Writing a betting blog can be cathartic at times - let's hope so after a frustrating afternoon! I allowed the market to dictate my positions and that doesn't always end well.
With temperatures around freezing the going was pretty tacky and it's a possible excuse for some of those that didn't run up to their previous form.
I had priced up Petethepear in the opener as the 7/4 jolly so odds of 3/1 the night before looked ridiculous in the extreme. It came as no surprise, therefore, that it was heavily backed, but an SP of 6/5? Should have laid off but didn't. Boom.
Defeats happen and I had no problem with it. What was deeply annoying was that the eventual winner Sharpasaknife looked a fantastic horse, a typical Jefferson chasing type. But he was fit and well forward. Under normal circumstances he would be no bigger than 5/1, but there wasn't a bean for it all day and it returned 16s. Go Figure.
Return Flight took a step back in the right direction here and this somewhat light framed horse should now be well-handicapped when better ground finally arrives, while Rolling Thunder ought to be okay in time but didn't settle at all.
Another one to watch for future reference is Tara The Tiger, who wasn't put in the race but got round in one piece and stayed on towards the end. She looks half-decent physically and they should find a race for her in due course.
Seamus Mor was all the rage in a weak handicap hurdle and astute trainer H Oliver is a dab hand at improving cast-offs. I managed to grab a small piece of the action when it was being backed in the morning but it opened up far too short on track to go in again. The yard won this last year with the gambled-on Beatabout The Bush.
The second, Veinard, is a rather nice strong horse but has been mentally backward apparently and that showed in the finish, looking rather irresolute in the run to the line. There was precious little to take from the race.
I previewed the 2.05 here and did indeed follow through with a half-sized bet on Upsilon Bleu, who looked in really good heart. This however was a trappy contest and while the bet was my second to run well below par on the day, the winner Gardefort was getable if you could forgive his Newbury return.
The money spoke volumes but the prevailing odds were far too short for me, even though he was the one in the race possibly ahead of his mark. And so it proved, as he never looked like getting beat. Congratulations if you took that leap of faith.
Yorkist looked in fantastic form but yet again failed to fire, while Sir Valentino has developed into a very nice animal - his run here another PB - and he was unfortunate to bump into one.
I didn't like the shape of the handicap hurdle over 2m4f at all especially with the impressive last time out winners Maxie T and Master Jake being surprisingly weak in the market.
I liked the claims of Divine Port from an each-way perspective but he never looked to be travelling very well on the tacky terrain, while Vendor is probably better at a bit shorter and looks weighted up to the hilt anyway.
With nothing much going right it was starting to feel like 'one of those days' before the handicap chase over 2m 4f where I had made Caraline a solid 6/4 poke to make it a four-timer.
The step up in trip looked a timely move and she jumps and travels with so much zest that my only concern was that she might over-race and not get home.
But like the first winner she didn't attract an iota of support - not unlike her last win at Kelso when she had to be backed at 11/4 - however on this occasion I used all sorts of reasons not to go in despite extraordinary odds of 4/1.
Considering she had the same SP as Red Danaher, who really hasn't looked like winning in four races over fences to date, she will go down as one of the missed opportunities of the season.
The main reason for wimping out was the unknown quantity Azert De Coeur, another V Williams inmate who had been dropped 6lb after a moderate effort last time. However, in the cool light of day he really did look the only plausible danger with Trust Thomas unbackable and Voyage A New York in need of a trip.
Considering she has only just turned five she's got real size about her, and let's not forget she still gets a weight-for-age allowance. If you kept the faith well done to you. I've got to stop worrying about the market and stick to my guns. Sounds simple, but when things are not going your way....aah what a game it is.