Listed 3m+ chase sometime before April to tick the boxes (as she had last year) and I'm fully expecting her to do so.
    Ordinarily I'd seriously consider taking an e/w punt ante-post but, unless she also sets a career-high RPR, her GN stat-rating is vulnerable to either a pre-weights' hike in her British mark of 158 or the GN topweight on the day being < OR167. So, at this stage, I prefer to keep the bet liquid.
    IMO, there's some decent juice in 50s, even if it acts a hedge for a full e/w wager eventually.
    More anon.
  • Happy to see you suggesting Magic of Light. I back Harrington quite a lot so had £5 on it a couple of weeks ago. 
  • Out of interest, how do you trade?  Put your money on now then do the bookies offer a generous cash out or do you lay on an exchange or something?
  • edited December 2020
    Out of interest, how do you trade?  Put your money on now then do the bookies offer a generous cash out or do you lay on an exchange or something?
    Reads to me like the backing is being done on the exchange.
  • edited December 2020
    Out of interest, how do you trade?  Put your money on now then do the bookies offer a generous cash out or do you lay on an exchange or something?
    Though some bookies (eg Bet365) offer cash out, which can be useful, it’s not wise to rely on it to “trade”. The general market price would have to collapse for them to offer you any sort of profit to cash out and you’re beholden to their cash out price.
    I only take occasional trading positions (always “long” - I don’t lay horses), and then only in the GN. I use the Exchanges as (in theory at least) there is a two-way market with explicit bids and offers from other punters.
    However, this early (and especially for outsiders) the bid-offer spread is very wide so, for me, I just take long positions when I think a horse that is a definite intended GN runner (that ticks a lot, though maybe not all, my model’s boxes) is meaningfully overpriced (obviously). Importantly, it’s got to be a runner that I’d be happy to be with at the price on the day if it pans out that way but typically for which there’s an upcoming race in which I think it could run really well. If so, that could/should trigger a meaningful re-rating of its GN price, in which case I would probably close out the position. I’m looking for the potential to (say) halve in price over time. It may be, as in the case of Magic Of Light, that I want to hedge a future each-way bet I may want to place with the bookies but don’t want to commit to now (since my stat-model’s ratings continue to evolve).
    Even if I’m right and the odds fall, I may have to hold the position for a while because it may still be too early for volume to build such that the bid-offer spread narrows to make an efficient exit. So one should definitely have a game plan in mind and a potentially longish horizon. 
    Always just for fun and, as with all betting of course, you have to be OK if it goes pear shaped and you lose the lot. A horse gets injured and is out for the season, your money’s gone.
  • Thanks @PeanutsMolloy - I find your GN musings and betting knowledge fascinating.  

    I am a £2 a week kind of gambler; whenever I go higher on a sure thing Charlton lose to MKDons and I realise I am a bad gambler 😀.  I mainly just gamble on the footy and set myself a very modest limit each season and if it is gone in a few weeks then that is me done...usually get through to the end with about the same amount I started with though.

