Where DOES the time go? More than three months have passed since the last update and as usual I've failed to live up to a promise I make to myself every year - add more content during the summer.
Regular readers will know my punting year essentially concerns the October to April period previously known as the 'jumps season proper'. That leaves quite a lengthy period of R&R and much twiddling of thumbs, while casually following the summer jumping circus.
Things may be about to change a little at Notebook Nerve Centre...not least the introduction FIBRE BROADBAND - quite a myth in these here parts - the promised arrival of which may inspire a little more in the way of output. Although I love to recall bygone years on these pages, download speeds from the 90s is not among them.
All of this leads me to the Mecca of summer jumps - Market Rasen. What better way to end the fiscal year with a trip to where it all began in January 1980 - and if you were paying attention, on Racing TV earlier in 2019 (or ended? - Ed).
Always an uplifting experience, the staff are a well organised and pleasant bunch, and if you're privileged to own a leg of a horse the Os & Ts is one of the best in the land. If you haven't made the trip yet, you're missing out.
The owners-experience may be one reason why there's usually a well-stacked card numerically at least - not many three or four runner races at the Rasen.
Personally I find summer jumping difficult to get a handle on, with a lot of low grade stuff punctuated with the occasional big race like the Summer Plate here. It can mean going several barren weeks without fancying anything strongly but then a card like this pops up and all of a sudden I'm wanting a good bet.
The two handicap chases caught the eye and I found it hard to look beyond the top pair in the 3.00 being Court Duty and Northern Beau.
The former has now been made favourite on his last five starts, faithful backers collecting on just two occasions and he's proving difficult to work out. A son of Court Cave, he'll stay much further than this but his keen-going tendencies are holding him back and he was quickly beaten when knuckling on landing three out.
(The fact I was able to lay Court Duty at 1.28 on the home bend using a clunky hand-held device with a several second delay may debunk a few theories but we'll not go into that now.)
The summer months have not been completely idle here at Norm Towers as I've brought DATA MINING (gasp) into use in a very small way - and a quick check on M Scudamore handicap chasers returning off a break of 80+ days revealed an alarming 50% strike rate in the last six years, which made me look at this race with new eyes.
Clearly Northern Beau was a player here and without going into the race in too much depth now, her form, consistency and proven tenacity placed her as the clear second-fav in my ledger providing she looked straight (she did). It's worth waiting weeks for these opportunities but I can't attest to that level of patience.
The second handicap chase threw up another opportunity in the shape of Jot'em Down, a stamina-laden son of Kalanisi that bumped into The Jam Man last time out. It's not often you can accuse D Bridgwater of hammering in the winners but Jot'em's win makes it 3/3 in August and five in the last couple of weeks.
The dwindling odds may have been off-putting but the silver lining to the story is that young Jot'em was more than likely to trade much bigger during the race, and so it proved as he came off the bridle at several points allowing the nimble-fingered to add to their positions.
As I've said more than once, stop worrying about 'getting on' at the morning price and use your head. There's more than one way to skin the goddamn cat.
Clever-clogginess aside, there are two horses of interest going forward here. Primal Focus was put in a very short price for such a young and inexperienced horse. Yet to fully strengthen into a fair frame, he is likely to be kept very busy if early experience of the upwardly-mobile C Williams yard is anything to go by...as such he wasn't expected to be fully wound up on this occasion.
Teeton Power is a horse with untapped potential if only the mare would settle down. Proving tricky down at the start (not for the first time) she once again spent too long pulling for her head and I've marked her up plenty. Drop her in trip and let her bowl along, she'll win by 20L from a mark of 100.
It's a great pity I only found time to study the two races as another opportunity passed me by later on the card when Oksana won at double-figure odds for the canny England partnership.
A brief chat with 'Ladbrokes Brian' ended with me saying 'I want to lay this Ulysses' which drew howls of derision from the man-with-the-tan. However, nice-guy Bri is a paid operative for a reason and I'm a pro punter for a reason. One of us is a good judge of value and this Skelton-trained scrote looked as slow as a boat when winning at Stratford three days previously.
Odds of 1/3 looked very tight on this marked drop in trip but by now readers will be pleased to hear the internet connection went down at the wrong time hence no business was done (the reality of the on course player).
The rest is largely retrospective...Oksana was the likely winner of a chase here when capsizing at the last and was off the same mark despite having put in another good shift next time despite not jumping well again.
Back over timber she must have been worthy of each-way support at an SP of 11/1...a winner waiting to happen, you couldn't make this stuff up.
That's pretty much all for now. Please note down the name Twasn't The Plan, who wrong-footed each-way guessers earlier on the card but the 'education' won't be wasted later on, if you catch my drift.
This blog is a labour of love. Income from betting means I can publish this site as a gesture to all those seeking information that may not otherwise be available to them. No betting money - no blog. Wish me well as I wish you well as we head into another season with eager anticipation.