Must try harder…..too any losers for me this Saturday!

Written in my school report a million times and pretty accurate when it comes to my reading of Saturday’s racing to be honest, but then I need to be put in my place sometimes or I get too big headed.

This time of year is (as the excuses are trotted out) notoriously difficult with vague and often vain attempts at second guessing trainer intentions – who is out for a run pre Cheltenham, who is after the prize money on offer, and who is looking for a little rise or drop in the weights ahead of other targets.

Whichever way you look at it I got it wrong on the day at the very least, though not totally as I did at least notice 6/1 winner Ainsi Fideles was best in at the weights at Ascot even if I did except an easy win for odds on Virak. The winner may well head off to the RSA Chase at Cheltenham now but what of the vanquished third – three miles in high class contests may well be stretching him beyond his comfort zone but switched back to two and a half miles in a truly run race he can soon return to the winners enclosure.

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Paul Nicholls – not a smiling kind of day!

The Ascot Chase saw me lose any hope (and some money) as Ptit Zig crashed out at the ninth fence when going well enough to suggest he would have been on the scene when the chips were down. Though obviously we cannot be sure. I am hoping this won’t affect his entry for the RSA (for which he is sure to be a bigger price), and as he is as likely as not to learn from the fall (horses are cleverer than some think), he could actually improve for his tumble. Balder Succes went on to score though it wasn’t the smooth success some would have hoped for (especially with his main market rival on the deck), and he may well be forced to drop to the Ryanair rather than take on the speedsters in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Over in Ireland we were all waiting to see if Champagne Fever was back to his best or about to fail and although I would never take the odds on after he fell when tired last time out, he did not let his supporters down and came away for a pretty comfortable success. I have to admit that his jumping was close to immaculate, barely touching a twig all the way round and if he turns out at Cheltenham in that sort of form he will need serious consideration, though one swallow does not make a summer and Cheltenham may yet find him out.

Haydock put on a decent enough card though I am unclear of the benefits of a Grand National trial over totally different fences and a much short trip that will only see the winner upped in the weights, and perhaps counted out of Aintree for that very reason? Lie Forrit deserves a mention for gamely picking off Harry The Viking at the last second but whether that makes him a National horse is open to question. Sadly (well, for me at least), a pretty big off course gamble on Wuff went astray as the seven year old made his debut over fences for trainer Tom George. Off the track for almost exactly a year, I hoped for an each way bet to be honest but not at 11/4 (opened even shorter on course), as it soon became clear I was not the only one who felt he was built like a chaser. To no ones great surprise he pulled too hard for his own good under the circumstances which burnt up all his petrol before he needed it close home as he led before fading ate on to be beaten two and a half lengths or so in to third. Some will say he failed to get home over this two miles five furlongs trip but I am inclined to think it is more about over exuberance, and he may even be better over further in the long run.

 

 

 

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