    The GN I chuck a few bob on as I always have, the difference being that in the last few years I have had some of that back too thanks to you rather than just giving it to the bookies!
  • edited December 2020
    Out of interest, how do you trade?  Put your money on now then do the bookies offer a generous cash out or do you lay on an exchange or something?
    Though some bookies (eg Bet365) offer cash out, which can be useful, it’s not wise to rely on it to “trade”. The general market price would have to collapse for them to offer you any sort of profit to cash out and you’re beholden to their cash out price.
    I only take occasional trading positions (always “long” - I don’t lay horses), and then only in the GN. I use the Exchanges as (in theory at least) there is a two-way market with explicit bids and offers from other punters.
    However, this early (and especially for outsiders) the bid-offer spread is very wide so, for me, I just take long positions when I think a horse that is a definite intended GN runner (that ticks a lot, though maybe not all, my model’s boxes) is meaningfully overpriced (obviously). Importantly, it’s got to be a runner that I’d be happy to be with at the price on the day if it pans out that way but typically for which there’s an upcoming race in which I think it could run really well. If so, that could/should trigger a meaningful re-rating of its GN price, in which case I would probably close out the position. I’m looking for the potential to (say) halve in price over time. It may be, as in the case of Magic Of Light, that I want to hedge a future each-way bet I may want to place with the bookies but don’t want to commit to now (since my stat-model’s ratings continue to evolve).
    Even if I’m right and the odds fall, I may have to hold the position for a while because it may still be too early for volume to build such that the bid-offer spread narrows to make an efficient exit. So one should definitely have a game plan in mind and a potentially longish horizon. 
    Always just for fun and, as with all betting of course, you have to be OK if it goes pear shaped and you lose the lot. A horse gets injured and is out for the season, your money’s gone.
    ......or, alternatively, a trainer announces that his horse doesn't like the fences and is unlikely to line up. e.g. David Pipe re Ramses De Teillee   :/
    Should have anticipated it really. Bleedin' obvious in the Becher but just thought I'd hang on for a possible bump from his Welsh GN run. 
    Oh well, one down LOL 
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  • edited December 2020
    Morning folks. Another quick update.

    Magic of Light put in a very pleasing run on Wednesday, albeit against only 2 rivals, to complete her hattrick in the Listed 3m chase for mares at Newbury. Robbie Power and asst trainer very positive about her jumping and progression once again this season, even as a 9 yo. 

    Unsurprisingly, her GN odds have been cut from 40 to generally 25/1 and my long exchange position at 50s turned a nice profit (albeit partly offset by the likely loss on RDT).

    With only 2 in oppo, before the race I'd also taken Bob's 33s for the big one, in case I want her on my team come April. To illustrate the point about cash-outs with bookies not being a great tool for trading, the cash out price for that now is breakeven (par for the course and fair enough) but time will tell whether I hold or fold. 

    While connections are right to be positive for April, from a stats-perspective she's got to stay under OR160. She was allotted OR158 last year (her current mark) and she shouldn't get much of a hike, if any, for Wednesday's win (RPR151 decent but well short of her best) but there's always the possibility the handicapper is unfriendly. Will know more on Tuesday.

    As regards racing today, it's Silver Cup day at Ascot. While The Conditional is worthy favourite and has Aintree as his target, as things stand he's unlikely to be appearing on my betting slip come April even if scoring today. Too many negatives unlikely to get remedied.

    At the price Beware The Bear (66s with Bob for the GN) is potentially much more of interest e/w for Aintree and, according to my main model, a win or near-miss today (he's 10/1, won his first and only chase start at Ascot and, at the trip, should be suited by the testing ground, despite lumping topweight) would secure GN place potential, the strength of which would, again, depend on the handicapper's reaction (so a near-miss today would be ideal). Obviously would also want a subsequent safe prep in the new year. 

    On form, he may look a doubtful GN candidate, disappointing in 4 attempts at 28f+. But that could be a tad misleading - he was never travelling in the 2019 "Whitbread" so something amiss, was hampered on testing ground when lumping topweight in the 2017 Welsh GN and, in only his 3rd chase, blundered his way round in the Festival 4 miler. Hardly encouraging, of course, but IMO not definitive evidence that he'd flop in a GN and there are distinctly more positive aspects to his CV and form.

    He's certainly bred to get an extended trip and is from the family of McKelvey (very unlucky 2007 GN runner-up) and Chives (topweight runner-up in the Welsh GN and placed again). His Dam-Sire is Be My Native (D-S of top stayer Native River and GN frame-makers Black Apalachi and Gilgamboa). 

    From 3 very creditable runs in the Hennessy (scoring his career-high RPR165 in the 2019 renewal - current OR157), he clearly enjoys Newbury's flat, galloping track (like Aintree's) and can handle a stiff jumping test. Yet to part company with his jockey in 24 outings over obstacles, he made a much better fist of Cheltenham's fences when landing the Ultima (under 11.08 on soft) at the 2019 Festival (his second chase win at the course).

