Before I get down to business I just wanted to give you all a laugh at my expense via a Podcast I recorded for Cheltenham with jockeys Daryl Jacob, Adrian Heskin, and Andrew Thornton as well as trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, Matt Newman from Myracing.com, and host Tim Carroll from At The Races (who is also one of my best mates. Have a listen here http://myracing.com/myracing-cheltenham-festival-preview-podcast/ – its free, good fun, and may point you in the direction of a few Cheltenham winners with a bit of luck.
Other than that, its back to the old drawing board for yours truly after a loser last week on the South African racing when I misjudged A-Rod at Greyville on Sunday who only managed a three quarter length third after heavy market support (my money?), but I am learning all the time and am more than hopefully we can make a profit this Sunday and more importantly, having a bit of fun getting there as well. I appreciate I am out of step with some, possibly even the majority, in thinking racing is an entertainment as much as a sport, though I cannot believe for an instant I am the only one who enjoys the planning, the build up, and the anticipation as well as the races themselves? Its all part of the game of pitting your wits against the dreaded bookmakers, and although they will always have the edge thanks to their accountant mentality and percentage in their favour, that only makes the winners that bit more sweet in my book.
Having failed with Plan B last week I am reverting to type and having a serious look at stable and jockeys in form for another fun bet (one horse can work but it isn’t so exciting or potentially as rewarding), and after seeing Dorrie Sham have a one two three (18/1, 8/1, and 22/1) in the same race at Fairview last Monday I was reminded that all things are possible in this sport. Trainer Alan Greeff tops the trainer charts on my home made statistics but as he doesn’t appear to have a runner Sunday that’s not a lot of use to man nor beast, but jockey Ashton Arries is in great form and rapidly making a name for himself and great value for his nine pounds claim. He has ridden three winners in the last week at odds of 13/1, 11/2, and 16/1 and he could be worth following as trainers snap him up to take the weight off their horses’ backs.
On Sunday at Scottsville he has six rides which is more than I had hoped but if we back them all to small stakes a winner or two should see us right. Simply Scrumptious may well be his likeliest hope of success for trainer Paul Lafferty after a solid third beaten less than two lengths here on her debut last month. She can only improve for that, but it is an open looking maiden with no guarantees though on the bright side that ought to mean a bigger price. Double Clutch has a tougher task in the Pinnacle Stakes and will need a career best but ought to be priced accordingly, while Newtons Spark is the outsider of the eight horse field at 28/1 (price correct at the time of writing), and will need to sprout wings to win in this company, but has won at least scored over course and distance.
Roy’s Air Force looks to have a bit to find at these weights but wont be far away with a level break, while Simona isn’t as out of it as a glance at the form implies and could improve further after just the four starts for trainer and ex-jockey Michael Roberts who won the UK jockeys title back in 1992 (for those with long memories). Lastly, Lunar Tide looks up against it in the finale and will need to add to what we have seen so far, but when a jockey is in form (and full of confidence), strange things happen and a double is very much a possibility at a price.
In conclusion, its in-form jockey versus form book in most of these contests but Ill be backing the top one to win and all of them in doubles to small stakes in hope more than confidence – up to you if you do the same!
To win single:
Simply Scrumptious 1.50pm local time (Race 2) Scottsville Sunday
Ten small stakes doubles:
Simply Scrumptious plus
Double Clutch 3.00pm local time (Race 4) Scottsville Sunday
Newtons Spark 3.35pm local time (Race 5) Scottsville Sunday
Roy’s Air Force 4.10pm local time (Race 6) Scottsville Sunday
Simona 4.40pm local time (Race 7) Scottsville Sunday
Lunar Tide 5.15pm local time (Race 8) Scottsville Sunday