Good evening from the Major whose tour of Ireland has moved to a biting Dublin where the wind cuts to your bones. Tired from travelling, I am in the bed early and weary.
Today was poor. I thought my twitter contact @limerickjfk was off to Limerick Races – An understandable mistake given the name. Re-reading his text later, it turned out he was off to Leopardstown. When you cannot select the right card to read, it bodes badly for the subsequent tips. So it transpired.
Still, there is tomorrow. New day, new hope.
The Welsh National
Of all tracks, when Chepstow rides heavy, it is like treacle. It takes the most outrageously deep ground horse but that gives us an edge.
Tidal Bay likes soft ground but I don’t think heavy and top weight will be a good combination. Pricewise might fancy it but not for the Major. Synchronised won carrying 11st 6lbs in 2011 but no horse has carried this weight to victory in the last 25 years and Tidal Bay would also be 3 years older than any previous winner. Don’t get me wrong, I like a top class handicap chaser as much as the next man but I am after one that has snuck in at the bottom.
Goonyella is interesting and I am convinced has a big race or two in him. He looks to have been laid out for one of these, having been campaigned over shorter but at just 6, misses some valuable experience.
Well Refreshed seems to tick a lot of boxes and will be going when plenty have cried enough. The two the Major settles on though are Merry King and Highland Lodge. I like the latter and think he is capable of running his best races yet. However, he can be a bit keen and I just think Merry King will want every yard of the distance and every drop of moisture. His Hennessy race demonstrated that, he was doing his best work at the finish. Just think of that long long long Chepstow straight, it goes on forever…. My boy can be doing his stuff at the important moment, the final moment. Get stuck in.
The Future Champions Grade 1 juvenile hurdle is a difficult race to call as unlike many of these events, am not convinced that there is a star in this field. even though the top stables are represented, I am not sure that Kentucky Hyden or Solar Impulse are all that. As such, in spite of being unproven in conditions I am chancing Violet Dancer who can be backed at 4/1 with Ladbrokes. Arty Campbell is also not the worst 100/1 shot I have ever seen.
Leopardstown Festival – Lexus Chase Day
I think we have a chance of solving the Lexus. For a start, I am convinced that Unioniste is not good enough. Then we have a series of disappointments to examine. First Lieutenant has thrown more than one poor race at us this season and so is harder to forgive, he is discarded.
Sir Des Champs was unlucky not to win this last year but his fall in the John Durkan at Punchestown, gifting the race to Avrika Liggeoniere, was heavy and given I am not sure he would beat Bobs Worth anyway, I can overlook him.
So Bobs Worth is the selection at 5/2. He will love conditions and I can overlook him a poor reappearance. Lord Windermere is the one I am most concerned with. The RSA is still a race I am reserving judgement on and so I think the favourite is the right call.
Solwhit, 4/7, is good enough to beat his opponents even given the time he has been off.
Newbury – Challow Hurdle Day
I have a strong fancy in the Challow and it is an odd one because it is the outsider of 6 in Captain Cutter at 6/1. Why the solid bet? Well I actually quite like the form and despite the jumping being a bit squiffy last time, he, like others, is entitled to that sloppiness at this stage of his career and I do not hold it against him. He has the ground form too – Have a lumpy one. I rate Creepy as the main danger (also the longer of the prices) so clearly think this market is wrong.
I think Vukovar can keep Noel Fehily’s strong Christmas going with a win in the following race at odds on. It is a fair weight difference he gets from Open Hearted.
I trust that you dine well and in the best of company and spirits.
Courage and roll those dice.