    Handles any ground (probably acts better on a decent surface) but, even with now-regular blinkers, can get behind in races. That's a risk in a GN, obviously, but is "in the price" IMO. Likely to head there as Henderson has always rated him a GN candidate and as a rising 11 yo this may be his final realistic chance. 

    I could back him for today's race as a hedge but a near-miss wouldn't yield much of a profit and, as Bob's an outlier for him for the main event (generally 50s and the exchange is 65), I've taken the 66s. Even if he fails today, he'll likely have another bite at the GN stats-cherry at the Festival and I'll swallow the cash out loss or the whole stake if things really go pear-shaped.

    But, as always, I'm only betting for fun and with money I hope to see again but ain't relying on it....... CAVEAT EMPTOR. 


    EDIT - Win some, loose some but that was a serious case of spitting the dummy by BTB. Never went a yard and if your horse don't want to run, it plain won't run. 

    No surprise Bob's knocked him out to 100s and many apologies if anyone followed my misguided punt. The monkey could easily put in a brill run at The Festival once again but too dicey a proposition having one on the team that can down tools, especially debuting at Aintree. 35% loss on cashing out - still marginally ahead on the trading book. 

    Onwards and upwards   :)

  • edited December 2020
    The usual annual detour for the thread to take in the Welsh GN on Sunday. Sure to be typically testing ground (already heavy and more rain, though not torrential, forecast).
    Secret Reprieve (2 from 2 at the course) and nicely bred for a trip is favourite but is a prohibitively short price at 4/1 and is yet to attempt more than 3 miles.
    As a betting proposition, I much prefer his stablemate PRIME VENTURE each way (16/1 WH) who's first on my slip.
    A staying on 4th in this race a year ago, the 9 yo will have (on paper) a 12lb advantage with Truckers Lodge (2nd last time and subsequent Midland National winner). Carrying 10.06 and off a mark of 139, off which he ran well at the course and then in the Midlands National 2 years a go, he ticked the form box winning last time out on seasonal debut, albeit a modest affair.
    Assuming no after-effects from his 1st fence departure in the Becher, Yala Enki (3rd last year) could go well again from the front, even as topweight, on ground he'll love but given he's off a career-high mark (159) a top price 12/1 doesn't float my boat. 
    Instead, I'm going to back an old e/w buddy in the shape of BIG RIVER at 20s. Although he was 34L adrift of Yala Enki and Ramses De Teillee last time out when 3rd over 27.5f, he was staying on well (as usual) and, following up on his strongly staying on close 5th behind the progressing The Conditional in March's Ultima (off the same mark of 141 on Sunday), evidently can handle an undulating, stiff jumping course (yet to face Chepstow's fences). 
    A workable 10.08 on his back but he can get detached in his races (exposing him also to traffic problems of course) but the Welsh GN is over a longer trip now (30.5 furlongs) and, if he can remain within striking distance, on the ground it's unlikely there will be anything finishing stronger than this fella - capable of doing a "Raz De Maree".  
    ENJOY.
  • edited December 2020
    Joining Prime Venture (nap) and Big River in my e/w team for Sunday's Welsh GN is LORD DU MESNIL at 16s.
    Didn't take to the GN fences in the Grand Sefton last time out, over an inadequate 21f, and on the face of it has plenty enough weight - off OR152, 2lbs more than his post-Aintree mark, and set to carry 11.02 (regular partner Paul O'Brien claiming 3lbs).
    However, though he's an early-maturing French-bred and has plenty of experience, he's still only a 7 yo with potentially more progression up his sleeve in the right conditions and they won't come any righter for him than on Sunday.  
    1st or 2nd (never more than 2.5L behind the winner) in all 7 chases 22~30f on Soft or Heavy in Britain, the further he goes and the stiffer the test the better - there's none stiffer than Chepstow marathon's 30.5f on Heavy.
    He's a debutant at the course and his jumping can be sketchy at times but he managed Cheltenham's similarly undulating course and stern test of jumping well enough to be 2nd in the 30f NH Chase in March.
    Should be a belter.
    Have a great Christmas.
  • ^^^^^ Totally agree, PRIME VENTURE for me  .. Tom O'Brien has ridden a few good winners lately and still doesn't get the rides his ability deserves.
    Also, I am a sucker for a Hemmings Horse and even if Venetia is  a bit out of form, CLOUDY VENTURE is worth a £1 e/w .. Merry Christmas all ye Happy Punters
  • edited December 2020
    Hmm, flashing away on the periphery of my radar screen for April is March's Kim Muir winner Milan Native. Has a squeak of making it onto my slip (if so, most likely as place rather than winning potential - currently 50s with Bob) and he's due to run in the Paddy Power chase at Leopardstown tomorrow pm.
    Given he has his 7lb claiming, Kim Muir-winning pilot Rob James back on board, appears to be at his best in strongly-run, big field handicaps and there's heavy rain due this evening in Dublin, I've been tempted by Betfair's (bizarrely) outlying price for him at 40/1 (5 places, 1/5 odds).
    Bob makes him 16s and Skybet as short as 9s for tomorrow..................... be rude not to!!

