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Our blog on January 8th was titled “Welcome Rain” & then it was very welcome, I think we are in a position to call for it again! Good ground at the end of January is not ideal for National Hunt racing. We are now left with small field sizes, which is due to a mixture of the grounds conditions & the low prize money on offer, this all comes with the backdrop of the “Rise” in Jockey’s weights situation, which needs clarification from all parties involved & the sooner this is rectified to a suitable conclusion the better for everyone…..
And then we have the, what has become standard tweets & articles “Only X weeks to the Festival”. I think we all know how long it is to the start & the constant bombarding of tweets every Tuesday is getting a touch laborious, along with the Podcasts with Ante Post bets for which horse will run in which race & as has happened recently at Newbury, was made favourite for the race & wasn’t even qualified to run in it! (Just have a rest guys, we will all feel better for a couple of weeks off!)
Right, where were we, oh yes the blog for today’s racing…. This will be Chris’ last blog for a few weeks as he is taking some time away to spend with his family..
Plenty of racing, just some smaller fields to contend with & hopefully, we can find some winners & value!
1.55 Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Handicap
As usual, a competitive handicap over the intermediate distance, and whilst not as hot as the ones on New Years Day or the International meeting over this course, it nevertheless has some old rivals locking horns once more. Magic Saint returned to somewhere near his better form when 4th here on New Years Day, and whilst he was beaten a fair way, he has since been dropped another 2lb’s. Good ground will suit and having been runner-up here off 157 last spring, he will now run off 147 today. At the current prices he makes plenty of each-way appeal against a few of these who are either weighted to their absolute best, or may appreciate a slightly slower surface. A final reminder to shop around with several bookies offering enhanced terms in this race.
2.30 Paddy Power Cotswold Chase
A small field for this years renewal and one I was going to swerve, that was until I looked at the current prices. Aye Right has been a revelation for connections, winning the Rehearsal Chase in November off a mark of 151. That form gives him every chance today, leaving him just 1lb short on ratings of odds-on favourite, Chantry House, He boasts some smart course form too, finishing 3rd in the Ultima on the Old Course last season off 154, and 5th in the RSA back in 2020. With questions to answer over a few of his rivals today, he makes plenty of appeal and will likely be staying on nicely up the hill.
1:40 – BetVictor Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle (G3) – Selection: Grangee
This looks to be a strong renewal of this Grade 3 for the Mares. Willie Mullins has trained the winner of this race in 5 of the last 9 years and it appears he holds all the aces today. Grangee is a solid mare who is down in class today (Ran in Grade 1 last time out) and on all known form should be bang there in the closing stages. The daughter of Great Pretender ran in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas last time around and was far from disgraced when finished fourth, beaten 4.5 lengths. Time will tell how strong that form is but she should be more comfortable today racing against lesser opposition and back against her own sex. The decent ground is another positive and at the prices she is arguably the value bet in this 9 runner race. Her stablemate Brandy Love is the main danger
2:57 – Virgin Bet EBF Mares Novices’ limited Handicap Chase – Selection: Emmas Joy
This is a wide open six runner contest with the favourite Precious Eleanor being 5/2 in the betting. Dan Skelton’s Emmas Joy is down a couple of grades today from listed level and should be in the mix. Her form this season is a little uninspiring with a well beaten 4th & 6th in listed heats but she should find the tempo of racing against lesser opposition today more comfortable. It must also be noted that those two races came on the back off a 20 month layoff. The step back up to 2m 6f could be a smart move from the Skelton’s and I’m feeling positive about her chances today. Has won on good in the past and the stable are in form.
Uttoxeter – Good
4.08 Handicap Hurdle – Class 5 – 4yo+ – 2m 4f….
Doireann – Shirocco X Sew N Sew 5yo mare.
4 hurdle runs in her career, with 1 place from the 4. The mare was pulled up over C&D on December 7th on soft ground. She finished 3rd on her first 2 starts over hurdles but in small fields of 5 & 6 respectively. The opening handicap mark was 92 & it has now dropped to 87, the mark which she ran from on December 31st at Warwick, when a 7 & 1/2 length runner up to Shutthegate, a mark which she runs from today – Each Way
Lingfield (AW) – Standard
4.23 Handicap – Class 5 – 4yo+ – 6f 1yd…
Cappananty Con – Zebedee X Fairmont 8yo gelding.
He won this race last year & his last win was in February last year. His win in this race was from a mark of 68 & today he runs from a mark of 64. His last 4 runs at this course read 6/4/4/6 so his mark has dropped from his AW high of 74 last April. He has 3 C&D wins & 3 Places from 12 C&D runs – Each Way
That is everything for you today folks, thanks for popping by & for your support… We may have a nice surprise tomorrow at 7pm…
All the Best – The Arseonlineracing Team