  • edited January 4
    No change of plan on the Welsh GN, now scheduled for Saturday, assuming the fat arse doesn't announce a total shutdown again this evening. 
    Dry forecast for Chepstow but it will surely be no better than soft and a typically stern test of stamina over 30.5f.
    Re-upped on Prime Venture (nap) at 14s, Lord Du Mesnil at 16s and Big River at 20s.
    Enjoy!! .... hopefully.

  • edited January 9
    Triffic Welsh GN, with the favourite Secret Reprieve scoring impressively and with his tack almost falling off by the line. A great ride by the under-rated Adam Wedge.
    Pretty decent ground by race standards, with a winning time just 14s slow of standard. Not nearly soft enough for 2 of my team and it paid to race handy. 
    The Two Amigos ran and jumped beautifully, making a fierce pace, saw off all others bar the well-handicapped winner.
    Yala Enki notched a hattrick of close 3rds in the race, Captain Drake 4th and Prime Venture keeping-on in 5th.
    Too much weight for last year's runner-up, Truckers Lodge, back in 7th.
    Onward and upward.
  • edited January 15
    Classic Chase day at Warwick tomorrow (3pm).
    It had been mooted after his nice 2nd in the Becher that Kimberlite Candy (already on my e/w team) would run in the race he won so impressively a year ago but, as agreed with JP, Tom Lacey's instead targeting the 3m Listed Chase at Ascot on 20 Feb - that's after the GN weights are published, of course, suggesting that they're perfectly content with his current 153 mark.
    That will be 49 days prior to the big one, meaning he's unlikely to run again as he goes best fresh. 

    With Aintree in mind, much focus at Warwick tomorrow will be on Potters Corner (in the 25f hdcp hurdle) and Le Breuil (strongly fancied for the Classic) but, for me, it's Walk In The Mill that could most meaningfully elevate his GN stat-profile (to strong place potential / winning calibre on Soft) if, with 11.01 on his back on Soft ground, he's able to win or go close in the 29f Grade 3. And particularly noteworthy is the first-time application of blinkers tomorrow, instead of the occasional cheekpieces.
    It's 17 years since a runner (Amberleigh House, with a similar penchant for the GN fences as WITM) that had previously placed in a GN came home in front and there's a tendency to write off the winning chances of such runners for that reason. But if blinkers give WITM an extra edge (as they did so remarkably for the Tiger prior to 2019), the current 40/1 could look fantastic value as an e/w proposition on any ground but especially if it were to come up softer at Aintree than it was in 2019.
    Should be a fascinating race.
    Enjoy!!
  • edited January 16
    Having just watched WITM PU before the end of the first circuit, I'm reminded of the old adage:
    “It is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
    Now out to 50s and possibly with a few lbs to come off after Tuesday, he might still represent appealing e/w value back over his much-loved spruce but, going as I do with the stats, he won't be among my team.

  • Another big handicap where Le Breuil bowls along then drops anchor a few furlongs from home but somehow finishes like a train in the final few hundred yards. At least I didn't back him today! Surely he will win a decent race again at some point but it won't be the National off ~140
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